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08-13-2012, 07:14 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Bergisch Gladbach
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Originally Posted by cgf View Post
Kroos is coming off a great season and his chemistry with Schweini was astounding before the injury. Playing into that is why I like Gustavo, in Schweini's absence he will free Kroos to play even more aggressively. I do agree that his skillset isn't vital for a lot of your league matches, but I think he'll help in the big games and will be someone you can work around as all of your CBs are so strong on the ball. Although as you say, Martinez would be a much better fit and a welcome upgrade.
I still have faith in Kroos, but I feel like his play was a lot better in the first half of the season. I was a lot more optimistic about him half a year ago, so I hope I'll change my mind again soon, over what probably only needs to be seeing a few tiny things that help me remember. But recently, Kroos at Bayern seemed to have become a guy doing routine stuff, and lacking the creativity that he can add. I guess that could just appear (to me) quickly again. I don't really know.

Originally Posted by cgf View Post
I dunno, I just see Schweini rushing back before he's ready and hurting himself again. Gut feeling. Hope I'm wrong though.
Knock on wood.

Originally Posted by cgf View Post
Fair point, but ultaimtely you lost the CL because a deadball leveled the score and you lost to Dortmund in league and cup because of counters. You had a strong defense, but in the biggest games it got beat and can improve.
I don't think you can ever really prepair to defend a goal like the one we conceded against Chelsea. Just the perfect ball to the perfect guy making the perfect play. And against Dortmund, I'm not even sure it was the counters that were decisive. Obviously, they ended up the biggest factors on the scoresheet - moreso in the cup final than in our league meetings - but I think it involved a couple factors on offense just as much. I mean, I absolutely agree with you in that it can and should be improved, without a doubt. But I also think that we'd not lose those matches every time playing with that same skillset both teams had at the time. I hope we'll improve, though, so that will be one hypothetical we'll never quite get the answer to.

Originally Posted by cgf View Post
Thus the when tehy're all healthy part ;-)
Oh, sorry, went right by that.

Originally Posted by cgf View Post
Bittencourt looks ready for the Bundesliga, like Goetze and Draxler his instincts are way beyond those a teenager should have. While I appreciate the idea of keeping him and integrating him into the team, I think his youth plays against that, meaning because he's so young, loaning him away to improve his skills further and get used to 1st Bundesliga defenders, makes more sense because when he comes back in a year he'll still be a teenager and he'll still have Reus, Goetze, Kuba, Perisic and Grosskreutz to pass for PT. So next year you take a kid who's already gotten experience against BL defenders and start integrating him into the team.
The bolded part is kind of my line of thought - it's not so much the integrating into the team, for me. I think he'll actually be able to improve his skills further staying in Dortmund, especially if you put it in those terms. League games are just 90 minutes (at best) a week. The real development at that age isn't done in those 90 minutes, it happens in months of everyday practise. I think he'll get to improve his skills more in practising with/against his Dortmund teammates than he'd practising and playing for an hour on Augsburg, or some comparable team where he could reasonably expect to see meaningful minutes just yet. You improve by playing with higher quality guys, and I think he'll get the most of that in Dortmund.

Sure, at some point, this changes, and what it takes to get to the next big levels are games, games and games, but that comes a little later, IMO. At his age, there's still some way to go, and a lot to learn that is happening in practise even moreso than in games. Can't help but think that making sure he's learning those skills in the best possible environment, and isn't left to an unfamiliar coaching staff, a weaker team, etc.

Originally Posted by cgf View Post
What I was trying to get at is that if one of them goes down they're left with the other one and Santana as their only experienced CBs. Leaving the remaining two with a beastly work load competing on three fronts.
That's certainly true. For a long term thing, that could prove quite problematic. Thinking about it, I think in such a scenario Bender could very well see some minutes at centre back, and I am sure he wouldn't look out of place, even with the accustomed high level from Dortmund's defense. It just works very well with his strengths, and there's enough depth in midfield to cover for that for some time. In the end, the work load will end up very dependent on how their CL run will go. If Bayern goes deep again, and Dortmund's suffering another early exit, their additional focus could be an advantage, once again. But I hope the best for them in international play, without a doubt.

Looking beyond Bayern and Dortmund, I'm looking forward to finding out about quite a few teams. Gladbach is one of those. I think they have done a great job this summer. Usually teams in their situation that just finished an uncommon huge year suffer the loss of some key players, cash in, and go back to being run of the mill. They certainly had their fair share of integral losses, themselves, but it's good to see them being pro-active in trying to make up for that. Xhaka supposedly looked outstanding in preseason. De Jong obviously has some class. No idea about the Dante replacement from Spain, but he could be another good one. They are going to be interesting to follow.

Leverkusen is another one. I absolutely loved the Wollscheid-signing for them and expect a breakout year from him, establishing himself as one of Germany's great young center backs. Schalke I expect to play a good role, as well. Another team that intrigues me is Stuttgart. I like their balance. I really don't rate Labbadia as a coach, at all, and usually would expect his team to fail (again), but looking at that team I can't really see them doing so.

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