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Toni Kroos display against Ukraine showcased he may control Germany’s Euro destiny

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Toni Kroos of Germany runs with the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. June 12, 2016| Credit: Alexander Hassenstein

Toni Kroos made it his mission to persuade Germany manager, Joachim Low, to start the 26-year-old in their Euro 2012 semi-final exit against Italy.

Consistently displaying his displeasure from the bench throughout the tournament, Kroos received extreme faith from his manager to aid Mesut Ozil in combatting with Italy’s abundance of ball-playing midfielders. On the day, Low’s men were considerably outplayed, whereas Kroos failed to impress in a right-sided attacking midfield role that ultimately limited space in the final third for either German to maximize their talent.

Four years later, in a completely different midfield role, Kroos has transitioned into key component in Low’s setup.

Where the German excelled in an advanced playmaker role prior to Euro 2012, now, Kroos is at his utmost best in a midfield trio as the designated passer, rather than a destroyer or a chief creator. Ultimately it wasn’t an entirely new prospect for the Real Madrid star considering he’s always showcased his ability to fulfill various duties in central areas – put simply, Kroos is the ideal all-round midfielder that can meticulously dissect the opposition with his metronomic passing, yet is also capable of utilizing his physical stature to dominate the centre of the pitch.

However, the evolution of Kroos’ game didn’t occur overnight. Since that tragic defeat to Italy in Warsaw, Kroos has played a significant role in Germany’s World Cup success, and most recently, Real Madrid’ eleventh Champions League title. From open play, Kroos sets the tone of the match with his composed passing and willingness to locate open space to receive the ball. And from set-pieces, the German’s deliveries have been the catalyst to several pivotal goals for both club and country.

To be frank, his impact in midfield is unparalleled from a stylistic standpoint, as Germany are now suited to play on the counter-attack, but equally adopt a false-nine system that heavily emphasizes quick movement, constant interchanging, and possession dominance. But Kroos faced a different task in Germany’s Euro 2016 opener against Ukraine, where he was responsible for directing the route of attack, but also offering protection for a backline without the injured Mats Hummels, and the retired Phillip Lahm.

Essentially, German supporters and Low would prefer Kroos perform superbly in both phases, but here, his limitations were on display. From an attacking perspective, he was one of Low’s best performers – which isn’t saying much due to several average performances from his teammates – as he recorded the most passes, created the most chances, whilst winning all of his take-ons.

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In other words, Kroos did what he does best, and that’s passing his side to victory. Whether it was quick combination plays to evade defenders, an inch-perfect free-kick that resulted in Shkodran Mustafi’s opener, or the splendid ball over the Ukraine defence for Sami Khedira, Kroos provided penetration and invention to a German side struggling to create chances from open play.

Yet, out of possession – mostly in the opening half – he was left with too much space in midfield to cover, thus enabling Ukraine to pose a threat via swift counter-attacks.

Nevertheless, Bastian Schweinsteiger’s late cameo and insurance goal suggests he’s nearing full-fitness, which provides Low with the midfield trio that starred in Brazil two-years ago. Schweinsteiger offers additional muscle in central areas, and a defensive shield that will enable Kroos to play within closer proximity of the interchanging attackers.

Low’s attack was at their best when they played quick intricate passes amongst each other, and while the German manager may insist several shots from outside of the box was a tactic to limit counter-attacks, in truth, they simply lacked runners behind the defence. Mario Gotze didn’t offer much as a false nine, Mesut Ozil’s appreciation of space was evident, but he lacked runners to supply passes, whereas Thomas Muller’s movement from the right was lacklustre. At times, the reigning world champions were simply guilty of circulating possession casually, opposed to quickly moving forward and combining in tight spaces – they were dangerous when doing the latter.

On the other hand, apart from Mustafi’s winner, and Jerome Boateng’s distribution, Germany’s defence were vulnerable when Ukraine pushed men forward to deliver crosses into the box. In fairness, Low is forced to play an inexperienced make-shift back-line, which once again emphasizes the risk of presenting Kroos with such significant defensive duties.

Although Germany have developed a ‘getting the job’ done identity in recent years, there were too many underwhelming performances in one night to assume they won’t improve as the tournament progressed. Schweinsteiger’s return to fitness offers a new dimension to Low’s midfield, while Mario Gotze’s role as a false nine could be sacrificed for a classic centre forward in Mario Gomez.

