Before kick off, this game had the look of a potential banana skin for the league leaders, and after Leverkusen’s win against Hannover last night, it was important that the away side left the Volkswagen Arena with all three points.

In what turned out to be a comfortable first half for BvB it could have easily been a nightmare start. Lukasz Piczczek brought down Mario Mandzukic just outside the box. Diego stepped up and curled a wicked free kick towards goal, in an attempt to catch Roman Weidenfeller cold, the keeper would have been happy to see the ball fly just past the post.

Dortmund were awoken from their slumber and instantly went on the attack. Overloading the play on the right hand side, Mario Götze was sent clear down the flank, the Wolfsburg defence had been sliced open and Götze had the easy task of squaring the ball to Lucas Barrios and he gave the Champions elect the best possible start.

With most of Dortmund’s attacks coming down the right and left full back Marcel Schmelzer playing well in front of the half way line there was acres of space for Ashkan Dejagah to attack. Too often in the half the midfielder showed a lack of quality and Weidenfeller was never troubled. Grafite was calling out for some service but it never came.

The closest Wolfsburg came to a goal was through the efforts of Brazilian Diego, easily Die Wölfe’s brightest player. Halfway through the first half he hit a fizzing shot from 30 yards, Weidenfeller had to be alert to get his hands to it, the rebound fell to Grafite but the angle was tight and the keeper saved with ease.

Weathering the Wolfsburg storm with ease, Dortmund were in control. Patiently playing the ball around the Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg failed to put any great pressure on the ball, and Dortmund would go into the break two goals to the good.

Mario Götze again was the architect and the Wolfsburg defence had learnt nothing from the first goal. Leaving Barrios in the box unmarked, Götze found him with the pass, the Paraguayan’s shot was blocked but Nuri Sahin was alert and following up the play, his lunging shot swept the ball into the net.

Plenty of work for Steve McLaren to do at half time, however if your defence are going to leave a top International striker alone in the box you are never going to give your forward line the chance to win you the game.

Whatever McLaren said at the interval did have a slight impact. For 25 minutes they had plenty of possession and did a good job holding onto the ball, however for all the play they still couldn’t find a way to trouble Weidenfeller’s goal. Alexander Madlung’s long range effort that went high was the closet that Wolfsburg came to finding the net.

There is an old cliché that is peddled out for games like this, “When you have plenty of the ball, you have to make it count, or you will be punished”. And punished they were. Dortmund won a corner and although the first attempt was blocked it was the mercurial Nuri Sahin that collected the loose ball. The Turkish midfielder then swung in a teasing cross with his magical left foot, the ball was allowed to make its way to the back post, no one had picked up Mats Hummels and he had the easiest job to make it 3-0, game over.

In the end Dortmund as expected had too much for Wolfsburg, the constant movement of Götze, Barrios and Grosskreutz was too much for the poor Wolfsburg defence. At times it was embarrassing to watch, and too often the BvB frontline had acres of time and space to punish their opponents.

After the third goal Jurgen Klopp’s side put the big yellow bus into cruise control, they never looked like adding a fourth, but Wolfsburg never looked like getting past the excellent back line.

New signing Dieumerci Mbokani came on in place of Grafite, and he had a half chance late on, getting his head onto Dejagah’s cross, but he couldn’t direct the header and it glanced safely over the bar.

Constant images of Steve McLaren showed he was at a lose, apart from the defence it wasn’t an entirely poor performance, Diego tried but went missing in the second half, and Grafite hardly had a sniff at goal.

The big yellow machine that is BVB rolls on. Eleven points clear at the top of the table, the loss of Shinji Kagawa – out for the season with a broken metatarsal – doesn’t seem to have knocked them off their stride. Without a Europa League game to worry about it’s looking very unlikely that anyone will catch Klopp’s side. It’s Dortmund’s title to lose.

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Spanish magazine Don Balon has announced is eagerly anticipated Top 100 Young Players List for 2010. All players listed must be born after January 1st 1989 and they are also shown listed at their current club irrespective if they are on loan or not.

A dream for FM players looking forward to this years game, or just for football enthusiasts like myself who enjoy lists.

Let me know what you think, have Don Balon missed anyone off the list, add your suggestions.

read more »

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The game that no one wants to play in, but seems the game that everyone scores in, averaging just under 4 goals in the 3rd/4th place playoff with the pressure off the players usually shack the shackles off and entertain the fans, Everyone was hoping for the same outcome tonight, the Underdogs Uruguay trying to finish off a wonderful World Cup with the bronze medal, and the Germans looking to emulate 2006 and pick up the 3rd place, I was just hoping for goals goals goals.

