audi cup 2015
|Arriving in Germany from
Heathrow on Tuesday night, the first thing you noticed was the heat.
Although it was late evening, it was still sticky and warm.
Our hotel was in the centre of the city, so, by the time we had got the train and found it, there was only time for a quick look at the TV before crashing out. Turning to Sky Germany, they had the full Spurs v Manchester United game from the Lane last season premiering the start of our Premier League on Saturday.
The next day, the Olympic Stadium was our destination ... the venue of my last trip to the City to see Spurs play Bayern Munich in the European Cup Winners Cup in November 1983, when there were 20,000 in the huge stadium. That is because it was slightly different to that day, when it was about -10 degrees, with the temperature on this visit in the mid 30s. The arena's unique spider's web roof was still recognisable, but the pitch was not "available to be viewed because of events to be held at the stadium" (the notice read). When we got inside, with a number of other visitors with Spurs shirts on (including my good friend Doug, who we bumped into), we saw what they meant. Where once was a pitch was now tarmac. It appears that artificial turf is laid on top for sporting events, but the arena is usually used for music concerts. The stadium is now all-seater, although they have rail-standing in one area, with the capacity supposedly nearly 65,000.
There is a monument commemorating the nine Israeli athletes, officials and coaches murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics, which sits at the opening to approach to the Stadium from the Olympic Park and is on the route between the former Olympic Village (where the hostages were taken) and the arena.
There is a lot of different things to see and do in the park. There is a large funfair, the 190m tall Olympic Tower (where you can get up to a viewing platform), a large lake, sports halls and stadiums, a mini-golf course, tennis courts, a skateboard park, an open air bandstand, a 50m tall schuttberge (debris mountain) that is 564m above sea level and gives a good view over the park and the distant city. It is hard to imagine that the London Olympic site at Stratford will be as lasting a legacy forty years on.
With time to kill, we looked around the outskirts of the city using the U-bahn. Getting off at Alte-Heide we wandered around and with the aid of Google found the non-league ground of FC Schwabing and FC Alte-Heide. It was similar to some ground sin this country of a similar level, with no stand, seating or terracing ... just a railing around a running track for you to lean on. They play quite a way down the Regional pyramid, but it was a neat, multi-sports use ground, with athletic and hockey catered for.
One thing we did notice was the cheap price of parking near train stations, in contrast to this country where they are exorbitant. It encourages people to use the public transport, which in itself is cheap too and is designed to get people around the city efficiently, as you might expect from the Germans.
Deciding to make a move for the ground, it was a good decision, as the trains were getting busy and arriving at Frotmanning station, there were quite a lot of people already around. Going over the bridge from the station to the approach to the arena, there is a big open space, which is necessary, with a large multi-storey car park close to the tube station and the coach drop-off point. There are also several massive underground car parks, which people appear from out of concrete bunkers, but they are the access and exit points. The ground sits high on a hill beyond all this.
The arena is the only thing there. There are no houses or shops, as the town of Frotmanning had been deserted for some time and part of it was taken to make way for the ground and the improved transport connections. Can't imagine Boris doing that for the Northumberland Park Development somehow.
As you got nearer the ground, there were freestylers, shooting the ball through holes and beer zones, as well as food outlets and merchandising trailers. The security was very good and you had to pass through a search first, although the security man was babbling on at me about something in German ... even though I told him I didn't speak German !! Anyway, I got through and the match tickets we printed out at home were put under a QR code reader (those little squares with some of the black missing) and we were in. This seems a much simpler system than that employed at the Lane and maybe the more up to date system will be installed in the new ground when it is finished.
Our seat was in the second level, which is actually entered from the ground level, as the pitch and first tier are sunk below ground level. It is a weird concept, but appears to work and I wondered if this would be used at Spurs in the future, but with the underground car park and bigger dressing rooms, I guess the idea won't be possible.
The stadium is massive, although with a smaller capacity than Wembley, the benefit here is that I reckon you get a really good view from most seats, which isn't the case at our national stadium. There were two big TV screens, ample leg-room and the ability to take your beer back to your seat. The other thing that was really odd after a few years being absent from English grounds was the fact that people could smoke inside the stadium legitimately.
