Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bayern Munich vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Bayern Munich vs Valencia CF Match Preview
Stadium: Allianz Arena
Date: 19.09.2012; 20:45 CET
1st matchday, Champions League
Coaches: Jupp Heynckes and Mauricio Pellegrino

FC Bayern Munich
What can be said or written about FC Bayern Munich that isn't already known? Bayern Munich is the most successful football club in the history of German football, they have won more trophy's domestically and internationally than any other German club and are one of the most successful clubs in Europe and the world as well. Bayern Munich have won 22 national titles and 15 cups, 5 DFL supercups of the newer competitions and 4 champion league titles, the most recent one interestingly in 2001 when they actually beat Valencia CF on penalties and went on to lift the champions league trophy. Bayern Munich played in the final of the Champions League two years before actually, but lost in the final minutes of the match to Manchester United after basically leading the whole match 1-0. Interestingly enough Valencia CF played two consecutive times in the final, first against Real Madrid and then against Bayern Munich and lost both times.

More recently Bayern Munich played in the final of the Champions League last season where they were beaten by Chelsea on penalties no less. Of course now they have lost two times in the final of the Champions League to English teams, no less in the Allianz Arena which hosted the Champions League final last season.
Bayern Munich also finished second in the Bundesliga as well as the DFB Pokal final, both times loosing to Borusia Dortmund. 

Bayern Munich are actually the favorites to win the Champions League this year as well, along with the likes of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The path is going to be difficult though and even though on paper they have an even stronger team that last season, the competition is even fiercer than last year and there are some dark horses that may surprise like Juventus and Manchester City and even Borusia Dortmund, although the last two are in the group of death so tough luck for them. Bayern Munich are in an easier group with us of course, French Lille and Belarus Bate Borisov.

In the German Bundesliga Bayern Munich are currently first with three wins out of three games and are on a good path, at least a very promising start to win the domestic league. Their record is 12 goals scored and only two conceded, though the competition so far hasn't been tough and they are yet to play with some of the  top clubs where we'll see how they do. Either way they are favorites for the domestic title as well and certainly after two years abstinence are likely to bring it home as rarely have they not won the title for more than two years.

Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Muller have been in great form so far, both scoring 3 goals each, while Bayern brought Javi Martinez this summer transfer window from Athletic Bilbao for a staggering 40 million euros, basically matching his release clause and being able to snatch him from Bilbao, but the player did took a serious pay cut in order to facilitate the transfer. Lets just say Bayern Munich are breeming with top talent right now and have such squad depth, they truly are top club in Europe right now with few names who often sit on the bench as Xherdan Shaqiri the new arrival, Luiz Gustavo, Toni Croos and so on... Of course lets not forget the ones that are regulars like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Philip Lahm, Franck Ribbery and Ajren Robben.

Bayern Munich squad: to be announced...

Technical Details FC Bayern Munich (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Badstuber, Dante; Schweinsteiger, Luis Gustavo; Shaqiri, Muller, Ribbery; Mandzukic.
Tactics: High defensive line, own half pressure, keep possession, mostly short circular passing, spreading the ball to the wings, cut inside the penalty area from the wings.

Valencia CF
Valencia CF on the other hand isn't as decorated as Bayern Munich and certainly isn't the most successful club in Spain, but it is the third most successful club in Spain and while Valencia CF has never won the Champions League it came really close twice, the last time actually against none other than Bayern Munich when they lost on penalties. Valencia CF also reached the final the previous season, but lost to Real Madrid 3-0 actually. I'd say from 1999 to 2003 was the most successful period in Valencia CF history with one of the best squads of the century. Certainly players from those years have been officially reckognized by Uefa in their team of the year, and some even for team of the century. You can search it on my blog and found the article on it, I covered it.

Unfortunately since 2001 we haven't really even been close to reaching the Champions League finals again, in fact it went pretty bad for Valencia CF after 2003 with sporting wise not going great and financially going even worse. Ultimately after few administration changes, after few key sells of top players we are back in the game and for the past 3 consecutive years have been qualifying for the Champions League automatically by finishing 3rd in the Spanish league. Just playing the in the groups stages has brought Valencia CF great financial benefits and two years ago for the first time in god knows how long Valencia CF actually had a profit of 16 million euros and has been in the positive ever since. But just playing in the group stages isn't cutting it anymore, heck even round of 16 isn't going to cut it anymore and Valencia CF must look into going further in the Champions League, not just for financial reasons, but for prestigious reasons and fans reasons. There hasn't been any major trophy for so long and even a semi-decent cup win in 2007 isn't going to cut it.

Right now there are absolutely no stars in the team, one could argue Soldado being a star, but I doubt it and so its more about the collective than anything else. Unai Emery is of course gone and went on to coach Spartak Moscow who did qualify for the Champions League and it would be pretty ridiculous if Emery managed to go further with Spartak Moscow than he went with Valencia CF or even what Valencia CF will do this year. Anyways we have a new coach in Mauricio Pellegrino who was part of the squad that played in both Champions League finals, so he has huge experience as a player in this competition having played twice in the final. I also believe he is part of the dream team of the decade if I'm not mistaken.

Our current players though don't have such experience, in fact most of them will play in this competition for the first time in their careers, as most are young and come from lower clubs. Some have played, but barely and some of most experienced are Soldado, jonas, Tino, Rami, Mathieu and Cissokho.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves, Vicent Guaita, Felipe Ramos.
Defenders: Joao Pereira, Barragán, Rami, Víctor Ruiz, Ricardo Costa, Carlos Delgado, Cissokho.
Midfielders: Dani Parejo, Portu, Tino Costa, Viera, Guardado, Bernat, Feghouli.
Forwards: Jonas, Valdez, Soldado.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Guaita; Pereira, Rami, Ruiz, Cissokho; Tino, Parejo, Portu; Guardado, Soldado, Feghuoli.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own third pressure, counter attacks, mostly long wide passing, wing attacks mostly.

Match Prediction:
FC Bayern Munich 2-0 Valencia CF
Bayern Munich is going to win this easily, they play at home, they are in the best form possible, they have huge depth and talent and Valencia CF on the other hand is with several key injuries, including Gago and Albelda who can play as a defensive midfielders, so right now we have no defensive midfielder and a duo of Tino and Parejo that can't control possession even against Celta Vigo. I don't see any way how we can manage a draw, Bayern have very quick wingers and some strong and physical players to get in the penalty area and cause havoc.