One of the most echoed criticisms to Pep Guardiola's Barcelona was the team's so-called boring gameplay because of their patience and domination. Nevertheless, what these people missed was the mathematical necessity that demanded such patience and domination. Of course, you may argue that there can be any mathematical necessity in football since it is based on entertainment. But this game is more fun when you play it better, which means you will eventually have to embrace mathematics. Thus, what Guardiola did was literally take football to a higher level, and he continues to do it in Munich, even in a slightly different way. Michael Cox from The Guardian brilliantly explains the core of Guardiola's game and it's slight deviation from the past: "But while this crushing 6-1 victory owed much to width and crossing, it was nevertheless unmistakably the performance of a Guardiola side. The third goal, yet another header, epitomized the two aspects of Bayern's display: The traditional passing dominance and the unusual emphasis on crossing. It was an outstanding goal [that] featured 26 passes - the most of any goal in this season's Champions League - flowing through all 10 outfield players. Bayern retained the ball for 75 seconds, teasing Porto with patient buildup, before the four first-time touches ripped apart Porto: Thiago's chipped, curling cross field ball allowed Lahm to volley in a cross that Müller astutely helped on to Lewandowski, who headed home. So much for keeping the ball on the deck: This was a Champions League version of a playground headers-and-volleys goal."
Traditional passing dominance and unusual crossings is how Michael Cox briefly summarizes the game. Nevertheless, the latter deserves a more sophisticated explanation. If Guardiola had planned only crossings in the final stage, believe me, Munich would not have scored even two goals. But I understand the logic behind Cox's interpretation because almost all goals came from an unusual organization rather than full spectrum dominance. It was almost a quasi-Jupp Heynckes strategy and something that I strongly oppose. However, when examined further, you see that Guardiola almost organized chaos.
As my colleague Ali Fikri Işık explained: "The difference between counter-attacking game and Guardiola's strategy against Porto was the positioning. In counter-attacking, you position yourself defensively, but Guardiola reaches a counter-attacking game's speed while building amateur game. All players knew where they had to stand and what they had to do against Porto; thus, it was not a chaotic game, rather it was totally organized."
This difference is so crucial since the other option would destroy all the historical practice of Josep Guardiola. Given the main purpose of ball dominance is not only to tire the opponent but also come closer to the opponent's goal with more men, reducing all the process to a single long ball, in Cox's words, to "crossings," was highly dangerous since it could lead to an imbalanced and impatient game. It could awaken the old habits of Bayern Munich, which are left from Jupp Heynckes too. However, unlike Heynckes, Guardiola did not organize his offensive organizations with four men, but rather he used his all players effectively. That is why we saw center back Jerome Boateng regularly trying lethal through balls or right back Rafinha to join Philip Lahm in wing organizations.In the final analysis, although appreciating Guardiola's new approach and understanding the need for direct gameplay, I still vote for the Barcelona way of finding opportunities. A lot of people would find the new way more fun and promising, but it does not change the fact that there is always a risk against dominant teams. For instance, if Porto had not waited Munich at its own half until they conceded five goals, things could have been harder for Guardiola and Munich. Seeing as patience and dominance is always more rewarding in terms of rationality, this is not a matter of taste but mathematics. Keeper review
Porto goalkeeper Fabiano was not the right person to blame for this humiliating loss for sure. Nevertheless, he could have been more active about crossings and commanded his area more precisely. On the other hand, Neuer continues to shape the new goalkeeper of new football. His playmaking skills are almost as good as Xabi Alonso's, and he never wastes any opportunity by kicking balls into the chaos.