Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Football Diary - 31 March to 1 April

It was the Easter weekend and I spent a lot of time outdoors rather than stuck indoors watching the telly. However, I managed to catch a couple of games and these are my impressions.

Bayern Munich 6 (six) Borussia Dortmund 0


31 March 2018
Embed from Getty Images

So on last week’s Sound of Football I said that Bayern were rubbish or at least I strongly inferred as much. Of course, in light of this hammering of Borussia, what I meant was that are rubbish relative to previous Bayern teams. Dortmund, on the other hand, are actually rubbish and have been for a while. Don’t let their recent record under coach Peter Stöger. Dortmund’s unbeaten record was down to a hefty slice of luck and the benefit of playing teams that were or are even worse than they. This result was entirely predictable and there are some who did precisely that.

The match was over as a contest with the score at 5-0 at half time. With Bayern looking ahead to a tough encounter with Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday they invoked the unwritten mercy law and only claimed their sixth goal at the end of the match just to show that they could.

After the game Stöger suggested that this beating would be good for the club in the long run as it illustrates the depth of need for change at the club. To begin with, Borussia need a new striker (or keep Batshuayi) a deep lying combative midfielder, another established centre back and probably two new full backs. If they make it to the Champions League then there is a chance that they can recruit of these players in the summer. If not then it will take a little longer. These issues are of greater importance than replacing the coach, to my mind. 

Atlético Madrid 1 Deportivo 0 


1 April 2019 

What is the most striking about watching Atléti at home is have the crowd have bought into the tactics of their coach. They celebrate defensive acts almost like they were goals. After Lucas Hernandez’ clean sheet saving tackle towards the end of this match I was half expecting goal celebration music and his name echoing throughout the stadium by an ecstatic stadium announcer.

 

Diego Simeone has created a team that seems to revel in clean sheets and that has seeped its way into the culture of the club. There are other coaches trying to do the same thing at other clubs and being met with resistance. After all what most people want is attacking football and goal goals goals.

Moreover, there is a perception that counter-attacking football of which Atléti are the acknowledged masters is a game of slender margins. Indeed, despite turning their penalty box into an exclusion zone for pretty much most of the second half, Depor (coached by Clarence Seedorf) could have scored two goals in the first half but ran out of confidence and talent. 

It’s against the better teams, say Simeone’s detractors, where Atléti’s style can let them down. That said, Simeone keeps winning games and despite a disappointing Champions League campaign are among the favourites to win the Europa League.