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 team who join the list of teams who failed to cope with the intensity of Hasenhüttl’s side.
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.
Meetings 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 Zidane’s reigning-champions.
After Dortmund’s issues were clear to see in their opening win against Mainz, they were completely exposed by RB Leipzig. The pressing of the hosts gave them full control over the match for large periods in what was a disappointing performance for Tuchel’s side.
It is rare to see a team lose its three most crucial players all within the same transfer window. Yet over the course of 2016’s off-season, Borussia Dortmund have surrendered Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gündogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Bayern and Premier League. Despite such big losses, Tuchel and the management have replaced well and the squad is looking promising for the coming season. Reinforced by the signing of numerous young players alongside Schürrle and the return of Götze, Dortmund have a squad with great potential with the next few seasons in mind. However, their most important player may have already been at the club.
In perhaps their best performance to date under Pep, Manchester City looked excellent against an albeit weak West Ham United. From the first minute, they controlled the game with a strong display in possession matched by intelligent pressing both in and out of transitional moments.
Dortmund started the new Bundesliga campaign in less spectacular manner than that of the season just gone. They showed particular struggles in possession as they adjust to life without Hummels, Gündogan and Mkhitaryan. Although Tuchel’s men were able to overcome Mainz, it wasn’t the most comfortable of performances against what was an effective defensive strategy from the away team.
Southampton travelled to Manchester as they faced Mourinho’s United in the second game of the new Premier League season. Despite being given a considerable share of the possession, they were unable to create against a resolute and compact home defence.
After a weekend of many Premier League debuts, Antonio Conte’s first match in English football was reserved for Monday night, as Chelsea hosted West Ham who started with Dimitri Payet on the bench.