Who can stop Liverpool this season in the Premier League after Thiago capture from Bayern?

Liverpool were magnificent last season and it looks like it could be rinse and repeat albeit in super style as they have announced the signing of Thiago Alcantara from European champions Bayern Munich.

Alcantara has been snapped up for just £27m a steal in today’s game given his experience and how good a player he is and he is only 29, so has a good 3-4 years left at the very top.

One has to hand it to Jurgen Klopp and the recruitment team at Liverpool who have been making all the right moves for a good 3 years now, and all the hard work is paying off.

Liverpool have been quiet on the transfer front this summer but at the same time after their utter dominance in the league last season there was no need to go out and splash the cash. They are that good.

But Alcantara will be a welcome addition in midfield. He has played in the Bundesliga for Bayern since 2013 and has made 235 appearances for the club scoring 31 goals, though goals isn’t what he is about. He holds the play up well and keeps possession and is simply a brilliant buy for the Reds and he will strengthen the club even more this season.

It’s incredible to think that Alcantara has won 16 trophies with Bayern Munich alone but not many people will remember that he was also a part of the brilliant Barcelona side a decade ago. There he won a further 8 trophies bringing his haul to 24 and that includes winning the Champions League twice with different clubs.

It is so early in the league but one has to wonder who will stop Liverpool this season? No one is expecting the club to be as consistent as they were last season, that was almost uncanny. But they won the league by over 20 points and had their foot off the pedal by the end of the season.

Liverpool showed how good they were in their first game against Leeds United. Yes they conceded 3, but Leeds played their best football in 15 years let’s make no mistake, they went at the champions with zero fear, and yet still conceded 4 goals and lost the game. It was seen as a crazy game, first games of the season usually are, Liverpool will settle down and will become a force once more. Don’t expect them to be conceding 3 goals every week, do expect them to be scoring 3, 4 or more goals most weeks.

Not many can imagine Klopp’s reign at Liverpool ending with just one league title, there will be more. He is the rarest of managers who see’s his clubs weaknesses and can adapt, he rarely makes mistakes in buying players, and him and his backroom staff need to be acknowledged for this.

The Premier League title has just started, but Liverpool look on track to win the title again.

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Does football need fans inside stadiums?

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought up many questions, indeed more questions than answers as the world tries to adapt to life with the pandemic. It is sadly a pandemic they may dissipate somewhat but could well never go away. Everything seems to have changed and that of course has affected the world of football.

There are no fans allowed in the major European leagues. So much has changed so fast because of the spread of the virus. Let’s go back to the summer when UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was adamant that fans would be attending the Champions League final. He could not visualise that no fans would be able to witness the match live, even though domestic football had already been told that fans could not attend games. The Champions League final without fans, it was simply unthinkable. Even the knock out games seemed a stretch. The best teams, the best players, the sponsors, the spectacle all this going on, but no crowd atmosphere, surely the death of football was around the corner?

True the death of football is going over the top, but surely the game was going to miss something? And yet has it? One of the first major leagues to kick off again in Europe was the Bundesliga, did no fans really effect the outcomes of the games? True home wins dipped from 46% to 18% but that was only in the first few weeks. After that Bayern Munich played some incredible attacking football just like they would have with fans, and won the league in incredible style.

And the other leagues started up and the teams did what they do, they played. There were many incidents off the ball, yellow cards, sending offs, attacks, corners and goals. Perhaps the first few games were slow to start with especially in the Premier League when most of the early games goals were coming in the 2nd half of play. But still, the players just got on with it. There was no atmosphere in the stands but that didn’t stop the intensity on the pitch.

In the Champions League the quality of football was the same as a season with fans.There was the beauty in how Bayern played such incredible attacking football against Barcelona. The fans did not influence a game that ended with Bayern scoring 8 goals. There was also the thrills, PSG made it to the final, (their first one) but the French champions were going out at the quarter final stage after they were trailing Atalanta 1-0 on the 90th minute. They then did an infamous Manchester United comeback from the 1999 final and found not one but two goals in injury time to break Italian hearts.

