Boateng embracing role as Bayern Munich's quarterback

The centre-back has added a new weapon to Pep Guardiola’s armoury this season by launching quick, direct passes out of defence as an alternative to their normal possession game


Jerome Boateng is happy to take up the role of Bayern Munich’s quarterback as Pep Guardiola continues to tinker with the club’s attacking philosophy.

Although well known for wanting his teams to keep possession through short, sharp passing, former Barcelona boss Guardiola has added a more direct ploy to Bayern’s game plan this season.

The centre-backs are being encouraged to play long balls quickly from deep to catch their opponents out, something akin to how a quarterback uses a deep pass to pick out a wide receiver in American football.

And Boateng explained: “This is the philosophy of Pep Guardiola. We act as a kind of central defender quarterback. The long pass is an element in our game that we have now enhanced.”

Boateng demonstrated his range of passing in Bayern’s 5-1 home victory over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in October, setting up goals for Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski with balls played in behind the visiting defence.

The Germany international believes Guardiola’s methods are now bearing fruit after two seasons in which they defended their Bundesliga title but failed to return to the Champions League final.

“That [Dortmund game] shows that the team has really internalised the philosophy of Guardiola in the third year,” he added.
 

Zidane lauds Guardiola's impact at Bayern

While the ex-Barcelona man has seen his team dominate the Bundesliga European success has yet to follow, but the French legend believes Die Roten are far improved


Pep Guardiola has lifted Bayern Munich to another level since taking over at the club in 2013, according to former France international Zinedine Zidane.

Guardiola’s arrival at the Allianz Arena has secured successive Bundesliga titles and the DFB-Pokal, with their attacking brand of football setting them aside from other teams in Germany.

Success in Europe has yet to materialise for the 44-year-old, although his side have reached the last four of the Champions League in each of the previous two campaigns.

Zidane has been impressed with former Barcelona coach Guardiola since his switch from Spain to Germany, and believes the Catalan has led Bayern to a new level.

“What I’ve noticed is that Pep Guardiola has lifted Bayern to a sensational and fantastic level,” he told TZ. “Since he came to Bayern I have not seen a bad game.

“Not only has he brought the maximum out of the players, but he has got 120 per cent [from them].

“Germany should be proud to have such an outstanding club.”

Allofs: Not realistic for Wolfsburg to compete with Bayern

The sporting director did not expect to contend for the Bundesliga title this season but is confident last season’s runners-up can establish themselves as a major European club


Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs has admitted his side are not yet at a level where they can challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title.

Many saw Wolfsburg as Bayern’s biggest rival ahead of the 2015-16 campaign but Dieter Hecking’s men have been unable to keep up with the reigning champions so far.

They sit third in the table after 12 games, trailing Pep Guardiola’s men by 13 points, with Borussia Dortmund also eight points ahead of them.

Allofs, who saw Kevin De Bruyne leave for Manchester City in the summer transfer window, says he never believed Wolfsburg were ready to topple Pep Guardiola’s dominant team.

“You always hope to be able to compete with the league leaders, but I think this is not a realistic aim,” he told Omnisport. “We already acknowledged that before the season started.

“After our second place last season and our victory in the Super Cup at the beginning of this campaign, some people said Wolfsburg are a real competitor for Bayern Munich, but we already said before we are not ready for this.

“Our predictions have been confirmed so far and we are not worried about that.

“On the other hand, the gap between Borussia Dortmund and us is too big. The way we are playing at the moment is not what we had been hoping for, but we had a lot of changes within our team. We are not worried, but we know we have to improve.”

Wolfsburg have developed into a force to be reckoned with in recent years after a number of difficult campaigns and Allofs is determined to maintain the club’s status in the Champions League.

“Almost three years ago, we were playing against relegation,” he said. “Step by step we were able to improve the team. Almost every single player improved himself and as a result we bridged the gap to the teams above us in the table.

“We achieved a lot last season with our second-placed finish, Champions League qualification and DFB-Pokal win. We must now repeat that maybe three or four times to establish ourselves as a big team and I think we have a team that can do just that.

“We lost big players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Ivan Perisic and Aaron Hunt, but also signed quality players. It takes time for them to gel. That is why things have not been going great yet.”
 

Bundesliga fixtures to go ahead despite security scare

Germany’s friendly with Netherlands in Hannover was cancelled over fears of a potential terrorist attack, but this weekend’s league games won’t be affected


DFL president Reinhard Rauball says this weekend’s Bundesliga matches will go ahead as planned despite security fears following the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Germany’s friendly with Netherlands was cancelled two hours prior to kick-off on Tuesday following the discovery of a plot to detonate explosives at the stadium in Hannover.

The nation were also at the centre of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris after the Stade France was attacked during their friendly with France.

Tuesday’s events in Hannover had cast doubt over whether this week’s Bundesliga action would go ahead, but Rauball says there will be no disruption to fixtures.

“This weekend’s Bundesliga action will go ahead as scheduled,” he told DPA.

“The cancellation of the game between Germany and Netherlands has changed football in this country. It was a sad day for football.

“I have nothing but respect for the decision to cancel the game. I know how hard it was to make such a decision. The safety of the people should always be priority number one.”

Prior to the cancellation of the game between Germany and Netherlands, Belgium’s match against Spain in Brussels, also scheduled for Tuesday, was cancelled due to security fears.

France’s match against England at Wembley went ahead, with tributes to the victims of the Paris attacks taking place before kick-off.
 

Boateng best in the world – Martinez

The Spanish player has suggested his team-mate has all the attributes required to be a world-class defender, comparing him to Sergio Ramos


Javi Martinez has described his in-form Bayern Munich team-mate Jerome Boateng as one of the best defenders in the world, following a string of fine performances for the German champions.

Boateng has played in 11 of Bayern’s 12 Bundesliga victories this season, and is the linchpin of a defence that has conceded just four goals in domestic competition.

Martinez compared his partner in the centre of defence to the man alongside whom he won the World Cup and European Championships with Spain, Sergio Ramos.

“His body, his ball-winning ability, his opening game – indescribable,” Martinez told Bild.

“Jerome has it all,” he added.

“He is as influential in his position as Sergio Ramos in previous years.”