Roman Bürki is Dortmund’s secret star

Finally Borussia Dortmund plays attractive football again. And Schalke 04 has rediscovered the secret of success of the past season. Why the Champions League group phase is better than its reputation.

1. Schalke wins like Schalke again

The fact that Schalke 04 made it into the Champions League last season was mainly due to good defensive performances and many last-minute goals. This season has been lacking in both: Schalke did not defend well – and had bad luck in the end. But the Schalker virtues seem to have returned. Against Lokomotive Moscow Schalke won 1:0 for the second time in a row. In a largely unsightly game Weston McKennie headed for the Schalker victory in the 88th minute.

Gelsenkirchen’s luck in the game seems to have returned – and the defence also seems more secure. Coach Domenico Tedesco has broken up his chain of three, which had made too many mistakes in the first Bundesliga matches. With the new chain of four, Schalke is more secure, but always sacrifices one of his regular defenders, Naldo, Matija Nastasic or Salif Sané. Naldo sat on the bench against Mainz and Nastasic against Moscow. The probability is therefore high that this coming weekend against Fortuna Düsseldorf Sommerzugang Sané will take a seat on the bench.

Borussia Dortmund nordicasino

2. Roman Bürki is Dortmund’s secret star

Borussia Dortmund plays attractive football again – finally. In the front, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Paco Alcácer and Marco Reus scored three beautiful goals against AS Monaco. So far, so ordinary. An important factor for the successful Dortmund game is forgotten with all the praise: Roman Bürki. The Swiss goalkeeper is one of the BVB’s most criticised players, and in the past he has already made a few slip-ups in the gallows humour of the south stand.

But this season Bürki is the secret star of the team, capturing victories for his team – and making hardly any mistakes. He also played well against Monaco. There was no “untenable” parade, but the five shots on goal that came to the Dortmund goal landed with Bürki. One big factor must not be forgotten: the charisma.

With Dan-Axel Zagadou and Manuel Akanji, two very young central defenders are playing in front of Bürki. The strong performances of their goalkeeper this season give them security. Not every loss of ball is synonymous with a goal against, because there’s someone in the back who’s really good at it. That gives the Dortmund game tremendous stability – and makes Dortmund defend against the ball more aggressively. Always with the knowledge: The Bürki, he can do something.

3. The group phase of the Champions League is more exciting than ever before

What hasn’t been blasphemed about the 96 matches of the Champions League group phase in recent years? Uninspired football is played there, there are no sensations anyway and in fact you can name the last sixteen players directly after the draw because the differences in quality are far too big. And in this season? If you can’t get out of the rapture any more.

Also at the Wednesday games there were again two big encounters with wonderful goals with Tottenham Hotspur against FC Barcelona and SSC Naples against FC Liverpool. And as we look forward to the next matchday, the pulse is once again rocketing: games like Barcelona vs. Inter, Manchester United vs. Juventus Turin and Paris Saint-Germain vs. SSC Naples are not only attracted by the duel of two big names, but also by the group constellation: at least one “big name” of international football will be in Groups B and C – further surprises such as the 0:1 win of the defending champion Real Madrid at ZSKA Moscow cannot be ruled out. Check out NordiCasino to know about their promos and bonuses.

SSC Naples 24Bettle

Suddenly a normal striker again

Last season Mohamed Salah was England’s top scorer. But in this season the attacker has problems. Liverpool did not score a single goal in their defeat in Naples.

Shortly before the end of the Champions League match between SSC Naples and FC Liverpool, there was one of those unmistakable Mohamed Salah scenes. The star attacker of the English got a steep pass into the run, he hurried after the ball, became faster and faster, his hair bounced up and down. Five metres, three metres, a few centimetres were all that was missing – and then?

Then Naples goalkeeper David Ospina had slipped into the ball and clarified the situation.

Mohamed Salah, the superstar of Liverpool FC, who scored 44 goals in 52 games last season, and who was a fan all over the world, but especially in England, Egypt and other Arab countries, had not scored a goal again.

Naples at the top

When is a striker in crisis? If he doesn’t score goals for months? If that’s the definition, then Salah is in no crisis, after all he has already scored three times this season in seven Premier League matches. A decent quota for a goal scorer, but Salah’s expectations have been so raised by his past fable season that fans and experts are worried about the attacker. Isn’t that too little?

Liverpool lost the match at the SSC Naples. Also because Salah did not get the ball in the 85th minute. But above all because Lorenzo Insigne brought the San Paolo stadium in Naples to the boil in the 90th minute. His late goal ensured that the Italians are now first in Group C with four points – and Liverpool are level on points with Paris Saint-Germain. The English had won against the French on the first matchday.

Salah’s most recent memory was of a strong season when his goal from the game against Everton, a fine slam in the corner, was voted Goal of the Year by FIFA. A beautiful award for a goalscorer, almost as beautiful as the scorer cannon (which Salah also won in the Premier League). A small consolation that the season had ended so painfully with injury to the shoulder – after a Sergio Ramos foul – and defeat in the Champions League final.

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Lorenzo Insigne Honours 

Club 

Pescara
  • Serie B: 2011–12
Napoli 
  • Coppa Italia: 2013–14
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2014

Individual 

  • Serie B Footballer of the Year: 2012 
  • Coppa Italia Top Goal-scorer: 2013–14 

Bounced ball, misunderstanding with the goalkeeper

Since this injury Salah is looking for his old form. The World Cup with Egypt was no revelation, he scored two goals, but the games were all lost. Salah was also a propaganda coup for the Chechen autocrat Ramzan Kadyrov, and even fought with the federation. Salah had called for more security measures for the national team and better agreements on marketing measures.

And this season? One goal against West Ham, one against Brighton, one against Southampton. That was it then. His typical scenes against Naples were like this: Salah stumbles the ball out. Salah gets the ball in the middle, but his shot lands in the defender’s legs. Salah misunderstands Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker, whose pass is intercepted dangerously and leads to a corner for Naples.

Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp did not criticise any of his players by name after the match, but it was still clear: “Just wanting is not enough. Our timing on the defensive was not good,” he said. “We didn’t create many chances, the second half wasn’t okay. It’s always bad to have to say that the goalkeeper is the best man. Today it was like that.”

When he was asked about an extraordinary statistic for Liverpool – the Reds hadn’t fired a shot at the goal – Klopp couldn’t believe it, grabbed the match report and checked the fact. “I don’t know when it was the last time,” he said, “Of course Naples defended well, but we have a big part to play in this statistic.” At least the last sentence was probably related to Salah.

Koulibaly becomes Salah’s nightmare

One reason for Salah’s weak performance was Naples central defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who always seemed to know what Salah was up to that evening. Salah started dribbling? Koulibaly took the ball from him. Salah took the ball artistically from the air while jumping? Koulibaly waited on the floor. Salah went up to the header? Koulibaly rose higher.

Salah seemed partly frustrated – by himself, by his fellow players, by the referee. In the run-up to the match, Klopp had tried to denigrate his goalscorer’s thesis of a crisis. Salah is always dangerous and has his offensive scenes, Klopp said. But he also had to admit that Salah was “of course not happy”. “That’s quite normal in his situation. But that’s what I’m here for.” 24Bettle is unique and something very special online casino gaming site.

Klopp now has to build Salah up, with the short hug shortly after the end of the game the problem should not be solved. Maybe a look at the statistics will help to encourage Salah. Last season Salah scored only two goals more than today after seven League and two Champions League matches.