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Friday, August 28, 2009

Bayern München vs VfL Wolfsburg (Bundesliga Week 4) Preview

This week Bayern München faces another big challenge, they will play at home against defending champion VfL Wolfsburg. Both teams lost last week so I believe they all want to win a game back, especially for Bayern München, they desperately need an opening win. Now here's my preview:

Bayern München: The latest transfer news just in, that is Arjen Robben is confirmed to join Bayern München for four years deal. Also, Robben is eligible to play this Saturday. This is definitely a morale boosting for the team as they are now very low in confident. The last loss against Mainz definitely proved that players were not confident at all, especially to Michael Rensing and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Franck Ribery may return this match, but Robben arrival definitely relieve the pressure from Ribery so Ribery does not need to hurry. However, it is doubtful if Robben can adept the new environment in just more than 24 hours, so I believe that Robben is threatening, but he may not reach his maximum impact this match.
What makes Bayern München to win: Early start. The biggest problem of VfL Wolfsburg was the slow match start. All of their goals were coming from second half. In other words, they could not score in first half yet. From last Wolfsburg match, it is not hard to see if the opposition has a fast start, they will be in a mess. So Bayern München must score in the opening half and hold on to win.
What makes Bayern München down: Confident. The last loss against Mainz showed that most of the players were not confident at all. I believe this is what Louis van Gaal should answer to Franz Beckenbauer - how to boost their confident in a week. Now the fans and the team are relying on Robben, who is bringing a new breathe to the team and let us see if he can do it.

VfL Wolfsburg: I believe it is quite surprising that Hamburger SV beated them last Sunday and ended their 17 unbeaten home record. The defence had a lot of problems, that was lacking of communication and organization. There is not any leader to be seen in the defense line so that they kept making mistake, especially when they were 2 goals down in first half. Eden Dzeko and Grafite did not turn back their best mode yet but Obafemi Martins was very good recently. Also, Zvejezden Misimovic is getting better and better, so I believe they can bring a lot of threats to Bayern München. Josue is not available to play so I believe there will be more pressure to the defensive line.
What makes VfL Wolfsburg to win: Fast attack. The attacking pace is one of the fastest in the league. Misimovic, Grafite, Dzeko, and Martins are very fast paced players so they can have an advantage against Bayern München, whose their defenders are relatively slow paced.
What makes VfL Wolfsburg down: Defense. Same old defense problem, they are not organized at all. So they must hold on in the opening minutes as if Bayern München score first, they will have a very hard time.

Match key: The injured beast. Bayern München are now a injured beast. So they will throw the cautions to the win and have the hardest fight. Also, Bayern München have the home court advantage so I believe they will play better. If Robben does well in the match, VfL Wolfsburg are nmot easy to defend as Robben is very good at dribbling. So based on Bayern München have nowhere to hide now, I believe they can win this one. My tip: Bayern München win 3-1.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

1. FSV Mainz 05 vs Bayern München (Bundesliga Week 3) Preview

Bayern München last week had lost another 2 points at home against Werder Bremen. They must have a win in order to keep the early start. However, Mainz is proved that they are not pushover so Bayern München need to concentrate in order to secure the win. Now here's the preview:

Bayern München: Bayern München had a slow start this season as they lost 4 points in total in the first 2 matches. The absence of Franck Ribery brought the lacking of creativity problem, as same as last season. Jose Sosa did poorly last week and I believe Alexander Baumjohann will start this game. Bastian Schweinsteiger must improve his performance as he is the most important player since Ribery is not on the field. However, the good news is the defense are solid. Holger Badstuber and Daniel van Buyten are very impressive. Also, Danijel Pranjic and Philipp Lahm is fit enough to assist in attack as well as defense. Even Luca Toni is back to Munich but I do not believe he will play.
What makes Bayern München to win: Quality. All in all Bayern München outclass the opposition. All they need is the quality of possession and quality finishing to bring them first win of the season.
What brings Bayern München down: Finishing. Last week they have plenty of chances but they were all wasted. Miroslav Klose needs to do better this week and Mario Gomez needs to keep the morality of last week's score. Also, Bayern München need to play simple to ensure their finishing.

