Wednesday, November 11, 2009

RIP Robert Enke

This morning as usual, I woke up in the morning and took some brunch before starting my day. I have decided to turn on Football Manager 2009 instead of turning online. However at the same time I turned on the TV and tuned in the news channel.

Sounded everything was in normal, but I suddenly heard a piece of news - Hannover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke had committed suicide.

I was shocked, totally shocked. I paused the game and ran out to the TV and saw what was going on. I couldn't believe it was real as I have just seem him play well against Hamburger SV last Sunday. I kept tuning in the news channel and watched it over and over again because I still couldn't accept this news was real.

I am not Hannover 96 fans but he made impression to me. He was one of the best goalkeepers in the nation and I seriously favoured him to be number 1 goalkeeper in the World Cup 2010. I only knew him he played at FC Barcelona before (by the way I was appreciated that FC Barcelona gave a minute of silent before the Copa de Ray), but what made me impressed was his performance at Hannover 96. Without him, Hannover 96 was relegated for a long time.

I also insisted in the related discussion forum that Bayern München should have purchased him this summer as he was experienced and skillful, which was really suitable for making the defensive line consistent. Now it is all over, Bayern München never worried they needed to pay a high amount of transfer fee to Hannover 96 as he was passed away.

Enke left his wife and an adopted 8-month-old daughter behind. I sincerely hope they can get through this difficult time and step forward to the future.

Rest in peace Robert.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bordeaux vs Bayern München (UEFA Champions League) Preview

Bayern München this Wednesday will continue their Champions League journey and face Bordeaux away. Bayern München recently picked up the winning way again and it was a boost for them. Now here's the preview of Bayern München chance of this match:

Bayern München won against Frieburg last Saturday without "Robbery" combination. Luca Toni worked very hard last Saturday and it is very likely to start this match. However, it is doubtful if his finishing is improved. This match again the "Robbery" combination will not appear in the match so Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller will be very important. On the other hand, the return of captain Mark van Bommel can definitely improve the midfield domination. I believe he will work with Anatoliy Tymoshchuk again in order to control the midfield and stop Bordeaux's Yoann Gourcuff to create.
What makes Bayern München to win: Midfield domination. As mentioned, the midfield dominance will be very important in this match as Gourcuff is the magician in the midfield. In order to win this match, van Bommel and Tymoshchuk must work together well in order to maintain the possession in the midfield. Schweinsteiger and Müller need to connect the striker in order to win this game.
What makes them down: Strikers. I personally am not worried about the defence but the confident of the strikers makes me worried. Mario Gomez loses his starting place because he is not confident at all. At the same time, it is also doubtful if Toni and Klose can pick up their confident to score goals. Together with the injury of Ivica Olic, it is very doubtful if they can convert the plays into goals.

General preview: I believe the match will be decided in the midfield. Both teams are very good at ball possession so it is the deciding factor for this match. I believe van Bommel and Tymoshchuk can control the midfield well based on their big match experience. I believe the match will favor Bayern München a little bit but a draw is not a surprising result.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Germany vs Finland (World Cup Qualifier) Preview

Germany had successfully qualified for the World Cup after winning against Russia last Saturday. This group had already decided out the group winner, Germany, and group runner up, Russia. Meanwhile, Russia had already had enough points to qualify for the playoff in November. So there is no competitive matchup in this Wednesday action. So Germany and Finland match will be another friendly. Now here's the preview:

Germany: Germany did very well last Saturday. They seeked the Russian weak spot and got the chance to score goal and win. Even though the draw should be more deserved, Germany still did a great job. Therefore, this match is just a routine match and it turns out to be the friendly international. I believe coach Joachim Löw will give chances to the bench players. Marcel Schäfer, Marko Marin, Andreas Beck, and Mario Gomez will be very likely to start the match, as well as the reserve goalkeeper Tim Wiese will also likely to start. However, I seriously doubt if Germany will give their all potential to win this game.
What makes Germany win: National pride. I believe the players will keep unbeaten at least because it is shameful to lose the game at home. They may want to win the game even in order to maintain the excellent record. Furthermore, Germany only lost 2 qualifier games in their all time history so they will kick themselves if they lose the third game.
What makes them down: Purpose. There is not any real purpose for Germany in this match. Past record showed that Germany were so lazy and slow at the unimportant friendlies and qualifiers. I believe this is very likely to happen again and Finland can make some surprises.