One could see this in reverse of course. Look at West Ham in the Premier League, who looked like a different team with no fans especially at home. It felt as though the shackles and pressure from the fans was all too bearing on David Moyes side who before the season was paused in March looked like one of the favourite clubs to be relegated. But without the added pressure of critical fans, they played good football and easily stayed up. Of course no one at the club has admitted that it could be a key reason, but it is worth thinking about.

With television companies providing noise crowd and the cameras clearly angled at a certain position, as an armchair fan the fans at the games simply were not missed. And even though this wasn’t an experiment and was indeed needed, the result one has to wonder, is that perhaps fans are not needed to enhance a game of football.

At the same time revenue is of course lost, though for the most elite teams the bulk of the money comes through television. The lower league clubs would obviously fold and dissolve without the fans and of course especially for the smaller teams there is a sense of community when supporting your local team. In that case and even in the case of a fan attending a Manchester City game or Real Madrid one, it comes down to watching a live match, like a live concert, it is socially entertaining, and the game can be a fun way of relaxing and having a story to tell.

Still that doesn’t take away from what we have witnessed over the past few months, sure the biggest games ignite a special atmosphere, who could imagine Liverpool’s Kop stand empty during a classic European night of football? It simply isn’t the same. At the same time the players are professional and perhaps we have learned that when it comes down to winning games, fans make little to no difference, if in attendance or watching from home.

 

Bayern Munich win 6th Champions League title after they beat PSG

Bayern Munich have joined Liverpool to win their 6th Champions League title after they beat PSG 1-0 in Lisbon.

The final was the opposite of what many thought it would be; full of goals and excitement. After all there were arguably 3 of the deadliest strikers in Europe on the pitch in the form of PSG’s Neymar and Kylian Mbappe and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski. All three threatened to score, but none of them did.

In truth the final was a turgid affair which was riddled with mistakes, unforgivable for the quality that was on the pitch. Time and again both sets of teams made the wrong choices of pass and easily lost possession, that can happen but when it is under no pressure from the opposing team it feels like fatal viewing.

Bayern played much like they did against Lyon in the semi-finals, tactically aware as the game went on but not forcing themselves on the game. They are a team who are the best in Europe but under Hansi Flick also a team that do not feel comfortable in the game until they get that first goal. That is why it was unfortunate that PSG was not able to open the scoring and through Neymar they really should have. Manuel Neuer made a superb double save instead, in a rare golden chance for the French champions.

For much of the game Lewandowski traded goal mouth chances with falling over- some fouls looked genuine, others did not and he was not the only one feigning injury, or at least going over too easy. Neymar regrettably did the same towards the end of the game in which all of those ingredients that have made a passing fan loathe his style of play at times were highlighted. This was unfortunate given that every football fan was watching him on his stage as opposed to Ligue 1 football.

It was still an awesome sight at times to see both Neymar and Mbappe running at the Bayern defence. That’s £400m worth of talent there- a tornado about to engulf the Bayern defence, but we only ended up seeing this genuine attacking play on three occasions. Mostly in the first half.

On the hour mark Bayern got their goal and the one that would end up winning it. No Lewandowski heroics, though he had hit the post earlier in the game after a trademark spin, no Thomas Muller searing away with that smile either. Instead it was Kingsley Coman a PSG fan since a boy and the youngster prized away from Juventus a few seasons ago. Bayern coach Hansi Flick had mostly used Coman as a super sub, this time he gave him the nod to start the final. It paid dividends. A good forceful header was enough to beat Kaylor Navas and the game dearly needed a goal.

