Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp Era Is Ascending and Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

May 10, 2022


“It’s a good time to be a Liverpool fan: They reached their third Champions League final in five years following Tuesday’s win over Villarreal, their 63rd game of 2021-22. They’ve played in every possible fixture available this season, they’re in contention to win a historic four trophies, and Jürgen Klopp recently signed a contract extension committing himself to the club until 2026. …”
The Ringer


Freiburg’s football gods go missing as Champions League dream dissolves

May 9, 2022


“This should have been the day in which Freiburg made all their dreams come true. Sat in fourth place in the Bundesliga, with rivals RB Leipzig having come off a dreadful week of domestic defeat and European disappointment, they were set – with the sun out and their still-spanking-new Europa-Park Stadion full to its near-35,000 capacity, they were ready to celebrate. …”
Guardian (Video)
Guardian: Premier League’s pull could spell trouble for Bayern Munich and Bundesliga


Futures bets for EPL, Serie A title chases and other tight European races

May 7, 2022


“The Champions League final is set between Liverpool and Real Madrid, but there are still two incredibly close title races in two of the biggest leagues in Europe. The Premier League and Serie A titles are coming down to the final few weeks. There are also close battles for European places and relegation battles across the top five European leagues. Here’s a look at what’s on the line, the biggest matches to come and how the betting market views the close races in the final few weeks of league play. …”
The Athletic


When Borussia Dortmund Nearly Went Bankrupt

April 29, 2022


In 2004 Borussia Dortmund revealed the news that no football fan wants to hear of their club, they were bankrupt and faced the point of no return. How did a club, that these days is regarded as a ‘model-club’ get into such a state they needed a loan from their nearest rivals? Explained by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Craig Silcock.”
YouTube


Is Bayern Munich Breaking the Bundesliga?

April 23, 2022


“The first time Gregor Weinreich saw Bayern Munich crowned champion of Germany, he celebrated until sunrise. That was 1994. Three years later, when it happened again, he was so euphoric that he ran onto the field at the club’s old Olympic Stadium, a flare burning and sputtering in his hand. He was not alone. Many hundreds more did the same. Those memories remain sharp and clear and warm a quarter of a century later. His recollections of much more recent triumphs, by contrast, are already faded, fuzzy, indistinct. Weinreich knows Bayern won the title in 2014, and 2015, and 2016, and 2017, but he cannot tell them apart. …”
NY Times


European roundup: Barcelona earn late win at Levante, Milan held by Torino

April 10, 2022


Barcelona striker Luuk de Jong scored a header in added time to give his side a 3-2 win at struggling Levante after a remarkable, end-to-end game in which his side gave away three penalties. Levante began the game in 19th place but took a deserved lead against lacklustre opponents in the 52nd minute. The captain José Luis Morales scored from the spot after a foul by Dani Alves and moments later the hosts earned a second penalty, for a handball by Eric García. This time striker Roger Martí stepped up to take it and his effort was saved by Marc-André ter Stegen. …”
Guardian


Union vs. Hertha: why is the Berlin derby such a special fixture?

April 9, 2022


“Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin will meet three times in 2021/22 and when they do, the eyes of the world will fall on the German capital for a fixture that brings together football, politics and history in a once divided city. Union won the first top-flight meeting of the sides in November of 2019/20, when substitute Sebastian Polter got the only goal from the penalty spot late on, while Hertha romped to a 4-0 victory in the return on Matchday 27. The Old Lady got the better of things in the first encounter of last season, winning 3-1 at home, while the return at the Stadion an der Alten Försterei ended 1-1. This year’s first league meeting on Matchday 12 ended in a 2-0 Union win, with Taiwo Awoniyi and Christopher Trimmel on the scoresheet, before a dramatic 3-2 DFB Cup last-16 victory for Die Eisernen across the city at the Olympiastadion. …”
Bundesliga (Video)
What makes the Berlin derby such a special fixture in Bundesliga? (Video)
The Analyst – Berlin Blues: Hertha’s Battle for Bundesliga Survival
W – Hertha BSC, W – 1. FC Union Berlin
****ESPN: Union thrash embattled Hertha 4-1 in Berlin derby

Berlin was a divided between the Allied powers after WWII and Checkpoint Charlie was one of the few access points between the East and West


The 2022 World Cup draw analysed: ‘The Group of Dark Arts’, favourites France and that song

April 2, 2022


“Cringe-inducing cartoon meant to engage with no youngster we have ever met? Check. Song-and-dance routine combing local colour with avant-garde twist? Check. A massive advert for the official ball (the fastest ever, no less)? Yep, we had that, too, and several speeches, a first performance of the first song from the official Qatar 2022 album and a very contrived moment with France manager Didier Deschamps and a young lad who was in the crowd in Moscow four years ago. The 47 minutes of preamble before the draw for the 2022 World Cup at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre flew by! …”
The Athletic (Video)
NY Times – World Cup Draw Highlights: Matchups Let Teams Look Ahead to November
Guardian – World Cup draw: group-by-group analysis for Qatar 2022 – Jonathan Wilson
NY Times: World Cup Draw Brings Certainty. Now Comes the Hard Part.
The Athletic: With a marquee World Cup meeting vs. England, USMNT has a chance to change its perception writ large
BBC – Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022: What are the draw highlights? (Video)


The World Cup Draw Is Friday. Here’s How It Works.

