giovedì 25 aprile 2013

Klopp outcoached Mourinho in the first leg

Dortmund thrashed Real Madrid thanks to Robert Lewandowski’s four goals while German side’s manager Jurgenn Klopp outcoached José Mourinho. While Klopp utilized right-winger Jakub Blaszczykowski switching Marco Reus to the left, Mourinho opted to Luka Modric instead of Angel Di Maria, moving right Mesut Ozil. Dortmund were the dominant force in the first part of both first and second half, playing a putting pressure, high-tempo, game. Mourinho's approach was clear: inserting Modric to have extra ball-control skills and a second playmaker in the middle of the pitch alongside Xabi Alonso and Sami Kedhira. It didn’t work as Modric sat deep as expected but he didn’t help Real Madrid’s ball distribution, playing not through balls. Ozil, moved on the flank, wasn’t a factor and he also left gaps on his back, leaving Sergio Ramos alone against Reus and a Mario Götze drifting in wide areas. Dortmund started this match pressing heavily, leaving Real Madrid’s centre-backs free in the build-up but they were ready to press full-backs and central midfielders in the way to gain the ball as high as possible to play quick transitions. Dortmund imposed their gameplan playing midfield pressing followed by counterattacks. With Germans pressing so hardly, Real attempting to play a much more possesion-based game was nullified. Mourinho’s side also lost the battle in the middle of the pitch, where Ilkay Gundogan and Sven Bender was effectively tracking  Modric and Kedhira, while Götze was chasing  Xabi Alonso, forcing Real Madrid’s play towards the wide areas. But Dortmund also maximized those zones, where Ozil and Ronaldo’s lacks of defensive skills was exploited by full-backs Lukazs Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer. Also, Piszczek played a good game containing Ronaldo. On the other hand, Pepe had a terrible night facing Lewandowski. On the Polish’s opener, when Götze , starting from the left flank, found him, Pepe had to make the decision if mark Dortmund’s centre forward or cover the zone following the ball: this is the usual dilemma for defenders facing balls coming from the outsides. Pepe opted to mark Lewandowski with the result to loose both the forward and the ball. In Lewandowski’s third score, he outplayed  Pepe once again, spinning away from him and finding the top of the net. As the game went on, after the opening goal, Dortmund drop their pressing line and Real Madrid improved a bit. With Real Madrid closing the first half 1-1 after a thrown-in action followed by a Mats Hummels mistake, Dortmund started the second half repeating the initial strategy, dominating the first minutes with fresh energy. With his team down, Mourinho made classic changes inserting Karim Benzema for Higuain, and Di Maria for Modric and swithing to an offensive 4-2-4 featuring the Argentinian winger on the flank and Ronaldo up front alongside the French forward. With Dortmund less hurried, Real Madrid enjoyed possession but doesn’t create real scoring chances. Then Kaka replaced Alonso to additionally bolster the attack. At the end,  “the best team won," as Portuguesemanager admitted. Klopp won the tactical battle playing a high energy game in the first parts of both the halves. Dotmund dominated the flanks and closed the gaps in the middle while Real Madrid lacked of Ronaldo, Khedira and Ozil support. A couple of Diego López saves and the goal scored by Ronaldo keeps Real Madrid alive for the second leg.

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