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The European Leagues & Competitions Thread V2

Started by CHOULO19,

16,733 posts in this topic

Horrible Upamecano reaction for Grujic goal. Chelsea level corners defending 😄

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3 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:

Horrible Upamecano reaction for Grujic goal. Chelsea level corners defending 😄

Tapsoba looks to be a better buy IF RB go back to crazy valuation on Dayot

stories are all over the place on what they want for him (Dayot)

surely we can get Gabriel at a decent price first

will not lose my mind if we just do him this window (as he is left footed, which is what Lamps is demanding) for CB's

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The Americans (and Canadian) to watch for as the Bundesliga returns



There is a strong contingent of American players who will be in action when the Bundesliga resumes this weekend. What makes this group so interesting is how varied they are in age, experience and skills. There are veteran defenders, two-way midfielders and promising attackers. Each of the 12 American players (and one Canadian) listed below have different objectives that they will be working towards over the remainder of the season. 

Of course, the complicating factor is that football returning without fans amid a global pandemic will result in a never-before-seen match-day dynamic. Every player’s mentality and preparation will be tested. How coaches manage players’ fitness and the extra substitutions that they’ll be allocated will be scrutinized, as well. In short, games will not look the same and the circumstances could affect starters and fringe players in unique ways.

The veterans

Fabian Johnson — Borussia Monchengladbach
57 U.S. caps | 210 Bundesliga appearances

When Gladbach began this season, key injuries in their back line and midfield forced manager Marco Rose to turn to the 32-year-old Munich-born American. Johnson is normally utilized as an attacking wing-back on either flank, but Rose moved the versatile defender to the midfield and employed him in a box-to-box role. At the time, Rose referred to Johnson as an “all-purpose weapon”. He started the first two matches, but his playing time became sporadic when Gladbach captain Lars Stindl and midfielders Tobias Strobl and Jonas Hofmann returned from injury. 

Gladbach currently occupies the fourth and final Champions League spot with little margin for error. Johnson’s role will depend on how often Rose decides to rotate his starting XI. 

Next fixture: Saturday vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (a)

John Brooks — Wolfsburg
38 U.S. caps | 146 Bundesliga appearances

Brooks has 16 starts this season for Wolfsburg, including the last five matches before the league’s suspension. Born in Berlin, Brooks, 27, is a tall central defender who is tidy on the ball and dangerous in the air. He has had regular call-ups to the national team since featuring for the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup, and he remains one of Gregg Berhalter’s top defenders. 

Brooks is a physical force and a technically adept center-back. But injuries and a lack of consistent, quality minutes have hampered him throughout his career. As it stands, Brooks is in line to feature prominently for the remainder of Wolfsburg’s Bundesliga season.

Next fixture: Saturday vs. FC Augsburg (a)

Timothy Chandler — Eintracht Frankfurt
29 U.S. caps | 209 Bundesliga appearances 

Chandler is another German dual-national defender who is enjoying a solid spell of first-team minutes. The 30-year-old has made 14 appearances this season, starting 10 matches. What’s most surprising about Chandler’s 2019-20 campaign are the four goals and one assist he has contributed from his nominally defensive position. 

In manager Adi Hutter’s high-tempo pressing system, Chandler has been pushed higher up the field. He responded earlier this season with two goals in an 11-minute span against FC Augsburg. Chandler’s ability to aggressively defend in the opponent’s half and get to goal has been an interesting revelation for someone who has not played for the U.S. since 2016. 

Next fixture: Saturday vs. Borussia Monchengladbach (h)

The established internationals 

Weston McKennie — Schalke
19 U.S. caps | 67 Bundesliga appearances


McKennie’s undeniable talent and positional versatility have helped him quickly become a valuable Bundesliga midfielder. At 21 years old, the Texas-born FC Dallas academy product is a prototypical two-way player who has grown tactically since arriving in Gelsenkirchen three years ago. McKennie has more freedom to get forward when he plays for the U.S., but under the tutelage of Schalke’s manager, former U.S. international David Wagner, McKennie has played all over the pitch, including at center-back when the club struggled with injuries. 

McKennie is an aggressive ball-winner and a capable distributor in Schalke’s midfield. His presence alone enhances Schalke’s ability to press and counter. 