At that and with 30 minutes to go one would have thought PSG would have been relentless, instead it was Bayern on the attack looking to kill the game with a 2nd goal. Indeed Bayern for the large majority of the remaining time contained the threat of PSG. By this time Neymar, the golden boy looked tired. Mbappe the only golden boy did make some daring runs into the Bayern area with his quick feet and looked like he had been fouled for a penalty late on. The problem was that the referee waved it on given that Mbappe had made a meal of earlier fouls.

Angel Di Maria had moments of brilliance one involved a beautiful unseen pass, that reminded older football fans of Fernando Redondo’s exquisite move for Real Madrid to open up Manchester United 20 years ago. That move ended in a goal unlike Di Maria’s.

It was hard to take for PSG, Mbappe’s first half miss in front of goal when he appeared to pass back to Neuer rather than shoot isn’t easy to swallow for anyone considering the money he cost the club. But that shot summed up PSG’s evening, they were turgid and hollow.

Bayern in the end did enough and some of their defensive work as the game went on was superb. It was hardly a vintage display by the all conquering champions and yet it was something to be afraid of. Here we have a Bayern Munich side who can turn it on with goals and devastating attacking play, just ask Barcelona. But we also have a team that appear to have a plan b, one that can change the pace of the game to suit themselves and retreat with confidence when they have too.

It was inevitable at the final whistle that Neymar burst into tears as his dream of winning the competition with PSG was left in tatters. But Neymar will shine once more on his stage. There was perhaps more sympathy awarded to Thomas Tuchel the PSG coach who looked in genuine pain on his crutches following his foot injury a few weeks before, pain and disappointment is always going to be a toxic mix.

Attentions will turn to who will pick up the world player of the year in a season that has been strange to say the least. One could do little wrong in surely handing that trophy over to Manuel Neuer.

 

Can Barcelona defeat Bayern?

The most anticipated clash in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League is the one between Bayern Munich and Barcelona. The Catalan club, one of the most dominant in Europe in the past decade, maybe for the first time ever is considered as an outsider even before kick-off. The powerful squad of the Bavarians and their dominant season in the Bundesliga make them not only favorites in this match, but also favorites to win the whole thing.

But football would not be so interesting if the team that looks stronger on paper always wins on the pitch.

Barcelona had an unsuccessful season in La Liga – losing the title to Real Madrid is always the sign of significant failure, so the UEFA Champions League remains the only chance to turn the season into something of a success. The biggest hope as usual is Leo Messi, who although suffered an injury in the match against Napoli, will likely be ready to play on Friday night at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

The Argentine will lead Barcelona’s midfield, perhaps the only part of the pitch where the Catalans can outplay the opponent. On the other side will be Thiago Alcantara who is going to be the playmaker for the German side progressing the ball upfield. Bayern usually dominant their opponents, which is why Alcantara does not face difficult defensive duties, but this time, in a direct duel with Messi, he is expected to have a long night.

Besides Messi, Arturo Vidal is back from suspension and is almost certain to start, and the Chilean might be a key player for Barca. He has developed a great connection with Messi and the two love the passing combinations at the edge of the box, usually on the right side, so they’ll be trying to explore the Alaba-Davies pairing all night. Vidal is also a great pressing player and will not lack a motive and energy to fight his former club.

Although the Bavarians are considered a good defensive team that has kept clean sheets in four matches this season in the Champions League, Barcelona with Messi and Suarez is a team that can score against anybody on any given night. Benjamin Pavard is still injured and will miss the match on Friday which gives one more reason for optimism for Quique Setien.

Anyway, a clash of the titans awaits us between the two teams that have won the UEFA Champions League five times each. The last competitive macth where they shared a pitch was in 2015 when Luis Enrique’s Barcelona dismantled the Bavarian club and secured their place in the Berlin final where they defeated Juventus 3-1.

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Why Manchester City are a reflection of Bayern Munich- could this be Guardiola’s Champions League destiny?

They say in football that there are many patterns and coincidences, like a symmetry that aligns. It feels odd when it all comes together. Like a player rejoining an old club and his first game being against his former club. A successful manager never winning the Champions League, a manager reaching a multitude of finals and not getting a win, and then there are the records and how they are broken.