April 1, 2022


“The World Cup field is almost complete. On Friday, soccer teams will learn the answer to the critical question they and their fans want to know: Who will they play when the tournament opens in November in Qatar? The World Cup draw — part gala, part pep rally, part math seminar — will deliver intriguing clashes of styles, testy political collisions and, if past events are any guide, a few uncomfortable moments. But given the stakes of the draw, it is also one of the biggest events on the global sports calendar. Here is a look at how it works. …”
NY Times
NY Times: Who Has Qualified for the 2022 World Cup? (Video)
NY Times: Your World Cup Questions, Answered
The Athletic – 2022 World Cup odds: France, Brazil are co-favorites ahead of the draw; England, Spain right behind


Jude Bellingham: Has Borussia Dortmund midfielder made himself an England starter?

March 30, 2022


Jude Bellingham was named man of the match at Wembley
England’s 3-0 friendly victory against Ivory Coast at Wembley was as routine as it comes, but there was still plenty for manager Gareth Southgate to ponder as the countdown to the World Cup in Qatar continues. Southgate will discover England’s group opponents at Friday’s draw, then will further fine-tune his plans when they return to action against Hungary, Germany and Italy in the Nations League in June. England delivered pretty much all Southgate would have wanted in two Wembley wins against Switzerland on Saturday and here against a disappointing Ivory Coast, but it all gets harder from now on and he has issues to consider. …”
BBC (Video)
W – Jude Bellingham


Bayern Munich vs Qatar

March 28, 2022


“Bayern Munich’s commercial relationship with Qatar has been surrounded by scrutiny since the club first started travelling to Doha for a winter training camp in 2010. For over 10 years Bayern’s relationship with Qatar has grown, and their fans are not happy about it. Seb Stafford-Bloor how Qatar’s involvement with the German champions is causing controversy. Illustrated by Henry Cooke.”
YouTube


2022 World Cup: List of Qualified Teams for Qatar, Updated Standings, Playoff Brackets

March 25, 2022


“Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is reaching its conclusion, as countries compete to fill the remaining spots in this year’s showcase on the sport’s greatest stage. … It was determined on Nov. 26 which regions will be paired for the playoffs, whose format has changed. Another wrinkle to qualifying is the expulsion of Russia due to its nation’s invasion of Ukraine. .. Nevertheless, the draw for the 2022 World Cup will occur on April 1, with the March 31 FIFA ranking being used to determine the pots. …”
SI
FIFA World Cup: Which teams have qualified to Qatar 2022? Full list of all 32 nations


Domenico Tedesco’s RB Leipzig Revival

March 22, 2022


“On the 5th of December Jesse Marsch was relieved of his duties at RB Leipzig, becoming the first Bundesliga manager to learn of his dismissal whilst in a COVID enforced quarantine. The peculiarities of Marsch’s departure stole headlines, but the fact that it had come to this dreary conclusion left few surprised. Back in December, Leipzig had taken just 1 victory in their last 6 matches, and the squad’s discontent with the American’s radical tactical shift seemed to foreshadow the downfall long before it eventually happened. Thus, a new, but simultaneously well-known, face returned to the Bundesliga dugout. …”
Breaking the Lines (Video)


St. Pauli: Another Football Is Possible – Carles Viñas and Natxo Parra (2020)

February 25, 2022

.
“… St. Pauli: Another Football Is Possible chronicles the journey of one of world football’s most captivating mavericks in stunning, historic detail. While the publication is marketed as a sports book, it serves as an excellent contribution to the historiography of German social history. The reader is taken on a socio-economic odyssey through the history of Hamburg, which is a fascinating topic in itself. In a city renowned for its liberal decadence, political engagement and eclectic mix of subcultures, there is plenty to unpick. Of course, there’s also the small matter of St. Pauli and its rivalry with HSV Hamburg, a fallen giant of European football. …”
St. Pauli: Another Football Is Possible – Chronicling the history of Hamburg’s one of a kind institution
Football Pink
amazon


New Year, New Me: The Biggest Changes in Stats Perform’s Power Rankings

February 24, 2022


“The return of European knockout football has us once again watching teams from across the continent go up against one another. But tournament football, clearly, doesn’t see every team play each other, and the beauty of it is that the best team doesn’t always win. And that’s absolutely fine. But what if there was a global league system, rather than one-off knockout ties, that could help us gauge the comparative strength of teams across the world? Well, that’s exactly what Stats Perform’s Power Rankings seek to do. …”
The Analyst


Bundesliga 2021/22: An early look at Domenico Tedesco’s RB Leipzig – tactical analysis