Next fixture: Saturday vs. Borussia Dortmund in the Revierderby (a)

Alfredo Morales — Fortuna Dusseldorf
16 U.S. caps | 101 Bundesliga appearances

At the beginning of this season, the question for Morales was whether or not he could play himself into Berhalter’s national team midfield. The answer proved to be that he could. After playing sparingly for the U.S. following his first cap in 2013, Morales won more call-ups in 2019, offering a physical and tough-tackling dimension to the U.S. midfield. 

Morales has 15 starts for Fortuna Dusseldorf and will continue to feature as they prepare for a relegation battle in the coming weeks. 

Next fixture: Saturday vs. SC Paderborn 07 (h)

Josh Sargent — Werder Bremen
12 U.S. caps | 28 Bundesliga appearances


Sargent’s 2019-20 has been a bit of a mixed bag. The 20-year-old center-forward has struggled to consistently maintain a place in Werder Bremen’s starting XI. However, in 2019, he made six appearances for his national team and scored three goals. Despite his solid frame, Sargent is still growing mentally.

The native of St. Louis is an agile No 9 who is comfortable playing with his back to goal. Sargent is good on the ball, which allows him to drop into midfield and play possession football. Bremen are 17th in the Bundesliga table and trying to escape relegation. Sargent started their last match and scored his third goal of the season in a 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin. If he continues to show he can help the club improve its fortunes, more starts should come his way down the stretch. 

Next fixture: Monday vs. Bayer Leverkusen (h)

Zack Steffen — Fortuna Dusseldorf
17 U.S. caps | 17 Bundesliga appearances

Steffen suffered a knee injury in April when Dusseldorf resumed limited training sessions. The No 1 goalkeeper for the U.S. will not play this weekend, and his return is unknown. It’s a shame, because Steffen had established himself as the club’s starting keeper. On loan from Manchester City, Steffen is an acrobatic goalkeeper with quick instincts who was expected to make a big jump in his development this season.

Next fixture: Saturday vs. SC Paderborn 07 (h)

Tyler Adams — RB Leipzig
10 U.S. caps | 15 Bundesliga appearances

One could argue that Adams is the most talented American in the Bundesliga. He was tactically, technically and mentally ready for Germany’s top flight upon arriving in Leipzig from the New York Red Bulls in 2019. Unfortunately for Adams, lingering injuries have forced him off the pitch, robbing U.S. and Leipzig fans of an emerging talent. 

What’s most impressive about Adams, 21, is his ability to play with composure anywhere on the pitch. He can play as a ball-hawking defensive midfielder, a pressing full-back or as a No 8. He came on as a late substitute during Leipzig’s 3-0 Champions League win over Tottenham on March 10, and will likely continue to battle for minutes in the final nine Bundesliga fixtures.

Next fixture: Saturday vs. SC Freiburg (h)

Alphonso Davies — Bayern Munich
17 Canada caps | 27 Bundesliga appearances 

Davies isn’t American, but the 19-year-old Canadian is now one of North America’s most highly rated talents, following his $22 million transfer from Major League Soccer to Bayern Munich in 2018. During his two MLS seasons, Davies’ best position was a topic for a debate. Was he a full-back or a winger? While he can excel in both roles, Davies has been molded into an elite modern full-back in Germany. 

Davies has claimed the starting left wing-back role by outplaying Lucas Hernandez, who was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 2018. 

Next fixture: Sunday vs. FC Union Berlin (a)

The next generation

Giovanni Reyna — Borussia Dortmund
0 U.S. caps | 8 Bundesliga appearances


The comparisons to Christian Pulisic have already begun, but Reyna is a much different type of player. Still, Reyna seems destined to follow Pulisic’s path. Both debuted as young Americans in Europe wearing Dortmund’s famed black and yellow. And both are expected to star for the U.S. for the next decade. 

While Pulisic uses tight touches and speed to beat defenders, Reyna’s more controlled approach and physical strength on the ball have allowed him to reduce his learning curve in Germany. At just 17, Reyna is an attacker who’s comfortable playing behind a striker as a No 10, or as a second forward. 

Reyna, who was born in Durham, England, became the youngest American in Bundesliga history and has been making consistent appearances off the bench this season. That’s quite an accomplishment considering Dortmund’s talented squad, with England’s Jadon Sancho, Germany’s Julian Brandt and Norway’s Erling Haaland for company. 

