Freund hails gung-ho Bundesliga

Former Borussia Dortmund and Schalke midfielder Steffen Freund believes that the Bundesliga has become more of an attacking league over the past few seasons.

Football News: Jurgen Klopp, Borussia Dortmund

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Currently the assistant coach at Tottenham, Freund has been heartened by the performances of various Bundesliga sides both in domestic and continental competitions this season. 

Most famously, Dortmund defeated La Liga champions Real Madrid 2-1 at the Signal Iduna Park in the Champions League last month and were equally impressive in the reverse leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

The likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, Hannover and Schalke have also attracted praise for their attacking intensity and Freund believes that German teams, as a whole, have demonstrated signs of a tactical shift to playing offensive football. 

Statistically, Bundesliga sides have scored 1.45 goals per match which is only bettered by La Liga which has its teams scoring 1.47 goals per game this season. The Premier League comes third amongst top European leagues although the Serie A, which has played an extra round so far, has seen more goals. 

"Overall, I think that teams, coaches and clubs focus a lot more on possession. They don't try to play like in my time with compactness and defensive organisation," Freund told Bundesliga.de. 

"On the contrary, they try to work on their quality on the ball in an attempt to improve the team in that respect. It's a consequence of coaches and clubs having the courage to play more attacking football. 

"Joachim Löw has certainly had a strong influence on this as he places great emphasis in training on being dominant and now he's achieved the quality in possession which ensures that German teams, internationally and in the Bundesliga, can create chances at any time. It's really is great to see. 

"Hannover, for example, have the quality to launch quick counterattacks, requiring very few touches to get forward. It makes for more attractive games in the Bundesliga."

Freund, a former defensive midfielder, also believes that the role is evolving with more of a playmaking rather than ball-winning focus attached to it. 

"There has certainly been a very positive development with regards to my old position in recent years. The 'number six', as we call it, has become the playmaker and moved further back, sometimes even into the back four. 

"Now you see centre-halves dribbling out and trying to swell the numbers in the midfield. That's going to become even more the case in the future. 

"Nowadays, central defenders have got to be strong in possession, as well as the number six, but that doesn't mean there's no place for typical ball-winners. If I don't have a ball-winner in my side, then I lose the balance. 

"I believe a healthy mix of all of this will be important in the future. The technical quality of a defensive midfielder has certainly improved."

Over the summer, Bayern Munich signed Javi Martinez from Athletic Bilbao for a record-breaking €40 million fee. But it is a known fact that most of the Bundesliga sides do not have the financial wherewithal to compete in the transfer market. 

The Tottenham coach, however, feels that this can only be a good thing as it'd force German clubs to focus more on developing youth stars like Mario Gotze and Marco Reus.

"Of course you want to be successful on the field, but the reality is you can't compare the Bundesliga with the Premier League. In England, big investors can buy shares and even take clubs over. This gulf will always remain.

"We only have one club [in Germany] who can compete financially and that is Bayern Munich. Borussia Dortmund are heading in the right direction and Schalke are certainly another club who could join them.

"In truth, only Bayern Munich can compete financially at the moment, but that's not a bad thing because it means that clubs have to put the emphasis on their own youngsters."



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