2016-2017 Season Preview: For Bayer Leverkusen, the Time is Now

August 28, 2016

“There are a few on Bayer’s squad who warrant close attention: 1. Kevin Volland, because he’s the team’s most expensive ever signing, 2. Jonathan Tah, because he’s going to be the future of the CB position in Germany, or 3. Benny Henrichs, because the youngster seems to have the talent to play almost anywhere on the pitch and has only impressed during his time with the first team. That said, if you watched the Olympics you know that there’s really one player set to steal the spotlight this season, and that is Julian Brandt. If the Games were any indication, he has added a new dimension to his game to go with his speed and technical ability.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Neymar the hero of a nation as Brazil fans look for villains

August 23, 2016

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“There were real grounds for concern when the final of the men’s Olympic football tournament went to penalties. How often do the Germans lose a shootout? Winning the gold medal was much more important for Brazil – they were in front of their own fans in the Maracana stadium, this was the only title they had never won and their game badly needed a boost.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Over/Under: European club, season predictions for 2016-17

August 20, 2016

“With the new top-flight seasons set to kick off in Italy and Spain this weekend–and Germany one week later–and the Premier League just underway, there are lots of predictions to be made and questions to be answered. Will the competitive imbalance in France, Germany and Italy continue to be a problem? Will we see a surprise winner in any league? Will there be an outsider who cracks the Champions League elite? And just who will Jose Mourinho fall out with next? With all of those questions–and more!–in mind, we take a look at the European club landscape in the over/under prism to provide as much clarity as possible entering a nine-month quest for trophies and championships…” SI


Five Bundesliga Players Who Are Facing A Critical Season In 2016/17

August 20, 2016

“Now that the Bundesliga season is finally upon us, we can look back on all that happened in this summer’s international tournaments and transfer window to see what teams and players look ready for the grind that is the Bundesliga season. From new look teams to players donning new shirts, the upcoming season is important for a lot of the teams that spent money this summer. But besides the teams, there are plenty of players who need to step up this term for a variety of reasons. Either their club future or international future might be on the line, and since this is the case, a lot of players, especially the five listed, have a critical season upcoming.” Bundesliga Fanatic


The New Manager Effect – Five Under the Radar European Managerial Changes to watch in 2016/17

July 30, 2016

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“The conclusion of the European football season, a time for fans to sit back and reflect on the season just passed for their club. To assess and debate whether or not it was a good, bad or merely average season. The owners and board members of clubs will also spend the summer months doing exactly the same thing, however, the one crucial difference is they must make a decision whether to continue with the incumbent manager or whether to make a change. For those that choose the latter option and make a change, there is no such thing as a summer break, negotiations and interviews remain ongoing until a suitable replacement has been found. Criteria is weighed up such as past success at clubs, experience, past performances at clubs counter-balanced alongside the financial situation said individuals inherited and whether or not a new inexperienced manager could add a breath of fresh air to a football club.” Outside of the Boot


Stefan Reinartz’s path from player to analyst helps us understand passing

July 23, 2016

“As Stefan Reinartz’s career as a tidy holding midfielder in the Bundesliga began to stall due to various injuries, his curiosity about the machinations of the game only grew bigger. … Reinartz and Hegeler decided to look at passing; more specifically, they searched for a way to assign a numerical value to effective passing.” ESPN


France overcomes Germany at last in impassioned Euro 2016 semifinal

July 8, 2016

“Euro 2016 at last had its great game, not quite an all-time classic perhaps, not Seville ’82 certainly, but a minor epic of passion and controversy played out on a balmy evening in front of a febrile crowd in the most striking of French stadiums. It ended with France having beaten Germany in a competitive game for the first time since 1958, two Antoine Griezmann goals taking the host through to Sunday’s final against Portugal after a 2-0 victory over the reigning World Cup champions.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


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