Next fixture: Saturday vs. Schalke 04 in the Revierderby (h)

Chris Richards — Bayern Munich II
0 U.S. caps / 0 Bundesliga appearances (22 third-tier appearances)


Richards is developing into a formidable central defender for Bayern Munich’s reserves. Another product of the FC Dallas academy, the 20-year-old Richards was a regular starter for the U.S. team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2019 U-20 World Cup. Richards is a confident backline distributor with a mature confidence on the ball. His style of play resembles that of Everton’s Yerry Mina. Although Richards has not yet broken into Bayern’s 18-man squad, he has reportedly been targeted by Premier League clubs Arsenal and Chelsea. 

Taylor Booth — Bayern Munich Under-19s
0 U.S. caps (4 U.S. Under-19 caps) | 0 Bundesliga appearances

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder has taken full advantage of his elite surroundings at Bayern. Booth is a skilled and versatile player with excellent vision and a high work rate. He’s comfortable starting possession as a deep-lying midfielder or pushing the ball upfield as a modern No 10.

Booth was signed by Bayern from Real Salt Lake’s academy and played regularly in the UEFA Youth League. His recent performances have garnered reported interest from Tottenham Hotspur. 

Ulysses Llanez — Wolfsburg Under-19s
1 U.S. cap | 0 Bundesliga appearances

When Wolfsburg resumed training in April, manager Oliver Glasner promoted Llanez to the first team. It was a well-earned opportunity for the 19-year-old striker from California, and though the quick, two-footed attacker’s development continues to trend upward, Llanez will not make this weekend’s 18-man squad.

Llanez, who scored in his first appearance for the U.S., was praised by Glasner for his ability to take on defenders and finish confidently. While he is most effective as an inverted winger, Llanez can also drop into central midfield to recover possession and initiate an attack.

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3 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:

And some here wonder why so many of us call these cunts corrupt. They can easily be bought, easily. When the big fellas all the way to the top have been proven dirty then the smaller fish can def be bought.

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It just needed 3 matchdays to show why no one missed Bundesliga. It is a snoozefest and there is 0 value in watching it for entertainment. It’s time for the real football to come back. 

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The Telegraph

Friday May 29 2020

Football Nerd

How Thomas Müller's surprising creativity has driven Bayern Munich to the brink of another title


By Daniel Zeqiri

Thomas Muller

Thomas Muller has enjoyed a renaissance this season CREDIT: REUTERS

Through football's coronavirus hiatus, we are committed to providing a weekly newsletter of facts, analysis and retrospectives. If there is a topic you want us to cover please email sportnewsletters@telegraph.co.uk. Above all, stay safe.


Bayern Munich are close to an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title, and while younger talents Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies have thrilled with their performances, the resurgence of Thomas Müller has been crucial.

Müller is fascinating to analyse. Not blessed with extravagant technical ability, the 30-year-old has carved out a garlanded career at club and international level thanks to his spatial intelligence.

We tend to picture Müller ghosting into goalscoring positions unattended and finishing moves, but this season the German has added a creative edge to his game. A danger with the ball at his feet as well as when running off the ball, Müller tops the Bundesliga for assists with 17 - his best ever total - and the more advanced numbers suggest that tally is well deserved.

Müller has created more 'big chances' than any player in the Bundesliga in the top flight with 25. Opta defines a big chance as: "A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score, usually in a one on one scenario or from very close range when the ball has a clear path to goal and there is low to moderate pressure on the shooter."

Although part of a dominant Bayern team, he has also created 66 chances from open play - 15 more than Kai Havertz in second - and comfortably tops the league for 'expected assists' with a tally of 11.15.

age mistmatches graph


Despite entering the autumn of his career, Müller's defensive work remains impressive. Pressing from his starting position as a second striker, Müller has applied 184 defensive pressures in the attacking third which puts him 14th in that category compared with every player in the league.

His 31-year-old strike partner Robert Lewandowski is third with 239 defensive pressures in the attacking third. The fact Bayern spend long stretches of games in the attacking third helps them rack up those pressures, but nevertheless shows Müller and Lewandowski have the diligence to match their quality.

Müller is also thriving in an orthodox No 10 or second striker role in a 4-2-3-1, something of a rarity in top-level European football. Manchester City, Liverpool and Barcelona favour a 4-3-3 formation without a No 10, while title rivals Borussia Dortmund switched to a 3-4-3 in November. Playmakers such as Mesut Ozil, James Rodriguez, Isco and Philippe Coutinho (who Muller is keeping on the bench) have seen their stock fall in recent years.

Müller and Bayern though, are finding a way to make the position work for them. Chelsea fans will attest to that, after Müller caused all manner of problems in February's Champions League tie, receiving the ball between the lines and behind Frank Lampard's midfield pair of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.

