In Part 2, Zulquar presents his thoughts on two Bayer Leverkusen stars, while from the icy, snowy American midwest Gerry takes brief looks at SC Freiburg’s success and the departure of American players from Bundesliga.
Bayer Leverkusen comfortably won their top of the table clash with Hannover 2-0. And a joyous occasion was made that much more memorable by the fact that Michael Ballack played the full ninety minutes and looked as assured as ever. The Germany captain was quick on the tackle, crisp with his passing and consistently got involved in play displaying good vision. With 94 ball contacts Ballack was also one of the busiest players on the pitch. It is very easy to forget after a miserable 2010, but when on form, Ballack is still one of the best midfielders in Germany. It remains to be seen whether he can reach that level of play on a consistent basis at this age, but ruling him out of contention might be foolish, despite the fact that it might be in Germany’s best interests to look forward. Ballack will still likely miss the cut for the Italy game, but the next squad selection, if he is fit, will be very interesting.
Arturo Vidal is a Fabulous Player
Not many people know about Arturo Vidal outside of Chile or Germany, but the pint size midfielder is the consummate dynamo, capable both in defence and while going forward. Fielded by Jupp Heynckes as the most advanced of his midfield trio that also comprised Ballack and Simon Rolfes, Vidal’s role against Hannover was to support the striker Stefan Kiessling at every opportunity.
It is a slightly different role than what he is used to having mostly carried out defensive duties so far for both his national side and Bayer. But on Friday, Vidal took to his new task like a fish to water. He was instrumental in the best moves of the game, combined brilliant with the players ahead and around him and scored a fantastic left foot volley to boot. If he keeps up this form Europe’s sharks will be looming over him soon. – Zulquar
SC Freiburg’s Robin Dutt Proves Himself Again
Dutt, 46, joined Freiburg in 2007, replacing Volker Finke, who’s sixteen year tenure leading the Baden-Wurtenburg club is the lengthiest association of any coach with one club in German professional coaching history. Dutt’s previous coaching experience at lower-level German sides Stuttgart Kickers and TSF Ditzingen did not necessarily indicate that he was ready to manage in the high-profile 1. Bundesliga, but Dutt continues proving any doubters wrong. After keeping SC Freiburg up during their inaugural Bundesliga run last year, Dutt is showing that he is not only tactically capable, but quite adept in man management and leadership skills.