For example it is very possible that this season Liverpool will win the league title playing Manchester City and that would seem apt, a passing of the torch (at least for this season), from champion to new champion.

What has felt very similar this season has been Pep Guardiola’s approach to his Manchester City side this season and his approach to last club Bayern Munich. True Bayern won the league in impressive style and that won’t be the case for City. But the manner and tactics in which the two clubs have played has been quite delightful on the eye.

After the German league restarted Bayern were simply devastating to a manner in which some are hailing them the best team in the world. Not only were they playing brilliant football, they were scoring many goals and simply swept aside every team they had to face. The league ended earlier than many expected a Borussia Dortmund challenge never sufficed.

One could say that we are seeing the same of Manchester City. Yes they won’t be able to win the league this season, but they are wanting to go out on a high. First game back they beat Arsenal 3-0 in a one sided game which saw a team as talented as the Gunners having no shots on target. And then there was the clubs 2nd game a fantastic 5-0 thrashing of Burnley. The only disappointment from that game is Sergio Aguero’s injury, but he wasn’t even on the score sheet such is the menacing talent throughout the squad.

So what does this all lead to? And what is motivating Manchester City to finish 2nd? Truth is the club are using these games to get up to peak standard for the Champions League which resumes in August. They should be able to make the quarter finals as they hold a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid from the first leg. Madrid would need to score 2 goals to have any chance, and whilst they can score, can they really keep the goals down from this City side?

As for Bayern they have one foot in the next round because they are 3-0 up from the first leg over Chelsea. These two giant sides look like they will progress. They could meet before the final of course- that is the luck of the draw, but it would feel ‘complete’ somehow if they were to meet each other in this season’s final. Bayern v Manchester City, two clubs bank rolled and yet two clubs who have a lot of the philosophy and DNA of Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola knows the league is over but that doesn’t mean his team won’t be playing at 110%, as has been shown they are doing just that. But the bigger prize for them is around the corner, the Champions League it is what Guardiola desires, can he get his hands back on the famous trophy for the first time since 2011?

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Five greatest football clubs of the past decade starting 2010

As football understandably lays low for a while let’s take a look at the most successful club sides in Europe’s top leagues over the past decade.

There are different ways of doing so, points gained for example in a league, trophies won, games won, etc. This list will look at the trophies won for the most successful teams starting from 2009/10 season until the 2018/19 season, to determine which team has been the most successful.

You may have a few contenders but may also be surprised by some teams on the list, so is the club you think is the best the number 1 on this list?

Points system: Champions League = 12pts, League title = 10pts, Europa League = 8pts, Cups= 5pts, all other cups =2pts

5th: Juventus 112 pts

After being forcefully relegated in 2006, Juventus have made up for that during the past decade in Serie A winning 8 league titles in what could be described as a total domination. They have added some domestic cups too but they have failed to win the big prize in the shape of the Champions League since 1996. They will be hedging their bets that Ronaldo can finally deliver that missing piece of silverware. Still they are far and away the most successful team in Italy. Even though Inter Milan were the only Italian team to win the Champions League in the 2010s, Inter only finished our ranking with 30 points!

4th: Real Madrid 116 pts

Real Madrid were amazing in the 2010s which included winning an incredible 4 Champions League and winning 3 of those in a row. That had not been achieved since Bayern Munich in the 70s! So it was odd that Madrid sit only in 4th place and only four points above Juventus. The reason is that for all of their European glory they haven’t actuallly won many domestic trophies in the 2010s. True they still scooped up two league titles, but for their standards you take out what they achieved in Europe and you almost get the feeling of could have done better.

3rd: PSG 121 pts

Despite PSG having no wins in Europe they have dominated Ligue 1 in France winning every title since 2012 except one where Monaco surprised them. They have won countless domestic cups after they were bought in the earlier part of the decade and have dominated the league ever since. They also have an abundance of very good players who are genuinely eyeing winning this years Champions League.

