At FC Bayern Munich, two different types of central defenders played side by side. The unconventional part set the direction.
Jerome Boateng's facial expressions rarely reveal anything about his emotional state as he marches through the mixed zone after a game. The defensive man has traditionally disappeared from Allianz Arena as one of the first Bayern players to keep his eyes on him, either by holding his cellphone against his ear or holding a smoothie-to-go mug against his mouth.
Also on this unpleasant Saturday afternoon, after the German record champions Werder Bremen had beaten 6-1, the 31-year-old left without a word.
In contrast, David Alaba presented himself afterwards. The Austrian came out of the hut with a big grin and easily answered the questions of the reporters present, joking as he summed up the performance of three-goal scorer Philippe Coutinhos.
"If you watched the game today, we have to get it, right?" He answered the question, such as whether his club would withdraw the Brazilian's buyout option in the summer. Although Alaba – admittedly – is generally more informative than teammate Boateng, the scene was symbolic of what had previously happened on the field.
Boateng towards Werder Bremen with a spent day
Boateng, who saw the yellow card early, floated before the interim deficit of the brisk Werder striker Milot Rashica, then dipped and had to quit at half time, on the one hand – and Alaba, who mainly with his in the other 45 minutes Offensive offensive knew how to delight and had a duel record of 100 percent (Boateng won only a quarter of his direct duels) on the other.
Of course, the native Vienna did not want to express any criticism of his unfortunate teammate in conversation with the journalists, but he inadvertently summarized Boateng's deficit: "Jerome had to change his game in the first place because he was preloaded with a yellow card as a central defender, approaching it It was too dangerous for the coach, so he switched. "Boateng was a" big player, "Alaba emphasized, but said," We are playing with a lot of risk at the moment, we are very, very tall. Something like that happens. "
This is precisely the problem Boateng is struggling with in the Hansi Flick system. As a central defender of the old school, which has lost a lot of momentum in recent years, the 2014 World Champion comes with qualities such as position play and in the air. Flick, however, requires from the back four that they defend high, and sometimes push just behind the center line when they have possession of the opponent.
The same goes for your own ball game. That means: teams seeking their salvation against Bayern in the relocation game and will succeed with quick counter-attacks, there are inevitable spaces behind the defensive alliance, which can be pushed in with interface passes or dribbling.
FC Bayern conceded similar goals as against Leverkusen
Not only did Bremen take advantage of Rashica on Saturday, Leon Bailey of Bayer Leverkusen scored similarly two weeks earlier – even twice. At that time, however, it was not Boateng, but Javi Martinez who only saw the opponent's heels. Despite the obvious dangers of defending themselves, the overall route seems to bear fruit. "I like the way we play with the top four," Alaba said, adding, "We play boldly against the ball. It's a style of play that suits us and is a lot of fun."
Above all, Alaba, who is actually used only as a central defender, because Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Süle are two potential regular players injured in this position, are really flourishing in his role as temporary help. "We have some injured players. When they come back, I don't know what it looks like," he said of a possible continued employment at the center. Basically, "he doesn't worry about it".
FC Bayern: The central defenders in the statistics comparison
|player||minutes||Duel interest||wt. head matchups||pass rate||ball conquests||speed|
|Niklas Süle||642||75.61 percent||16 of 19||91.71 percent||39||33.18 km / h|
|Lucas Hernandez||482||67.31 percent||9 out of 10||88.05 percent||19||33.10 km / h|
|Jerome Boateng||496||55.56 percent||11 of 21||88.82 percent||32||33.74 km / h|
|Javi Martinez||487||65.38 percent||16 of 22||91.99 percent||39||31.25 km / h|
|Benjamin Pavard||1170||59.78 percent||35 of 52||90.05 percent||72||32.53 km / h|
Alaba "not like a classic central defender"
But why has it been so good for Alaba since moving from left to center in defense, why is he, the "unskilled", now the Flick's A option? He gave a possible approach after the marksman festival over Bremen himself: "I think I simply play the position differently. I do not interpret it as a classic central defender but with an offensive mindset. I have the role with this understanding."
Quasi an unconventional interpretation of the whole, while Boateng and Martinez understand the task more in the classical sense, focusing primarily on robustness in duel and experience. One position, two different types of players who have been defending side by side in recent weeks.
It had rarely been as clear as in the game against Bremen which properties were better suited for Flick's project and thus more promising for the rest of the season, which was very likely continued under the direction of the former co-coach of the summer. The two halves were in contrast to Boateng and Alabama's mixed zone look. Only when Flick made changes to the break and ordered Pavard from the right next to Alaba and pulled Kimmich back to his former right back position did the website run smoothly again.
Bayern vs Werder: the half-time break as a turning point
Accordingly, the main characters agreed after the game when it came to identifying the turning point of the meeting point. "Bremen did well in the first place. They switched quickly and played in places where we didn't defend well," said sports manager Hasan Salihamidzic, adding: "In the second half we had control back, the ball dropped." Robert Lewandowski said: "We had problems in the first place. We then discussed what we need to do better during the half. We changed the lineup and played a little easier."
Asked about Boateng's spending afternoon, Salihamidzic preferred to point out Rashica's strength and praised the Kosovar for his individual achievement: "It was just well done. He is very fast and has attacked a lot of freedom." Open areas that no longer existed later.