1. FSV Mainz 05: Mainz last week had drawn against the opposition again. Even they have not won a game so far, it proved to fans that they were not pushing over there. They have a great challenge this weekend to face Bayern München and I believe they may somehow bring some surprises to Bayern München if they do not perform well. The front line attack is quite effective and I believe Bayern München needs to watch out. Mainz returned to the stable condition after the mess of the season opening. So players can come together and bring surprise.
What makes Mainz to win: Pressure-less. I believe no one expects them to win, so this is why they can bring surprises. Mainz has potential as their playing style is simple and effective. So if they score first, they can win.
What brings Mainz down: Defense. The only problem is the defense. Even they only lost 3 goals in 2 matches, their defense is quite soft and the opposition are quite easy to get the ball into the danger zone. Bayern München has a lot of quality players so that their defense is quite hard to stop them.

General preview: Urgency is the key of this match. Bayern München has no room to run away as they must win a match, or else the week after the match against VfL Wolfsburg will be very very hard. They need to get full 3 points in order to keep the chase. Mainz even though they are pressure-less, their defense is quite worrying when they face the team like Bayern München. Stubborn defense is the only hope for them so that they have to defend harder then ever. My tip: Bayern München win 3-0.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bayern München vs Werder Bremen (Bundesliga Week 2) Preview

From this week I will focus more on Bayern München. This week Bayern München will go back to home and face Werder Bremen. Both teams need a win in order to get a quicker start of the season. Now here's my preview:

Bayern München: Last week Bayern München did not do so well and only had a draw against 1899 Hoffenheim. Even though the team was not able to get a win, they did better compare to last season. Team balance was seen in the match and possession was better than before. Holger Badstuber did very well last week and this is definitely a surprise for all the fans. Mark van Bommel is out for four weeks but Anatoliy Tymoshchuk can take the holding midfield job well. Franck Ribery is set to return and it is definitely boosting the morale. However, it is doubtful if he can play for full 90 minutes. Miroslav Klose is set to return as well and it definitely provides more options on attack.
How Bayern München win: Quality possession. It improves a lot compare to last season. Passes did not lose cheaply and the attacks were better in quality. To face such a attacking minded team, Bayern München needs more quality in possession in order to lead them to win.
What Bayern München need to improve: Corner taking. This was the most disappointing part last week. Danijel Pranjic took the corner kicks poorly and it backfired to the team. The equalizing goal from Hoffenheim was come from the threat-less corner kicks. I believe they need better corner kicks in order to avoiding to backfire themselves.

Werder Bremen: Very surprising, they lost against Eintracht Frankfurt last Saturday. The defense was very disappointing and Per Mertesacker could not command the defense well. Sebastian Prödl was the most disappointing as he did not follow the team defense at all. However, the good news was Mesut Özil and Marko Marin combined very well in the team attacks and they brought lots of threats to the opposition. It proved the departure of Diego did nomt affect them too much on attack. Torsten Frings and Tim Borowski will be very important as they have to work harder to relieve the fragile defense.
How Werder Bremen win: Attacks. Obviously, the attacks do matter in the team. They have to score more goals then Bayern München in order to control the game. Özil and Marin will take the most important job and the strikers have much space and time to score goals.
What Werder Bremen need to improve: Communication. Those 3 conceded goals were because of lack of communication. The defense line did not communicate well so that was why the defense had so many failed offside traps. If they do not improve this problem, Werder Bremen will be slaughtered.

