mercoledì 24 aprile 2013

What it means

Bayern Munich crushed Barcelona 4-0 following a tactically balanced game featuring a disciplined pressing mixing high and medium pressing levels. Bayern conceded possession to Barcelona’s centre-backs while it was extremely careful tracking the central midfielders and the flanks. Although some bad decisions counted on the final score, Bayern outscored Barcelona playing a physical and technically gifted game. Germans utilized a kind of game that we already have seen to nullify the dominant force of Barcelona. Celtic Glasgow, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid this season, AC Milan -- once again -- Arsenal and Internazionale last season, all showed how you can beat or stop Barcelona. Bayern carried the same strategy and were good counterattacking. Tactics work brilliantly, as Bayern’s manager Jupp Heynckes pointed out.
Also, Bayern took the edge of their size at set-pieces situations, where Barcelona lacks of height and where they have just Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol -- not in the game yesterday -- as able headers. But oppositely to Jose Mourinho’s sides, Bayern isn’t just a reactive team. A ball control-based team latest seasons, Bayern embraced this philosophy from Louis Van Gaal’s days and will continue running this way next campaign under new manager, Pep Guardiola. That said, it’s too early to say that this game signed the end of the tiki-taka. We can just say that this game showed the worst part of it. Barcelona were slow, lacking incisiveness, weak in attack and in defence, playing like a possession-based squad creating not scoring chances. Bayern closed every Barcelona’s passing channels: the back four of Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Dante and David Alaba nullified an unfit Lionel Messi; Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Mario Gomez was able to chase Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, and Sergio Busquets; Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery was both disciplined helping back on the flanks. With 2014 FIFA World Cup one year away Martinez's performance means former Athletic Bilbao can be a viable backup option to Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta for Spain next summer. For Barcelona, this game wasn’t the end of tiki-taka but a huge step back. As Jonathan Wilson anticipated the team has to look forward trying to find new blood at la Masia, because recent experiments to integrate outsiders didnt’ work as Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed.

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