Thinking About the First Two Matches

For almost two weeks now, I have been planing on writing about the first two matches of the second half of this season. While discussing games with other football fans, I cannot stop being amazed at how different opinions are. (Trivial. Yes, I know.) In that regard, it is curious to see that people, myself included, quote so-called football experts, cite the marks from Bild or Kicker, agree and disagree with them.  Meanwhile, those articles are written by people, too. Thus, can we rely on them and accept them as inalienable truth? Probably not. The reason I have decided to begin this post with expressing my doubts is because my opinions of the first two games were completely opposite of what Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) had to say on the subject. I very often agree with their assessment of things, even though I might say once in a while, “Well, that is not exactly how I see it.” More often than not, I think they have a point. However, this time we ended up on different ends of the spectrum. That itself made me think of how people evaluate the team’s performance, as well as that of individual players, and how Lahm is absolutely right in not reading those evaluations.

After the match against Borussia Mönchengladbach two weeks ago, SZ wrote,

Just like Badstuber, the left-back was going so far forward before 0:2 that he couldn’t hold his position. Hence, he stopped his forward runs. Flawless as always but, overall, unremarkable.

(my translation)

First of all, I believe it is important to remind everyone that Ribéry did not play due to his suspension, thus his place was taken by Toni Kroos who, let’s face it, is not suited to play on that position. Not at all. That left Lahm running for two people, for himself and for an absent winger. Hence, the mere fact that he was “flawless”, which I do not agree with, should deserve praise, shouldn’t it? I thought he had an enormous amount of work, and frankly, you can do only that much. That by itself is remarkable. That is class. In my opinion, he did very well. One of the few who was moving the game forward. I enjoyed his passes and his directing of the match. (That being said, I do think Lahm made mistakes, but that does not surprise me, giving the circumstances. Mistakes are, of course, mistakes.)

I would definitely single out two moments in that game: one was when Lahm made a run forward and tried to score a goal. That was inspiring. The second instance of Lahm’s brilliance was when he intercepted the ball from one of Borussia‘s players near Bayern‘s penalty area. He jumped and snatched it in midair. That was beautiful. There is no other word for it. I wish there was a video of that. The bottom line is: when I look at what the circumstances were and what he did, I think he deserved much better remarks and more recognition.

With regard to the game last week, SZ comments were as following:

During the week, he was described as “a little captain” by the magazine that had previously named Schweinsteiger “little chef” *, printing his poster afterwards. [He] works vigorously at the moment, as if somebody gave him a gift card to the fitness center. Initially, made a false pass with his header. Afterwards, active and quite productive together with Ribéry. Soon [he] will definitely get a poster.

*I think many of you remember how unhappy Bastian was with that title.

(my translation)

Ironically, my reaction to Lahm’s performance was the opposite. Somehow I knew it would turn out that way. (Therefore, the idea of writing about the two games in one post seemed like a good one.) It was not bad, it was very Lahm-like, but for some reason I felt like nothing remarkable happened. And I am not even talking about some crazy moves. The overall feeling was not there. In other words, if I had to write a separate post about that game, I would not know what to write. Yet, SZ seemed to be very pleased.

It is curious how these things work out.

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