Rangers secured a clash with Russian side Ufa for a Europa League group stage place after their 0-0 draw against Maribor saw them win 3-1 on aggregate. Steven Gerrard’s side faced an even sterner test in Slovenia than they did at Ibrox last week, but a strong defensive display saw them resist the hosts’ much improved attacking threat.
Steven Gerrard made his managerial debut as his Rangers side took on FK Shkupi in their first Europa League qualifier. Under the expectant eyes of the Rangers fans, with not an empty seat in sight, his team secured a 2-0 win to take to Macedonia, with encouraging signs – albeit fledgling – of the ‘relentless’, ‘full-throttle’ style that has been much hyped since his appointment.
Atletico Madrid triumphed in a European final for the first time since 2012 by beating Marseille 3-0 in Lyon. The match was characterised by Atleti excelling in all defensive phases and turning regains into swift counter attacks.
For the second edition of the SV Observatory, we profile the two biggest matches in Turkey over the weekend. League leaders Galatasarary visited their eternal rivals Fenerbahce over on the Asian side of Istanbul, sitting in fourth pace prior to kickoff. Elsewhere in the city, newcomers to Turkish success Istanbul Basaksehir hosted Besiktas, where both sides hoped to close the gap to one point on Galatasaray.
We introduce a new series profiling matches in countries and leagues that are not frequently discussed on Spielverlagerung.
In the opening day of the group stage of UEFA Europa League the Olympiastadion hosted an encounter between theoretically the two most solid teams of the group. While both teams displayed a man-oriented defending, their attacking approaches were quite different creating an interesting clash.
Infinitely-funded Manchester United faced Ajax – a side with an average age of under 23 – in the Europa League final. What followed was a typical Mourinho game in which he effectively shut-down the most threatening qualities of the opposition’s attack, while using a low-risk approach with the ball.
In the midst of the busy season, there are several good matches that initially pass under the radar due to the sheer number of fixtures. In this series, our authors analyse some of their favourite games from the 2015/2016 season.
The final day of the 2014-15 season saw Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side get thrashed 6-1 by a mediocre Stoke team. After challenging for the title in the previous season, the transfer of Luis Suarez and poor health of Daniel Sturridge created big issues and performance dropped off a cliff. Whilst Rodgers was previously able to rely on his talented personnel, he struggled to implement a consistent strategy from this point onwards. He was granted the start of the 2015-16 season to rectify the issues, but was unable to do so. He was sacked after a 1-1 draw with Everton in October. A few days later, Jurgen Klopp was hired.
Following a turbulent win over Dortmund in the previous round, Liverpool came into the next round as favourites for the competition. But the underrated Villarreal had no intention of rolling over, and provided a typically strong defensive performance to take a narrow 1-0 win after a last-minute winner from Adrian Lopez.