What can’t be denied is the numerous options available to Low, and similar to Brazil, regardless on whether he persists with the same XI or makes various changes, anything less than a winner’s medal will be deemed a failure. But unlike four years ago, Low can now rely on Kroos’ passing to control the tempo and outcome of a nations fate.

 

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2016 in Euro 2016, Published Work

 

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Can Joachim Low, False-nines and Mesut Ozil lead Germany to international glory?

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  Courtesy of Steindy

It was a night that was all too familiar to German supporters. Germany stumbled when it mattered most – once again it was Joachim Low that guided a dejected group of talented footballers down the tunnel and into the dressing room, to explain why they wouldn’t be participating in the finals.

Surprisingly, Low’s head didn’t drop when Stephane Lannoy blew the final whistle at the National Stadium. The German manager stood on the touchline emotionless, in his crumpled white dress shirt, blankly staring at the pitch, potentially questioning where he went wrong. His men were second best on the night. An experienced Italian side outdid Low’s men, thus continuing their inability to defeat the Azzuri in a competitive match.

While one nation rejoiced, the other had to watch 23 of their finest players solemnly stand – or sit – in disbelief, as they knew another golden opportunity passed them by.

Frankly, many tipped the Germans to come out of their shell and avenge their recent two tournament defeats to Spain, along with their semi-final exit on home soil against Italy in 2006. But it didn’t happen. Yet, despite their catastrophic exit in Warsaw, Low assured that his side – the youngest team in the tournament – was flustered, but would grow from this experience.

“I’m not going to question everything we’ve done. The team has great quality. It will continue to develop and learn,” Low stated. “Even though there’s disappointment today, we played a wonderful tournament and I am sure we will be able to cope with this defeat,” he added.

However, Low was correct. His men produced top-class performances in their last two tournaments, prior to the semi-finals, giving many false hopes that they’d gasp in glory. The German manager, hailed for evolving this splendid group of young talent, witnessed his men cruise through tournaments, yet buckle when they encountered elite opposition. What’s more shocking is the manner in which they’ve conceded matches.

In 2010, Low’s side focused on defensive solidity, quick transitions and pace on the counter-attack. They often dropped into two banks of four, and exploded into attack when they won the ball, which undeniably handed the likes of Sami Khedira, Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil world recognition. Germany was devastating on the counter, handing England and Argentina a footballing lesson en route to the semi-finals.

But, their energetic threat on the counter was simply nullified when they came across a Spanish side that possessed a midfield at their peak of their careers. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Khedira were unable to cope with Spain’s midfield, as Spanish manager Vicente Del Bosque instructed his men to overload central areas, ultimately making it 4v2 in midfield – with Andres Iniesta drifting infield. With Thomas Muller suspended, and Sergio Busquets admirably tracking Ozil’s movement, the Germans were simply outclassed.

Subsequently, Low’s men headed into Poland and Ukraine a different machine – one that consisted of more depth, which should’ve provided Low the tactical flexibility he didn’t possess in South Africa.

The German’s transformed into a side that focused on ball retention, and were keen on dictating possession. Likewise, they found ways to carve open the likes of Portugal and Greece, who preferred to sit deeper than most. However, once again, they came across an elite side that focused on superiority in midfield, and Low’s men were on the losing end of another major semi-final.

Cesare Prandelli fielded a midfield diamond to dictate the match and nullify Schweinsteiger and Khedira, thus leading to a dominant first half performance from the Italians. Meanwhile, Low’s men – mainly Ozil and Toni Kroos – didn’t seem to comprehend their tactical duties. Ozil often drifted into Kroos’ space, whereas Kroos wasn’t sure when he should press Andrea Pirlo.

While many can criticize Low’s team selection, along with his initial game plan, defeat at the same stage, in the same manner – with a better squad – is unacceptable.

While Low was busy evolving Germany, did he evolve as a manager?

Low was quick to brush off the scrutiny he received after Germany’s loss in a press conference ahead of a friendly against Argentina.

“We wanted to go to the World Cup in 2010 in South Africa and begin forming a team that could then win Euro 2012, so the loss in the semifinal against Italy was particularly painful,” Low said.

