Jan Molby

Ability to run with ball has usurped tiki-taka

Jan Molby

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Borussia Dortmund and particularly Bayern Munich are the talk of Europe after the way they knocked Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona out of the Champions League.

Obviously there is a big thing being made about the emerging German dominance in the game but we shouldn't forget that Bayern have been in two of the last three finals so this is not something that has come completely out of the blue.

I'm not about to suggest that football has completely changed but there is a different emphasis on the type of players that these German sides are using so effectively.

The key to success now seems to be having players who can carry the ball. We had a spell of passing-passing-passing being everything with the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal but I now feel you need players who can run with the ball.

They don't necessarily have to dribble in the traditional sense – but rather just be capable of running past their man while in possession and eliminating opposition players that way. This creates overload situations where you have four men against three etc..

If you look at the top German sides – this is an area where they are stronger than everyone else – they have players all around the park that can carry the ball, beat their men, and leave opposition midfielders exposed.

That was my big take away from the two semi-finals – the Spanish sides just couldn't keep up. The Germans, literally, ran past them.

A criticism of both Real and Barca is that they are too reliant on their key men – Ronaldo and Messi – and I think this is a fair criticism.

If you look at Bayern or Dortmund's teams there is danger everywhere – they'll come down the flanks, they can play through the middle and they have lots of players who have a real hunger to get into the box and score goals.

In contrast, you look at the Spanish sides and you can cross out many of their players – even midfielders like Busquets and Alonso – and say that he's never going to score a goal.

Bayern are clearly on the brink of being classified as a 'great team' but they still have to finish the job at Wembley. If they lose their third final in four years then serious question will have to be raised about them from the mental side of things.

However, there are so many signs that something special is brewing at that club. When Barcelona were the best side in the world they still had weaknesses – it is just that you could never get at them to expose those weaknesses.

Bayern Munich on the other hand do not seem to have any weaknesses – whatever you put in front of them they will deal with it. If you want to make things physical they can handle it – they wouldn't be bothered by a style like Stoke's – and obviously against Barcelona they showed they can cope with a more stylised team too.

Barcelona have been the dominant force in Europe for a number of years but the other big clubs on the continent have been looking at them and formulating plans on how to deal with them - some teams even became obsessed with the idea of beating them.

Barca have some unique talents– but if you look at one player who is 5' 7" and another that is 6' 2" you would think that you could use the player who is 6' 2" in more situations and that is Bayern Munich – it is a team of giants who also have great movement.

They are not as reliant on individuals as Barcelona but they do still have some key players. Prime amongst them for me is Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Now that he has Javi Martinez behind him to protect him when he goes forward, he is on another level and seems to be improving all the time too.

I also like Thomas Mueller who can play on either flank or through the middle – he is not a great technical player but he is very effective; he moves the ball very quick and is equally fast without it. He also just has this knack of arriving in the box at the right time – and that is something you are born with – it can't really be taught.

The whole Bayern team is on the same page. After the first semi-final people were saying 'even Robben and Ribery worked hard' – well that to me was an ignorant comment because they've been doing that for quite awhile. They have been told this is how we do things at Bayern, and if you want to be part of the team you have to work at both ends.

This German revolution again shows the merits of getting things right within a Football Association. When FA's get it right you can see the results.

In France they changed things in the 80s and won the World Cup and the Euros 15 years later, you see what happened in Spain too, and after the 2002 World Cup, the Germans changed everything.

They were sick of seeing the stereotypical German player, so they changed the coaching philosophy because coaching is what creates the players.

They developed more players like Mario Gotze and Marco Reus – match winners - that was the idea, and now there are more of those types of players in Germany than anywhere else in the world.

In England we often talk about making these types of changes – but nothing ever seems to get done.

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