February 14, 2022


“This is a difficult season for RB Leipzig, who lost the head coach Julian Nagelsmann with key players leaving during the summer. Fresh faces such as Jesse Marsch from RB Salzburg, Achim Beierlorzer returning from Mainz 05, with new players including André Silva, Joško Gvardiol, Mohamed Simakan, and Benjamin Henrichs joined the team. However, things did not go according to plan as they never looked like a side that could challenge the second place in the Bundesliga, while they were knocked out very early in the UEFA Champions League group, after losing to Manchester City and PSG. Therefore, the higher-level authority of Leipzig decided to react by parting ways with Marsch. Soon, they appointed Domenico Tedesco as the new head coach and handed him a contract until June 2023. In Tedesco’s first three games, he obtained 1W1D1L, which was not particularly impressive, but there were interesting tactics behind it. …”
Total Football Analysis (Dec. 2021)
Domenico Tedesco – RB Leipzig – Tactical Analysis
W – Domenico Tedesco


Sensational Bochum sink Bayern Munich’s battleship

February 13, 2022


“Bochum came from a Robert Lewandowski goal down to stun leaders Bayern Munich 4-2 in one of the biggest Bundesliga shocks in living memory. The writing appeared to be on the wall when Lewandowski controlled Kingsley Coman’s knockdown and fired in on the turn after nine minutes, but Bochum hadn’t read the script. Christopher Antwi-Adjei converted Gerrit Holtmann’s inch-perfect cross to level, though the hosts did need a goal-line clearance from Cristian Gamboa to prevent Lewandowski restoring Bayern’s advantage soon after. …”
Bundesliga (Video)


Tactical Analysis: Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund

February 9, 2022


“After spending the start of the decade in the shadow of the Premier League and La Liga, German football enjoyed a resurgence in the mid-2010s. 2013 saw an all-German Champions League Final between Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund and Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern Munich, whilst the following year saw Joachim Löw’s Die Mannschaft write their names into the history books with the World Cup trophy in Brazil. When Klopp took charge of Dortmund in 2008, the club was in a financial hole and had been nothing more than a modest, lower-half side, finishing 13th in the previous season under manager Thomas Doll. Klopp, then 41, rejected interest from Bayern Munich to captain the ship at the Signal Iduna Park. …”
Breaking the Lines (Video)


Ajax, Barca, Bayern among Europe’s great treble winners

February 7, 2022


“The Bavarians’ success was remarkable given they changed their coach earlier in the campaign, appointing Hans-Dieter Flick as head coach. Flick had been the number two at Bayern and had filled similar roles with RB Salzburg and the German national team. Prior to that, he was coach of Hoffenheim in the regional league. While Flick inherited a team, he rekindled the fire at Bayern and won three major prizes. Bayern Munich joined eight previous winners of the ‘treble’. …”
Game of the People


The Making of Jurgen Klopp

February 1, 2022


We all know how Jurgen Klopp has turned Liverpool FC into a behemoth of a football club, and how he broke Bayern Munich’s monopoly of German football with his Borussia Dortmund team. But little is known about his origins at Mainz. How he was thrust into a team without a manager, how he made a relegation favourite of the second tier into a Bundesliga competitor, and how he reinvented the german-footballing-style. This is the story of Jurgen Klopp at Mainz, told by Seb Stafford-Bloor. Illustrated by Alice Devine.
YouTube


How can we make Europe’s big leagues more competitive?

January 27, 2022


“There are still four months remaining in most European domestic leagues, but the big titles are largely already decided. It’s a situation we’ve become accustomed to: the rich clubs wrapping up the league by the turn of the year, allowing them to concentrate on what really matters to them, the Champions League. Winning the title, the fundamental point of holding a national league system, is barely a story, and tense run-ins are largely a thing of the past. …”
The Athletic


Milan draw with Juventus as De Jong scores late winner for Barcelona

January 24, 2022


Frenkie de Jong
“La Liga leaders Real Madrid fought back from two goals down at home to rescue a 2-2 draw against lowly Elche thanks to a last-gasp Éder Militão goal in stoppage time. Real wasted a golden opportunity to widen the gap at the top of the table after second-placed Sevilla stumbled at home with a draw against Celta Vigo on Saturday. …”
Guardian


Players to Watch in 2021-22: The Analyst 50 (Part I)

January 21, 2022


“After a summer of frantic international football tournaments across the globe, the new domestic league season is now on the horizon. Ninety-eight teams will battle it out across the top five European leagues, with titles to be won, European football to be secured and relegation to be avoided and we wanted to give you a guide on some of the players to watch in 2021-22. We recruited the very best of Stats Perform’s data editors to give us a list of 50 players. These players aren’t who they think are the greatest – you’ve all read that. This is a selection of 50 players that we think will make an impact in 2021-22. Some are obvious, some less so. Let’s dive in to The Analyst 50, with the first 25 players. …”
The Analyst (July 2021) Part I (Video), Part II (Video)


