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21
Sep 2012
23:21
Bundesliga: intensity and emotion, by Edu Parra

General Articles

Eduardo Parra

In the last two seasons Borussia Dortmund, under the leadership of Jurgen Klopp, have deservedly won the title and this season’s Bundesliga once again looks to be very interesting thanks to the high expectations of some teams ready to battle for the title until the end.

Dortmund’s main rival will again be Bayern Munchen, that have already strengthened their squad with some key players performing at a high level at the start of this season. Eintracht (recently promoted), Hannover 96 or Schalke 04 will have to show that they are able to keep themselves at the top of the table, whilst other teams like Bayer Leverkusen, Werder Bremen, Stuttgart or Borussia M’gladbach haven’t had a good start and will have to fight hard if they want to play in Europe next season.

Thirty games have been played so far with 2.96 goals scored per game, an average slightly above the Premier League and La Liga according to the stats provided by Opta.

Muller and Mandzukic, both from Bayern, are the top scorers of the competition with 3 goals each. Huszti, from Hannover 96, has been their key player in attack providing four assists against Wolfsburg and another one against Werder Bremen in a game where he also scored two goals. Fortuna Dusseldorf’s goalkeeper has kept 3 clean sheets in the 3 games played, although they have just scored 3 goals. Hoffenheim, at the bottom of the table, have already conceded 11 goals.

Bayern Munchen, current leader, have started the season as they finished the last, with a 1-4-2-3-1 formation, pressing high, trying to keep the ball in attack and with great scoring potential. After a comfortable away victory against the just promoted team Greuther Furth in the first week, they scored six goals in just 20 minutes at the Allianz Arena against Stuttgart (6-1) thanks to their intense pressing and counterattacks against Stuttgart’s weak defence. Neuer in goal and the Brasilian Dante (a new addition), have been untouchable for Heynckes so far. Mandzukic, another new signing, is playing in place of the injured Mario Gomez and is being very effective, with 3 goals scored in 3 games. Muller is also showing great shape, both scoring and creating chances.

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Eintracht Frankfurt have had a great comeback to the Bundesliga, winning all their games so far getting to the top of the table alongside Bayern. They display a 1-4-4-2 formation that can convert into a 1-4-2-3-1 with more offensive fullbacks, Oczika more than Jung, using the spaces left by the Japanese winger Inui, who tends to go inside. The manager, Armin Veh, has been able to find eleven regular starters although the squad has been renewed in depth after being promoted: Kevin Trapp, the goalkeeper coming from Kaiserlautern; the two South American centerbacks, Anderson and Zambrano; the two stikers, Occean and Alex Meier; and the wingers Oczipka, Inui and Aigner. Lanig who has scored 2 goals playing just 20 minutes in three games.
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Borussia Dortmund have started the season with two home wins against Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen and a draw away in Nurnberg, so they have 7 points, the same as Hannover 96, Schalke 04 and Nurnberg FC and 2 points below leaders Bayern and Eintracht. Marco Reus, from Borussia Monchedgladbach, has been the main signing for Dortmund during the summer transfer market and has already started two of the three games played so far. Klopp keeps displaying the same 1-4-2-3-1 formation, pressing high and trying to have control of the game. Both fullbacks, Piszczek and Schmelzer, go forward with determination and are still one of the main threats for the rivals. Gundogan appears in midfield to build up play, with Marco Reus and Gotze between the lines and Lewandowski in front. Blaszczykowski has been so far one of the most important players for Dortmund, assisting and scoring important goals.
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Fortuna Dusseldorf, just promoted, is in seventh position after two draws and an away victory against Augsburg. They have scored just 2 goals, both by Schahin against Augsburg, and they are still to concede a goal, being their goalkeeper Giefer the only one with 100% of clean sheets. They display a 1-4-4-2 formation which often converts into a 1-4-4-1-1, with Voronin playing behind the striker, a position that has been shared by Nando Rafael, Reisinger and Schahin, all of them this season’s signings. Although being quite conservative they have been able to get good results so far.

Borussia Monchengladbach are trying to maintain the level they showed last season after the exit of important players such as Marco Reus or Dante. They are middle of the table with 4 points after beating Hoffenheim, losing against Nurnberg at home and drawing against Dusseldorf away. With a 1-4-2-3-1 formation they are the second team with most ball possession and pass completion just behind Eintracht. Jantschke and Daems are very offensive fullbacks; Xhaka and Nordtveit keep the balance in the midfield, with Cigerci playing with freedom between the lines and De Jong in front. In defence they are compact and try to press high, which makes them vulnerable when other teams play long behind the fullbacks.
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In mid table there are some teams that may react in the next weeks. Werder Bremen lost their first game against Dortmund away, trying to keep possession of the ball and displaying a 1-4-1-4-1. They beat Hamburger SV at home in the second week but lost their third game away in Hannover.

Wolfsburg display a 1-4-2-3-1 formation with offensive fullbacks, creating superiority in wide areas and with the always threatening Diego between the lines. Many new faces this season, like the ones of the couple of centerbacks Naldo and Pogatetz or offensive players like Olic and Diego, who has returned from his loan spell at Atletico de Madrid.

Bayer Leverkusen have had an irregular start of the season, with a loss against Eintracht, a win against Freiburg with a good performance of Gonzalo Castro, and another loss against Dortmund, a difficult game in which Sascha Lewandowski displayed a 1-4-4-2 with the two lines of four very close together to narrow the spaces and launch quick counterattacks trying to exploit the verticality of Schurrle and Kiessling. Carvajal, the youngster from Real Madrid, looks like he has made his place as right fullback.

In the relegation zone we find Stuttgart with just one point after losing their first two games against Wolfsburg at home and Bayern away (6-1) and drawing last week against Fortuna Dusseldorf. They normally display a 1-4-2-3-1 formation, with Gentner and Kvist as midfielders, Hajnal and Harnik between the lines playing behind Ibisevic, the striker signed from Hoffenheim. The lack of goals and defensive weakness are aspects that will have to be improved.

Hamburger SV have started the season as they finished last, struggling in the bottom of the table after losing at home against Nurnberg and away against Werder Bremen. In their game against Frankfurt, Thorsten Fink played a 1-4-4-1-1 with Van der Vaart between the lines behind Rudnevs, one of their new signings. They created some chances especially from set pieces but had to play the second half with ten men after Jiracek was sent off. Although they improved and the Korean Son was a constant threat, the fact is that Hamburger SV are still to get a point in the start of the league.

Next week we’ll see some exciting matches. Schalke 04 vs Bayern, Eintracht vs Nurnberg or Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia M’gladbach are just some of them.