Tag Archives: Jadon Sancho

Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich Preview – Title Decider?

Borussia Dortmund host their bitter rivals Bayern Munich on Tuesday in a showdown that could decide who will go on and be crowned Bundesliga champions.

Both sides will go into Tuesday’s encounter on the back of victories at the weekend. Dortmund travelled to Wolfsburg on Saturday and completed a 2-0 victory, thanks to goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi, to keep the pressure on leaders Bayern, who responded later in the day with a 5-2 victory at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

In a pulsating game, Bayern took a two-goal half time lead thanks to goals from Leon Goretzka and Thomas Muller. Shortly after the break Robert Lewandowski made it 3-0, before Frankfurt staged a fightback, scoring twice in three minutes through defender Martin Hinteregger, the first a volley and the second a header from a corner.

However, any hopes the visitors had of completing a stunning comeback were thwarted when Alphonso Davies made it 4-2 before Hinteregger scored at the wrong end to give Bayern a four-point lead at the top of the table going into Tuesday’s crunch game.

Bayern Munich will go into Tuesday’s game having won 16 of their last 17 games in all competitions. Dortmund, since the return of German top-flight football have completed back to back victories over Schalke and Wolfsburg.

Dortmund will be looking for revenge on Tuesday evening after slumping to a 4-0 defeat against Bayern in the reverse fixture back in November. Both these giant German sides have not played out a goalless draw in the league since March 2016.

It will no surprise to anybody to tell you that Lewandowski, has been a thorn in Dortmund’s side, scoring 10 goals in his last seven appearances in all competitions against his former club.

Bayern, should they win at Dortmund, would surely be on course for their eighth straight Bundesliga title, so the pressure to snatch victory falls on the shoulders of the hosts.

Normally the match would have The Yellow Wall supporting BVB, but with the now familiar sight of the stands empty, there will be no significant advantage for Dortmund.

Key players to watch

Lewandowski and Erling Haaland will certainly be two of the main players to watch out for on Tuesday. Haaland, has already netted 41 goals in total this season, with 13 coming from 12 appearances in a Dortmund shirt since moving from Red Bull Salzberg in the winter. Guerreiro is in prolific form for the hosts along with Eden Hazard’s brother Thorgan.

Aside from Lewandowski, Bayern have winners on the pitch in the shape of Muller and Ivan Perisic alongside former Arsenal youngster Gnabry who is excelling in a Bayern shirt this season, having already banged in 11 goals.

All eyes on Tuesday will be on Jadon Sancho, who has recently been struggling with a groin strain, starting the last two matches on the bench. Sancho, came on to set up Dortmund’s second goal on Saturday and certainly has strong claims to start on Tuesday.

The hosts may have to be without the services of defender Matts Hummels who left the field on Saturday at half-time with a heel problem. If he does miss out, this will be a big blow to Dortmund as Hummels is a player who holds this fine Dortmund side together.

Prediction

Don’t expect a classic on Tuesday, as this could well be a cagy affair. Our prediction, for what it is worth would be a narrow Bayern Munich win.

How to view

Fans in the UK can watch this game live on BT Sport on Tuesday with a 5.30 pm kick-off time.

Article written by Peter Moore

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04 Preview

All eyes will be on the restart of the German Bundesliga this weekend as it is set to become the first major European league to return to action following the global pandemic.

Among those fixtures set to take place feature the Revier Derby, which is held between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04.

Before the postponement of the league, Lucien Favre’s Dortmund team were sitting four points behind reigning champions Bayern Munich and will be looking to close the gap to just a single point before their title rivals play Union Berlin on Sunday.

Since David Wagner took over at Schalke, the former Huddersfield Town and Dortmund coach has turned them from potential relegation candidates to Champions League hopefuls.

The team known as the Royal Blues, however, come into this one on a poor run of form having not won a Bundesliga match since the middle of January and suffered 5-0 losses against the likes of Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig.

The last match Dortmund played was their Champions League match against Paris Saint Germain, where the ultimately suffered a 4-2 aggregate loss. They did win their last league match at Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 on the 7 March.

Previous successes and meetings

Dortmund have had the most recent success out of the two clubs having won five Bundesliga titles, the latest coming during Jurgen Klopp’s reign in 2011/12.  Schalke, meanwhile have not won the German Bundesliga since it was reformed in 1962 with their last of seven national titles coming in 1958.

