Bundesliga will be very challenging this season

Published 06.08.2019 00:05

Borussia Dortmund gave almost no serious opportunities to Bayern Munich as it beat the Bavarian side 2-0 in the German Super Cup final. Although the ball and the game were under total control of Bayern, Dortmund was the side that found serious opportunities and goals. It seems like Bayern took gegenpressing and transformed it into something very extreme. Niko Kovac's team pressed Dortmund even in their penalty box, but Julian Favre's team always found a way the get out of that press. If this picture stays the same in the regular season, we may see Bayern's eight championships in a row stopped again by Borussia Dortmund.

I think Niko Kovac is on the right track but just lacks enough experience to make his team play as he wants. Liverpool and Manchester City also take gegenpressing to extreme levels from time to time, but they do it in a more cohesive way. In Bayern's version, although the attacker's press really high, the defenders do not follow them in the same manner. Jerome Boateng and Niklas Süle stay back while the rest of the team is pressing, and that leaves gaps between midfield and defense. Dortmund utilized that gap numerous times in the Super Cup and found almost all opportunities from counterattacks.

Bayern, however, should not be disheartened by this picture, as its defeat was due to inexperience rather than wrong methods. If done properly, gegenpressing can be very effective against a team that does not know how to leave its half with short passes. Dortmund knew how to get out of a flawed gegenpressing game, but Bayern can step up its game in the next round. If Kovac can eliminate Dortmund's counterattacking options, as he did last year in a more traditional way, Bayern would still be the favorites of the league.

But for now, Dortmund is seemingly the new kings of Bundesliga as it also beat Liverpool with the same strategy. Its counterattacks are fast and precise, making it very hard for opponents to find opportunities while keeping their goal safe. Added to that, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt were missing against Bayern, so Dortmund's midfield will be more talented in the passing department in the regular season. What it needs to do is to create a better possession game as the team currently does not know how to cool down the game against an attacking opponent. That is particularly dangerous because as a counterattacking team you will be covering a lot of space on the field, so you should be able to gear down for a while and let your team catch its breath. Otherwise, as it usually happened to Mourinho's Real Madrid against Barcelona, your team will lose lots of energy in the late period of a game. Regardless, both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will play a highly effective game this season and most probably, Bayern's efficiency in its game will be the determining factor.

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