“We now have the task of working on the errors we made at Euro 2012, and find solutions to those errors over the next two years. We went on this path a few years ago, and we have a long-term plan to which we will stick,” he added.

The apparent solution has been to implement a false-nine system – one that has reaped success for Barcelona, and most notably, their competitive rivals Spain. With Miroslav Klose aging, and Mario Gomez branded as a one-dimensional striker that disjoints their fluidity, testing out a system that would be beneficial to Germany’s attack was logical. And it’s evident that Low is short on strikers, as he’s recently called up Max Kruse as a potential option upfront – while Stefan Kiessling has ruled out a national team return.

Although, Spain has enjoyed success playing without a striker, they’ve often struggled to grind out results. Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas possesses a direct threat from midfield, which explains why Spain can succeed in this system. Nonetheless, it’s fair to say Low’s false nine can succeed if he displays authority in his team selection opposed to picking favourites.

As of late, Ozil has operated as the false-nine, but Germany hasn’t looked any better going forward. Their passing tempo is too slow, forcing them to spread the ball out wide – and they possess minimal aerial threats. Meanwhile, runners aren’t getting forward, legitimate goal-scoring opportunities are decreasing and they lack bodies in the box.

Temporarily, it’s difficult to assess Mario Gotze’s ability to play in this role, albeit shining against inferior opposition such as the Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan. More so, it’s strange to witness Low continuously search for an answer upfront, when he possesses one in his squad.

Thomas Muller produced a magnificent performance at the Ethiad Stadium earlier this month, in a convincing Bayern Munich away victory – where most assumed he was a false nine, yet he was far from it. Muller worked hard to close down City defenders, and his ability to win aerial duels gave Bayern Munich a different outlet going forward. The self-proclaimed space investigator ran the channels superbly, linking play with his teammates, as he nonchalantly roamed around the final third.

Indeed, Muller and Gotze can provide an alternative – or possibly a permanent – role upfront for Die Mannschaft, but this leaves Ozil out of a spot. Now, it would be easy to hand him a spot as Germany’s central playmaker – as Low has done throughout his tenure – but Germany can do without their sleek, bug-eyed creator in the ‘big’ games?

In both semi-finals exits, Ozil had minimal influence on the final result. It was somewhat reminiscent of Champions League ties against Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, during Real Madrid’s downfall.

Coincidentally, both Kroos and Gotze were the opposing playmakers in Madrid’s Champions League exits, and the duo showcased their ability to provide a balance of defence – by dropping deep to create a midfield three – and attack in their play.

The Arsenal playmaker conducts his business in the final third, but the modern game now relies on playmakers to produce on both ends – Spain and Italy’s creators were tactically disciplined enough to fulfill these duties, thus resulting in a numerical advantage in central areas.

Over the past 12 months, Kroos has developed into a legitimate world-class player, and he merits a start in a central playmaker role in matches against elite sides – even at the expense of Ozil. Kroos’ tactical awareness to find space in midfield to receive the ball, and drop deeper to prevent overloads is vital in the modern game. The 23-year-old midfielder has completed 95% of his averaged 90.5 passes in his last four competitive appearances for Germany.  Also, Kroos completes 3 key passes per game, as he plays incisive balls in the final third to complement his ability to sustain possession.

Promptly, this isn’t to say Ozil isn’t a key cog in Germany’s attack, but Low needs to have the pluck to tactically align his side according to his opponent’s strengths. The managers that have defeated him in these fixtures – Prandelli and Del Bosque – utilize their squads to the fullest, and it’s a craft that Low has yet to master.

Likewise, the fabricated belief that a false-nine system is required for the Germans to succeed is farfetched. While it does display a sign of evolution, Low has catered more to the bigger names, opposed to starting the astute personnel.

As the Germans continue to struggle defensively, the issue that has been the focal talking point of the German national team can be altered easily. Muller is a logical option upfront, whereas Kroos’ brilliance can no longer be ignored – but will Low rise to the occasion, or once again watch his side underachieve on the world’s biggest stage?

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in FIFA, Published Work

 

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Ilkay Gundogan: Borussia Dortmund’s Unsung Hero

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Courtesy: Michael Kranewitter

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich has set up the first all-German Champions League final. The newly crowned Bundesliga champions enter the match as heavy favourites, but it would be irrational to count out Dortmund. The two sides have met 10 times over the past three seasons – the pattern of these matches have been similar, Bayern dominates possession, while Dortmund rely on quick transitions on the counter-attack.