2nd: Bayern Munich 140 pts

Bayern did reach 2 Champions League finals and after losing on penalties, at home to Chelsea they made up for it the year after. They have dominated the league title in Germany winning every year except one and scooped up a few domestic cups also. For a club their size they would like to add more European trophies of course but Bayern still come out as the 2nd most successful club in European football of the past decade despite this.

1st: Barcelona 150 pts

Barcelona may have played second fiddle to their rivals Real Madrid in Europe in the 2010s. But they still won 2 Champions Leagues. They also have won 7 La Liga titles which is impressive given how they have had to fend off not just Real but also Atletico Madrid who enjoyed one of their most successful decades in the history of the club. Barca fronted by Lionel Messi one of the greats of the game have been the best team in Europe trophy wise finishing with over double the points of the most successful English team which goes to Manchester City.

Notable mentions: Manchester City 71 pts, Chelsea 68, Manchester United 51, Atletico Madrid 42, Inter Milan 30.

 

 

 

From Mbappe to Aguero the top 10 best strikers in the world right now

As we have a pause in the league we have complied the top 10 best strikers in the world at this time. With leagues hopefully set to resume in a few weeks time and with about 10 games left to play not so much should change in our assessments of who has been the best strikers in world football at this time.

We have complied links to some of these players and when the leagues do start back up you may want to add some of them into your team. You will be surprised as some are still affordable and on a good budget.

To note the list is made up of strikers goals to games ratios and not how many goals they have scored so far, as that would be unfair as some players have not played the same amount of games.

10. Wissam Ben Yedder- Monaco 18 goals

Monaco have struggled over the past few seasons selling too many good players and taking the cash. So it surprised everyone when they splashed out 40 million euros on Ben Yedder and bought him from Sevilla. Maybe it was a surprise that Sevilla let him go. Ben Yedder is a classic centre forward who scores goals. He has 18 so far and has made all the difference to Monaco, who are now chasing a European finish.

9. Jamie Vardy- Leicester  19 goals

When Jamie Vardy finally leaves Leicester they will build a statue of him. He has stuck with the club through the glory and desperate times. This season though has been superb and the club have surprised everyone climbing to 3rd place and keeping it. They are on course to qualify for the Champions League and Vardy’s 19 goals have surely helped them. He is currently the top goalscorer in the Premier League.

8. Sergio Aguero- Manchester City 16 goals

Aguero gets older but does so like a fine wine and scores goals. What he does so well is get the important ones too. It hasn’t been a great campaign for City who are 25 points behind Liverpool, but Aguero has battled on. Some say this could be his last season with the club, he will leave as a club legend, no doubt.

7. Timo Werner- RB Leipzig 21 goals

Timo Werner has scored 21 goals in just 25 games as his club continue to surprise, doing well in the Bundesliga and making the later stages of the Champions League. He looks to be the next big German striker who is going to score plenty of goals in the major competitions as is only 24. A goal scoring machine.

6. Lionel Messi- Barcelona 19 goals

Messi ‘only’ has 19 goals so far for Barcelona this season, but he is still easily the top goalscorer in the league, and his games to goals ratio is still one of the best in Europe. Even at 33 he is showing no signs of letting up and his goals have meant that Barcelona are in 1st position at this moment over their eternal rivals Real Madrid and going for yet another league win.

5. Neymar- PSG 13 goals

True Neymar only has 13 goals this season but then again because of two injury lay offs he has only played 15 games. That’s when it hits you how consistent the player is. Since coming back into the team in December PSG have looked like world beaters, so not only does he score goals but he clearly influences his team mates. Still one of the worlds best.

