UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals, preview second leg

UEFA Champions League 2016/17 Quarterfinal second leg:

time(CET) home away 1st leg
Wednesday, Mar. 29nd
19.00 FC Barcelona (ESP) FC Rosengard (SWE) 1:0
20.00 Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) Bayern Munich (GER) 0:1
20.45 Olympique Lyon (FRA) VfL Wolfsburg (GER) 2:0
Thursday, Mar. 30rd
20.00 Manchester City Ladies (ENG) Fortuna Hjoerring (DEN) 1:0

 

Headline: Confirmation ?

Lets see whether we get yet more confirmation from what we saw in the first matches.

What we have seen so far:

  • Not too much between the teams
  • Lyon no longer the (clear) number 1
  • Paris’ problems to find the net
  • Spain is coming
  • Hjorring brave
  • Decent progress again made regarding individual development of the players.

Should develop faster: Attendance

What is not developing too much though at the moment is the attendance. We have it locally. Spain again. 20000 at the championship celebrations in Bilbao last summer if you have missed our tweet was only a start. England last season (but no wonder after the 3rd place in the WC). But the womens football TV stations broadcasting are still mostly the small niche stations. Additionally the time table shows the clubs themselves (or UEFA, whoever) seem not very convinced there will be more than a few people interested in more than getting their local clubs available to view on screen. How else can you explain the disappointing fact that the games all are overlapping. That also shows the other side of the low level of interest in the womens Champions League. Bayern did fire from all possible advertising channels like crazy to get “volle huette”. But the stadiums capacity was more than double as much as the 7300. Especially the 3700 in Wolfsburg were disappointing. You compare that with a possible final for the Euros with FIFA world no 1 Germany and FIFA world no 3 France. Lyon is the French national team only added with some top players from other nations. Quite a margin better than the French N11 roster let alone the possibility that Lyon are much more training together and thus should have a better tactical fine tuning. And the German N11 as also mentioned uses only the weakest part of the Wolfsburg team which makes Wolfsburg with even more margin better than the German N11. Thus these are rather clearly to be expected the two top womens football matches in the world in 2017 and 3700 not an adequate number of visitors – or we have to hope the fraction of visitors going to womens football matches choosing quality performances -> in football <- as a reason is rising. But we expect more visitors in the second leg matches at least. Lets see. Maybe it has something to do how they promote womens football at the moment? Though still much reserves?
Either way. We have seen both FC Barcelona and Manchester City streaming lots of womens football matches free and often available as catch up on their TV channels and would look there if interested.

The matches

Pretty much the same things are valid that we have already talked about for FC Barcelona – FC Rosengard and Manchester City Ladies – Fortuna Hjorring. We dont expect too much changes either. Because we have been too often embarrassed viewing the CL second leg matches when we expected one team to adapt to the proceedings in the first match. Of course there might be a change in the line up here and there. Depending on who played well in the first match or whether a team is now set more to defend or attack in the second match. But we would like to see there were real deeper understandings in how to turn those many little screws the right way. Where have been the weak points of our opponents. Which flank? Or in the middle? Where was the best place to go when you tried to play behind the opposite defence. And in the same way closing the gaps you have seen in your own team. Havent seen too much of this ever.

Certainly would be very astonished to see that from one of our “big4” German and French teams:

Paris Saint-Germain – Bayern Munich

For this game looking into the small screws might or might not help. The bigger problem is the big ones have been not properly adjusted either. Paris did a lot of things quite well. And their problems inside the opposite box are difficult to solve within a few days. More switches in the line up might be the way to go. But the substitutions in the first leg already showed they might go even in the worse direction at the moment? No wonder. Since years their main problem is the attack. And since years that is the only position they didnt add top players to the roster. Still high hopes for Katoto to be the one to change that soon. Bad luck she isnt available. So still there remains the problem goals are coming rather random for them. If Bayerns defense doesnt help too much it is very difficult to see them score three. So they need to keep a clean sheet what adds to their problems and prevents them from aking too much risks. Though they also defended Miedema well in game one. But she nevertheless found a way to score. That is exactly what Paris missed in Marseille and in Munich. Somehow they have to and hope for the lucky punch. Or two.

