Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hey, Arsenal. You might want to look at what Borussia Dortmund is doing.

After I wrote “The off-target Gunners” I looked at what I wrote about Borussia Dortmund for interaksyon and went, “hey!”

There are similarities between the two clubs (I'm looking at last season).

When Arsene Wenger joined Arsenal after a short coaching stint in Japan, he was described more as a university professor than a football man. The same is described of Schwarzgelben’s Jurgen Klopp. But unlike Wenger, Klopp is very outspoken and wears his emotions on his sleeve. How good is Klopp? Die Mannschafts’ Joachim Low has suggested that Klopp replace him on the national side when he’s done.

The 44-year old Klopp guided FSV Mainz, the club he played for about 12 years, to the UEFA Cup tourney (today’s Europa League) in 2006. And in his first year with Dortmund, a DFB Supercup 2-1 win over Bayern Munich. And of course, last year, there was the Bundesliga title.

The second similarity is the relative age of both teams. I could be wrong here but the average age of the current Arsenal team is 23 years old.

Young team? Definitely.

Can such a young team win a domestic title? Definitely.

Borussia Dortmund won last year’s Bundesliga title with an average age of 24.4. And they accomplished that while fending off bankruptcy a few years ago (and to think that Germany has the most vibrant of European economies) that they are still feeling the after effects of. The have no extra cash earned from the more profitable Champions League appearances as they played in the Europa League. Nevertheless…

The third similarity is that they also play a high-pressing game where they switch from defense to attack mode in a second with centerbacks Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic joining the counter. Dortmund makes use of its speed, youth, and athleticism to keep opposing teams off balance.

Klopp’s philosophy of a lightning attack, in my opinion, is born out of his playing initially as striker for FSV Mainz where he scored 52 goals before he was moved to defender in the latter part of his career. Interesting, don’t you think? Working the television booth as an analyst for the national team should have helped shaped his philosophies (seeing how Germany has thrived under Jurgen Klinsmann and Low).

If Arsenal can boast of Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas (before he was deported back to Spain for a fee) in the midfield, then how about Dortmund’s Nuri Sahin, Mario Gotze, and Shinji Kagawa? Their forwards are the 22-year old Robert Lewandowski and the 26-year old Lucas Barrios.

But… they’ve got veteran leadership in captain Sebastian Kehl (31 years old) and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller (30 years old). Two very important positions on the squad. And on last year’s title squad, Brazilian left back Dede who at 33 years of age guided the young defenders in Subotic, Hummels, and Sven Bender.

Two veterans who are also Klopp favorites are Mohammed Zidan, the Egyptian internationalist who suffered some injuries and Brazilian Antonio da Silva who started at left back before an injury cut him down.

I root for Schalke primarily because an old favorite of mine, Raul, is there. But if you want to watch some great attacking football in the Bundesliga, then Borussia Dortmund is it.

Roman Weidenfeller
Lukasz Piszczek   Neven Subotic   Mats Hummels  Marcel Schmelzer
Sven Bender   Nuri Sahin
Shinji Kagawa   Mario Gotze   Kevin Grosskreutz
Lucas Barrios

1 comment:

  1. Gotze and Hummels are outstanding under rated players. Sahin gets to display his ability at the highest level this year if he is able to earn a starting spot at Madrid.