Dortmund 2-1 Real Madrid: Dortmund press as a unit and expose Essien at left-back

October 24, 2012
Dortmund 2-1 Real Madrid: Dortmund press as a unit and expose Essien at left-back

Dortmund bounced back from their weekend disaster against Schalke to record an important victory.

After Saturday’s disaster against Schalke, Jurgen Klopp returned to something approaching his first-choice formation and XI, although Jakub Blaszczykowski remains unavailable.

Jose Mourinho selected his expected starting XI. With Fabio Coentrao, Marcelo and Alvaro Arbeloa all out, Sergio Ramos and Michael Essien were at full-back. Sami Khedira only lasted twenty minutes before being replaced by Luka Modric.

This match took a while to get going, with the first half ruined by a combination of a slippery pitch and the players’ apparent poor selection of footwear. Once they changed their boots at half-time, it was an excellent game.

There were basically two key features of the match: the pressing, and Real’s weakness at left-back. Read more »

Shakhtar 2-1 Chelsea: Shakhtar attack with pace and forward bursts from Fernandinho and Srna

October 23, 2012
Shakhtar 2-1 Chelsea: Shakhtar attack with pace and forward bursts from Fernandinho and Srna

Shakhtar dominated the match, and should have won by more.

There were no major surprises from Mircea Lucescu – Alex Teixeira was on the right, and Tomas Hubschman in the centre of midfield.

Roberto Di Matteo brought Frank Lampard back into the side, with Ramires pushed to the right. But Lampard only lasted 18 minutes – Eden Hazard came on, Ramires dropped back into the centre of midfield, and Chelsea were back to their usual format of three rotating attackers. John Terry returned in place of Gary Cahill.

This was an extremely fast, frantic game that Shakhtar dominated primarily of better attacking combinations. Read more »

Dortmund 1-2 Schalke: Klopp takes the blame as shift to 3-5-2 backfires

October 22, 2012
Dortmund 1-2 Schalke: Klopp takes the blame as shift to 3-5-2 backfires

Dortmund surprisingly started in a 3-5-2 formation – despite not trying it in training beforehand – and produced a terrible performance.

Jurgen Klopp was without four regulars – Mario Gotze, Ilkay Gundogan, Marcel Schmelzer and Jakub Blaszczykowski – which was one of the reasons for his unusual formation choice.

Huub Stevens had Kyriakos Papadopoulos unavailable at the back, while Ibrahim Afellay started on the left of midfield.

Dortmund started awfully and played poor football throughout the game – the 3-5-2 didn’t last long, but was  a key factor in their poor performance. Read more »