Paul Wanner becomes Bayern’s youngest-ever Bundesliga player

January 17, 2022


“Paul Wanner made his professional debut for FC Bayern in the second half of the Bundesliga restart fixture against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The attacking midfielder was substituted on for Marc Roca in the 75th minute. At just 16 years and 15 days, Wanner usurped Jamal Musiala (17 years, 115 days) as the youngest player to ever play in the Bundesliga for FC Bayern. In Bundesliga history, only Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko (16 years, 1 day) was younger on his debut. …”
FC Bayern
W – Paul Wanner
YouTube: Paul Wanner – Youngest Bundesliga player in FC Bayern history, Youngest Player Ever For FC Bayern | 16 Years Old Paul Wanner Bundesliga Debut


UEFA Champions League round of 16 classics

January 8, 2022


“Taking in José Mourinho’s touchline charge, La Remontada and plenty more besides, UEFA.com picks out a classic last-16 tie from each of the last 18 seasons. The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League is the 19th edition since the knockout round of 16 replaced the second group stage. UEFA.com picks out a classic tie from each of the past 18 seasons – all headline scores are aggregate. …”
UEFA (Video)


Freiburg Are This Season’s Fitting Bundesliga Darling

January 8, 2022


“This weekend, the Bundesliga returns from its winter break. It’s fair to say it hasn’t been a vintage season in Germany’s top flight. At the start of the season, there was some hopeful anticipation for a more competitive title race after each of last season’s top-six finishers changed head coaches. But when the league entered the break a few weeks ago, Bayern Munich held an all-too-familiar lead atop the table with a nine-point advantage over second-place Borussia Dortmund. It’s not a hugely surprising scenario. After all, Bayern have won the past nine Bundesliga titles. …’
The Ringer (Audio)


Freiburg head coach Christian Streich: 10 years a Bundesliga treasure

January 5, 2022


“Freiburg head coach Christian Streich says football ‘never gets boring’ for him as he celebrates a decade in charge of the Black Forest side. That’s right, the Bundesliga’s longest-serving current tactician brought up 10 years in the job on 29 December, a remarkable achievement in what is famously a results-oriented and subsequently often a transitional role. There was a certain poetic elegance then, when the 56-year-old recorded his 100th Bundesliga victory as head coach in his team’s final game of 2021, the last-gasp 2-1 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 17 a fitting way of ushering in the anniversary of his appointment. …”
Bundesliga (Video)
NY Times: The Teachings of the Philosopher of the Black Forest (June 2020)
W – Christian Streich


Introducing the no-touch All-Stars

December 28, 2021


“For a minute this weekend against Chelsea, it looked like Conor Coady might have to come off. He had just made what could have been a game-saving tackle, reaching a perfectly timed toe around Christian Pulisic to snuff out an open shot from the top of the box, but Coady twisted his ankle while going to ground and had to be helped off the pitch. As play restarted without him, the TV crew talked about how rare it was to see Wolves without their captain. Since the start of this season, Coady has played 1,788 out of a possible 1,800 minutes for his club, plus three World Cup qualifiers for England. …”
The Athletic


2021 was the year when football’s silent majority finally found its voice

December 27, 2021


A mural in Rome depicting Juventus president Andrea Agnelli puncturing a football with a knife. Juve backed the doomed European Super League breakaway.
“Remarkably, the website is still live. Eight months after the European Super League disintegrated in an embarrassing fireball, you might think its founders would be minded to erase all trace of their hubris and humiliation. But perhaps that would be to credit them with too much competence. And so there it remains to this day: ‘The Super League is a new European competition between 20 top clubs comprised of 15 founders and five annual qualifiers.’ Well, good luck with that. There is, of course, an alternative theory. After all, the Super League is still not quite dead in a legislative sense; certainly not if you believe the loud and persistent avowals of Andrea Agnelli at Juventus, Joan Laporta at Barcelona and Florentino Pérez at Real Madrid, the three remaining hoarse men of the apocalypse. …”
Guardian


Tifo video: A guide to 3-4-3

December 26, 2021


“… Using a 3–4–3, the midfielders are expected to split their time between attacking and defending. Having only three dedicated defenders means that if the opposing team breaks through the midfield, they will have a greater chance to score than with a more conventional defensive configuration, such as 4–5–1 or 4–4–2. However, the three forwards allow for a greater concentration on attack. This formation is used by more offensive-minded teams. The formation was famously used by Liverpool under Rafael Benítez during the second half of the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final to come back from a three-goal deficit. It was also notably used by Chelsea when they won the Premier League under manager Antonio Conte in the 2016–17 season and when they won the 2021 UEFA Champions League Final under Thomas Tuchel. …”
W – 3–4–3
YouTube: Tifo video: A guide to 3-4-3
YouTube: Why is Germany’s 3-4-3 working so well? (June 2021)


The Premier League Chose Festive Fixtures Over Safe Fixtures

December 23, 2021


“So, things are a bit of a mess in the Premier League: On Monday, Tottenham were bounced from the Europa Conference League by the governing body itself, UEFA, which awarded a 3-0 win to French side Rennes in the final game of the group phase. The match was supposed to be played on December 9, but a COVID outbreak among Tottenham’s players and coaching staff forced Spurs to postpone—the team’s third such postponement in just over a week. …”
The Ringer


How do Julian Nagelsmann and Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich teams compare?

