The first round of The UEFA Champions League for the 21/22 season begins today with the matches featuring F.C. Barcelona vs. F.C. Bayern Munich, F.C. Chelsea vs. F.C. Zenit, and F.C. Manchester United vs. BSC Young Boys.
Last season Chelsea won the Champions League with their newest coach Thomas Tuchel who’d only been in the job for six months. The year prior Bayern Munich won, and before that, it was Liverpool. These teams all shared a high standard of players throughout their squad. Their style of play, at those times, proved to be unstoppable for their opponents. Given that these teams have previously won the competition, theoretically, they would have an advantage. Change in personnel, injuries, among a slew of other reasons, prevented Bayern Munich and Liverpool from succeeding again after their wins.
This year the frontrunners for The Champions League are the usual suspects the most successful teams within the English, German and Spanish Leagues. Barring an upset from a Swiss team or an Italian team, a side from one of those three leagues will raise the trophy at the end. Considering the amount of talent those teams either had or bought during the last transfer window, everyone has to be at the top of their game to win The Champions League. Having talented players is not enough. It comes down to the philosophy each coach can instill into their team. The players need to subscribe to the style of play their coach wants, understand how to best execute their coach’s wishes, and strongly comprehend how their teammates play.
No one playing style can be considered the most successful. Several different styles of play work for different teams; Manchester United tends to play counter-attacking football while Bayern Munich is a more natural attacking side. The test for these teams is to see if they can adapt their style of play to their opponents while still doing what they do best.
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