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CIES Football Observatory

n°298 - 01/06/2020


Most productive German Bundesliga players

The German Bundesliga was the first major European league to restart after the COVID-19 break. Issue number 298 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the players with the best statistics during current season for eight different indicators according to the data provided by our partners OptaPro.


Yann Sommer leads the table for the number of saves, Kingsley Ehizibue (Köln) did the most successful tackles, while Omar Mascarell (Schalke 04) and Jamilu Collins (Paderborn) made the most interceptions. Alphonso Davies (Bayern) heads the rankings for successful dribbles, Sven Bender (Bayer) for accurate passes, Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) for assists having led to attempts and Robert Lewandowski (Bayern) for shots.

Union Berlin’s centre forward Sebastian Andersson won more than twice aerial duels than the second player who won the most: 210 compared to 102. This astonishing figure is related to the style of play of his team, which fields the tallest line-ups in Europe, as illustrated by the exclusive CIES Football Observatory Demographic Atlas.

Most productive German Bundesliga players, by indicator

Season 2019/20, matches played until 28/05/2020. Data : OptaPro





many more stat categories at the top link

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Relentless Bayern are seriously good again – and will only get better



Thomas Muller, as usual, summed it up succinctly. “It maybe wasn’t our best performance with the ball,” the Bayern Munich forward said. “But we played with the heart — and that’s the most important thing.”

Tuesday night’s showdown with Borussia Dortmund — a largely even, edgy contest that felt pleasantly out of sync with its empty, silent surroundings — wasn’t the kind of free-flowing performance we have come to admire under head coach Hansi Flick. Bereft of Thiago’s passing brilliance in the centre, Bayern had far less of the ball than they would have liked but made up for it with effort, basic competence and magnum-sized big-game mentality.

It sounded suspiciously like a back-handed compliment when Joshua Kimmich opined that Dortmund had been more courageous than anticipated in their set-up and that they had benefitted from playing without the crowd. “They have technically outstanding footballers — you can keep a bit calmer without fans,” Kimmich said. Calmness doesn’t really help you, though, if you don’t get the breaks and run out of ideas against an opponent whose confidence appears unshakable.

Bayern came to the Signal Iduna Park to defend their title with the grim, unflustered determination of an alpha gorilla fending off a challenge from nifty youngsters lacking the weight to deliver a telling blow. The visitors had more muscle and more stature. They could punch down, rather than up. In the end, Kimmich’s moment of brilliance and a superb work-rate (exemplified by Kimmich himself, who bagged a new Bundesliga record for the season when he covered 13.7km) were enough to essentially secure an eighth title in a row. There would have to be an unprecedented collapse for Bayern to squander a seven-point gap with six games to go. It won’t happen, not to this team. They’re too relentless, too well-prepared.

Tellingly, even the game’s one outstanding moment of creative ingenuity had been partially preconceived at the club’s HQ of Saebener Strasse, a place that must increasingly look like Mordor to the rest of the league.

Flick had told his men to keep an eye on Dortmund keeper Roman Burki, who often strayed off his line. Kimmich chipped him without looking up. The Switzerland international’s weak wrist robbed the effort of some of its audacious beauty but as championship-clinching strikes go, it will certainly do. “I’m happy that Kimmich had listened well,” Flick said, laughing.

Flick has now equalled Pep Guardiola’s record of winning 15 of his first 18 league games. It’s a stunning statistic considering Flick had never coached in the Bundesliga before. Like all Bayern coaches in this century, he will be judged on results in the Champions League but he’s already won the club’s respect. Flick, a former assistant of Joachim Low with the German national team, has managed to unite the dressing room while sticking with a fixed starting XI and reinstalling the possession and pressing principles that underpinned their renaissance at European level. They’re not just better than the other domestic contenders — they’re back among the best in Europe.

There is, as there always is with Bayern, an element of being too big to fail. Only Bayern can buy an €80 million defender (Lucas Hernandez) and not worry too much if he gets injured and only starts a quarter of their league games. Only they can appoint the wrong coach (Nico Kovac) and win back-to-back titles because the opposition is too inconsistent and their own players’ inherent drive is so high.

After their shamefully inept Champions League elimination by Liverpool last season, Kovac had lost the last few crumbs of respect he had commanded in the dressing room but instead of downing tools, the big names called a meeting (without Kovac) and decided that they had no choice but to go on and win the double, despite the Croat’s worst efforts.