December 22, 2021


“Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich set a new benchmark for what it means to win at Germany’s already most successful club, claiming seven trophies in just over 18 months. That winning feeling has very much continued under successor Julian Nagelsmann, but how do the two teams compare after six months under the young tactician? …”
Bundesliga (Video)
W – Hansi Flick


What happened to Philippe Coutinho?

December 16, 2021


“In 2017 Philippe Coutinho became one of the world’s most expensive transfers as he completed a move to Barcelona from Liverpool, where he had been the club’s joint top-scorer in the Premier League, and top assist provider. However, ever since then his career has fallen. What happened? Why? And where is he now? Seb Stafford-Bloor explains. Henry Cooke illustrates.”
YouTube
W – Philippe Coutinho


WTF is Group G?

December 14, 2021


“… Needless to say, there was plenty more where that came from. Rightly or wrongly, the prospect of Lille, Sevilla, Red Bull Salzburg and Wolfsburg going head to head over the next four months was not exactly setting pulses racing. For The Athletic, that was only ever going to mean one thing: watching every minute of every Group G match. If you thought that would be a slog, prepare to be disappointed. Two Champions League records were set inside the first 45 minutes of the opening game, a Bulgarian referee made the worst penalty decision in living memory, a manager was sacked, a 28-match unbeaten run came to an end and a teenage striker showed why he is on the radar of every top club in Europe. …”
The Athletic


Tedesco goes against the grain to get RB Leipzig up and running

December 14, 2021


“… It was a significant game not just for the tyro Tedesco but, it felt, for the Bundesliga as a whole. Leipzig had adapted so smoothly to the top flight for the first time. Against the backdrop of an administrative model that deeply offended swathes of the Bundesliga’s fan community – and they were made to know by just how much on a regular basis – they made clear that they weren’t going anywhere in a hurry. The sporting side of the model not only made light of the leap between divisions, but they offered the promise of sustainability. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team had the Bundesliga worked out in an instant. …”
Guardian


What Do We Mean by Good Soccer?

December 11, 2021



“Jesse Lingard was streaking away, the ball at his feet, on the right wing. Their legs weary and their hopes dwindling, Arsenal’s defenders heaved and hauled to keep up with him, as if they were running into a stiff wind. And on the other side of the field, Cristiano Ronaldo started to sprint. It was a true sprint, too, a track sprint, a coached sprint: starting in a low crouch, his back straightening as he reached full tilt, head held high, arms pumping. The clock had just ticked past 90 minutes, but there seemed to be a magnet drawing Ronaldo to Arsenal’s penalty area, some elemental force. …”
NY Times


The Data Day No 15: Our Rolling Football Blog

December 10, 2021


December 9: Villarreal qualified for this season’s Champions League despite not finishing in the top six of La Liga, the cutoff for traditional Europa League qualification. They did so by beating Manchester United in the Europa League final. And although they couldn’t chase down United to win Group F on Thursday, they did more than they needed to in Bergamo to carry on to the Champions League last 16 despite sitting 13th in La Liga. …”
The Analyst
SI: Champions League Group Ouster Is Barcelona’s New Bottom – Jonathan Wilson


Christian Streich – SC Freiburg – Tactical Analysis (2021-22 Edition)

December 10, 2021


“After back to back top ten finishes, SC Freiburg are now flying high toward a Champions League position in the German Bundesliga. Christian Streich’s team have played some fantastic high pressing, high tempo football, beating some of the best teams in the league without any genuine stars in their side. So following up from our tactical analysis of the team last season, we take a look at how Christian Streich has revolutionized Freiburg in 2021-22. …”
The Mastermindsite


Zenit St Petersburg’s Ozdoev strikes late to deprive Chelsea of top spot

December 9, 2021


“Once again Thomas Tuchel was left to reflect on Chelsea’s inability to take care of the small details. The European champions are not playing with the right attitude at the moment and although they almost got away with it this time it was not a surprise when they ended up relinquishing top spot in Group H to Juventus after this chaotic draw with Zenit St Petersburg. …”
Guardian
Guardian – Champions League roundup: Atalanta v Villarreal snowed off; Juve top Group H
YouTube: Zenit St Petersburg vs. Chelsea: Extended Highlights | Group Stage


Dortmund and Bellingham cry foul in Klassiker but old failings remain

December 7, 2021


Jude Bellingham (L) could face sanctions from the German FA after criticising the referee following Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Bayern Munich
“This time, at least, there were grounds for debate. Der Klassiker has become the showpiece that retains attention but equally fuels the barbs of the critics, a symptom of Bayern Munich’s indefatigable dominance to pessimists and Bundesliga detractors. This time, the fixture’s usual chaotic energy synced with genuine jeopardy. Even if the current run was extended to Borussia Dortmund beating Bayern just once in their last 10 Bundesliga meetings (with six straight wins for the champions), Saturday’s latest edition oscillated wildly. …”
Guardian