4. Kylian Mbappe -PSG 18 goals

Mbappe has scored 18 goals from just 20 games and continues to be one of the very best strikers in the world. He is still so young and has plenty ahead of him. He has been so consistent for PSG and is genuinely one of the deadliest strikers on his day in world football.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo- Juventus 21 goals

Last season Ronaldo scored 21 goals from 31 league games. This season he has the same amount of goals from just 22 games. Ronaldo did not go to Italy to just see out his playing days and has been more than terrific at Juventus. Perhaps his time there will be defined if he can bring European glory to the club, but as a goalscorer he cannot be judged. Everywhere he goes the goals follow.

2. Ciro Immobile- Lazio 27 goals

Ciro Immobile has had an incredible season, so has his club Lazio who are looking for their first league title in 20 years. They might get it and if they do then a lot of it could well be done to Immobile’s goals. It is clear that he will get on the 30 goal marker which is quite rare in Italian football and has simply been a superb striker this season.

1. Robert Lewandowski- Bayern Munich 25 goals

One of the most intelligent strikers in world football. This season Lewandowski has scored 2 more goals than he has played (23). Bayern Munich look on course to win the league in Germany and are amongst the favourites to win the Champions League. He scores plenty of goals, and scores beautiful ones too. Keep your eye off him for a second and suffer the consequences. A stunning striker.

 

 

 

Top European clubs to have most players at Euro 2020

This will be a unique European tournament. For Euro 2020, there is no single host country, but 12 different cities around the continent playing host to matches.

Europe’s top clubs are naturally well represented at the Euros. This year’s tournament should be no exception, but which clubs are set to have the most international players involved at the finals?

Assuming all are fit and well to take part in Euro 2020, the following are our predictions:

Chelsea

English Premier League outfit Chelsea could lead the way at the Euro finals with the most representation at the tournament. A case can be made for 14 players from the Blues being involved.

Spain goalkeeper Kepa, France trio Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante and Kurt Zouma, Denmark and Germany defenders Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, Italy midfielder Jorginho, Croatia counterpart Mateo Kovacic, Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi, and as many as five England players, could all be at Euro 2020.

The likely inclusion of so many players from Stamford Bridge in national teams’ Euros squads is largely down to the nurturing of young talent done in West London since Chelsea legend Frank Lampard came in as manager last summer.

Bayern Munich

Bundesliga big boys Bayern Munich are always well-represented at major tournaments like the Euros and World Cup. Euro 2020 should be no exception with 13 predicted first team players set for summer duty.

Naturally, many of those are German. Manuel Neuer, Niklas Sule, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry are all in Die Mannschaft’s setup.

There are four France internationals at Bayern: Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman. As World Cup holders, Les Bleus are among the favourites at 6/1 in the international football betting on Euro 2020 with bet365.

Completing the likely Euros involvement from Munich are Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Poland frontman Robert Lewandowski, Croatia winger Ivan Perisic and Austria’s versatile David Alaba.

Real Madrid

Another of Europe’s top clubs, Real Madrid, look sure to have around a dozen of their players involved at Euro 2020. Spain makes up the biggest proportion of those with four: defensive duo Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos, midfielder Isco and winger Marco Asensio.

France duo Ferland Mendy and Raphael Varane join Belgium duo Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, who faces a race to be fit after a fractured ankle, as locks for inclusion.

Germany playmaker Toni Kroos, Wales star Gareth Bale and Croatia’s Luka Modric could be joined by Luka Jovic if Serbia reach the tournament finals.

Barcelona

El Clasico rivals Barcelona are another rich source of international footballers. Potentially on their way to Euro 2020 from Camp Nou are Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto for Spain.

France trio Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, recent out of transfer window arrival Martin Braithwaite of Denmark and Portugal full-back Nelson Semedo are others set to go to the Euros.

The Catalonia based contingent is completed by Germany goalie Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Netherlands counterpart Frenkie de Jong. That makes 11 Barcelona players on course for Euro 2020.

Could Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland be the next Lionel Messi?

The talk around Erling Haaland has been so electric if as to ignite fire around just how good he is, and his recent transfer to German team Borussia Dortmund has only added to his lure.