General preview: I believe Bayern München had the upper hand. This is because they have the home court advantage and higher quality of possession. Werder Bremen is so fragile in defense so I believe Ribery, Gomez, and Klose can go through their line easily. However, I believe there will not be a big win just like last season as Bayern München will be careful in order to avoid some cheap ball losses. My tip: Bayern München win 2-0.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

German Bundesliga Season 2009-2010 Week 1 Tipping

German Bundesliga Season 2009-2010 is officially started tonight! Defending champion VfL Wolfsburg will open the curtain with the match against VfB Stuttgart. On the other hand, match schedule has been adjusted a bit in order to attract more television audience. Now here's the tipping of the opening week:

VfL Wolfsburg vs VfB Stuttgart: A very entertaining curtain raiser. Defending champion VfL Wolfsburg did not change the squad too much, which means the scoring duo Edin Dzeko, Grafite, and Zvjezden Misimovic will be still the most important players in the team. However, as Felix Magath left the team and replaced by Armin Veh, it is still unknown if they can keep their playing style or the players can adept the new style. Obefami Martins will be the first choice relieving striker so I believe he will not start the game. Meanwhile, VfB Stuttgart had finally found the replacement of Mario Gomez, he is Pawel Pogrebnjak from Zenit St. Petersburg. He may not start the match as he needs some time to adept the new playing environment. So Cacau is the most important striker still. The key of Stuttgart is if they can control the midfield. I believe both teams are not fully ready for the season start and a draw is very likely. My tip: Match draw 2-2.

Hertha Berlin vs Hannover 96: After the excellent season, Hertha Berlin did not expand too much. Opposingly, they did change a lot in the striking force. Andrei Voronin had returned to Liverpool and Marko Pantelic had left the club. So it is still unknown if the new striker or the original players can relieve them as they are the main attacking force. The defence is the other key. Arne Friedrich is most important player in the defence as Josip Simunic had left the club as well. On the other side, Hannover did not change too much in the squad build up. Robert Enke is still leading the defensive line and Mikael Forrsell is still the striker that Hertha Berlin must watch out for. I believe this match will be a draw, maybe a little favoring to Hertha Berlin. Match performance is the key of this match. My tip: Match draw 1-1.

Borussia Dortmund vs 1. FC Köln: Borussia Dortmund is another team who change a lot. Markus Feulner is the key new player as he can relieve the pressure of Tamas Hajnal. However, the departure of Alexander Frei did bring a lot of uncertainties in the attack. Nelson Valdez and Mohammad Zidan do not give much confident to the fans so I believe it is not an easy match for them. Meanwhile, Köln did strengthen the team much. The return of Lukas Podolski did relieve the pressure of Milivoje Novakovic. It is predicted there are more variety in attack. The arrival of Maniche did help the team a lot in midfield defense. So, I believe Köln can win the match even though they are away from home. My tip: 1. FC Köln win 2-1.

Werder Bremen vs Eintract Frankfurt: Even though Diego had left the club for Juventus, I believe Werder Bremen is still a strong team. The arrival of Marko Marin is very encouraging to the team as he has lots of potential. Together with Mesut Özil, this Germany U21 midfield duo will lead the whole attacking line. The only concern is their inconsistency, so this is the reason why they get Tim Borowski back. The other concern is the defence, Per Mertesacker is the only defender who is reliable so they must watch out. On the other side, Frankfurt is keeping the low key in summer since the captaincy of Ioannis Amanatidis. It shows that his influence is fading and I personally believe it affects the team, in some point. However, they are not good enough to stop Werder Bremen and Werder Bremen should have an easy win. My tip: Werder Bremen win 3-0.

1. FSV Mainz 05 vs Bayer Leverkusen: New comer Mainz had very rough start even before their first Bundesliga match. Coach Jorn Andersen was sacked right after the elimination of DFB Pokal and replaced by Thomas Tuchel. I believe it did affect the team very much as they have to restart again in such a short period of time. On the other hand, it is very unlucky for them that Eugen Polanski had been injured few weeks after the arrival from Getafe. So I believe this match they will be outclassed. Bayer Leverkusen at the same time, the main lineup did not change a lot. The arrival of Sami Hyypia did inject lots of experience to the team, which they did not have last season. The injury of Patrick Helmes really hurt the team but I believe the other attacking players can relieve his job. It will be a very good start for Leverkusen as they will have an easy win. My tip: Bayer Leverkusen win 3-0.

