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Friday, December 19, 2008

German teams in European competition - review

After reviewing the German Bundesliga teams one by one previously, I would like to analysis the German teams in European competition, both in Champions League and UEFA Cup.

Bayern M√ľnchen (Champions League - Group winner, to Second Round): Surprisingly, Bayern performed very well in defense. Unlike in the Bundesliga, they have a solid defense and the high quality of possession. It is somehow related to Daniel van Buyten. Even he is very poor at pace, acceleration, and agility, his defensive mentaliy did help to the team. They only lost 4 goals in 6 matches, which is 0.67 in average. This is a very good statistic to Bayern in terms of defense, especially comparing with the performance in the Bundesliga. High quality possession also made them to managed to win 4 games and 2 draws as well, because they can remain the possession and the other teams rarely have chance to take control. If this performance can keep on in the later stage, I believe they can reach to further stages, and I will not be surprised if they reach to Final.

Werder Bremen (Champions League - 3rd in Group, to UEFA Cup Third Round): Another disappointing performance as well as in the Bundesliga. They do not realize at all that quality of possession is the key of success, they cannot keep the ball well so they cannot win the game. It is quite good for them to score 8 goals in 6 matches, but at the same time they lost 9 goals. They only had 1 clean sheet game in these 6 matches, which was a bored draw against Anorthosis from Cyprus. When comparing to Bayern, which they had 3 clean sheets, it is very easy to see the reason why they cannot go furher. It is a bliss that they can go through to the UEFA Cup as they beated Inter Milan 2-1. This game is also a very good lesson that quality of possession and well discipline defense are the only way to success in Europe.

VfL Wolfsburg (UEFA Cup - Group phase winner, to Third Round): It is very surprised for me they performed so well in the UEFA Cup. The new summer purchase definitely bring lots of European experience to the team so that they perform very well. The whole team look very solid in performance, even AC Milan is not able to win against them at San Siro. Their attacks are very good, which they scored 13 goals in only 4 games in Second Round Group Phase. However, the defense is quite a worry as they conceded 7 goals as well. They need to improve the defense and prevent any careless mistake if they want to progress to the later stages or even to the Final.

Hamburger SV (UEFA Cup - Group phase winner, to Third Round): Another promising team in the European competition. The defense are very tough in the Group Phase competition as they only lost 3 goals in 4 games, that is 0.75 in average. Also, their attacks is satisfying as they scored 7 goals. I believe they are one of the teams that can progress to the later stages of the competition if their performance can carry on. However, they have to concern about the careless slip up and as well as the away form. If the solve this problem, I believe they are one of the real contenders in this competition.

VfB Stuttgart (UEFA Cup - 2nd in Group phase, to Third Round): They did well, they play in the safety way in the Group phase so they can ease past Partizan from Serbia and Sampdoria from Italy. Also, they managed to win the easy game, such as Standard Liege from Belgium (as Liege is qualified early, Stuttgart should have won the match). It seems Markus Babbel did very well to deal with the European competition apart from Bundesliga. However, the tougher test is yet to come, and the ability of Markus Babbel will be tested. So Markus Babbel will be the key for them to go through to further stages.

Schalke 04 (UEFA Cup - last in Group phase, eliminated): It was a bit unlucky that to face Athletico Madrid in the Champions League Third Qualifying Round, and they lost 4-1 in aggregate, but there is not any excuse for them to crush out that early. The opponents are close to them, not stronger than them, so that they are matched. However, apart from winning PSG from France 2-1, they are outmatched in the remaining 3 games. It was lucky to draw against Racing Santander from Spain, and they cannot escape from defeat against Manchester City from England and Twente from Netherlands. Coach Fred Rutten cannot escape his responsibility in this major setback for the team and they can only hope the bow out can relief some pressure and perform better in the Bundesliga.

Hertha Berlin (UEFA Cup - 4th in Group phase, eliminated): If I say Schalke's performance is disappointing, then I say the performance of Hertha Berlin make me very angry. How can they scored only a single goal in 4 matches? This is totally unacceptable and this is the reason why they crashed out early. Besides the 1-1 draw against Benfica from Portugal, they are not able to score. It can be seen in the Bundesliga that their attacks is without any variation and in the European competition, the problem is more obvious. So now they need to know the problem and work harder in next season.

Borussia Dortmund (UEFA Cup - eliminated in 1st Round): Not much can be seen in their performance as they crushed out so early. It was a bit unlucky that they faced Udinese from Italy in the 1st Round and they did all they could. They gain lots of applaud that the team force Udinese into the penalty shootout after they lost 2-0 at home. A bit advice however, they must be very careful for the defense or else they only repeated what they did in next season.

I end up the analysis here. Next time I will preview the qualifying teams matches as the draw is drawn.

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