Haaland was at it again at the weekend as he scored two goals in Dortmund’s 5-0 win over Union Berlin. Haaland has already scored 7 goals in just 3 league games for the Bundesliga side and has started in the best possible way.

His pace and vision have been exciting and pundits have praised him. In his last 25 games including playing in Austria last season he has scored 35 goals and one has to be reminded that he only 19. In that respect he looks just as exciting and thrilling as he French international Kylian Mbappe.

Talking of Mbappe Dortmund have been drawn to play PSG in the Champions League and the two players will come together in what should be a mouthwatering 2 legged affair. Normally Haaland would have been cup tied coming to Dortmund in January but UEFA changed the winter transfer rules last summer allowing a further three players to be eligible to be included in a Champions League squad.

Everyone is in agreement that Haaland could be the future star of football and that means he is going to be compared to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact with these two greats getting older the next generation needs to come along and Haaland alongside Mbappe are looking like the players to do just that.

The Norwegian national side will also be excited and if they beat Serbia in the qualifiers they could face a play off game to qualify for Euro 2020. Could it be that one day Haaland leads out Norway into a major tournament final just like Ronaldo did for Portugal? Who knows.

The first objective for Haaland will be the Bundesliga title. Bayern Munich have returned to the top displacing RB Leipzig and they have 42 points. Leipzig have 41 and Dortmund are very close behind on 39. Dortmund have been in superb form and have won their last 3 games in a row scoring an incredible 15 goals in those three games. Bayern’s biggest threat looks like being their old rival Dortmund who they beat of course in the 2013 Champions League final. Could Haaland be the final key in Dortmund’s quest for a first league title since 2012, Bayern are going for their 8th in a row.

Haaland has been so impressive already that if he scored 2 more goals he will already be joint 4th in the top goalscorers this season. The brilliant veteran Robert Lewandowski holds first again with 22. All eyes will be on German football now, well at least it would have peaked the interest of some football fans who will want to follow Haaland’s progress.

 

 

How RB Leipzig have divided German football and rose to the top

Ten years ago RB Leipzig were not even called RB Leipzig and were in the fifth tier of German football. It took a good six years to rise to the Bundesliga under the owner ship of the energy drinks company Red Bull and the team have not looked back.

The club owner Oliver Mintzlaff who is also head of Red Bull global soccer have done amazing stuff since it was determined that the tiny team from the east of Germany could play with the best teams in the country. It was going to take investment and time of course and that patience seems to have paid off.

It hasn’t come easy though, whilst setbacks are normal the club were not welcomed by certain teams. The rules of ownership in Germany differs from other countries and RB Leipzig were seen as not following traditional German football rules and that irked clubs and fans alike. There was even one time four seasons ago when Borussia Dortmund fans boycotted their away game with Leipzig and there have been numerous protests since then.

Has anything got better? Well in general it has and the club have been run like a smooth machine. It hasn’t been a vanity project either and the owners seem intent on making the club successful not just in Germany but in the Champions League, though the main goal is dethroning the mighty Bayern Munich.

This is something that the club are currently doing. RB Leipzig are top of the Bundesliga standings with 40 points from 18 games and they are four points ahead of Bayern. The other threat to their title are Borussia Monchengladbach who have 35 points. Borussia Dortmund are down to 33 points and are seven points behind.

Leipzig have done well and even been runners up in the Bundesliga in 2016/17, and qualified for the Champions League on two occasions. So what is the strategy behind the clubs success and can they finally start winning trophies?

One strategy was the club signing players who were 24 and under and trying to keep a very youthful squad. The club have not spent big on players but spent money on acquiring young talent though it was important to bring in established Timo Werner in recent times.

They haven’t won major trophies yet though they have made big splashes already. As seasons pass perhaps more respect will be given to the club, and maybe some of the fans who protested against them actually wouldn’t mind if they beat off Bayern Munich to win their first league title.