Finland: Finland had already out of the contention a month ago. So even they put their full strength to play these 2 matches, I believe they do not have any pressure and they will just enjoy themselves. They won against Wales last Saturday and maintain the third position. For them this is not a bad result and they accept this. The Zürich pair, Veli Lampi, and Hannu Tihinen will be very important for the Finland defence. Jussi Jääskeläinen will be very important in goalkeeping as it is predicted Germany will be the one who possess the ball all the time.
What makes Finland win: Pressure-less. They do not have any pressure in this moment. As they will be the third in the table and there is no way to go up or down. So I believe they can bring surprise to Germany as they are very relaxed in the moment.
What makes them down: Quality. Obviously they are outplayed in terms of player quality. Germany can control the ball easily and they will likely to score. So Finland need to do better in defence and counter attacks if they want to make some surprises.

General prediction: This match becomes the friendly as there is no competition issue. Germany will not pay their full strength in this match as they need to keep themselves fit for the upcoming Bundesliga fixture, as well as the future chance to enter the final squad for the World Cup. For Finland, they are very relaxed in this moment and I do not believe they will be too urged and aggressive even they are trailing. So a bored draw is predicted, or Germany will win by 1 goal at most.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Russia vs Germany (World Cup Qualifier Group 4) Preview

Germany this Saturday will have the most important match in 2009, they will travel to Moscow to play against Russia. Russia is only 1 point behind Germany and if Russia win, they are very likely to win the group and qualify to World Cup directly. On the other hand, Germany also want to win as they will qualify for World Cup, no matter what happen in the next round. Now here's the preview:

Russia: Russia only lost against Germany away and they won all the other matches. They will play on the artificial grass ground and lead them to have a slight advantage. Andrei Arshavin no doubt will be the most important Russian player as his connection to the strikers are very good. Pavel Pogrebnyak will very likely to start the match. Also, Pogrebnyak knows the German style well as he is currently playing for VfB Stuttgart. Yuri Zhirkov will lead the defence and he plays an important role in the defence.
What makes Russia to win: Counter attacks. Russia are very good at the counter attacks. Coach Guus Hiddink did a very good job to make the team to be very well disciplined and organized team. They will be very likely to win if they can tackle the ball effectively and start the counter attack well.
What make them down: Off the ball defence. The biggest problem of Russia is they spend too much game time on the off the ball defence. It is very dangerous for them as they give the bomb to the opposition to bomb themselves. They have to hold the ball better or else it will be just the matter of time to concede goals.

Germany: Germany did take the trouble when they only snatched a draw against Finland in the very early stage. Now they need at least one point in order to protect their lead and bring back the advantage back home. However, the entired team want to win as they all know all the troubles and doubts will be gone. Mesut Özil playes a very important role to Germany as he is the best player in the team so far. Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are having the confident trouble and now it is time for them to perform. Per Mertesacker will lead the defence line and Heiko Westermann will be likely to get along with him.
What makes Germany to win: Passing game. As mentioned above, Russia is very well disciplined and organized in defence, so more passing is the only way to confuse Russian defence and create goals. Özil plays an important role to connect the midfield and strikers, as well as make more runs to confuse the Russians.
What makes them down: Strikers. Stefan Kießling once again is forgotten so the remaining strikers need to perform. Cacau and Klose are yet to score in the league so it is questionable in their confident. Plus Gomez and Lukas Podolski are not good at form so those strikers must pick up their confident quick.