With the match kick off nearing, there was a troop of drummers coming onto the pitch to generate some clapping from the fans, followed by a procession of drummers whose drums lit up when they hit them, flag wavers, people carrying massive scarves of the competing teams, flag throwers and children carrying coloured boards to tell us it was the Audi Cup.
It was all carried out with pinpoint accuracy (although one man dropped a Spurs flag), as you would expect and it had the whiff of an Olympic opening ceremony to it. When this was done, the teams emerged and the countdown on the advertising hoardings around the ground started ... but it was out of synch with the announcer, who annoyingly persistently referred to our team as "Tottenham Hotspurs". Ever felt that we were the odd ones out here ?? Especially when they carried a list of honours on the big screens and ours looked out of place alongside those of Bayern, AC Milan and Real.
Anyway ... the teams lined up and we were ready to go ... after a minute's silence for Franz Beckenbauer's son, who had died at the weekend.
Madrid 2 (1) Tottenham Hotspur
Audi Cup semi-final
Tuesday 4th August 2015 Kick off 17:15 (UK time)
James 35m 52s
Bale 78m 25s
Ramos (foul on Eriksen) 55
|Crowd : 71,000||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : G. Perl (GER)||Assistant Referees : T. Stein, M. Emmer (GER)|
|Fourth Official : F. Badstubner (GER)||-|
|Real Madrid kicked off the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 minutes.|
|Real Madrid :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
2 Raphane VARANE
8 Toni KROOS (14
Borja MAYORAL 83)
Harry WINKS 69)
|Manager : Rafael Benitez||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : Fly Emirates||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Seeing Gareth Bale close up (well, as close as you can from two tiers up) is a real experience. Always a magnificent physical specimen, since leaving Tottenham, his upper body had been developed no end and with his hair tied up, he looked like a Samurai warrior. Not that he needed to be that aggressive to put one past us in the first game he played against his former employers. But by then, the match was already one goal out of Tottenham's grasp. Not that Spurs played that badly, just they were not up to getting through to Real's goal that often, despite having the majority of the match possession.
But back to the start. With the pomp and circumstance out of the way, the real action could begin. And it did, with Spurs in their new purple third kit ... getting exposure for it all across the globe, as the match was streamed free on Facebook. More importantly, Tottenham made a reasonable start, with Danny Rose finding space on our left wing and putting a ball into the box that Marcelo cleared away. Then in the second minute, Erik Lamela should have scored to upset the odds. Mousa Dembele sent Kyle Walker on a right wing run and he pulled the ball back to Lamela, who was six yards out, but under pressure he lifted his shot way over the crossbar. It was a golden opportunity, but it was spurned and Real hit back straight away, when Jese took a through ball on the right hand corner of the Spurs area and smacked a shot that flew past Vorm and rattled the bar for a considerable time. Luckily for Spurs, the ball bounced away.
Jese then popped up on the other side of the box and tried to curl a low shot round Vorm, but the Dutchman was up to it and pushed the ball wide. The game then calmed down a bit, as the temperature was still high and on pitch level, I reckon even warmer, as there was little breeze in the ground. It meant the players were happy to knock the ball around without making too many incisive runs, while Eric Dier satisfied himself with kicking Bale every time he tried to get near our back four. Not having been at the club during Gareth's time, he probably doesn't know him that well, but Bale looked aggrieved every time he got dumped on the floor by the young man, playing in a defensive two with Dele Alli today.
Casilla (the goalkeeping replacement for Casillas) looked shaky when Eriksen drove forward and found a yard of space to let fly with a shot that the keeper blocked with his legs, despite having two hands available to save it with. At the other end, new boy Kevin Wimmer produced an ungainly donkey kick to clear a cross from Marcelo and the Austrian looked pretty sound. James tried a long range effort, but it troubled nobody apart form the people who might not have been expecting it to clear the high net behind Vorm's goal. Spurs were finding the twin central defensive pairing of Sergio Ramos and Danilo difficult to get past. Part of this was because of Ramos' 'experience' (roughly translated as shoving, pushing and pulling), while new signing Danilo, the man with no face, as he was the only player without a photo on the big screen when they were introduced, is a strapping defender, with an aptitude for bringing the ball out of the back line.
