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Chelsea play 2012 Champions League finalists Bayern Munich on Tuesday within the first leg of our Spherical of 16 matchup, so we sat down with cross-network blog-friend ‘Ineednoname’ of Bavarian Soccer Works for a quick Q&A. Be sure to check out the reverse version, once it’s live, over on their site, the place we speak accidents, gameplans, and Hudson-Odoi slam-poetry.
WAGNH: On the lookout for afar, Bayern don’t appear to be as dominant as over the previous a few years. Is that as a result of workforce and the modifications in personnel or has the remainder of the Bundesliga caught up?
BFW: A bit little bit of all the things. Bayern’s points this season are as a result of following:
- Long run accidents to our most important defenders in Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernández, leaving the protection in poor form.
- Niko Kovač’s poor ways inflicting an early season dip from which the workforce has but to recuperate points-wise.
- An absence of depth in lots of positions, particularly on the wings, resulting in fatigue and accidents. This has been particularly problematic since Hansi Flick took over, as Flick prefers a high-octane gegenpress over Kovač’s extra conventional defensive recreation, which suggests extra work for the gamers.
- The Bundesliga is far stronger than in earlier seasons. Final week, each single Bundesliga workforce beat their opponents in Europe (EL/CL). It wasn’t way back when Bayern had been the one workforce anticipated to go far; now Germany has a good probability of three groups within the Champions League quarterfinals.
Nonetheless, I do assume Bayern have a superb squad and a superb supervisor, and we’re slowly getting our mojo again. And this upcoming Chelsea recreation means much more than an everyday Spherical of 16 tie. Lots of our gamers have contract extensions using on this, and Hansi Flick wants a superb show in opposition to Chelsea to be even thought of for the pinnacle coach’s place come summer season. Tuesday’s recreation is a really massive deal.
WAGNH: So who’s Hansi Flick and what kind of fashion has he applied at Bayern since taking up? Excessive-tempo, high-pressing, high-possession soccer is clearly in vogue lately, however what, if something, is the workforce’s defining characteristic?
BFW: Hansi Flick is the previous assistant coach of Joachim Low and the person who was the brains behind Germany’s World Cup win in 2014. He’s tactically astute and loves gegenpressing, plus he’s acquainted with a lot of Bayern’s extra unorthodox gamers (like Thomas Müller) as he coached them within the Nationwide Crew.
Bayern’s defining characteristic continues to be wing-play. Whereas we now not have Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry, Serge Gnabry is slowly coming into his personal as a winger and Kingsley Coman has numerous expertise. Alphonso Davies has been enjoying like a high fullback this season regardless of being solely 19 years outdated, and has wonderful attacking credentials being a pure winger. Benjamin Pavard is extra conservative, however he nonetheless overlaps like a champ and has a imply cross (and the occasional banger of a objective) in his arsenal. These gamers are Bayern’s main ball-progressors and attacking retailers. In each recreation, Bayern will use each inch of width on the pitch and stretch the sphere of play as a lot as potential, to present Lewandowski room to work his magic within the middle.
However there’s additionally our trump card: Thomas Müller, the Raumdeuter. He was suspended in opposition to Liverpool in final season’s Spherical of 16, which most likely price us the tie. Müller has an uncanny capacity to search out area and be in precisely the best place on the proper time. He exploits the gaps in ever opposition protection, at all times being the place the ball isn’t, so he both attracts a defender to permit one in every of his teammates to attain or simply scores himself as a result of he isn’t being paid consideration to. If he performs in his most popular place, Chelsea should shut him down or he’ll run rampant.
WAGNH: Wanting a black gap opening up and swallowing him entire, is there any strategy to cease Robert Lewandowski?
If Müller is subsequent to him, then most likely not. Your finest guess is to choke his service from the flanks and preserve your form, then hope the goalkeeper saves the pictures that get by way of. The one factor that may cease Lewandowski is his personal lack of ending or a possible damage to Bayern’s wingers. Even then, Lewandowski’s holdup play is world class, and if you happen to focus an excessive amount of on him you then go away area for the Raumdeuter to make his transfer.
WAGNH: Bayern did the treble the season after (plus the Tremendous Cup in opposition to Chelsea), so we’re all good buddies now, and nobody will point out the 2012 Champions League ultimate, proper?
BFW: I do not know what you’re taking about. There was no Champions League ultimate in 2012.
WAGNH: Bayern followers appear fairly assured, and it’s most likely effectively positioned, however what’s the primary motive why you assume Bayern will win (or lose, I suppose)?
BFW: We’re fairly assured, however there’s a little bit of fear. Bayern have struggled to complete off video games this season, beginning brightly however fading after the preliminary push. instance could be our latest recreation in opposition to Hoffenheim within the DFB Pokal, the place we led 4-1 by the 80th minute. Hansi subbed Lewy and Müller to shut the sport out, however the workforce instantly collapsed and the sport ended 4-3. Extra just lately, our recreation in opposition to Paderborn reveals that our protection continues to be frail and susceptible to groups that need to assault, which is why we’re very frightened about how Lampard plans to bypass our press.
Thanks once more to ‘Ineednoname’ for the chat. Could the very best workforce win, so long as that’s Chelsea! Make sure to take a look at Bavarian Soccer Works within the meantime.