The Champions League returned in mid-week with the first legs of the final qualifying round on Tuesday and Wednesday. Unfortunately, the draws pitched together a number of strong teams that could have a big impact on the competition, who would now have to battle over two legs to reach the group stages. Fortunately, this gave PR, AL and JD interesting ties to analyse, and each author summarises the key aspects in the clash they watched.
Fourth hosted third in a crucial match for the Champions League standings. Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund prevailed after minimising Hoffenheim to few chances following taking an early lead.
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, Hasenhüttl moved away from the customary 4-2-2-2 against Werder Bremen, in favour of a 3-4-2-1. The change certainly didn’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. Schmidt’s team were coming on the back of two consecutive losses to Mainz and Atletico, while his hosts had finally overcome their goal-scoring problems with wins over Wolfsburg and Freiburg.
In the beginning of Tuchel’s tenure as head coach in Dortmund a special product developed on the field due to the interaction of the style of play from the previous coach and his own. The team was in a transition phase where they were moving from Jurgen Klopp who was known for his intense, compact, and dynamic style of play both in and out of possession, to former Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel.
Title chasing RB Leipzig hosted Champions League hopefuls Hoffenheim in the clash of the Bundesliga high flyers on Saturday afternoon. Whilst the hosts knew victory was necessary to keep the pressure on Bayern, they came up against Nagelsmann’s side who were Europe’s last remaining unbeaten outfit.
After 16 games played, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim remains the only unbeaten team in Bundesliga. Apart from having the youngest coach ever in the German top flight, what is so special about the side from Southern Germany?
Borussia Dortmund finished the first part of the season in disappointing fashion. The Schwarzgelben scored three consecutive draws in the Bundesliga before going into the winter break, confirming that they are still heavily struggling with the losses of Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gündoğan. Yet the departure of these three superstars has not solely caused Dortmund’s recent issues.
Eleven wins, three draws and two defeats. RB Leipzig have surprised many spectators and pundits with their successful run in the Bundesliga so far. After explaining their football philosophy in a previous article, we now examine a few successful displays in recent months.
When a bull is furiously running through the prairie, the earth is shaking. The fauna is on the alert. Everyone knows that a bull is an unstoppable force of nature once he has picked up pace. It is not surprising that a team associated with the image of that animal tries to emulate the bull’s fierceness. It is not surprising that a team with the ambition to become the next big player in German football tries to establish a catchy identity.