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Shakhtar Showdown sees Guardiola Overcomplicate Yet Again

18 lutego, 2015

by Michael Skok

Following a rampant demolition of Hamburg by the scoreline of 8-0, there was a general agreement that Bayern Munich were going to head into their Round of 16 game against Shakhtar Donetsk fully inform. However, it was not to be as the German champions were held in a turgid 0-0 draw that saw Xabi Alonso sent off and reduced the Bavarians to 10 men.

Neither side looked ready to take the match by the scruff, as both teams resorted to fouling each other incessantly, being much more reminiscent of a wrestling match than a football game. For Shakhtar, it was more understandable, as it was their first competitive match in several months, for Bayern it was once again over complicating the formula.

The mix of Xabi Alonso and Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield was extremely underwhelming and potentially disastrous. This was a midfield that had no protection and no energy surging forward, several times the duo were caught out by the quick Brazilians on the Ukrainian club’s offensive Brazilian contingent. The likes of Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery and Mario Goetze often were isolated and proved nearly impossible to make something happen for Bayern offensively, when just four days ago, it looked so effortlessly. Of course, the match against Hamburg featured a more standard lineup, with a four man back line, a midfield that had the mix of experience and energy with David Alaba and Bastian Schweinsteiger, and a forward line that had a target man in Robert Lewandowski.

Against the Ukrainian Club, Alaba was moved to defense, limiting his ability to influence the match with his runs and passing, Lewandowski had been relegated to the bench, leaving only Mueller to work with the scraps provided to him. The midfield was lethargic and the defense looked somewhat vulnerable whenever Shakhtar forged forward.

Needless to say, this was a performance reminiscent of past performances that had Bayern Munich look labored in the offensive third, while giving up cheap fouls defensively; although this Ukrainian side clearly suffered from lack of competitive sharpness and failed to really test Manuel Neuer. This wasn’t the match for Pep to experiment however.

Bayern will most likely progress against the Ukrainian club, as they now get to play them in a winner takes-all game at the Allianz Arena. Hopefully for the German club, and for Pep in particular, this was another warning sign not to overcomplicate things, as sharper clubs have and will continue to punish an unbalanced lineup.

michael skok sport editor poland.usMichael Skok
Football Editor for
Polish-American Portal www.Poland.us
More on: www.mikesgoal.com