General prediction: I believe Germany will have more possession. This is because Russia are comfortable without the ball and are likely to wait for the counter attack chances. So Germany must make use of the possession very well in order to win this match. It is likely to see a draw here as both teams will not be upset to end up like this. However, I believe Germany will have a little bit advantage as they always have the ball. So even Germany are away, I believe they can qualify for the World Cup after this Saturday.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bayern München vs 1. FC Köln (Bundesliga Week 8) Preview

This week Bayern München stays at home to play against under achieved Köln. Both teams desperately need all 3 points to achieve their own goal. Obviously Bayern München has the clear advantage and Köln needs some miracle to win at Allianz Arena. Now here's the preview:

Bayern München: Bayern München had lost the important match against Hamburger SV away and led them drop to the 7th position with 6 points trailing. In order to avoid the further slip, Bayern München must win this game to climb up the table. Arjen Robben unfortunately was injured in the Juventus clash and so far he undergoes the MRI. However, Ivica Olic is ready to relieve his place. Franck Ribery is starting to get better in terms of fitness and I believe he will play for full 90 minutes again. Mario Gomez is likely to start as he is fit enough to play. Even Robben is not likely to play this Saturday, I believe Ribery, Olic, and Gomez are good enough to win this game.
What makes Bayern München to win: Quick tempo. This is what they did well in Juventus clash. I believe Köln will concentrate the defence and wait for the fast counter attack. So quick passing and speedy runs will make them easier to score and win the game easier.
What makes them down: Scoring. The recent two non-winning matches showed that Bayern München was stuck at scoring goals. Gomez, Miroslav Klose, and Thomas Müller were quiet and failed to score goals. I believe they must finish well and score goals in order to win the game.

1. FC Köln: So far it is very disappointing in the start of the season as they only managed to get 4 points in 7 matches. The return of Lukas Podolski did not help too much to the team as he was always got isloated. Milivoje Novakovic was supposed to assist him but he was struggling with injury. Sebastian Freis now is the only striker who can guarantee to assist Podolski and he will be the important player in the match. On the other hand, the defence was very disappointing and I believe they will lose goals.
What makes 1. FC Köln to win: Counter attacks. Even Podolski did not help the team too much, their counter attack is quite fast. Along with Freis, I believe they can threaten Bayern München in some extent.
What makes them down: Fragile defence. They have conceded 10 goals in 7 matches so far. It is not good enough for the start of the season. Also, it showed the sign that their defence is not good enough for the all season long challenge. So they will have a big loss if they concede goals early.

General prediction: I believe early goal will determine the final result. Bayern München will attack Köln early and hope to score the early goal. Gomez, Ribery, and Olic will not wait and hesitate to attack Köln early and try to get their monkey off their back. With the home court advantage, I believe Bayern München is able to score goal early and have a big win.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bayern München vs Juventus (UEFA Champions League Matchday 2) Preview

Tonight Bayern München will host the Champions League blockbuster against Juventus. This is an important group match but not fatal. Plus they have league matches to concern so that I believe the match will be close and high quality, but not intense. Now here's the preview:

Bayern München: Bayern München did well in the last Champions League match and led them to have a lead in Group A. Even last week they have lost the important top table clash against Hamburger SV, they still have high moral and full fitness. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben will start this match, but the starting striker is still a question, Ivica Olic and Mario Gomez have a fair chance to get into the starting lineup. I believe Louis van Gaal will not play any tricks on the formation and tactics, and he will stick into the winning 4-3-3 formation. So the pace will be their way to win.
What makes Bayern München to win: Pace. As mentioned, Ribery and Robben are the fast paced players that bring so much threats to the opposition in terms of pace. On the other hand, it is predicted that Bayern München will tend to play counter attacks, as Fabio Cannavaro and Nicola Legrottagli are not the fast paced defender. So fast paced attack will nake them win.
What makes them down: Midfield domination. Bayern München must control the midfield in order to provide better counter attack. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk is playing an important role in order to stop Diego. If Tymoshchuk does his job, Bayern München is very likely to win.

