Since returning from the winter break, RB Leipzig have failed to replicate the outstanding performances that had shocked the Bundesliga in the Hinrunde. Looking to remedy their drop-off, HasenhÃ¼ttl moved away from the customary 4-2-2-2 against Werder Bremen, in favour of a 3-4-2-1. The change certainly didnâ€™t bring about the desired result, but was an interesting one in itself and will be the basis of this analysis.
In-form Borussia Dortmund faced not-so in-form Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. Schmidtâ€™s team were coming on the back of two consecutive losses to Mainz and Atletico, while his hosts had finally overcomeÂ their goal-scoring problems with wins over Wolfsburg and Freiburg.
Atalanta continued their excellent season last night with a surprise win over Napoli. Their pressing was key in restricting their hosts’Â excellent left side, which helped to reduce the dynamic of their attacks.
Napoli reach the semi-final of the Coppa Italia after overcoming Fiorentina. It was a typical performance of the hosts, whose left side was prominent. They shaped-up in their typical 4-3-3 against a less-orthodox 4-4-1-1 from Fiorentina, which featured a lop-sided first line during build-up.
Bayern produced their best performance of the season to thrash a weak RB Leipzig in the most eagerly-anticipated match of the now-passed Hinrunde. Ancelottiâ€™s side skilfully handled the visitorsâ€™ pressing, which had an off-day lacking several features which define their excellent success so far. Sadly, the game was practically over by the 30th minute, after Forsberg was dismissed for a challenge on Lahm while an excellent Bayern were already two ahead. Therefore, the analysis focuses largely on the first half of football.
The most tactically-enticing game of the weekend-just-gone came from Spain as the best defensive system in the world travelled to stopÂ Sampaoli’s fluid Sevilla team.
Two of the most progressive young coaches in football came together last night in the pressing-duel of this Champions League matchday.
RB Leipzig continued their exceptional unbeaten start to the season with an away win at the Volkswagen Stadium. They felled a Wolfsburg teamÂ who join the list of teams who failed to cope with the intensity of HasenhÃ¼ttlâ€™s side.Â
After Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic challenged City with their pressing game in the midweek draw, Pochettino’s Spurs took full advantage and clinical first-half finishing saw them administer the first defeat of Pep Guardiola’s City reign.
MeetingsÂ between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have become a regular event in recent years and made for some special matches. On their return to the Champions League, Tuchel’s new-look side played host to Zinedine Zidaneâ€™s reigning-champions.