Michael Cox at Zonal Marking:
Considering it was so unusual to see Bayern concede multiple times, it might seem odd to focus on what Wolfsburg did defensively – but their excellent defensive shape made life difficult for Bayern, forced Guardiola’s side to play poor passes and commit too many men forward, and this opened up space for rapid counter-attacks. It was the major part of Wolfsburg’s gameplan.
The most obvious part of their approach was stopping Xabi Alonso, who has provided the metronomic passing from the base of Bayern’s midfield throughout this campaign. He’s often been given freedom as opponents concentrate on keeping it tight in deeper positions, but Hecking instructed his two central attackers – usually Bas Dost and Kevin De Bruyne – to remain tight to Alonso, always making sure he was occupied, and usually preventing Bayern from playing passes into him. It was reminiscent of the way Atletico often use their strikers to nullify Sergio Busquets when playing Barcelona.
Long time no see for Cox at his old website. It’s wonderful if he’s back to blogging; he was and is the best tactical poster around.