Tag: Bayern Munich

Pep’s New Tune Takes Bayern to the Top

When Pep Guardiola was announced as the replacement to Jupp Heynkes as head coach of Bayern Munich,  in January 2013, the former Barcelona man could not have fathomed that he’d have so much to live up to after last season’s treble. But as the second half of the season gets underway this weekend, Bayern look set for even more trophies. As the Bayern players went to celebrate with their fans at the Camp Nou, Barcelona in May, last year, after having thrashed the Catalan side 7-0 over two legs in the Champions League semi-final, it would have been tempting to question the wisdom of the appointment of their new coach, Pep Guardiola, a few months hence. After all, the former Barca coach was one of the architects of the Tiki-taka style of play that had, up until that moment, dominated the hearts, minds and trophies of the European game for so long. But since Bayern had found a way of counteracting Barcelona, this surely meant that Guardiola’s method was now redundant and the last thing Bayern should do is employ a coach who might set back the Bavarians, tactically. Guardiola was not in charge of the Catalans the night that they were humbled by Bayern but his legacy remains. Barca played to Pep’s tune while Bayern’s style of play, under Jupp Heynkes last season was based on pace, fast transition and closing down the...

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Will Injuries Take The Shine Off Dortmund vs Bayern?

European Champions Bayern Munich and runner’s up Borussia Dortmund meet for their first league encounter since the Champions League Final at Wembley, last May. While treble winners, Bayern remain the traditional powerhouse on the German game, Dortmund under coach Jürgen Klopp have won two of the last three domestic titles. Klopp has assembled one of the most watchable group of players in Europe and become the catalyst in a furious debate on Twitter as to the true meaning of the term “football hipster.” Needless to say this match is highly anticipated in Germany and beyond. However, while Dortmund have the home advantage they will have to face Pep Guardiola’s team without their entire first choice defense. Going without midfielder İlkay Gündoğan and right back Łukasz Piszczek for most of the season, so far, has been difficult but not impossible to manage. However the injury situation took a turn for the worse when one of their central defenders damaged a cruciate knee ligament a couple of weeks ago at Wolfsburg. Then things took turn for the even worse with the other central defender, Mats Hummels did his ankle in during his second half turn at Wembley against England on Tuesday. He’s out until January. How would Oscar Wilde have put it? “To lose one centre back may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two is a right pain in the arse.”...

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Match of the Weekend 3 – The Champions League Final – Bayern 1 Chelsea 1 (3-4 on penalties)

And so it finally came to pass. Nine years after Roman Abramovich arrived at Stamford Bridge and spent like no other owner before him, and Chelsea win the one prize that always eluded Roman’s riches. Ironically, this comes just a week after Sheik Mansour’s Manchester City won the league on even greater resources than Chelsea have been used to. Regardless of how the squad was assembled,Chelsea fought hard for the win, and did it in the toughest way possible – going behind seven minutes from time, conceding a penalty in extra time, and even missing their first penalty in a shootout they eventually won 4-3.   Both sides started the match with players missing through suspension. The absence of Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry weakened Chelsea’s defence, and presumably played a part in the selection at left midfield of Ryan Bertrand, making his Champions League debut. With David Luiz and Gary Cahill both lacking match practice – the Brazilian’s last game was against Tottenham Hotspur on April 14th – Ashley Cole would be expected to cover more defensive duties than normal, meaning that a more defensive left midfielder was needed to help Cole cope with Arjen Robben. The lack of Raul Meireles and Ramires also reduced the midfield options, but most would have expected Florent Malouda to start. Bayern had their own suspensions – Holger Badstuber and David Alaba...

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Was The Bernabéu’s DJ On Loan From Carrow Road?

The Champions League on a Saturday night may have been a great leap forward in securing football’s place in the light entertainment schedule, but, writes William Abbs, watching viewers from Norwich may have been wondering why Bayern Munich were using one of their songs when they scored their goals. Norwich City, one of the country’s best-supported provincial football clubs, secured promotion back to English football’s second tier at the first attempt this season. The upturn in the Canaries’ profile does not end there though. Their re-elevated league status has coincided with some of football’s bigger powers seemingly looking to the Norfolk club for style tips. From the beginning of the year Manchester United fans turned Old Trafford an increasing shade of yellow and green for each home game as part of their anti-Glazer protests. The colours might have represented the fans’ wish to assert their spiritual ownership of the club over the American family’s financial control, by harking back to United’s origins as Newton Heath, but Old Trafford’s yellow and green army still resembled a battalion of that which could be found at Carrow Road every other weekend. But, as well as United’s sartorial homage to Norwich, on Saturday night UEFA chose to greet both Inter Milan goals in the Champions League final with a blast from “Samba de Janeiro,” a track by 90s Latino dance act Bellini and...

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Three Times Lucky For Manchester United?

How often, then, do cup winners get lucky? Ahead of tomorrow night’s European Cup final in Rome it’s a question worth asking ourselves, because there is a tendency, in cup finals, for those moments of good fortune to be critically important. In this respect, cup competitions are very different to league seasons. A league season consists of a large number of matches. Teams may occasionally stutter at the top or pull off surprise wins at the bottom (see Hull City beating Arsenal at The Emirates for proof of this) but, generally speaking, things level themselves out by the end of the season. The cups, though, are a different beast altogether. One slice of luck or one brilliant piece of skill by a player that one might have thought singularly incapable of such genius can win a cup in a way that it can’t win a league competition. If a league season is a marathon and not a sprint, then a cup competition is a sprint and not a marathon, to an extent. I say “to an extent”, of course, because the indignity of losing to lower placed opposition isn’t something that the biggest clubs like very much. They very much understand that league seasons level themselves out. This was a very welcome side effect of the conversion of the European Cup into a mini-league format (along with the extra...

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