In total there has been 19 Bundesliga previous matches between these rivals, seven have been won by Dortmund compared to Schalke’s five and there have also been seven draws including a 0-0 draw in the last match between the sides back in October.

Schalke do however boast an impressive recent record against this season’s title challengers having just lost once in their last five matches against them.

Indeed, the Royal Blues won the last encounter between the sides at The Westfalenstadion 4-2 in a dramatic match that subsequently saw Dortmund reduced to nine men.

Key Players

In their 2019/20 campaign so far, Schalke have certainly struggled for goals but two of their young midfielders, Moroccan international, Amine Harit, 22 and German Suat Serdar, 23 have enjoyed impressive seasons to date.

Serdar is the Royal Blues top scorer currently with seven league goals, while Harit has managed six goals and four assists in 24 appearances this season.

The Royal Blues also boast England under-21 international, Jonjoe Kenny in their ranks.  Kenny is currently on loan from Everton and the right back will certainly be in for a tough afternoon.

Kenny and his team will be tasked with keeping two of the most prolific and highly regarded attackers in Europe quiet.  England winger, Jadon Sancho is Dortmund’s top scorer with 14 goals so far, while January signing Erling Haaland has already managed nine goals in just eight appearances for the club.

Dortmund Club Captain, Marco Reus meanwhile has also reached double figures this season with 11 goals.

Where to watch?

BT Sport will be showing every game live on TV and online this weekend.

Dortmund versus Schalke will be shown on BT Sport 1 HD from 2pm BST.

Prediction

Dortmund 4-1 win

We are anticipating goals in this one but ultimately we believe that Dortmund will have too much firepower for Wagner’s Royal Blues with both Sancho and Haaland proving to be the difference between the teams.

The Paul Pogba Dilemma

On August 9th 2016, Manchester United completed a deal, for a then world record £89 million fee, to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford after he had left the Red Devils for £1.5 million in compensation to join Juventus in 2012.

Now almost like a yo-yo, it has been reported that the Old Lady are in talks to bring Pogba back to Italy. This could be bad news for Manchester United as Paul Pogba was arguably their best player in the 2018/19 season, despite the negative criticism he seemed to constantly receive. He scored 16 goals and contributed 11 assists in all competitions for Manchester United last season. If United were to cash in on the Frenchman, what effect would the transfer have off and on the pitch?

Off the Pitch

There are many issues that arise away from the game played on match days if Paul Pogba were to be sold. Firstly, there is his social media presence and the exposure it brings to the club. The tweet that announced Pogba’s return to United using the hashtag ‘#POGBACK’ gained 84,000+ retweets and 89,000+ likes on twitter, showing how United used the player to gain massive worldwide exposure upon the transfer’s announcement. Pogba himself also has 34.9 million followers on Instagram, which these two examples show the influence the Frenchman has on the ever-growing platform of social media.

However, despite the added exposure the player brings to the brand, his performance on the field has been brought into question and this has been related back to his antics on social media. By selling Paul Pogba and buying someone less present on the site it may reduce the pressure to perform on the pitch and there promote a more positive image of the club’s brand. Also, by not relying on promotion through players it may improve the quality and the strength of the club’s own social media channels.

In terms of sponsorship, despite his constant criticism from fans, Ed Woodward is very impressive in his ability to gain and maintain high level sponsorship for Manchester United, such as the sleeve sponsor of Kohler and the shirt sponsor of Chevrolet, so the departure of one player would not be a problem. If Pogba was to leave and the team was not improved in his absence, then the problem would arise, as the team would significantly decrease in quality and therefore be a less marketable product for Woodward to bargain with.

Finally, in terms of shirt sales, it seems that despite being the top selling shirt when he first joined, when Alexis Sanchez joined United in 2018, the Manchester Evening News reported that he was the top selling shirt for that season. It seems that the shirts will still sell regardless of who is on the back, be it due to hype or performance, and if another player steps up to be United’s star player, they will more than likely occupy the shirt sales Pogba once had. This shows how off the pitch there may be an initial dip in financial gain due to Pogba leaving but in the long term it will be negligible.

On the Pitch

Losing Paul Pogba creates a major creative deficit in the United team. As the team’s top goal scorer and top assister last season, it leaves a big hole for any prospective new signings to fill. However, the transfer does not need to be like for like. A central midfielder could provide the similar level of chance creation needed for United to succeed, but a No.10, or a winger could also be the spark that will drive United’s attack. We will look at some of the prospective transfers United could make to solve their problems.