URUGUAY

2

 

GERMANY

3

Edison CAVANI (28′)     Thomas MULLER (18′)  
Diego FORLAN (51′)     Marcell JANSEN (56′)  
      Sami KHEDIRA (82′)  
         
1.Fernando MUSLERA     22.Hans Jorg BUTT  
2.Diego LUGANO     2.Marcell JANSEN OUT – 81
3.Diego GODIN     3.Arne FRIEDRICH- Y  
4.Jorge FUCILE     4.Dennis AOGO – Y  
7.Edinson CAVANI OUT – 88   6.Sami KHEDIRA  
9.Luis SUAREZ     7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER  
10.Diego FORLAN     8.Mesut ÖZIL OUT – 91
15.Diego PEREZ – Y OUT – 77   13.Thomas MULLER  
16.Maximiliano PEREIRA     17.Per MERTESACKER  
17.Egidio AREVALO     19.CACAU – Y OUT – 73
22.Martin CACERES     20.Jerome BOATENG  
         
Subs     Subs  
5.Walter GARGANO IN – 77   1.Manuel NEUER  
6.Mauricio VICTORINO     12.Tim WIESE INJ
8.Sebastian EGUREN     5.Serdar TASCI IN – 91
11.Alvaro Pereira     9.Stefan KIEßLING IN – 73
12.Juan CASTILLO     10.Lucas PODOLSKI  
13.Sebastian ABREU IN – 88   11.Miroslav KLOSE  
14.Nicolas LODEIRO INJ   14.Holger BADSTUBER  
18.Ignacio GONZALEZ     15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI  
19.Andres SCOTTI     16.Philipp LAHM INJ
20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ     18.Toni KROOS IN – 81
21.Sebastian FERNANDEZ     21.Marko MARIN  
23.Martin SILVA     23.Mario GOMEZ  

A good match, I must say I had it on but fleeted in and out of total concentration, Germany took the early lead, Schweinsteiger’s shot saved by Muslera but fumbled and Muller was first to react and placed the ball into the net, 10 minutes later it was 1-1 my man of the tournament Diego Forlan fed in Edison Cavani and he finished calmly his first goal of the World Cup and very well deserved. All square at half-time and the game was not disappointing.

The second half started even better, Arevarlo Rios made an uncharacteristic run down the right picked out Forlan with his cut-back and Forlan lashed the volley with his right foot and Hans-Jorg Butt could only watch it sweep past him, superb goal from a superb player. The Germans equalised from an unlikely source, Jerome Boateng playing at right back swung in a very tempting cross and Marcell Jansen rose highest caught Muslera flapping and he got his head on the ball and it glided into the empty net.

As good as it is to see goals, I don’t think anyone wanted Extra-Time and the Germans duly obliged, Ozil’s corner wasn’t cleared and Khedira got a head on it and it floated over Muslera and into the net.

Now I said a second ago we didn’t want ET, that was until with the last kick of the ball Uruguay won a free kick on the edge of the area, Diego Forlan stood over it, a goal and we would have another 30 minutes, however Forlan would have his sixth goal and would stand on top of the Golden Boot standings, the World held their breathe, Diego stepped up and…..smashed the crossbar, so close, the game was over, an exciting night, if only the final is as good as this.

MY THOUGHTS

Not going to pick out players on this game as it’s more like a pre-season friendly but over the tournament I’ll pick out some players.

For me Uruguay’s best players have been Jorge Fucile, Maxi Pereira, Arevarlo Rios, Diego Perez, Adriano Pereira and Diego Forlan.

Fucile and M.Pereira have been fantastic at full back, Fucile’s tackling has been on point, never looked vulnerable, Maxi has gotten forward at all times, but defended well also, Rios and Perez have been the bouncers in front of the Uruguay backline, not letting many people pass, I can’t remember any goal against them that has come from a break through the middle of the Uruguay midfield, mostly crosses or Muslera fumbles.

And of course Diego Forlan has just been superb, he has tamed the Jabulani ball, scored spectacular goals, set up his team mates, and just seems an all-round top top guy, if you’re on twitter you should follow @DiegoForlan7  for a lovely insight into a great player. 

For Germany: Friedrich, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Ozil, and Muller.

Friedrich at 31 probably playing his last World Cup Boateng and Aogo will be gunning for his spot, but he’s had a great tournament, not listened to the weak link thoughts of many pundits and just gone about his job, very solid.

Captain Lahm has been mercurial at right back, always calm on the ball, moving the game forward, maybe not as expansive as in previous years but just a quality defender.

Schweni and Khedira have impressed everyone, pressure on both of them with Ballack being ruled out and my have they rose to the occasion, both knowing when to sit and when to attack, Sami’s runs from deep have been impressive and Bastian’s reading of the game has looked World Class at times, having the skill and speed to escape danger, he’s still young and can only get better.

I had seen Mesut Ozil a few times before the World Cup for Weder and the German Under 21’s but he was still a relative unknown and at times he’s had a great tournament, disappeared against Spain which shows his youth, however I have nothing but high hopes for Mesut.

Surprise of the Tournament for me has been Thomas Muller, wasn’t convinced by him at Bayern, 20 years old and has announced himself to the World stage, 5 goals in 6 games, very athletic, powerful player, good on the ball, loves to break forward, can’t wait to see more of him for Bayern Munich.

Two teams that have surpassed pre-Tournament predictions, Germany at one point everyone’s favourite, my favourites for 2014 now, I’ve got high hopes for Uruguay too, Under 20 World finalists so there are players coming through I hope they can qualify for 2014 as they could shock everyone again.

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