From a distance, it looks like a green light. It represents… Well, what does it represent. It could represent money, obviously. Greed. Envy. Jealousy. Lust. But for what? Power, success, love? The green light has all of these meanings, but at its most basic level it is simply the Rasen (or, pitch) on which RB Leipzig play their Ballsport.
When you see the inside plasterings of Leipzig’s stadium, it makes a mockery of the Bundesliga rules that mean the RB stands for RasenBallsport instead of Red Bull. The Red Bull arena is in Red Bull colours with pictures of Red Bulls and Red Bull heads and Red Bull players around the walls below the first tier of fans, and below that are ad boards on which every now and then are adverts for Red Bull. It is loud, it is brash, it is unashamed, it is the new money of German football which is disrupting the ‘natural order of things’. It is Gatsby. Continue reading →
Love. Love is back at Bayern. Pep, lovely Pep, was a good man, a clever man but… Well, he was cold. He said ‘I love you’ but he didn’t mean it. He just felt he should say it. He suits the icy blue of Manchester City. But Carlo. When Carlo says ‘I love you’ you know that he means it, and he doesn’t even need to say it, his eyebrow says all you need to know.
But love can be disappointing. Pep’s Bayern was far from perfect but Carlo’s, in this opening Bundesliga tie away to Schalke, lightly punctured the balloon of excitement. Or, maybe, at first it did, but by the time the game was over the puncture was mended, the familiarity of an eventually comfortable victory a warm embrace for the fans of the Munich club.
To begin with, a statement. This is not like the old one. This one is new. A starting 4-3-3 of dignified rigidity to cast away memories of left-backs, right-backs, fans, moose, and personifications of the theory of football playing at centre-back. Renato Sanches as part of the central midfield three was the only flash of flair amongst this. Continue reading →
Andreas Christensen (vs Borussia Dortmund, 23/01/16)
(Ball-playing; positioning; awareness; decision-making/fundamental errors; speed/strength (/how to overcome them))
There were a couple of moments when team-mates on the ball around him seemed to think about passing to him and then decide against it, which can sometimes give you an idea of their skill on the ball, an spectre of an absence of trust. There was once instance where he took a heavy touch which led on to a bad pass, though for the rest of the match he was largely average; nothing special, nothing bad. He did manage a midfield splitting pass which set up a good Mönchengladbach attack though, which hints at an ability that perhaps just needs to be refined. Continue reading →
In an attempt to overcome ‘second revolutionary match report syndrome’ before the big matches of the weekend, the early Bundesliga game offered a chance to hone some writerly skills while also getting a chance to watch Niklas Süle, a centre-back who has popped up in various (very) rough incarnations of CB stat ratings of mine as a ‘one to watch’. Added to this was the chance to get a taste of what Friday Night Lights might bring to the Premier League when it hits the pitch next season, and it was the clearer eyes and fuller hearts of Hamburger SV that won this game 1-0 with a late goal against a 10-man Hoffenheim. Continue reading →