ESPN FC 100: Messi, Lewandowski, Oblak among No. 1s; Premier League has most representatives

December 4, 2021


“For the sixth consecutive year, ESPN presents its annual ranking of the best men’s players and coaches in world soccer! Welcome to FC 100. As always, rankings are broken down into Top 10 lists for positions, plus a countdown of managers, in order to present the most meaningful look at talent on the pitch and the sideline. Whereas last year was dominated by Liverpool and Bayern Munich — the clubs combined for eight of the 10 No. 1 spots — the leaders in this year’s edition are spread across six teams, with none having more than two men on top of their respective category. …”
ESPN (Video)
Go to: Goalkeeper | Right-back | Centre-back | Left-back | Central midfield | Attacking midfield | Winger | Forward | Striker | Manager


The rise of Ralf Rangnick, godfather of German coaching, manager of Manchester United

December 4, 2021


“This week wasn’t the first time Ralf Rangnick had been interviewed for a job at Manchester United. Or that’s how it felt to him, at least. In the autumn of 2019, United’s football director John Murtough travelled to Leipzig to study the Red Bull football group’s facilities and corporate strategy. A proud Rangnick, eager to show off a Champions League club he had essentially built himself, hosted Murtough for eight hours, at the end of which the German sensed that the real reason for the visit might have been him. His suspicion that he had been sounded out was strengthened when he got word that an unnamed club was conducting background research into his working methods, tapping into his mentor Helmut Gross, a trained structural engineer turned tactical maverick, and Lars Kornetka, a long-time Rangnick collaborator, for insight into his footballing beliefs and his character. …”
The Athletic
W – Ralf Rangnick
YouTube: Brief History Of: Ralf Rangnick


16 football clubs sitting outside the elite

December 2, 2021


“Should European football ever morph into a super league structure, the landscape will be substantially changed, no matter how any new league might manifest itself. For the past decade, a set of global, elite players have evolved, but beneath the top layer, there are a number of clubs who have scale and presence, some with back stories that belong to a more democratic age. Some of these glorious names may be dominant forces in their own backyard but do not have the financial clout to compete with Europe’s gargantuan institutions. Others were once feared names across the continent, metropolitan clubs from major cities such as Lisbon, Amsterdam, Rome, Rotterdam and Glasgow. …”
Game of the People


What’s so special about the half-spaces? (With help from Rene Maric)

November 25, 2021


“Back in 2014, Rene Maric was a football tactics blogger training a team of amateurs when he got curious about a geometry he’d come across in coaching circles. Managers like Jurgen Klopp and Ralf Rangnick didn’t just divide the pitch into vertical halves or thirds. They talked about five horizontal zones running the length of the field, like the ones Pep Guardiola chalked on his training pitch at Bayern Munich to help guide players’ spacing and movement. The outside zones were easy to name; those were the wings. The middle was the middle. Germans had a specific term for the two bands in between: halbraum, or ‘half-spaces’. Maric admitted it was ‘not a good word’ in English, but for lack of any better ideas, the name stuck. He wrote a long post for Spielverlagerung on what made these two extra zones worth paying attention to. …”
The Athletic
Guardian – From chatroom to the bootroom: Rene Maric’s very modern coaching journey (Sep. 2018)
W – René Marić


Who Has Qualified for the 2022 World Cup?

November 24, 2021


“With a year to go, almost half the field for the 2022 World Cup is set. Thirteen countries have already booked their places for the tournament, which opens in Qatar next Nov. 21: some with ease, cruising through qualifying, and some with a touch more drama. Quite what the tournament, riddled with scandal and concern from the day Qatar was announced as the host, will be like cannot yet be known. The identities of the teams who will contest it, though, are remarkably familiar. Most — if not quite all — of the traditional contenders are already there: a 10-country-strong European contingent led by France, the defending champion, and Belgium, officially the world’s best team, as well as the likes of Spain and England and Germany. They have been joined by the two great powerhouses of South America, Brazil and Argentina. …”
NY Times


World Cup 2022: ranking the top 10 contenders a year before Qatar

November 19, 2021


“With just over a year to go until the World Cup kicks off, 12 teams have qualified alongside hosts Qatar. All four semi-finalists from 2018 have sealed their spots and are joined by former world champions Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Spain, while recent European champions Portugal and Italy still have more to do. With most of the big hitters now able to prepare for the tournament, we assess where they stand as the countdown to Qatar begins. …”
Guardian
The Athletic: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying: Where USMNT, Canada, Mexico and Panama stand with six matches left
World Cup 2022 Power Rankings: France & England the early favourites as Portugal & Italy falter


World Cup 2022 qualification: Who will be in Qatar and who is in play-offs?

