Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Has the Continental shift of Footballing power finally happened?

Power Shift?

The 23rd of April 2013. One date all Catalan’s will almost certainly want to forget. The Tiki-taka system was overran, collapsed and went into self-destruct mode, their biggest European defeat since losing 4-0 against Dynamo Kiev in 1997. Without their Messiah, Lionel Messi fully fit; Barcelona looked a shadow of their normal selves on that night in Munich.

A further defeat to the Bavarian’s at the Camp Nou showed Barca at their most vulnerable state, the German club showed the World that playing a severe pressing game in midfield and not letting them build play from the back is possibly one of the ways that Barcelona can be cut down in their stride. A 7-0 aggregate score was the real alarming evidence for Tito Vilanova and his coaching staff to take notice of, again more proof that they finally need a Plan B when it comes down to playing the European Giants at least.

Possibly the biggest kick in the teeth for the club was the sale of the talented under 21 captain Thiago Alcântara to Bayern Munich after the player clearly stated he wanted more playing time than he was previously getting at Barcelona, but moving to the Champions of Europe and competing with midfield diamonds such as Javi Martínez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and new signing Mario Götze could be a task too big for the Spanish Sensation.

End of an Era? Almost certainly not, but a wakeup call for sure. Back home in Spain they now will face a rejuvenated Madrid side under the wings of Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, who looks to bring that most coveted tenth European Crown to the King’s Club. Along with the signings of Malaga’s prince Isco and Real Sociedad’s conventional under 21 star Asier Illarramendi, Real Madrid now have a breath of fresh air in their already talented midfield and will almost certainly give Barcelona a better fight for the title than last year’s attempt. Domestic glory is essential for the Catalan’s, so what does the club have to do over this summer to make sure that come down to May they are Spanish and European Champions?

Introducing Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. The Brazilian poster boy after months of persistent rumours about his future and endless interviews claiming that he would transfer to a new club after the World Cup next year finally put an end to the speculation and announced he was joining Barcelona imminently. The alleged fee of £48.6 million puts huge pressure on the young Brazilians shoulders but after witnessing this year’s Confederations Cup it could be seen as a bargain, and if he can establish himself alongside Messi and play to the potential that many have predicted for the last two years, Barcelona might just have yet another Brazilian genius on their cards. With the sale of David Villa to Atletico Madrid for a mere fee of £4.6 million, Barca may still yet consider signing a new centre forward who would be happy to be back-up to Lionel Messi. Essentially it looks like the clubs main target should be to sign a new centre back that has decent European experience and is able to adapt to playing under their system. Their preferred target Thiago Silva looks destined to stay in Paris and their French revolution but if a bid was made it might test the defender’s nerve. Other potential targets for the club are Roma’s teenage sensation Marquinhos and Chelsea hero David Luiz. Both are Brazilian and have that attacking mentality, with Luiz being able also to play in the defensive midfield spot which suits Barcelona’s dynamic positioning style for players like himself, take Javier Mascherano for example who now looks a fully accomplished defender along with his natural midfield spot. A bid around £15 million for Luiz could tempt Chelsea, but now with the Special One back at the helm, will he want to sell one of his star defenders to Barcelona? Most likely not.

Made using Tactics Creator. Click here to create your own.

Made using Tactics Creator. Click here to create your own.

Could Barcelona change to a more efficient 4-2-3-1 formation which seems to be the most popular formation used throughout Europe at the moment? Along with the Brazilian National team adopting it, they showed just like Bayern Munich did that using it well and to your own benefit could be the deciding factor to beat the giants of Tiki-taka football. Most likely Barcelona will keep their current 4-3-3 with Messi having the roaming position and being their main goal threat, now with Neymar who will also be needed to hit the ground running and try to boost the goal tally. Whether they choose to go ahead with Pedro out on the attacking right flank or Sánchez is anybody’s guess, possibly a new prospect by the name of Sergi Roberto could be called up after impressing last season with the ‘B’ team.