It’s only when the dressing-room leaders realised that their professionalism had unwittingly kept Kovac in the job for a second campaign that morale sagged. Results were so ordinary in the first third of this season — five wins, three draws, two defeats — that the prospect of an eighth title was slipping away. Their 5-1 defeat at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt in November was a silent cry for imminent help.

Other clubs might have taken a more benign view of the situation. Getting rid of Kovac, a double-winner, might have been perceived as ungrateful, as well as slightly unnecessary. You can’t win the league every year, can you?

But they see things differently in Munich. Not winning is essentially intolerable, just short of a crime. As soon as the club understood that the team didn’t believe in Kovac’s ability to help them keep winning, they had no qualms getting rid of him. It’s what they have been doing ever since the 1990s football boom, fuelled by TV money, cemented their position as the wealthiest and therefore most successful club in Germany. Flick will become the third coach after Franz Beckenbauer (1994) and Jupp Heynckes (2018) to win the league after coming in as a caretaker midway through a campaign.

The uncomfortable truth is that Bayern are likely to get better next season, once Leroy Sane provides a cutting edge on the left and an attacking right-back is added. All their big, important names are expected to stay, as they have done since Toni Kroos was erroneously sold to Real Madrid. Keeping winners attracts more winners in a self-perpetuating process.

Unlike at Dortmund or RB Leipzig, players don’t arrive in Munich to get ready for the next step. It’s already their final destination, a golden cage filled with new treasures each year, in recognition of the incessant pressure. The only ones who leave are those who cannot handle it, which further breeds a culture of mandatory glory. With Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Oliver Kahn in charge — men who find the idea of coming second almost physically revolting — there is, unfortunately for the everybody else, little danger of winners’ fatigue setting in.

Winning their eighth title in a row will only reinforce Bayerns’s determination to secure a hegemony that isn’t just unprecedented in German football but all of history: an empire that never ends.

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PSG have a world-class academy. So why do so many graduates have to play elsewhere?


When it comes to Paris Saint-Germain's young stars and their exits from the club, the list is long, and all indications suggest it will keep getting longer and longer. Last summer Paris Saint-Germain sold Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Stanley N'Soki (Nice), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig), Timothy Weah (Lille) and Arthur Zagre (AS Monaco) for a combined amount of €54 million.

None of them was older than 21, and all had arrived at the club between the ages of 12 and 15.

A year earlier, it was Jonathan Ikone (Lille), Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) and Yacine Adli (Bordeaux) who were sold all together for just less than €20m. That same summer, Claudio Gomes, one of the most promising talents in PSG's U19 team, was poached by Manchester City after he decided not to sign his first professional contract in Paris.

In 2017, Dan-Axel Zagadou (Borussia Dortmund), Boubakary Soumare (Lille), Fode Ballo-Toure (Lille) and Mahamadou Dembele (FC Salzburg) did the same. No professional contracts, no first-team appearance, no fees, no goodbyes.

And before that, there also were Matteo Guendouzi (Lorient), Kingsley Coman (Juventus), Mike Maignan (Lille), Moussa Dembele (Fulham) and many more. Despite Paris being their hometown, PSG their club and the Parc des Princes their dream, they decided to leave almost as soon as they could.

This is nothing new. The pioneer was Nicolas Anelka, who left for Arsenal in February 1997 at the age of 17 for hardly any money.

In 2008, the more unknown Gael N'Lundulu, then a promising striker, signed for Portsmouth, at the time an upwardly mobile Premier League side. In 2009, Chris Mavinga joined Liverpool. Both were promising academy products, and both moved on free transfers.

Seeing their best young talent leave for next to nothing, some without even playing for the first team, was never part of the PSG plan. So what's gone wrong?



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3 minutes ago, MoroccanBlue said:

As things stand, City are still going to be banned from Europe for 2 seasons, correct?

Manchester City’s appeal against a two-year ban from European football will to be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on June 8-10.

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1 hour ago, Milan said:

Manchester City’s appeal against a two-year ban from European football will to be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on June 8-10.

They better receive that punishment....anything else and Clubs should just say fuck it and destroy ffp.

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7 minutes ago, Vesper said:


Havertz is out with a slight muscle injury


Yeah tough luck man.....

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1 minute ago, Atomiswave said:

Yeah tough luck man.....

still multiple players to watch for targets
 12 Edmond Tapsoba
 9 Leon Bailey
 19 Moussa Diaby


and Alaba

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