1. FC Nürnberg vs Schalke 04: Another new comer Nürnberg is totally different from Mainz, as they can keep the squad very well. Most of them are Bundesliga based so I believe they can stick firm in the league in general. Marek Mintal is the most important player in the team as he can create the play so well. On the other hand, the defence is very solid and I believe their oppositions are very hard to score against them. Schalke 04 on the other hand, they did not do too much on the transfer market, but fans are still very happy as Felix Magath had joined them. I believe their style will be tougher than last season so I do not worry about their defence. However, it seems the attacking is still worrying as they do not change too much on it. Jefferson Farfan and Kevin Kuranyi need to prove themselves still as they are the most important attacking duo. I predict this is a draw game as both teams are very good on defence. My tip: Match draw 1-1.

1899 Hoffenheim vs Bayern München: After the excellent season, Hoffenheim had a high hope from their fans as they all hope they can fulfill the miracle this time. However, they had a very rough season start as they have plenty of injuries. Even the return of Vedad Ibisevic can boost the team, I do not believe he is as good as last season because it is doubtful about his match practice. On the other side, Bayern München changed a lot in the summer, the most exciting one is Mario Gomez and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. Mario Gomez can absolutely improve the team attack so well and can relieve Miroslav Klose. Franck Ribery is doubtful and is not likely to play as he claimed he only has 30 minutes fitness. The matchup seems very entertaining, but Bayern should have won this match. My tip: Bayern München win 2-0.

VfL Bochum vs Borussia Mönchengladbach: Bochum did not change too much in the transfer market, it may because they do not have much resources to do so. Diego Klimowicz and Stanislav Sestak will be very important in the team and they need to score goals in order to win. Goalkeeper Daniel Fernandez is the other concern as well. His cheap blunders did really hurt the team much and let the fans see if he can improve. On the other side, Gladbach changed a lot compare to last season in order to seek their way to stick firm in the league. Logan Bailly leads the defence line and he needs to stabilize it. Juan Arango is very important purchase for them as he can start the counter attack well. I believe Gladbach can win this match to have a good season start. My tip: Borussia Mönchengladbach win 2-1.

SC Freiburg vs Hamburger SV: Freiburg had gone away from Bundesliga for a long period, so even though they are some point famous to the fans, it is doubtful about their Bundesliga experience. I personally see them as a brand new comer to the league. Even thought they were the champion of Second Division last season, I believe they will be outclassed. On the other hand, after the disappointing season, Hamburger changed a lot in the summer. Ivica Olic has left the club but Marcus Berg can relieve his position very well. The arrival of Ze Roberto can inject the experience to the team and improve the midfield efficiency. I believe Hamburger SV can win the game easily and even they will be at the top one spot after this round. My tip: Hamburger SV win 4-0.

So this is it! Happy Bundesliga return!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

German Bundesliga Season 2009-2010 Preview - relegation trouble

Last two parts I have previewed the hot favorites and the dark horses respectively. Now I will preview teams who have relegation trouble this season:

Borussia Mönchengladbach - Huge change again: Compare with last season, there were lots of changes in the summer. They seemed they did not have any clues to stick firm in Bundesliga so they kept changing the players. A very good news for them that they had signed Juan Arango from Mallorca. It did help the team in the midfield creation and being the first line defense as well. Michael Bardley is keeping the great form so he is a very important player if they want a quick start of the season. The key is the strikers, they have to convert the play into goals better than last season. I believe avoiding relegation will be their first priority and seek for better performance afterwards.
What's helping them to fight back: Consistent defence. Even the attack has the problem, the most important factor is the defence improvement. Goalkeeper Logan Bailly is leading the defence well since the arrival of last winter and his performance is very important.
What's making them to fall: Attacking. Poor finishing is the key reason why they fight for survive. Rob Friend was very poor performance last season and failed to convert plays into goals effectively. Karim Matmour will be very important to do this job now, especially the departure of Alexander Baumjohann and Marko Marin will degrade the creativity in the midfield.