Bayern has won two of the four meetings this season, while both league encounters ended in draws. Heynckes’ summer signings in Dante, Mario Mandzukic and Javi Martinez have seen Bayern evolve tactically, allowing them to nullify the strengths Dortmund executed against the Bavarians in the past. As a unit their pressing is exceptional – Martinez has improved Bayern’s superiority in midfield, as they now possess strength and superb ball retention – at the back Dante has been a massive improvement, as Bayern was susceptible to counter-attacks in the past. Dortmund has yet to defeat Jupp Heynckes’ men this season and without Mario Gotze available they face a daunting task.

Like several young footballers, 22-year-old Ilkay Gündoğan has many dreams. Playing abroad, preferably in England or Spain, along with his inclusion into the German first team ahead of the World Cup is what the German international is working towards in the near future. Gündoğan has seen one dream come true as he’ll feature in the Champions League finals at Wembley – he also received the opponent he desired. “I hope to lock horns with Bayern Munich in the final,” Gündoğan said ahead of their quarter-final tie against Malaga.

Marco Reus, Gotze and prolific striker Robert Lewandowski have all shared the spotlight in Dortmund’s fantastic European run – yet Gündoğan has been their unsung hero. The German midfielder has developed into one of world footballs top midfielders since his €4.5m move from Nurnberg in the 2011/2012 season – as he replaced the Bundesliga player of the year Nuri Sahin. Prior to his arrival, Klopp shared his insights on Gündoğan.

“He has a fantastic attitude and is very clever and keen to learn,” Klopp said.

“Ilkay has an excellent passing game and is overall a very high quality player who fits perfectly into our system.”

Despite not having an impressive start to life at Dortmund, Gündoğan found his feet midway through the season as Dortmund won a domestic double – the German also became a regular in Klopp’s starting lineup.

Without Gotze, Dortmund’s attack is limited, but they still possess a few match winners. Lewandowski is the ruthless poacher that can drop deep to link play – Reus is the flashy dribbler that can skip past defenders, but Gündoğan is different.

He is a nifty midfielder that often drops into deep positions – he possesses great vision, which allows him to play inventive forward passes, and he holds no fear to surge into advance positions and dribble past defenders. In the Champions League this season, the German international has averaged 49 passes per match, with an 87% accuracy rate – completing an average of five long balls. Quietly, he’s been Dortmund’s key man in the Champions League this season.

With Klopp’s men keen on playing from the back, Gündoğan’s ability to drop deep and create plays is vital.

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The German midfielder is the link between the midfield and the front four – against Shakhtar Donetsk, Dortmund were allowed to play from the back, while Gündoğan pressed Fernandinho and Tomas Hubschmann whenever they attempted to receive the ball from deep.

This also occurred in the semi-finals against Real Madrid, as Luka Modric failed to press the German and he imposed his authority on the match.

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Gündoğan also displayed his tactical discipline, as his defensive work in midfield disrupted Madrid’s attack.

Malaga provided a sterner test, as they kept a compact shape and allowed Dortmund to have possession. Gündoğan received more of the ball, and was the key man in the tie – albeit being seconds away from a quarter-final exit.

In the first leg, he was Dortmund’s best player, as he was allowed time to play incisive balls across the pitch – Gündoğan received the ball 68 times, and frankly poor finishing from Gotze and Lewandowski was the solitary reason why the match ended in a draw.

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Gündoğan was excellent in the second leg as well, but Malaga’s pressing decreased his influence on the match. Most of his passes were sideways, and he struggled to receive the ball from deep positions – unlike the first leg Gündoğan was unable to produce penetrating runs or passes.

Gündoğan has flourished on European nights, producing scintillating performances that caught the eyes of many. Unfortunately for Dortmund fans, he’s been unable to replicate his extraordinary performances against Bayern Munich this season.

Unlike their two title-winning seasons, Dortmund has failed to cause Bayern many problems. Klopp’s men have failed to expose this well-equipped Bayern side on the counter attack, while Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Javi Martinez have dominated the midfield.