Juventus: Juventus missed the chance to win the last Champions League match as they failed to score the second goal to win. Same as last week's Italian Serie A, they failed to score one more goal and led their opponent Bologna equalized the game at the very last minute. It showed that they need to score goals in order to secure their win. Diego is likely to start this match who is back from injury and he will play a very important role in the game. Vincenzo Iaquinta and David Trezeguet are likely to start the match and they must finish the play well in order to win at Allianz Arena.
What makes Juventus to win: Midfield creation. Diego plays an important role on the creation. If Diego does his job well, I believe the finishing from Iaquinta and Trezeguet will also be improved. So the Germany return trip of Diego will be essential.
What makes them down: Finishing. As mentioned, they have to score more goals in order to win. As Bayern München attack are fast paced and threatening, they have to lead more than one goal in order to make Bayern München harder to bounce back.

General prediction: I believe this match will be very high quality but not very intense. Both teams will cancel each other out and it is very hard to determine who will be the winner. Bayern München will have upper hand as they have home court advantage. However, Bayern München will be happy to get a draw as they will still maintain the lead. On the other hand, Juventus will not be urged to get an away win as they should realize that the most important matches are the two-match series against Maccabi Haifa, which they must take all 6 points. So, I believe Bayern München has the upper hand but draw is likely to happen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hamburger SV vs Bayern München (Bundesliga Week 7) Preview

This week's Bundesliga have a blockbuster clash, which Hamburger SV will host the match against Bayern München. Both teams are in hot streak now so it is predicted to have an exciting clash. Now here's the preview:

Hamburger SV: Hamburger SV is still unbeaten in the league at the moment. New player Eljero Elia did so great that brought lots of threats from the left flank. Even though Jose Paolo Guerrero is injured until the end of this year, Elia can take the scoring job well. Marcus Berg is in a good run as he makes lots of running and create space for the other teammates. Ze Roberto will play against his old teammates and he will do his best to dominate the midfield. However, the loss of the DFB Pokal did affect their fitness as they played full 120 minutes plus the penalty shootout with full strength. So I believe this will hurt them a lot and maybe the driving factor to lose this match.
What makes Hamburger SV win: Midfield domination. Ze Roberto is the factor that leads Hamburger SV to dominate the midfield all the time. He makes lots of runs and tackle to control the midfield. With the cover from captain David Jarolim, Ze Roberto even can score goals. So this is the factor that Hamburger SV must fulfill and win.
What makes them down: Team fatigue. As mentioned above briefly, Hamburger SV had a huge problem on the team fatigue. They played 120 minutes plus penalty shootout for nothing in the end in DFB Pokal. It will damage their physical fitness as well as the morality. So they must bite their lips and look forward in this blockbuster.

Bayern München: Bayern München had a red hot run since the arrival of Arjen Robben. They recorded 5 wins in a row in all matches and at least scored 2 goals each game. I believe Bayern München finally found the one who could match Franck Ribery. Ivica Olic is also in hot form and he can integrate into the new tactics as well. So even Mario Gomez is in good form, it is not guaranteed that he will start the match. I believe Ribery, Robben, and the returning to Hamburg's Olic will start the game, plus hot Thomas Müller to form an attacking combination. Daniel van Buyten however may not fit enough to play and this will be the setback for Bayern München. So Anatoliy Tymoshchuk will be very important as he needs to stop the play in midfield in advance.
What makes Bayern München to win: Morality. Bayern München reached the highest morality in this moment and they are hungry for reaching the higher morality. Plus they did not waste too much energy in the midweek's DFB Pokal as they sent a second tier team to win. So Ribery, Robben, Holger Badstuber, and Tymoshchuk are fully fit for this match.
What makes them down: Central defence. As mentioned, van Buyten may not fit enough to play. If this is a case, this will hurt the team very much as he is in red hot form. Badstuber can do his job well but I do not have faith on the replacement of van Buyten, Breno. So van Buyten must be back or there will be a lot of pressure on Bayern München defence.

Key of the match: Fullbacks. I believe Ze Roberto and Tymoshchuk will cancel each other out and the midfield will not be dominated by anybody. So the key will go to the flanks. Elia and Piotr Trochowski are good wingers and they make so many assists to their strikers. Same in Bayern München, Ribery and Robben are the world class wingers and they are actually the scoring source. So the fullbacks from each side must stop the opposite wingers plus they have to participate in the attack in order to put an extra pressure on the flanks. Simply speaking, better wingers win the game.