November 16, 2021


Gareth Southgate’s England are heading to Qatar 2022, while Wales and Scotland have a play-off place secured
“England have qualified for the 2022 World Cup finals while Wales and Scotland are heading to the play-offs along with some surprising names. European champions Italy and Portugal will also have to go through two rounds of play-off games next March after failing to win their respective groups. Heading to the World Cup so far are: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland. The Netherlands, Norway and Turkey are the three teams left who can still qualify automatically. The winners of each group secure a place at the World Cup, with the 10 runners-up joining two Nations League teams in the play-offs, where three further places are up for grabs. …”
BBC


1.FC St. Pauli: Taking the 2nd Bundesliga by Storm

November 5, 2021


“Bayern Munich’s 5-1 battering of Leverkusen, RB Leipzig’s stuttering start to the season, and Dortmund’s unruly Erling Haaland reliance have all combined to make the 59th Bundesliga season one of the driest title races in recent memory. With the Bavarian giants set to retain their 10th consecutive Meisterschale, it is time to visit the Zweite Bundesliga for hopes of a title challenge. There, Germany’s second division is living up to its billing as The Greatest Zweite Bundesliga of All Time. The numerous fallen giants aren’t just providing a spectacle of unrivaled terrace culture, but the football on the pitch is as competitive as ever, with just 4 points separating 1st and 4th. …”
Breaking the Lines
Breaking the Lines: St Pauli – Culture, Politics, and Pirates


How Julian Nagelsmann made his mark at Bayern Munich

October 31, 2021


“The tactician has started his stint brightly for the Bavarian club. Julian Nagelsmann arrived at Bayern Munich this summer with a reputation as someone who is not afraid to make changes to ensure success. The 34-year-old hasn’t tinkered as much as expected, however, and a star-studded squad have responded to his promptings with a dominant start to the season. If this is what Bayern are like now, just think about how good they will be when their players are fully used to every little aspect of Nagelsmann’s coaching manual. The former Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig supremo moved to Munich in the summer having proven his ability to bring the best out of players, and now he looks to have earned the respect of some of the biggest names in the game. …”
How Julian Nagelsmann made his mark at Bayern Munich (Video)
W – Julian Nagelsmann
YouTube: Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern Munich Tactics Explained | Bayern Munich 2021/22 Tactical Analysis


Zonal Marking: From Ajax to Zidane, the Making of Modern Soccer – Michael Cox

October 29, 2021


August 24, 2019: “In life, it takes time to create successful ideas and concepts. Scientists and researchers spend years, even decades, analyzing and studying data to create trials or a study before publishing the results to the world. … I mention this because it may seem odd at first to take a 17-year period and be able to identify seven overarching and different tactical revolutions in soccer in Europe. However, Michael Cox has long established himself as a tactical observer par excellence and his new book argues that the dominant soccer cultures in Europe in the recent past have existed for merely 2-4 years. Zonal Marking: From Ajax to Zidane, the Making of Modern Soccer makes the claim that we have seen six dominant styles of soccer in Europe since 1992 with each based around a national soccer culture. …”
World Soccer Talk
Intelligent football: Michael Cox and the rise of tactical analysis (Oct 2020)
Zonal Marking
Vox in the Box: Michael Cox
amazon
YouTube: Football Tactics with Michael Cox (Zonal Marking)(Aug 13, 2019)


Why Can’t Man City Fill Their Stadium?

October 29, 2021


“Following the high octane clash between Man City and RB Leipzig in the Champions League that ended with 9 goals, Pep Guardiola called out the fans for their lack of attendance. And there were a lot of empty seats, but why? Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Marco Bevilacqua. …”
YouTube


UEFA Euro 2012 Group B

October 28, 2021


Joachim Löw
Group B of UEFA Euro 2012 began on 9 June 2012 and ended on 17 June 2012. The pool was made up of the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Portugal. Germany and Portugal progressed to the quarter-finals, while Denmark and the Netherlands were eliminated from the tournament. Group B was dubbed by many the ‘group of death’ of Euro 2012. All four teams were in the top 10 of the FIFA World Rankings at the start of the tournament. … Ultimately, Germany defeated Denmark 2–1 after Lukas Podolski and Lars Bender scored for Germany in the 19th and 80th minutes, respectively, despite an equalizer from Michael Krohn-Dehli in the 24th minute. …”
Wikipedia
W – Joachim Löw
W – 2014 FIFA World Cup Final
Guardian: German model bangs the drum for club, country and the people’s game (Dec. 2012)

Germany and Argentina face off in the final of the World Cup 2014


2021-22 Bundesliga – the 18 clubs, with the 14 largest cities in Germany…

October 26, 2021


“The map page is pretty self-explanatory, it being my usual basic location-map. The map-page also includes 2 charts – one chart which shows each current club’s Seasons-in-1st-division; the other chart shows the full German football titles list (including the pre-Bundesliga/amateur years from 1903 to 1963). There is one small addition I have made: on the map I have shown the promoted and relegated teams, via small color-coded boxes…green-edged boxes for the two promoted sides (Bochum and Fürth), and red-edged-boxes for the two relegated sides (Schalke and Bremen). Also shown, not on the map-page but further below, are captioned photos of the promoted clubs’ venues [Bochum and Fürth]. …”
billsportsmaps
W – 2021–22 Bundesliga