And with Munich? Since a long time you mostly thought when you have seen them: they wont play that bad ever again, wont they? They did. But now there is some additional hope. Some of the injured players have played this weekend. And no wonder Lotzen scored the only goal in the 1:0 victory. We already asked us why she played only 10 minutes in Wolfsburg when trailing. 2 against Paris (for the money) was at least when the didnt need a goal that urgently. And another 3 days later 90 against Leverkusen. If you are used to analyse things, there seems very small room for a reasonable explanation. But you certainly should not expect too much from a player compared to whom even Laure Boulleau looks like being in continuous operation mode. Fingers crossed for both and hoping it will help finally.

When there are no goals from open play still set pieces are some chance. Both could make good use of them already this season multiple times.

 

Olympique Lyon – VfL Wolfsburg

Thats the game where the small screws have decided and might decide again. With the decisive faults this time coming from Wolfsburg. Especially at the goals. But there were other things that havent been quite that obvious. Playing with Popp up front and Hansen in midfield for example hasnt probably been their best idea. (switched that from their last game against Bayern) It was pretty obvious that Schult didnt well at the 0:1. Popp however should have scored once and assisted another to make it 2:1 at the other end. Still Schult gets the blame. Though even Blasse could have prevented the 0:1 much easier.
Hansen is outstanding even at Wolfsburg/Lyon level in her abilities to run around opponents without much space in behind. Also still good on a long straight run but mainly because her speedy hooks and changes of direction. So she is better in starting a run not from too far out (also depending on how deep the opponent sits). But even less suited for a midfield role are her defensive abilities. They are rather limited.
And also Wullaert in place of Popp up front could have easily changed the outcome in favour of Wolfsburg. (Though we wouldnt suggest to leave Popp out) We will see what happens here. Pretty sure is Wolfsburg needs Harder in fine form again when they want to be successful because she was the main threat in game 1. Always when she got tired the Wolfsburg attacks lost steam. We will see whether she has still got enough energy for the 5th time in 14 days.

The huge advantage of the competitiveness of the Bundesliga on the long run is a big disadvantage for Wolfsburg in this game. While Wolfsburg had another decisive and energy draining game and needed 70 minutes to break the opposition from MSV Duisburg down Lyon had some kind of smooth regeneration match – optimal to recharge. It might well be the case that this is again blurring the actual performance level. You can add a few percentage points to the Wolfsburg level if they are allowed to play fully charged. And this can be very decisive at this level and in close matches.

There are of course lots of other little screws. Sometimes teams are playing opponents who have one player with outstanding and commanding header abilities in defense. Usually this player is placed quite in the center to cover the best possible radius to defend. And the opposite teams have quality players to deliver exactly where they want – always finding the head of exactly whom? Lets hope Wolfsburgs coach or players have realised it would be a good idea to avoid Renard when delivering set pieces. Are there sometimes little problems to understand probabilities in pro football? Of course sooner or later there will be a goal also when you are doing a lot of things not the best possible way. But the probability to score is >300% higher if you can avoid a delivery straight to the head of Renard. Just one example of a little screw that we think should be relatively easy to address.

On the other side we will see how Lyon reacts. Should we expect they also dont change too much because they havent quite realised yet they were the worse team because they got lucky and won nevertheless? Interestingly the French national team at the SheBelieves Cup pitched Thomis again against the USA who we havent seen starting for quite some time. And they got their best match since ages. Instead of playing and combining through midfield and a defense they tried the more direct approach. And Lyon again here was far more dangerous on counter attacks. Yet they got successful despite going the wrong way at half time. Thats the beauty of football. And might be also of understanding probabilities.

This game has a high relatively high probability of being again decided by errors. hough both should be really focussing on avoiding these with so many incidents in their last two matches. Apart from that whoever would be clever or lucky enough to get the opponent out of the defense shape and is able to launch good counter attacks in numbers has a significant higher probability to score.

 

 

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