Founded 113 years ago, FC Bayern Munich has gone on to becoming Germany’s most successful club, with its main success being during the 1970’s with the team winning three consecutive European Cups (74, 75, 76) under their ‘Kaiser’ Franz Beckenbauer. With fellow players such as legendary forward Gerd Müller and keeper Sepp Maier, they were the team that took control over Europe over the seventies. Domestic trophies still proved winnable for Munich during the eighties but European success was unheard of for the fans right until the beginning of the Millennium. A penalty shoot-out victory against Spanish side Valencia in 2001 was their first Champions League victory since the competition had changed its name and amazingly since 1976.

Recent European seasons for Bayern Munich fans have been unbearable with two losses in two years in the final of the cup. The 2010 final saw them lose to a Mourinho inspired Internazionale side 2-0, with both goals coming from Argentinian forward Diego Milito. With the home advantage of having the 2012 final in their own back yard, and by making the final they looked almost certainly to beat Chelsea. Somehow the Blues pulled off the Miracle in Munich on penalties and claimed their first Champions League title. With two missed opportunities especially losing at their own stadium in 2012, doubters started to believe Bayern Munich just couldn’t do it. Fast forward a year and 2013 told us a very different story throughout their whole campaign.  It happened to be Jupp Heynckes’ retirement year after he stated once the season was over he would fully retire from football management. With the announcement in January of Pep Guardiola being the man to replace Heynckes, much of the media speculated that this could potentially disrupt their bid to win the Champions League in the first time in twelve years. But after claiming league success by a staggering twenty-five point margin over arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund, this accusation was brushed aside. Thrashing Barcelona over two legs in the semi-finals really showed that Bayern Munich fully meant business, with only one match left for them to finally claim back what they have missed the most in football.

The stage was set. Wembley Stadium had been chosen to celebrate the FA’s 150th year and hosted an all-German final between Borussia Dortmund and the favourites Bayern Munich. But could there be yet another disappointing night for the Bayern fans? Goals from Mario Mandžukić and a well taken penalty from promising Dortmund midfielder Gündoğan had drawn the match level. The man, who had missed Bayern’s extra-time penalty in the previous year’s final against his old team, burst through, to snatch the ball and calmly slotted the ball to win the game. Arjen Robben had just put his past demons behind him and won the cup in the 89th minute for Bayern Munich.

Will Pep’s Spanish Revolution mean drastic changes to the team and how they will shape this season to defend their treble?

Made using Tactics Creator App. Clich here to create your own.

Made using Tactics Creator App. Clich here to create your own.

Personally playing three at the back I believe is potentially the future of setting out your team, it allows to be able to take control of the midfield and still have plenty forward thinking players to attack the opponent’s third half. If Pep has really come to make his own Bayern team then sticking to last season’s winning 4-2-3-1 formation wouldn’t show that he sticks to his own word. Possibly going for a 3-2-2-3 formation will allow Bayern to keep the successful partnership of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez together, which we all saw how well it worked after last season’s semi-final against Barcelona, say no more. Bringing in both new signings was difficult especially when Bayern had the option of the mighty Thomas Müller and fan favourite Toni Kroos available but Thiago looks destined for greatness especially after witnessing him captaining the under 21 Spanish side to victory this summer, Pep will surely craft him into the new midfield genius. As for the golden boy of German Football Mario Götze who was signed from rivals Dortmund for £32 million.  The fee broke the record of most expensive German player ever, previously held by yet another Mario— Gomez. He will almost have to be in the starting line-up straight away and will certainly want to make Bayern a sustainable force in the European game, amazingly at only 21 there’s still plenty of time for improvement. How good could Mario Götze become?

With his first game in charge against a fan club based team finishing a sweet 15-1 to his own side, even Pep will hope for bigger tests before their first competitive match against, you’ve guessed it Borussia Dortmund to contest for the German Super-cup.

This article was a guest piece by Jimmy Booth. You can follow him on Twitter @JimmyBooth94

You May Also Like

Tactical Analysis

Charles Onwuakpa writes a detailed Tactical Analysis of the UEFA Champions League Final that ended PSG 0-1 Bayern Munich. Despite months of uncertainty throughout...

Young Players

As the end of the season beckons across Europe, in some form, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize...

Scout Report

Mateus Carvalho writes a detailed scout report about the Portugal and SC Braga winger, Trincão. When in late January Barcelona announced the signing of...

Young Players

As the end of the season beckons across Europe, in some form, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize...

Previous Next
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this