Sunday, July 24, 2011
Supercup - Positive disappointment
We lost, "luckily" in a penalty-shootout, not during regular time.
We scored 0/5 penalties in the last season and I can't remember when Dortmund won their last penalty-shootout. It were good tactics for Schalke to sit back, wait for the opportunity to counter and to prioritize 'holding on for a draw', since Ralf Fährmann saved 2 penalties for Frankfurt against Dortmund last season, so no surprises there. So, congrats to Schalke to their only title in the next 10 years or so.
Anyhow, the defeat might be bitter, but it's quickly forgotten when I think about the game itself.
Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Santana, Hummels, Löwe, Kehl, Gündogan, Großkreutz, Kagawa, Götze, Lewandowski / Subs: Bender, Perisic, Leitner
We can build on a good foundation
As Jürgen Klopp said after the match "I rather lose a match where we played good football, than winning the cup with a shitty performance!". And he is absolutely right about that. Over many parts of the game it looked pretty much like last season and even better when Götze (with two swollen toes) and Kagawa linked up and showed some mind-blowing combinations. But let's start with the important part, the movement without the ball!
Pressing, positioning and aggression were all already pretty much on spot, even though we lost more tackles than we usually do, but I guess Sebastian Kehl can't replace Sven Bender and Chris Löwe, who was besides one, two shaky moments pretty solid and vitalizing on the move forward, won't replace Marcel Schmelzer in a bit.
We still managed to keep Schalke away from goal, who had most of their chances through standards and two per individual skill. Especially the second half looked better, we dominated the game, or should I say Schalke left us the ball. It was certainly Rangnick's tactic to sit deep and wait for good counter opportunities and play fore-checking in phases, but not constantly. It pretty much worked out, besides that it didn't. Our switch from offense to defense was great! I really enjoyed it and it will make me sleep good at night, but our switch from defense to offense wasn't always as fluent as it usually is (I blame it on the preseason).
It was the last pass that didn't worked out for us, even though we had almost always a man in a good position we weren't capable of finding him, OR it was Lewandowski who has a good first touch and a bad last touch (Yes, I'm really disappointed with his effort today! He lost nearly every ball, and his golden chance alone in front of Fährmann was a lame effort.)
It was always one flick too much or one missing pass to score. And all our efforts on goal were really poor! A point we definitely have to improve.
Kevin Großkreutz took a few shots on target, but my prediction is: he will never score against Schalke! NEVER. He just can't, I don't know why but even his penalty was sooooooo poor.
Mario Götze had again a terrific game, as always, but he is still not as dangerous as he could be. He usually has some sort of an assist-fetish, but announced before the season that he will be more selfish.
Well. The problem today was, he wasn't selfish when he should have been and he was when he shouldn't have been, but that wasn't only the case for Götze today but for everyone really and it's the reason why we couldn't score today.
But that's exactly why I am positive.. this is the kind of situation we can easily improve, since Jürgen Klopp will analyze it and the boys will probably learn from it (good to know that we have mostly intelligent players). You remember Leverkusen? First Game? 2-0 defeat? And how we came back? It's probably the same here, since there is only fine-tuning required.
The defense structure stands pretty much and with Bender, Schmelzer and Subotic coming back it will be even easier for the rest to work backwards, so not much to criticize here.
But in the end I'm still very frustrated that we are still struggling to use our great opportunities we have properly and waste one chance after another. Ilkay Gündogan said after the match "We wasted so many opportunities! I never experienced such thing before!" Well, mate, get used to it.
I think the chance/conversion is a very dramatic issue regarding Uefa Champions League, where you don't have many chances per match and you have to be efficient to make it far in the competition. In fact, it was exactly the same problem that got us ruled out of the Euro League last season. We absolutely dominated PSG and Sevilla but we couldn't pull of a win, even though we had plenty of excellent chances.
But there is hope! Kagawa and Götze will become more clinical with time (regaining form in Shinji's case) and from my latest impressions Perisic won't be such a lousy chance-waster as Lewandowski is, which will pretty much mean that Lewandowski won't get as many play time as he did last season.
But hey! A bad chance/conversion rate and crappy penalties were our trademark last season and we still won the title.. it is one of our few weaknesses and when we improve that.. yeah well, then the rest of BL is pretty much effed! HARHAR goodnight! :)