Brutal Bayern Munich show their rivals just how high the mountain is

October 19, 2021


“Existential angst over competitiveness shouldn’t overshadow the fact we are looking at possibly the best team in Europe. We’ve seen it before, but it’s still difficult to know exactly how it should be characterised. It was brilliant, beautiful, ugly, deflating, awe-inspiring and a huge letdown all at the same time. Bayern Munich’s hegemony shows no sign of letting up and neither does it show any potential for being less of a source of conflicting feelings and views. …”
Guardian (Video)


Tyler Adams Is the Captain Now

October 6, 2021


“The age of Tyler Adams is a matter of perspective. In a strict, chronological sense, of course, he is 22 years 8 months, but what that means — whether it is young, as it appears to be, or old, as odd as that seems — depends on the context. There are times, in fact, when even Adams finds it hard to date himself with any degree of accuracy. Sometimes, he is aware of his youth. He shares the locker room at RB Leipzig, for example, with a host of players who joined the club in the lower reaches of German soccer, and remain in place even now that it has become a fixture in the Champions League. …”
NY Times
W – Tyler Adams
YouTube: Tyler Adams 2020/21 Season Highlights | RB Leipzig (May 2021)


Freiburg’s fond farewell to the Dreisamstadion

September 30, 2021


Freiburg’s Dreisamstadion is one of Germany’s most iconic football grounds
“On 26 September 2021, Freiburg played their 360th and final Bundesliga game at the iconic Dreisamstadion, running out comfortable 3-0 winners against Augsburg. It was a fitting way to say farewell to their home of the last 66 years. Before the match, Freiburg head coach Christian Streich had declared that the sense of nostalgia surrounding the club’s final home outing was perfectly understandable, but that it had no place in his dressing room. He and the players weren’t thinking about it, hadn’t really discussed it – they were too busy preparing for a “complicated game” against an Augsburg side who had just got the better of Borussia Mönchengladbach. …”
Bundesliga (Video)
W – SC Freiburg


Chelsea’s loss at Juve illustrates the challenges Tuchel faces in fighting for titles domestically and abroad

September 30, 2021


Leonardo Bonucci in action for Juventus against Sampdoria.
“Thomas Tuchel probably didn’t need a reminder of the difficulty in competing on two fronts this season, but Manchester City and now Juventus have given him just that in the space of five days. The chaotic circumstances surrounding his arrival at Stamford Bridge in January — replacing fan favourite Frank Lampard and thrust straight into a condensed schedule made more unrelenting by COVID-19’s impact — created a degree of breathing space in the Premier League that helped propel them to Champions League glory. Tuchel was of course under a degree of pressure to secure a top-four spot last term, but he harnessed that rarest of things under owner Roman Abramovich — a sense of freedom arising from lowered expectations — to galvanise this group to an improbable European success. The dynamic is different this time. …”
ESPN
Guardian: Tuchel and Chelsea are failing to capitalise on Lukaku’s specific threat
YouTube: Juventus vs. Chelsea: Extended Highlights, Bayern München vs. Dynamo Kyiv: Extended Highlights, Zenit vs. Malmö: Extended Highlights, Atalanta vs. Young Boys: Extended Highlights, Benfica vs. Barcelona: Extended Highlights, Wolfsburg vs. Sevilla: Extended Highlights


Champions League roundup: Sheriff Tiraspol shock Real Madrid

September 28, 2021


Sheriff Tiraspol shock Real Madrid
“The Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol pulled off a remarkable 2-1 win away against Real Madrid in the Champions League, snatching a shock victory thanks to a sensational 89th-minute strike from Sebastien Thill. The competition debutants Sheriff went ahead against the 13-time European champions in the 25th minute with a header from the Uzbek midfielder Jasurbek Yakhshiboev, who narrowly missed a chance to double the visitors’ lead later in the first half. …”
Guardian
YouTube: Real Madrid vs. Sheriff: Extended Highlights, AC Milan vs. Atlético Madrid: Extended Highlights, Porto vs. Liverpool: Extended Highlights, RB Leipzig vs. Club Brugge: Extended Highlights, PSG vs. Man. City: Extended Highlights, Dortmund vs. Sporting: Extended Highlights


Tactical Analysis: Manchester City’s Underlaps

September 22, 2021


“Adherents to the rather loaded term of positional play perceive football to be a game of dynamic spatial occupation. Subsequently, players will move in relation to the ball carrier and their supporting teammates. These reference points mean movements carry implications when working under a 5/7 zone structure which provides the framework for optimal creation of passing angles and maintenance of connections. Movement and subsequent vacation of space sends a signal to rotate, typically on the horizontal axis. …”
Running the Show


Bayern Munich: Why Does The Bundesliga Look So Easy To Them?

September 21, 2021


“Bayern Munich are the most dominant German football team of all time. And it isn’t even close. They have dominated the Bundesliga for as long as anyone can remember and it seems as though that won’t come to an end anytime soon. But how have they done this? How have they monopolized the league and achieved such unprecedented success? Let’s find out. …”
YouTube: Bayern Munich: Why Does The Bundesliga Look So Easy To Them?