A NEW View From South Texas

Discussion in 'Prem talk, Those Other Leagues, and International' started by HatterDon, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    The View From South Texas – how the game is played

    I watch a LOT of football – Championship, Bundesliga, Premier League – and I’m learning more about the game all the time. What follows finally kicked in when I watched Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich after the season re-start. What I finally realized watching that match, got me looking elsewhere to find similarities – and I found them.

    Dortmund had a slight chance of overtaking Bayern before the match was played. Had they taken all three points at home, they’d have been only 1 point behind in second place. Bayern won and the gap expanded to 7 and that was that. Now, you could say that Bayern are the better team – and they are. You could say that Marco Reus’ injury hurt Dortmund – and it certainly did. You might even say that the lost wasn’t a rollover because they held Bayern to only one goal. You’d be right about that. I told myself at the time that had Lewandowski been injured and Reus been healthy, Dortmund might have won easily.

    However … however. What really happened is this. Dortmund has incredibly fast wide players. They live on the fast counter-attack; that’s how they roll. It’s also why, unless they change their philosophy, they’ll never overtake Bayern. Dortmund invites their opponents to attack – lots of ball control, especially in their own half. If an opponent screws up an attack, they’re off to the races and score. The opponent goes after the equalizer, and they’re down two goals, and then three, and then … .

    Bayern, on the other hand, take control of a match from the first minute. They force Dortmund to play THEIR game. Each of their players is accomplished in applying pressure.

    That’s it. Bayern wins because, regardless of the opponent, they wind up playing THEIR game. They are in control for the full 90 minutes match after match. The Dortmund I watched 30 some times this season – so cool, so calm, so confident in their method – begins making fundamental mistakes, forgets how to attack smoothly, and is lost. It’s worth saying this again, REGARDLESS OF THEIR OPPONENT OR VENUE, THEY FORCE YOU TO PLAY THEIR GAME.

    The choir stopped singing, and I found the Premier League. Funny thing, watch Liverpool before the rewind and … damn … they do the same thing. They force their opponents to play the game the way Liverpool wants to play it. Citeh? Yeah, there also. But here was the surprise for me: Sheffield United. Yes, the United we passed going in the other direction when we were relegated. At it was Sheffield United that convinced me.

    This is a side stocked with League 1 and Championship players. Their two first choice strikers hardly score, and their most skilled player is their on-loan goalkeeper. But, watch their matches – ignore the one they just played – and you’ll realize that it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, the Blades make you play their game. And their game is FUN. I was watching one of their matches, where their opponent lost possession just inside their own half, when United went immediately into attack mode. It ended in a shot parried away, but here’s the cool bit, the shot on goal was taken by a defensive mid who received the cross from the center back – all within 7 or 8 seconds of change of possession. How do you coach you team to deal with an attack like that?

    They’re relentless. They’re fun to watch. They’re challenging for European competition while their fellow promotees hold down the bottom two position in the league standings.

    I haven’t seen a lot of this in the Championship, but I did see it when we played Brentford most recently. They took control and we didn’t have any kind of way to take it back. We played their game, and – what a surprise – they’re better at their game than we are. Oh, and speaking of “we” – the last time I remember us controlling the match was when we beat Villa to get promoted the last time. If we go up, we can’t be the passive/reactive Fulham again.

    So, here’s my hypothesis: you can have better coaching, you can have superior personnel, you can have a rabid screaming crowd urging you on, but if you don’t force your opponent to play YOUR game, well … you know.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2020
    nevzter, jumpkutz, SoCalJoe and 3 others like this.
  2. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Louisville, KY
    What’s the name of that old Talking Heads album and movie? Oh yeah...STOP MAKING SENSE.
    nevzter likes this.
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