Scouting for Fixtures: Sep 25 – Oct 01

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. As well as seeking out the most entertaining games, each preview weaves the clubs into a greater football narrative. Each article is a selection of handpicked upcoming matches worldwide that week, which looks set for 90 minutes of non-stop action. 

A guy chatting absolutely anything in a desperate attempt to keep the reader’s attention in this football-esque blog… who also writes football previews, kinda… 

All times are GMT.

Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid ( Tue 26 19:45 )

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I can confidently say that I have little to no idea who will come away with the points. In the last 6 games against each other, Dortmund and Madrid have won twice each, with the other two ending as draws.

I imagine being a Dortmund fan is not without its low points; they continually develop world class players (too many to list) only to lose them to rivals as they reach maturity. But Dortmund is a club grounded in their obligation to their fans without compromising their business objectives. A balance that is harder to find than you’d think. Young talents like Wiegl (22), Pulisic (19), M.Phillip (23) and Zagadou (18) are already playing first-team football for one of the best-attacking sides in Germany, with years of improvement of ahead of them.

The view on scouting really strikes a chord, showing the passion instilled in BVB:

The club does not just evaluate natural ability, its executives said, but also seeks references about a player’s willingness to learn. Scouts take particular interest in what makes each player unique — they talk in terms of individual “weapons” — but just as crucial is whether a prospective signing might be able to identify with Dortmund’s ethos.

– Rory Smith, New York Times

This partially explains how – any team – but Dortmund especially develop such great ‘chemistry’. But as youth is usually inversely related to experience, the team could be characterised as mercurial. They are dominating the Bundesliga but in their one true test to date (against Tottenham), they failed miserably. Despite 68% possession, they could only make 2 shots on target. They were prone to errors when counter-attacked and conceded thrice.

Then you look at Real Madrid, with arguably the greatest counter-attacking asset in the world right now, in Gareth Bale.

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Just last week he clocked in at 35kmph during his counter-attacking sprint against Real Sociedad. So far this season, Real Madrid haven’t faced a team as good as Dortmund yet, but just looking at Real Madrid’s trophy cabinet below should indicate how difficult this will be for the home side:

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Real Madrid is also known as a team of ‘Galacticos’, a term referencing an expensive and world-class player. They are the closest antithesis to Dortmund ideologically as you can find, though the Madrid manager Zidane is slowing turning that around. Both teams may have different approaches, but both play some of the most exciting attacking football in the world, now they face each other.

Paris Saint Germain vs Bayern Munich ( Wed 27 19:45 )

 

McGregor vs Mayweather? No, no, this is a much, much more idiotic matchup. Instead of a boxing match between an MMA fighter and a world class boxer, it’s between two football players of the same team (PSG), Neymar and Cavani.

Wherever there has been money in football there have been egos, and wherever there are egos there is conflict. PSG is the latest to find this out.

Johnathon Wilson, Sports Illustrated

For those interested in the incident feel free to click the link above, as Johnathon Wilson explains it much more insightfully than I could. Long story short it escalated to the point after the most recent match against Lyon, things ‘threatened to get violent before a teammate intervened’Now, the consequences in the long term look bleak but less certain is the effect on this game. Coming into this game, personal differences aside, it has been the perfect start for the Parisians. 6 games in, PSG have won every single match, averaging 3.5 goals a game. Is it that surprising with a strike force with an estimated value just shy of half a billion euros (€451.4 – €487.6 million)*. To make matters worse for the Bavarian visitors is that they will be without their first choice goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer, currently injured. His replacement Ulriech has only made 14 competitive appearances and his potential is yet to properly be charted. Bayern will also miss heavy hitters Arjen Robben and potentially Lewandowski.

*Cavani: €55.6 million, Neymar: €222 million, Mbappe (if PSG buy at end of the season): €155 – €190 million

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