The Lineups They Carried: Reviewing the Bundesliga’s Tactical Formations from 2013/14

August 1, 2014

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“The 2014-15 Bundesliga season starts in a matter of weeks. The transfer market is humming along to its usual dadaist tale, while our jangled nerves rest after the extra summer assignment of World Cup viewing. Meanwhile, in picturesque country towns, Bundesliga clubs are training and even playing friendlies. Bayern has even already won its first trophy this season. While all these things are true, I still have last season on my mind. Particularly, I’m thinking about the lineups featured by all 18 Bundesliga clubs during the 2013-14 season, especially as we move into the 2014-15 season. It’s always interesting to see where the league left off a year ago, as we anticipate news trends for this upcoming season.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Kroos and Rodriguez sign. What now for Xabi Alonso?

August 1, 2014

“The double signing of midfielders Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez for a combined fee of over £100m signals brilliant news for Real Madrid but Xabi Alonso will be seeing increasingly stiff competition for places as he looks around Los Blancos’ dressing room in preseason. Alonso is currently facing a one-match ban from European football for invading the pitch during May’s Champions League final, which will see him miss the Super Cup against Sevilla in August.” Outside of the Boot


Deep-Pocketed Bayern Munich Is Open for Business in U.S.

August 1, 2014

“Bayern Munich, the mightiest of the clubs in Germany’s Bundesliga, picked an appropriate time to begin building a year-round presence in the United States. It won five titles last year, including the trophies for the Champions League and the European Super Cup, and the Bundesliga signed a global television deal with 21st Century Fox. Germany won the World Cup last month with seven Bayern players; eight others were also on World Cup rosters.” NY Times


Will Chivas Rise Again?

August 1, 2014

“A great Mexican club fights to stay relevant. Fernando Arce, Chivas’s new midfield ace, stood over a free kick Sunday at Mexico’s Estadio Olímpico Universitario, measured up the 30-yard attempt, and fired it past Pumas goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios. The goal handed Chivas a 1–0 win, making it undefeated in its first two Liga MX matches. Several years ago, that wouldn’t have been news. Now, as supporters of the team forage for nuggets of positivity during this dark period, it’s a big story and reason for optimism. But while Chivas’s first win at Pumas since the 2004 Apertura may be seen by as a forerunner of good results, the club still has long way to go before it transitions out of this bleak era that has seen them go without silverware in the last 15 tournaments.” Fusion


Goalkeepers ‘gambler’s fallacy’ impacts penalty shoot-outs

August 1, 2014

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Brazil’s Julio Cesar saves from Chile’s Alexis Sanchez in a second round shoot-out
“Goalkeepers facing penalty shoot-outs make a predictable error that could influence the outcome say researchers. Psychologists studied videos from World Cups and European Championships between 1976 and 2012. They found that after three kicks in the same direction, keepers were more likely to dive the opposite way on the next shot. Luckily for them, penalty takers have so far failed to exploit this predictable pattern. Four knockout games in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil were decided by penalties – a record shared with Italy in 1990 and Germany in 2006.” BBC


Vanishing foam

August 1, 2014

“Vanishing foam is a substance applied to an athletic field in order to provide a temporary visual marker. Its use in association football is not regulated by the Laws of the Game, authorisation being in the hands of the governing body of a match, league, or tournament. In association football, referees use the foam to enforce the rules as to the minimum distance that members of the opposing team must remain from the ball during a free kick, as well as the spot from which the kick is taken. …” Wikipedia


The Baroque Entanglements of Valencia

August 1, 2014

“An investment fund, a super agent, and a Singapore businessman: What will it all mean on the field for Los Che this season? While the summer’s silly-season headlines have mostly focused on big names like Luis Suarez, James Fernandez, and Diego Costa, La Liga’s most interesting transfer business has been taking place at Valencia. Los Che have brought in promising attacker Rodrigo and young midfielder Andre Gomes from Benfica, and were widely reported to be tracking even more high-profile targets like Argentina’s World Cup midfielder Enzo Perez and Colombia’s $53 million-rated striker Jackson Martinez.” Fusion


How Liverpool can adapt to Suarez departure

August 1, 2014

“As Tottenham discovered last season, regardless of how much money you receive for your star man, it’s extremely difficult to replace him. For Tottenham and Gareth Bale last season, read Liverpool and Luis Suarez this season – it’s difficult to imagine how Liverpool can replace a player who scored 30 league goals last season. Will suarez departure from liverpool present problems? In reality, however, Spurs’ transfer approach was entirely correct. Their problem in Bale’s final campaign was that they relied on him too much – which was understandable given his incredible goalscoring contribution, but meant that when he was off-form, or injured, the rest of the side struggled to function. Bale was effectively handed a free role, which meant he produced some stunning moments of genius with his license to roam, but the structure of the rest of the side fell down.” Free Bets