VfL Bochum - do it again: Bochum had an average season last season. As predicted they were around the relegation zone but luckily they were not in serious deep trouble. They kept the squad generally compare with last season so I believe they will not have any breakthrough. The attack will be the key as this was the reason why they could stay firm in the league. Diego Klimowicz and Stanislav Sestak are the important attacking duo to lead the team to get away from the trouble so I believe the team's fate is all counted on him.
What's helping them to fight back: Midfield creativity. As mentioned, the strikers are the most important players to help them to fight back, but the creation from the midfield will be the important factor as well. Shinji Ono and Christoph Dabrowski need to control the midfield well im order to provide more chances to attack.
What's making them fall: Goalkeepers. The defence is not solid enough, but the goalkeeper does have trouble to perform well. Daniel Fernandez was the worst goalkeeper in Bundesliga last season as he kept making the cheap mistakes and led the team down a lot. So if he cannot perform well, there will be more trouble for Bochum this season.

1. FSV Mainz 05 - can they stick firm: It is not unfamiliar to hear Mainz as they had gone up to Bundesliga for a couple of times last few seasons. However, they failed to stick firm and fell down again and again. So I believe they will aim for avoiding the relegation as their first priority. They have strengthened the squad in order to keep their place in Bundesliga. So the new players need to perform well in order to help the team.
What's making them to fight back: More than 100% performance. Even there are new players to join the team, I believe they are still outclassed by the others. So they have to play extra well in order to win games, esepcially against teams in same class.
What's making them fall: Rough season start. Unlike VfL Wolfsburg, they have a players injury as well as changing coach right before the start of season. After the elimination of DFB Pokal 1st Round, the coach is sacked and replaced. Plus the injury of Eugen Polanski damages the team hard. So I believe they need to fight extra hard in the first two months.

SC Freiburg - welcome back: After the long period in the Second Division, they finally gained the promotion place as well as winning the championship last season. Even they are experienced in the first class league, I believe the players themselves need to adept the league as they generally do not have much experience. Du-Ri Cha is the only important signing this summer but it is unknown if he really improves or he actually degrades. They kept most of the squad members so it is quite hard for them to fight for a place in Bundesliga.
What's making them to fight back: Pressure free. General prediction mentioned that they are the hot favorite to get back to Second Division again so fans do not have any expectation. This factor does release a lot of pressure for them and they can play freely. It can bring a lot of surprises to the opposition as they throw all the cautions away. Moreover, they can bring a early surprise if they play well.
What's making them fall: Class different. As mentioned they kept most of the squad members of last season. The only worry is the class. As we all know Bundesliga is totally different from the Second Division so it is nothing even they won the title. I believe they will be confirmed to fall back to Second Division about a month away from the season end.

So that's my general preview. As usual, I will predict the match week by week.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

German Bundesliga Season 2009-2010 Preview - dark horses

Last part I have previewed the hot favorite to win the title. Now I will preview the dark horses this season:

VfL Wolfsburg - harder challenge is coming: Last season VfL Wolfsburg was against all odds to win their first ever title. It was very encouraging for them and many fans wondered if they can do it again. Personally I believe they cannot. This is because they have an even harder challenge. Also, Obefami Martins had joined the team to relieve Eden Dzeko and Grafite. Zvjezdan Misimovic will still be the key player as his vision and creativity is one of the best in Bundesliga. The defence will become more challenging as they did not get any more new players. So Andrea Bazagli is very important now.
What's helping them to win: Attacking football. The combination of Grafite, Dzeko, and Misimovic will still be the source of scoring. Their counter attack is most threatening in the Bundesliga and there is not many teams to stop their pace. If they want to defend their title, this is their essential key to success.
What's stopping them: Rough schedule. Maybe you can say this is unlucky, but it can definitely kill their hope. The first ever Bundeliga game will play against VfB Stuttgart is tough enough, then their 4th Round will be away against Bayern München. So quick start is definitely needed or else they need to chase very hard following on. Plus they have to face the UEFA Champions League so it definitely makes them harder in the league schedule.

Hamburger SV - no more derby: Last season the 4-round Northern Derby killed all their title hope so every fan of Hamburger did not want to think about it. They had changed a lot in the summer, newly signed Marcus Berg has a high hope in the team as he is the top goalscorer in UEFA U21 Championship. It is expected he will directly replace Ivica Olic, who has gone to Bayern München this summer. Ze Roberto also joins the team and I believe he can bring the stability and experience to the midfield. I expect them they will have significant improvement and they cannot be underestimated. The only factor I concern is the new coach Bruno Labbadia. If he cannot adept to the team, it will be the fatal factor to stop them to win any title.
What's helping them to win: Stability. They were very consistent in the first half of the season and have won important games. They had been at the top of the table for a couple of weeks last season was because of this. The arrival of Ze Roberto can definitely stabilize the team further so they can be very threatening.
What's stopping them: Team fatigue. The reason why they lost all 4-round Northern Derby was the team fatigue. Players were very tired to play the game, so that the opponent was relatively easy to control the game. I believe this is fatal to them and they must figure out how to solve this problem.

Bayer Leverkusen - inexperienced team with experienced player: Last season Leverkusen was very impressing with the young guns. Partick Helmes did make a lot of impression, considering he just joined in for the first season. It is very unlucky for the team that he will miss the first half of season due to knee injury. In the summer transfer market, Leverkusen focused on getting the experienced players in order to balance the team. Sami Hyypia is definitely a good purchase as his experience can lead the defense line. The return of Theofanis Gekas will definitely relieve the pressure of young attacking line, such as Tranquillo Barnetta, Toni Kroos, and Stefan Kießling. So on paper they are stronger this season.
What's helping them to win: Energy plays. Fast and energetic plays lead them to win game. They are one of the fastest paced team last season and with all of the young players are staying, their style is not being affected so much. With the experienced coach Jupp Heynckes to lead the young player, I believe they will also get some balanced between the playing style.
What's stopping them: Second half season slump. After the start of second half season, they had a huge slump, especially in their temporary home ground in Düsseldorf. Now their home ground is finished to renovate, I believe somehow they will improve it a bit. However, due to the inexperienced players in the team, I believe the slump is not easy to avoid, so those experienced players are very important in that moment.

Borussia Dortmund - young boys rule: Speaking to young players, Borussia Dortmund is one of the teams we must talk about. Young coach Jürgen Klopp was bold enough to use the young guns and it paid off. Mats Hummels is now the number one central defender without a doubt and the other players are around him. The midfield is so energetic and they easily control the midfield with the lead from Tamas Hajnal. New comer Markus Feulner can relieve the pressure of Hajnal and the team is becoming better and better now.
What's helping them to win: Young players. They are just fearless. This is the most important factor to win games or even title. They are running so hard in order to control the midfield and they always did. So I believe they will keep on this season and threaten the strong teams.
What's stopping them: Finishing. For sure, they failed to convert the game plays into the practical goals. As the departure of Alexander Frei, it is very doubtful for the finishing. I predict that their finishing will getting worse. Last season they drew too many game because of poor finishing, so I believe they are even harder to snatch a draw if their finishing problem is not getting improved. A good striker is urgently needed so let us see who they get.

Now this is the end of this part. Next part I will preview some relegation threatened team.