Sunday, 14 April 2013

European Champions League Semi final- Tactical Nous, Key Players: My thoughts

European Champions League Semi final- Tactical Nous, Key Players: My thoughts

If football teaches anything; it’s the importance of the details. Precision. Desire. Quality. In Cups, the supposition is the team who finds the day in better form usually prevails.

Bayern Munich:

Director of football, Mattias Sammer: "playing at home first is no disadvantage. We'll approach the tie with the same strategy we adopted against Juventus"

Head coach Jupp Heynckes said: "I always got good results with my teams against Barcelona. With Athletic Bilbao, we won there twice, for example"

Tactically, we’re experiencing the era of universality – players are expected to perform tasks previously only demanded of teammates in very different positions. The best modern football sides start their attacks from the back, and begin their defending from the front – Barcelona have taken that concept to new heights, but Bayern Munich are arguably the best exponents of this in the 2012/13 season"

High pressing game: ideal scenario- Bayern München would press like mad at home and that could create a lot of problems for Barcelona-particularly with their dodgy defence

Big miss- Mario Mandzukic: suspended for the first leg.

(Bayern’s yellow-card situation is awful. If they make it to the final they may have half the team suspended!!. You know damn well they will foul a lot against Barca)

Mario Mandzukic’s excellent display as Bayern’s lone centre-forward- particularly in the first leg against Juve- is all what you expect from the contemporary Striker. He didn’t get himself a goal, but he did pretty much everything else – he teed up the second for Muller, he had a fantastic running battle in the air with Giorgio Chiellini, and also spent periods back helping his own defence.

His pressing from the front encouraged Bayern to push up and support him, while he also helped pressure Pirlo on the few occasions Muller found himself elsewhere. (Pirlo – “I am the first to say I’m not satisfied with my performance, as I made many mistakes in such an important match and it’s disappointing,” he said. He finished with his lowest pass completion rate in a Juve shirt)

This was a classic ‘defensive’ centre-forward display by Mandzukic( Torres, please note- goal scoring is important but simply being a 'beast' to the opposing team's defence will win you admirers always. This is why Wellbeck is currently favoured by SAF too) NB- I'm a Chelsea fan

I don't think Mario Gomez or Claudio Pizarro would offer the same work rate.

Key Players: Mandzukic, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, and the fullbacks who like attacking: Alaba and Lahm

FC Barcelona:

We know a lot about this side already. I hope their defence doesn't prove to be their Achilles heel in this Cup.

Busquets- was marked effectively out of the PSG game by Lavezzi's pressing. So he couldn't link defence to the 'Conductors' in midfield

Iniesta-gets better like wine but he didn't influence the PSG game as much- this may be because he missed those Messi runs that take away defenders, allowing him more space and time on the ball

Xavi Hernandez completed all of his 96 passes in that PSG game, but these were very conservative, and none directly created a chance

Messi- is crucial to this team. That's all I'm going to say about that!! ( in local parlance: Das all!)

Verdict: Bayern are the team with all the possession and the tactical nous in their league. They’ll not be used to playing a team that is actually very similar to theirs ( Barca) My heart tells me Bayern but my head says Barca (never underestimate the vertically- challenged one, Lionel Messi)

Borussia Dortmund:

Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke: "having taken four points off the men from Madrid, "they'll respect us - as of course we respect them"

The most important thing about Dortmund is “Gegenpressing”. To press the opponent immediately after losing the ball (this is not so easy like it sounds) They made that word famous 2 years ago after they won the Bundesliga.

They are a relentless, fluid, pacy, automatic team effort when they are on the top of their game. Everyone runs for everyone else. Their transitions from defence to attack are dangerous and impeccable

(Goetze covered 136m every minute and Lewandowski covered 123m every minute. Ronaldo covered 112m. - an excerpt from The Guardian)

They will create chances.

Flaw: not clinical enough in front of goal

Key players: Gundogan, Reus, Goetze, Lewandowski

Lewandowski a striker who makes chances as well as takes them.

Gundogan: He is their Xabi Alonso or Iniesta. He controls their tempo and often starts their quick attacks with an incisive pass from deep. He will not be easily marked out of the game though, due to his dynamism and how how comfortable he is all over the midfield on the ball.

Another asset is their fans: crazy fanatical lot- a Real Madrid fan had this to say: "The only thing they have over us is their fans . 5 thousand of their fans can make more noise than our 80 thousand"

Real Madrid:

We know a lot about them already

Real Madrid fans will say:

"We have been there and done that , we have the better players , we have the better coach and we have the better history"

But Dortmund have already shown superiority in the earlier games

Crucial: Real Madrid was clearly short-handed without Coentrao, Marcelo, Khedira and Arbeloa for those games. Iker Casillas had average displays and Pepe was just bad. Real Madrid now have a much safer defensive line- with Varane's birth as an elite player and both left backs recovered

Key: Cristiano Ronaldo ( CR7) -that's all!!

Verdict: Mourinho should win the tactical battle, CR7 will have a say and the quest for La Decima should go right down to the wire

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