Bayern 1-0 Lyon: Unremarkable game, fair result

April 22, 2010

Francois Perrier, Orpheus
“Some unfavourable games for the goal-loving neutral can turn out to be the most interesting for the tactical enthusiast. Sadly, this wasn’t really the case tonight, as a toothless Lyon went down to a relatively subdued Bayern in a muted contest. Bayern went for the expected side – Diego Contento at left-back and Danijel Pranjic in the middle. The Croatian sat slightly deeper than Bastian Schweinsteiger, tending to drift to the left to allow Contento to attack.” (zonalmarking)

Franck Ribéry shown red card but Bayern Munich claim first-leg victory
“Franck Ribéry’s nightmare week went from bad to worse last night as he was sent off in the first half of Bayern Munich’s 1-0 Champions League semi-final win over Lyons. The France winger will be suspended for next week’s second leg in his home country, compounding a miserable few days in which he has found himself mired in a sex scandal.” (TimesOnline)

Tactics: Lyon paralysed by chance of a lifetime
“With 53 minutes to play and their opponent a man down in last night’s Champions League semi-final first leg in Munich, Lyon spurned the chance of a lifetime simply by failing to react. Franck Ribéry’s dismissal handed the visitors the initiative in a huge and unignorable way, but rather than reacting, Claude Puel’s side froze.” (Football Further)

Bayern Munich 1-0 Lyon – Recap and Video Highlights – Champions League – Wednesday, April 21, 2010
“The UEFA Champions League continued its semifinal round on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 with the first leg between Bayern Munich and Lyon. Both teams have upset teams in previous rounds and were not expected to go this far in the tournament. Bayern Munich hosted the first leg with the second scheduled to take place in France next Tuesday.” (The 90th Minute)

Sense and sensitivity

April 22, 2010

“I was on my way out of a lecture by Menzi Simelane, South Africa’s director of public prosecutions, after having tried in vain to draw him on the subject of Julius Malema. ‘Excuse me,’ came a voice from the shadows. ‘Did I hear you say you’re a British journalist? I want to ask you a question. What do the British press think of South Africa?’ It’s a question I get asked more and more often as the football World Cup draws closer. Any negative UK headline or story quickly snowballs on the web and leaves South Africans feeling vexed. In short, they want to know of me, why do you hate us?” (Guardian)

Is the sweeper set for a return to prominence?

April 22, 2010

Matthias Sammer, a classic sweeper
“Jonathan Wilson recently wrote in his excellent ‘The Question’ series about the possibility of the return of the sweeper to football. The sweeper prospered as the ’spare man’ in a three-man central defence up against a two-man attack, so now we have two-man central defences up against one-man attacks, should one centre-back not become a sweeper? The idea is music to the ears of anyone who fondly remembers Euro 96. The player of the tournament was Matthias Sammer, the sweeper in the German 3-4-1-2 system that went onto win the tournament. As well as being the most important player in defence, clearing up behind the two markers, he also had license to go forward and launch attacks, and found himself scoring (in open play) on more than one occasion.” (Zonal Marking)

Football Weekly Extra: Joy for José Mourinho as Inter beat Barcelona

April 22, 2010

“Paolo Bandini, Sean Ingle and Owen Gibson join James to debate the week’s football news. As Barcelona lose away to Inter, the pod ponder where it went wrong for the European Champions. They also discuss Zlatan Ibrahimović’s shocking match stats and the latest in the Mario Balotelli saga. Sid Lowe is on hand to give reaction from the Spanish press.” (Guardian – James Richardson)

France, Thierry Henry & The New Calciopoli

April 22, 2010

“All the way back in 2006, there was this thing they called ‘Calciopoli’ whipping up into a furor on the peninsula. It was an enormous distraction, one fraught with harsh accusations against the very core of Italian football, and left the club futures of many in the Italian team hanging in the balance. The players had far more on their plates than merely the biggest football games of their lives.” (World Cup Blog)

English teams face a difficult journey to European final

April 22, 2010

” Fulham and Liverpool are up against it tonight. Not because they face the might of Hamburg and Atlético Madrid, but because some ash has erupted out of a volcano in Iceland. The English teams have travelled across Europe by plane, train and automobile this week, and, scientifically speaking, they face an uphill journey to the Europa League final.” (WSC)