Paulo Dybala

We begin with the 25 year old Argentinian that could be involved as part of the Pogba transfer, as Juventus will look for a more cost-effective way to bring their former European Golden Boy winner back to the Allianz Stadium. Paulo Dybala’s impact in the Juventus team has suffered since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, with a return of 10 goals and 4 assists. This drop-in form has been consistent with all of Juventus’ attacking line; Dybala was joint 2nd topscorer with Mandzukic, Bernadeschi contributing 2 goals and Douglas Costa contributed 1, such is the effect of Cristiano Ronaldo, with his high level of shots taken and his commanding presence on the field. To base the quality of the player on this season would not give a true representation of his ability.

Therefore, to get a better representation of what Manchester United would be getting as part of the deal, it would be better to look at Dybala’s 2017/18 season; his best in a Juventus shirt. Dybala scored a team high 22 goals in the Serie and contributed 5 assists, he also completed 1.6 key passes a game according to WhoScored.com, the same as Pogba contributed this season. Dybala also completed 2.8 dribbles a game compared to Pogba’s 1.7, this meant that Dybala was a more direct attacking force, taking more players out of the game. Slotting in just behind the striker, Dybala would provide a similar number of goal contributions while adding a great goalscoring threat.

Bruno Fernandes

The most natural replacement for Paul Pogba that Manchester United have been heavily linked to is the 24 year old Portuguese playmaker. Bruno Fernandes has contributed to 42 goals in 48 games for Sporting CP this season. With 33 of these coming in the league, this means that Fernandes has contributed to 46% of Sporting’s goals in the Liga NOS this season, compared to Pogba who has contributed to 34% of Manchester United’s league goals. This means that that Fernandes would not be fazed by the weight of expectation to be the creative centre of the Red Devils midfield.

He is also a versatile player, having played on the wing at times this season and in this position, he has shown an aptitude for crossing. Along with his 3.6 key passes per game, Bruno Fernandes completes 1.8 crosses per game. This would allow for a multi-pronged attack for the Red Devils and help them improve greatly in an area where they struggle, despite the relative height of their team, with players such as Lukaku being able to get on the end of high quality crosses. The further tactical versatility this would provide for Solskjaer would be an attractive proposition

With a reported price tag of anywhere between £62-72 million for the midfielder, he would be an expensive risk given that he is unproven in a big league, but his numbers and impact seem to lean towards him being a smart signing to help with United’s rebuild and plug the hole that losing Pogba would leave.

Jadon Sancho

The final player that could be the creative force for United next season is the young English prodigy and winger, Jadon Sancho. Sancho obviously plays in a completely different position than Pogba, but as previously stated it does not need to be a ‘like for like’ replacement, the player just needs to be able to consistently create chances and therefore improve the goalscoring form of the team.

Sancho is 19 years old and English, therefore fitting the young home grown profile linked with Solskjaer’s rebuild, together with other players United have been linked such as Sean Longstaff and Declan Rice. This means his hefty price tag would be justified in United’s long-term plan.

In the league this season, Sancho contributed to 26 goals in the league, 12 goals and 14 assists. He was the second top assister in the top 5 leagues, only coming behind Eden Hazard who contributed 15 assists. As a right sided winger he would also address the problem United have had for many years now where the players they play there, such as Lingard and Mata, prefer to cut in and act as number 10s rather than act as natural wingers.

His pace and skill on the ball would also be a great weapon for Manchester United to start counter attacks and that is probably why Dortmund value him so highly. With the purchase of Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard, losing Sancho would not be a great issue for Dortmund, however that does not mean they will sell him any cheaper, meaning United would have to break the bank to get their man.

What’s the damage?

Overall while losing Paul Pogba would be indicative of the revolving door policy that seems to have haunted United since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, it would not be the end of the world for Manchester United. The dependence the squad has on him is more due to the lack of quality overall and with proper investment and a good replacement, his influence will not be sorely missed. While an exceptional world class player on his day, he does at times, suffer from inconsistency, which is problematic when he is the player that United depend upon to operate.

In terms of revenue streams, Manchester United are more than likely to recoup the entire fee plus profit that they paid for Pogba back in 2016 and on pitch performance provides financial results. If the rebuild goes to plan and general performance improves, things such as social media interaction and shirt sales will improve along side this. Some fans, such as myself, will be sad to see Pogba go, but if he was to leave, the impact would hopefully (if all things fall into place) not be the worst thing in the world.