I am going to close down Bundesliga Talk. I have been offered the opportunity to join the
Bundesliga Offside, where I will continue Tactical Analysis and die Tabelle. Please look for me
there. I still run Johnny on the Spot
Thanks for coming.
At one point in Stuttgart's 4-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, there were 2 Japanese and 3
Mexican players on the pitch. This interesting fact leads to the face off the two nations in the
tactical analysis of the game, because Eintracht deployed the Japanese Junichi Inamoto as a holding
midfield; whereas, Stuttgart used the Mexican Pavel Pardo.
Germany came away with what seems like one of the easier groups, facing off with a Russian team
that proved itself to be rather average, even with a great manager, Finland, who are dogged but
lacking quality, a Welsh side that is at a cross-road between generations and Lichtenstein and
Azerbaijan. Germany should coast through this group, even if Low suffers the same massive injuries
that plagued qualification to Euro 2008.
Will Huub Steven decision unify or fracture the club? Hamburg is surprisingly within striking
distance of the "greatest team ever assembled". This doesn't come as a shock on HSV's end, like
Karlsruhe's ascendancy. In fact most of us haven't forgotten their top three position, two years
ago, followed by a devastating start of last season that saw Stevens take over and turn them into
one of the best teams in the Bundesliga in the second half of last year.
If last week was relatively boring with a complete goal drought, this week has been one that bucks
trends. First we had Schalke, not only playing in a three pointer, but losing to lowly Cottbus. Oh
yeah, and Cottbus scored, which is an occurrence that rivals some rare diseases.
Next we have F.C. Bayern in their second straight nil-nil draw, only this time at the Allianz and
against Frankfurt, whose last road trip resulted in a drubbing by Nurnberg.
1. FC Bayern
Nil Away Draw with BVB
For the first time this season, it can be said that they lost the midfield
battle. And they were lucky to get out of Dortmund with a point due to this.
1-0 Road Win against Duisburg
They are learning to win without Rafael van der Vaart, which will be important
come next year.
There are two questions to this game: why did BVB hold the mighty Bayern to a nil draw; and why did
BVB lose two points?
For the former, we need to look at the tactics. That's not such a bad thing,
seeing as I title this column "tactical analysis". With Franck Ribery out due to injury and the
General unwilling to listen to me, even though I am a genius (my mother has reassured me), Bayern
went with a 4-4-2, with Ze Roberto and Van Bommel lying deep with Schweinsteiger and Sosa
patrolling the wings to link up with Klose and Toni.
Not a bad midweek overall in Europe for the Bundesliga. The UEFA Cup sides had
a perfect record, Werder secured their first points in the Champion's League and a surprise in
Trondheim gave a life-line to the Royal Blues.
Yes, things are bad, however, Europe might be too much for a young team and concentrating on the
Bundesliga should be a priority for the Swabians.
Werder Bremen needs to switch to a three-man back. You have to understand that I abhor the
three-man back, typically; however, in the case of Thomas Schaaf's squad it might be a boon. Schaaf
epitomizes the defensive-player turned attack-minded trainer, possibly more than anyone in the
history of the sport. One of his tactics is to push his fullback forward as modified wing-backs,
which results in one or both moving forward anytime Werder attacks (which is often).
2-1 away win against Bochum
Who was the genius that said they weren't as good with a four-man midfield. Oh
yeah, me! They almost got nicked by relegation fodder, and probably deserved to be.
Dortmund's German U21 Ashkan Dejagah has caused a stir by asking to be left
off the squad for the Germany-Isreal match during this international break. He cited "personal
reasons" for the decision.
What Dejagah has done is deplorable and should never be forgiven.
So how is Karlsruhe doing it? Their win against
Stuttgart, while surprising, was in the long run a derby game, and in retrospect Stuttgart is pot
anyway. But when Karlsruhe waltzed into Veltins and walked away with a 2-0 win against a team that
hadn't lost this year, Karlsruhe was officially "for real".
One team from each pot goes into the eight groups. Teams to avoid: Villareal (1), Tottenham (2) and
Fiorentina, Atletico and Everton (3). Drawing is on Tuesday.
Bayern Munich 73.640
Bayer Leverkusen 45.
Germany embraces the UEFA Cup. With Bayern Munich playing in Europe's 2nd tournament for the first
time in a decade, the rest of Germany is trying to keep up with the country's biggest club. That
includes Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Stuttgart, who are currently in the Champions League.
The going has been tough for the three Champions League teams.
Werder 8 - 1 Bielefeld
In reference to Sanogo's striking resemblance to Wayne Brady (and his infamous skit on the Chapelle