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Michelle Ackermann

Michelle Ackermann

Born in South Africa, soccer has always been a part of my life, and was pretty much ingrained in my genes. Journalism is my second love in life, and what better way to combine my two favorite things in life than to write about the one thing I am most passionate about. I follow the New York Red Bulls religiously, but have a deep passion for La Liga. This passion is part of the reason why I have moved to Barcelona to pursue my dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.


TANGENTS

Four Reasons Why FC Barcelona Beat Bayer Leverkusen

Written by on March 8, 2012 | 5 Comments »
Posted in Barcelona, Bayer Leverkusen, UEFA Champions League

It was yet another night for the history books as Camp Nou turned into a slaughter house run by an agile, swift and tactically disciplined Barcelona side.  The final score was Barcelona 7 Bayer Leverkusen 1 but it might have been even worse for the German side. 

As I made my way to Camp Nou, I was in an ecstatic mood; it was my first Champions League match, and to top it off, I would get to see, what many consider, “the greatest team in the world.”

On my way, I ran into some Bayer Leverkusen fans who had made the trip just to see their team attempt the unthinkable; making a comeback from a 3-1 first leg deficit.

It was meant as optimism but it would turn out to be prophetic -“tonight, history could be rewritten,” they said and they were right. It would be a night for the history books, but not for their side. Once again, super star striker, Lionel Messi would steal the show, scoring five goals – the most ever by a player in a Champions League match.

Entering the game Bayer had all the statistics stacked against them – Guardiola’s side had not lost any of their last 13 Champions League home matches with their last defeat back in October 2009 against Rubin Kazan. 

Furthermore, FC Barcelona had won the last 9 games against German opposition scoring 24 goals, and only conceding four. Finally, the most shocking statistic of all has to be the fact that Bayer had never won an away fixture in the Champions League in 10 years a run that included 12 matches.  

If all this was not enough to deter the renowned German spirit what would?

The game reminded me of David and Goliath. Guardiola said before the game that the Germans are tall and strong, but it would seem that the lack of height on the Barca side only worked in their favor.

Bayer Leverkusen Coach, Robin Dutt focused on playing a more defensive game, with eight players playing in defensive positions. But even if he put his entire squad on defense, Barca would still manage to find the gaps and to run circles around the German squad. And here are 4 reasons why Barcelona ran out comfortable winners.

  1. Possession – No matter what Bayer Leverkusen attempted to do, the Barcelona side remained in complete control, playing tiki-taka  football and making it near impossible for Bayer to produce any chances when they actually had possession of the ball. Barcelona dominated possession in both halves; 68% in the first, 76% in the second. Displays like this must make people wonder how FCB have fallen so far behind in La Liga.
  2. Messi – His performance was simply spell-binding. Each week, the Argentine striker seems to get better and last night, after breaking yet another record, one must simply admit that he is the greatest striker in the world. 75, 632 fans had the once in a lifetime experience of witnessing five goals by the striker. Every single goal seemed effortless in a display worthy of the highest praise. Robin Dutt added this thought, “FC Barcelona without Messi is the best team in the world. With him, they are in another galaxy.”
  3. Tello – The youngster and B-squad player entered the game in the 53rd minute when Guardiola sent him on to replace Iniesta.  With his first touch, Tello found the net.  Another goal would follow a mere seven minutes later. Watching the game unfold, one could see a partnership form between Tello and Messi.  Surely a duo to watch out for during the remainder of the Champions League quest.
  4. Barcelona played as a tight-knit unit. To praise the team may seem redundant, but the display last night highlighted how great this team can be when they play as a unit. Miscommunication was minimal and the team was focused. Defensively, the back line was solid, while the midfield managed to break through the German defense time and time again.

So FC Barcelona glides comfortably into the quarter finals of the Champions League as they look to repeat as Champions of Europe. Certainly no little consolation, as dreams of another La Liga title seems distant.

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5 responses to “Four Reasons Why FC Barcelona Beat Bayer Leverkusen”

  1. Elinor says:

    Michelle, it’s actually quite unbelievable. Your story is THE EXACT same as mine. Soccer has been my love all through out my life and when I grow up ( I’m 15 now) I want to be a sportsbroadcaster. If you have any tips on anything I’d REALLY enjoy hearing from you because honestly, I was waiting to find some one else in this exact same position. And thinking, your the perfect person to help me out.
    Thanks!

  2. Ed Gomes says:

    Were the Leverkusen players fighting for jerseys once again?
    I am far from a Barca lover, but their quality is without question. Definitely the best team in the world.
    Having said that, I have soured on them a bit, and it’s due to that procession that everyone points too. When Barca is on the attack and moving the ball, it’s beautiful to watch. When hey bored or tired, it’s downright boring to watch them knock the ball around the mids to the back line. If you are a Barca supporter who cares, but please don’t tell me that’s beautiful futebol. You can say they are parking the bus themselves.

    Let me add that the Leverkusen goalie was shockingly bad.

    After all that, you probably couldn’t have gone to a better match for your first CL match. It’s an experience every futebol fan should experience.
    Barca is a joy to watch when they want it.

  3. Old Man Douchey says:

    Thanks for your efforts on this article Michelle. Your report does deliver a high level playback of the game but it needs more to separate your work from that of a high school student’s book report. It lacks color and passion. Your four reasons are accurate and well taken, but the article as a whole leaves me wanting to know more about the game. You need to dig deeper and release your passion for the game, if it truly exists. You won’t get to the next level without hard work and dedication but to set your writing apart you need so much more fight! ONCE you guide the reader the through the statistics, you need to draw them into the feel and atmosphere of the game. Good Luck.

  4. Old Man Douchey says:

    any reason why my feedback wasn’t posted? or do you only post if smoke is being blown up your ass?

  5. Ed Gomes says:

    Wow. More than a bit harsh.
    I’ve read plenty worse on ESPN, FOX Soccer, etc…
    I agree that we shouldn’t settle for mediocrity, but much could also be said about your post Old Man.

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