Borussia Dortmund will go toe to toe against Bayern Munich on Sunday in what will be the first official match of the season. We have interviewed Justin from Bayern-blog MiaSanRot to share some insight on what to expect from the reigning German champions in a sold-out Westfalenstadion.
It’s still early, but can you already tell if Bayern will remain as strong as in previous years, improve or drop off?
Bayern still has the best squad in German football. Looking at each player separately, the individual quality has improved as to last season. However, it is not just about individual class. The biggest advantage of Guardiola’s Bayern was the ability to adapt to any situation on the pitch. In tactical terms, they were the most flexible team of recent years. It is very exciting to see if they can stay that way.
So far it looks as if Ancelotti’s Bayern won’t suffocate their opposition by an extremely aggressive pressing that was exercised under Pep Guardiola. Will the granted space be a chance for the opponents to unfold their play against Bayern, or will they be the victims of a more direct style?
Yes and no. It is correct that Ancelotti’s Bayern won’t play as aggressive as in last years. But it looks as if they would remain very dominant. The crucial difference is that there are changes of rhythm within the 90 minutes, where they retract the pressure. This means that Bayern is positioned deeper in some phases of the match. Ancelotti wants to control the match with and without the ball. Therefore the pressing isn’t as aggressive, but it’s still not that easy to score against his team because they remain compact. It seems counterattacks will continue to be the greatest weakness of Bayern.
Philipp Lahm – Jerome Boateng – Mats Hummels – David Alaba; This will be the back line in front of Manuel Neuer. Will Bayern boast the best defence in the world this season?
In my opinion Mats Hummels is the type of defender the squad was lacking. He perfectly complements Boateng. Lahm and Alaba are two of the few fullbacks, who can dominate a match from their position.
Especially Lahm’s movements and skills are one of the key elements in Bayern’s system. In addition, the club has a lot of depth. Badstuber, Martínez, Bernat, Rafinha and Kimmich can easily provide defensive cover from the bench. To answer the question: Bayern perhaps has the best defence in the world, but Juventus and Atlético Madrid are close contenders.
How will Ancelotti approach his first official match at the Westfalenstadion?
I think he will choose an aggressive approach. As I said, Bayern will change their rhythm within the game, but will press high up the field for the majority of it.
For Ancelotti it will be important to control the midfield. Xabi Alonso and Thiago are predestined for this task. Arturo Vidal, however, could be deployed for either of the two due to his aggressive style. Bayern struggled to create chances during pre-season. I am excited to see if they can do better against Dortmund. Ancelotti’s style will be attacking, yet more predictable. That’s why Tuchel’s creativity could prove very dangerous to Bayern.
Why did Mario Götze and Sebastian Rode not work out at Bayern – and why will or won’t they in a Dortmund shirt?
Sebastian Rode is too good for Bayern’s bench, but too bad for their first eleven. The transfer made sense for both club and player. I think he will have a good time in Dortmund. The 25-year-old can be described as a light version of Arturo Vidal. Tuchel missed that type of player during the last season. Rode is a great character and will do a solid job for Dortmund whenever he plays.
Mario Götze remains an enigma to me. I have no idea if he can get back to his best level. His time at Bayern was very strange. He wasn’t that bad, but he also not good enough to make it into our first squad.
Additionally, the competition on his position was too high. Guardiola didn’t find a good position for him, but there was also no reason to force it. Bayern had great success with and without Götze. All in all, I think that his transfer was very unlucky. Injuries at the wrong time, high competition in central midfield and also his own mistakes on and off the pitch were some of the main reasons why it didn’t worked out.
But he is still a good player. Maybe the expectations were too high, but he can play a big role for Dortmund. Götze is intelligent on the pitch and his positioning is great. His biggest strength is to create links with his teammates. Tuchel could have a lot of fun with him.
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