I’m pot-committed here. Did a faux-live/re-live blog of the semifinal. Gotta do the final, right?
Host Arminia Bielefeld made it through to the final by dispatching Hannover 96 2:1 despite having fallen behind in the first 15 minutes.
So it’s the FC against the club from a city that may or may not actually exist for the hotly contested single-day championship.
Arminia Bielefeld versus 1. FC Köln
Not a single player from the first 60-minute match starts the second, which completely stands to reason when you remember the matches are taking place on the same day. However, just as true in this match is the inclusion of multiple strikers and multiple youngsters, albeit fewer of either than we saw against Hertha BSC. Ruthenbeck is on the record as believing in the value of Claudio Pizarro for the team in the season’s second half, so he’s in there with Guirassy.
The presence of Pawel Olkowski is of note, however. Last week, Stefan Ruthenbeck addressed the idea of players maybe wanting to leave once they realize they’re not part of the plans going forward. The trainer addressed Olkowski separately as not being expendable in case of use of Lukas Klünter elsewhere. In the Hertha match, Klünter WAS used elsewhere, but it was Filip Kusic at right back.
But just because Olkowski is playing doesn’t mean Yann Bisseck necessarily will just go back to the second squad for more seasoning. He’s here too, playing in the center of the defensive row.
Dominique Heintz launched a long ball over everyone for Christian Clemens. He and Olkowski hauled ass to turn it into a quick-strike operation, as did Guirassy and Pizarro (didn’t make the crop). Unfortunately, Clemens’ ball was sent a little too directly to keeper Stefan Ortega.
What I want to know is what Pizarro was saying directly afterwards and to whom.
Initially, I took it as him telling Ortega to watch his ass, but more likely he was coordinating with Guirassy on how they should arrive to such situations going forward.
But maybe a “next time, it’s coming to me and I’m scoring, just so you know”.
Bisseck just gets beat by Fabian Klos on the aerial cross, allowing a strong headed chance on goal. Sven Müller was all over it, thankfully. Could also say that Konstantin Rausch maybe could have taken another step or two toward his mark on the flank to make the cross a bit more difficult, because Christoph Hemlein’s delivery was nearly perfect.
I am going to go ahead and say Bisseck is not ready, at least not for use in central defense. No knock on the kid, but he is really young and seems a little confused. You can (almost) see here that the cross is being delivered. Heints and Olkowski know who they’re watching, but Bisseck doesn’t appear to be aware of opposing players. He’s ball-watching.
Olkowski was staying close enough to Dersim-Sahan Kaynak on the outside, but keeping an eye on both his teammate and Julian Börner. As Bisseck watches the ball arc over his head, Olkowski uses a burst of speed to get in front of Börner and challenge to the ball in case it eludes Müller, which it did.
What I really didn’t like was that, when Olkowski pointed out to Bisseck that he was MIA, Bisseck pointed to Klos as if to say, “I was watching this guy.” Without knowing how great the kid’s peripheral vision is, I feel fairly confident he never once knew where Klos was, as Klos was on his left when Bisseck was looking toward the ball. He only ended up to his right afterwards. I’m willing to say Bisseck didn’t see Klos until after Olkowski cleared the ball.
In any case, it was an unnecessarily dangerous moment. Bisseck should, at minimum, listen to a veteran teammate and say “my bad” and maybe even learn from it, but at least give the appearance you’re hearing him. Otherwise, he’s going to wonder how much he has to help with your responsibilities which will ultimately limit his game.
This keeps up, I’m going to have to rethink my early aversion to Ruthenbeck. (Yes, I realize this is Arminia Bielefeld and not, say, Borussia Mönchengladbach.)
The corner following the Olkowski clearance was blown dead for a foul. Müller put the ball into play at 6:36. It took the FC just 23 seconds, including a pass back to Müller from Bisseck, into this Guirassy chance. Ortega got out and stopped it, but what’s great about putting pressure on is . . .
— 1. FC Köln (@fckoeln) January 8, 2018
Ortega is WAY out of position when the ball he deflected meets Milos Jojic. Just like that, it is 1:0.
But we’ve had leads before!
More from the “Ah, the follies of youth!” department.
