Apparently Harry Redknapp has allowed Bayern to use QPR’s facilities. Not an exceptional story, as apparently many teams visiting London have used Loftus Road over the years. It did strike me as amusing though. You can just imagine Harry loitering around, ready to sell a few ‘bargains’.
‘Accidentally’ he might bump-into Arjen Robben:
“Ello Arjen – fancy seeing you ere! Got some lavely ‘Beyern Munchin’ tea towels in the van – for you, err… forty quid the lot!”
It wouldn’t stop there… Pep would be taking training; Harry would be on the sideline giving him ‘tips’. Pep would be too polite to tell him to piss of, so instead would assure him that although he liked the idea of signing Jamie Redknapp on a one month contract, he just couldn’t be sure the board would sanction the 20 million in wages.
Tonight’s game reminds me of when Barcelona visited (back in 2010/11) at the height of their power. As a by-product the debate arises as to which team was better. I’ve given it some thought and it’s tricky. Last year Bayern were like Vikings with Roman technology. But Barcelona at their pinnacle were pure coordination, the embodiment that: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Watching them in those years from 2009 to 2011 you had the feeling that a higher force was knitting it all together. As though some bored deity had taken an interest in football. Uefa I hear you say?!
Playing Barca in their prime was like being forced to ride a demoralising carousel. You knew exactly what was coming; yet somehow you were powerless to stop it. And if you tried to leave, a gang of diminutive Spaniards prodded you back into place.
Last season, Bayern’s game was beautifully simple: quick incisive attacks on the flanks, low crosses into the box and thwack! – A goal similar to Podolski’s on Sunday. The typical Bayern goal: Martinez wins possession; Schweinsteiger frees Ribery, who crosses to Muller, who connects sweetly.
Pep has changed a few things, in parts complicating this approach. Wishful thinking perhaps, but my hope, is that by clogging their game with new ideas, they might have lost some of the precision that made them so successful in the first place.
Last season Bayern were terrifying because of their power and efficiency. Barcelona in 2010 – at the other end of the spectrum – were scary because you could finish the game having not touched the ball. This season Bayern often feel like a hybrid of the two…
Tinkering with a perfect team is notoriously hard; Barcelona tried it and they were left with an excellent team. Staying still might well be moving backwards, but moving forward in a different direction can sometimes do the same. Empires crumble internally… and those sentences read as though they were written by Cantona. At any rate Bayern are still the best team in Europe, but are they really any better for diverting from the Heynckes approach? I think not, but I’m probably alone on that.
Anyway, I can’t wait for tonight, it should be a cracker. If it is going terribly, take it on its merits. Losing to a Chelsea team that have ground you to an apathetic paste is one thing, but losing to one of the best teams of the modern era is another. Whatever happens tonight, I’ll try and enjoy it.
Sagna Mert Koz Gibbs
Rosicky Ozil Chamberlain
Have a great day and enjoy the game,
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?
- What the media won’t tell you about football 5: Fifa lends money to Switzerland
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 3 – referee home bias