In both competitive meetings this season, Klopp has reacted to Bayern’s system, playing in a cautious 4-3-3 opposed to their natural 4-2-3-1. A recurring theme in these fixtures has been Kroos finding space to receive the ball in key areas – mainly behind Gündoğan and Bender who sat deep in the midfield. In the first encounter, Gündoğan failed to impress, as Bayern’s pressing nullified his offensive threat.

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Defensively, he was better, making key tackles and vital interceptions on the left flank, which may have been enough to earn a draw.

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Although Klopp hasn’t defeated Bayern this season, he may have found his solution in Dortmund’s DFB-Pokal loss against the Bavarians. Despite Bayern’s dominance for majority of the match, Gündoğan became an influential figure in the second half as he dropped in between his centre-backs to build plays. This was effective as it gave Dortmund an initial outlet that they lacked in the first half, and it provided Gündoğan with several passing options that enabled Dortmund to break past Bayern’s press – Dortmund was the better side in the second half due to Gündoğan’s tactical awareness, and considering it was the last competitive match between the two sides, it may be an approach Klopp takes in the final.

In an interview with UEFA.com, Klopp was full of praise of the German international,

“We got him [in summer 2011] and he has turned into a real strategist. It is extraordinary. Not many players can do that,” Klopp said.

“Many players can play in a small space, play fast and do a lot of great things, but to have such vision, such a passing game, such an eye for the situation, is extraordinary and makes him an extraordinary player.”

Kroos’ dominance has been the theme in both competitive matches this season – with the German playmaker out indefinitely, and Gündoğan’s success in the second half of the Pokal match, Klopp’s men will fancy their chances.

Bayern’s pressing as a unit, tactical flexibility and their ability to keep a compact shape has been one of their main strengths this season. There’s no question that Heynckes’ will instruct his midfield to limit Gündoğan’s time on the ball – when no pressure is applied Gündoğan controls the game with ease, but he becomes highly ineffective when players attempt to close him down.

Gündoğan faces two challenges when Dortmund meets Bayern for the fifth time this season. His battle with Schweinsteiger could be the difference maker – finding pockets of space to receive the ball, along with imposing his authority on the match is vital, but preventing Schweinsteiger from dictating the tempo of the match is also necessary.

Nevertheless, the key man is Gündoğan, and he will need to be at his best if he intends on driving Dortmund to European glory for the first time in 16 years.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in FIFA

 

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Luka Modric: Real Madrid’s key to European success?

Wednesday April 25th, 2012 looked like it was going to be the perfect night for Real Madrid supporters. Eventual winners Chelsea had knocked rivals Barcelona out of the Champions League semi-finals the night prior, courtesy of a resilient defensive display; while a 14-minute brace from Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo put Los Merengues 3-2 ahead on aggregate against Bayern Munich with a vital away goal. Arguably the best team in the world, with arguably the best coach and player in Jose Mourinho and Ronaldo, were 76 minutes away from a trip to Munich.

The result was in Madrid’s hands and you couldn’t bet against them returning to the Champions League final as favourites, to play Mourinho’s former team Chelsea. As the Santiago Bernabeu erupted after Ronaldo’s well-taken goal, there was a man connected to Madrid that still looked worried, and that man was Mourinho. He told his men to calm down and slow down the tempo of the match, but for the last 106 minutes of the game, Bayern was the superior side.

Penalty kicks haunted Mourinho for the third time at the semi-final stage as Ronaldo, Kaka and Sergio Ramos failed to convert their shots. Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped to the spot and coolly put his shot past Casillas, and Mourinho immediately walked down the tunnel, knowing he’d been comfortably defeated over two legs. It was an impressive display by Bayern Munich, but one player stood out over the two legs and his name was Toni Kroos. Kroos was the type of player that Madrid didn’t possess, which could explain why Mourinho still looked worried after taking a two-goal lead early in the game.

Despite playing in a more advanced role, Kroos was able to drop into the midfield to create 3v2 situations against Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira. It gave Bayern that extra passing option but it also allowed them to retain possession easily. Alonso and Khedira didn’t know whom to press when Bayern did have the ball and the extra man in Kroos, made it difficult for them to play balls out wide or to Ozil, who was playing in an advanced role high up the pitch. Kroos’ tactical discipline stamped Bayern’s control on the game, as Madrid was unable to construct quality build up play, which left Ozil isolated with striker Karim Benzema. Madrid lacked a player of Kroos’ nature that could link up with the wingers and strikers, but who also had the ability to drop into a midfield three, when they didn’t have possession.