Guirassy draws a defender away from Chris Führich so he can send the ball over to him and make his own run. All goes well up to this point. Counting Guirassy, there are four red shirts for two defenders in decent position with two more arriving a little behind the play. All this means, to me, “play it quickly!” with Clemens signalling with raised glove that he’s the best option as the most-unmarked guy in the area.
Führich maybe doesn’t see him. Not sure what else explains the decision to not cross and instead . . . well, I’m not sure what he thought he was going to do.
Führich stops the ball and cuts inside. Not only does this allow his marker to be fully in front of him, a second defender has overtaken “stop ball” duties and allowed the back to get in line. As you can see, the area is now jammed seven fairly well-positioned defenders, though Clemens remains relatively free of attention. Bless his heart! He still thinks he can get a pass!
An eights defender emerges from the left side of the frame to pressure Führich into mishandling (misfootling?) the ball, which is easily swept away and turned into a counterattack.
At least he was confident?
21. Believe it or not, but sometimes the screenshots are so blurry, I can’t subject you to them.
I loved the looping pass from midfield for Clemens. He appeared to try to find Guirassy, who had his man beat, but the ball deflected off Börner directly to Ortega. Guirassy was sort of pissed about it, even clapping his hands to make sure Clemens saw he was giving the universal striker sign for, “BRO! I WAS OPEN!” In his own defense, Clemens seemed to look at the referee like he wanted a call for a back pass, but that was more intended for Guirassy so he realized Clemens was not shooting on goal and was actually trying to reward the big man’s run.
25. Another great chance developed through the middle of the pitch. Who are these guys?
Pizarro played a perfectly weighted ball through for Clemens into the right side of the area with only Ortega to beat . . . or so it appeared. Clemens directed his shot away from Ortega’s momentum and got it past him, but Börner (this guy is everywhere!) burst into the picture to make a spectacular clearance I can only call either a “leaping backheel” or a “vertical scorpion.” Gotta work on my terminology. Didn’t bother to screen cap it, because this is not a Bielefeld blog. Go find the American Bielefelder for that one!
31. MAN! Not a minute after the restart, Rausch and Bisseck just watch a ball land at feet of an attacker a bit outside the area and let him take a potshot at Müller. Sven parries it away, but DAMN, y’all!
At the risk of having most FC fans suggesting I get my head examined, I’m going to use him as a counterpoint to how Führich led a break from the flank.
Rausch actually had less room here than Führich did earlier. Perhaps if he had another step or two, he’d have been tempted to try something a little fancier, but he went ahead and sent the ball into the area.
Rausch also has less-appealing options than did Führich with three of the four in red fairly well marked, but he still managed to find Jojic, who somehow settled his touch just well enough to recover near the goal line and send the ball toward goal. The ball smacked off Börner’s thighs and past the post. He can claim to have controlled it, but I’m calling it a 50/50. Could have been a deflection onto/past new keeper Baboucarr Gaye.
Gotta love Milos.
43. As Anas Ouahim enters the match for Guirassy, I realize that Yuya Osako must have been a halftime sub, apparently for Führich. That put Pizarro, Guirassy, and Osako all out there at the same time for about half the second half.
The FC weren’t exactly pressing as much as they were lingering for opportunity. A pass to David Ulm (now on the turf) drew light pressure from Osako from one side. Ouahim closed quickly to help and managed to win the ball while Osako was already moving into position for the counter. Ouahim had Osako, Jojic, and Pizarro from which to choose from as the FC attack approached the area with the Bielefeld defense caught out.
Without going into all the gory details, Jojic got deep and passed back across to find Pizzaro, whose shot banked into goal off the food of a jumping Osako, who you can see to be clearly offside. Unfortunate.
49. There has been no shortage of long bombs from the back row. Apparently that will be part of the strategy going forward?
51. Uhhh . . . . when did Nikolas Nartey enter the match? Had to have happened with the camera looking elsewhere. Pizarro appears to now be missing from proceedings.
53. Late in match with the lead, passing appears to be getting sloppy. Did none of these guys see the SC Freiburg match?
The last few minutes devolved, as they often do, into a bunch of midfield play leaning toward the end of the team with the lead. There were a few eyebrow-raising moments in there, but nothing too terribly alarming.
And in the end, when you’re champions of a one-day test-match tournament, nobody thinks about camera placement for the trophy ceremony.