Kroos in attacking third vs Madrid

Kroos in attacking third vs Madrid

Ozil in final third vs Bayern Munich

Ozil in attacking third vs Bayern Munich

Ozil passes against Bayern

Ozil passes against Bayern

Kroos passes against Madrid

Kroos passes against Madrid

Mourinho could only watch his side struggle against Bayern over those two legs, but during the summer the Portuguese manager was keen to find a solution to his problem. On August 27th, 2012, Croatian midfielder Luka Modric signed a 5-year deal with Real Madrid for a fee around £33m. It was a difficult transfer saga, but Mourinho was able to lure away Modric from Tottenham, and add another world-class talent to his squad. Modric is a player who excels in a deep lying role stringing passes across the pitch in an authoritative manner. The Croatian playmaker provides energy in the midfield, and is able to play out wide or in an advanced role due to his versatility.

In his first appearance as a Madrid player, Modric was able to claim the Spanish Super Cup as Madrid defeated Barcelona over two legs. It was a fantastic start for Modric at Madrid, but since then things have gone a bit sour.   A poll on Spanish website Marca claimed Modric was the worst signing in La Liga, and the Croatian playmaker had this to say,

“I am not looking to make excuses because I am not that sort of a person, but it is a real challenge to adapt to a great club like Real Madrid.”

“There have been some good performances, not in every game, but in general I feel that I have showed that I can offer something.”

Modric has struggled to crack into the first team, but to be fair not many would dispatch Xabi Alonso or arguably Europe’s most improved player in Sami Khedira. It’s never easy to join a big club in another country and instantly make an impact. It’s fair to say Modric on his day is better than both Khedira and Alonso, but to come into an environment where you’re heavily under the microscope takes adjusting too. With Alonso aging, Modric is the perfect replacement for the Spanish midfielder and this season could allow Modric to settle not only into Spanish football but into an elite club before being in charge of dictating play in the midfield.

Modric also claimed that he’s shown that he could offer something to Madrid, and the Croatian was right.

Is it possible that Mourinho purchased Modric to add an element to his squad that he lacked against Bayern last season?

Real Madrid traveled to the Ethiad to face Manchester City in a game that finished 1-1. Modric was employed as the advanced midfielder that night, and he had one of his best games in a Madrid shirt. While City was in a back three, he did a great job in nullifying Yaya Toure. When Madrid didn’t have the ball he dropped deep to create a three-man midfield, and he did a great job linking play with Ronaldo and Benzema who were in advanced positions. A tactical change from Roberto Mancini, and Alvaro Arbeloa’s sending off allowed City back into the game, but on that night we saw how vital Modric might be to Madrid’s quest for a 10th Champions League crown.

Kroos’ performance at the Bernabeu was flawless and earlier this week we witnessed an equivalent display at the Emirates. Madrid lacked a player with ability and tactical IQ to perform that duty, which is why Modric is another vital piece to Madrid’s Champions League puzzle. Winning the midfield battle in away ties on European nights against elite sides is vital, if you intend on winning this competition, and this is where Modric should be utilized.

An away trip to Old Trafford is what awaits Real Madrid, and failure to progress to the quarterfinals, will cost Mourinho his job and classify this season as unsuccessful by Madrid standards. Domestically, Madrid has been a shadow of what they were last year, but Mourinho has been able to get his troops to rise to the occasion this season in important cup-ties.

Mourinho was brought into Madrid to dethrone Barcelona and conquer Europe.

He dethroned an injury-plagued Barcelona last season in a fantastic manner, and this season European success looks to be the main goal.

The inclusion of Modric into the squad not only offers his side more quality, but also an element they lacked last season.

Mourinho and Ronaldo are instrumental to Madrid’s success, but it’s safe to say that Modric’s performances over the next few months will be integral to how successful Madrid will be this season.

As bizarre as it may sound, the worst La Liga signing this season is Madrid’s most important player on their quest for European glory.

Tyrrell Meertins

Follow @TEEWHYox

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Champions League, FIFA

 

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