Walker went on a long run form his own half, but when he got to the edge of the Real box, he got the ball caught under his feet and the move broke down. Then came the moment of the match for most Tottenham supporters, as the ball was played to Alli by Dembele, the youngster took a touch and as a Real player closed him down, he nut-megged him and laid the ball out to Danny Rose on the left. The player he nut-megged was none other than Luka Modric !!
Not that it helped much, as Real stepped it up a bit and Bale rose unchallenged o head a corner wide, then Vorm smothered a low Modric cross from their right before he pulled out a good recovery save to deny Real. Modric had taken aim from outside the box in the 35th minute and the ball hit Wimmer, sending the keeper the wrong way. From his dive to the left, Michel managed to get up and throw himself to the right to claw the ball away before it got near the goal-line. The keeper did very well to react so quickly, but it only delayed the goal that came a minute later. Isco had space on their left wing and he put a cross into the Tottenham area, which found our centre-halves go missing and with Danny Rose the nearest player to James, the Colombian striker had little trouble rising to power a header past Vorm to the keeper's right from just outside the six yard box. Neither Walker nor Eriksen put too much into preventing the cross coming in and the marking was pitiful, so the goal was all that Spurs deserved to be punished with.
Rose went two thirds the length of the pitch after picking off Isco's pass, but he failed to beat Varane with his cross and he was enjoying playing against Real, as there was a huge amount of space for him to move into most of the time. Right on the half-time whistle, Erik Lamela took exception to the attention he was getting from Ramos and there was a group of players gathering around the Spanish captain until they were ushered down the tunnel.
Pochettino rang some changes at the break with Nabil Bentleb coming on for Dier, Chadli for Lamela and Vertonghen in place of Wimmer. The changes seemed to have perked the side up a bit, with Kane finally getting the chance to run at defenders and winning a corner, but nothing came of it. However, when Varane failed to clear up-field, Chadli got the loose ball, fed Alli on the right side of the box, pulling the ball back behind him for Eriksen to strike a rising shot that cleared the goal seven minutes into the half.
Once more Ramos was unable to help himself, when he cleaned out Eriksen from behind and Kane was first there to remonstrate with the Real bully and soon there was a melee forming, only calmed down by the referee booking the offender. It was strange, as Real had been getting all the decisions, but I think Kane let Ramos know he was there once or twice, so the central defender took it out on someone else.
Kane was seeing a bit more of the ball and won another corner, but nothing came of it. Real had made two subs at half-time and brought on three more. Bentaleb had almost found Chadli with an astute ball, but it was just too long, so when the Belgian did get the ball as Rose flew into a challenge 35 yards from goal with Danilo, he took the ball to the edge of the penalty area and tried to bend an effort round Casilla, but the keeper used his hands this time, not to catch it, but to punch it way out to his left. Things were getting desperate when Christian tried to get the ball over Casilla from about 50 yards out. Needless to say, the goalie collected the ball easily.
More changes occurred before Walker picked out Chadli at the far post with a cross, but the big man was adjudged to have fouled his marker. Before we knew it, the score was doubled as the inevitable goal from Gareth Bale came, but not perhaps in the way we expected. Vertonghen played the ball out of defence to Bentaleb, who was 40 yards from our goal. He thought that he was playing a square ball to Tom Carroll, but it went behind him and Bale was on it like a flash to take it forward and run at Jan, moving the ball inside to smack a low dipping left foot shot at goal from 25 yards out. It looked as though Vorm should have got more on the save but he dived under the ball as it bounced off the turf and he couldn't get enough on it to stop it speeding past him.
To his credit, Bale muted his celebrations, with just a little heart gesture, as many Spurs fans applauded him anyway. It was a nice show of respect.
There was also a lot of disrespect shown to the two teams, as the Bayern coach was shown approaching the stadium and apart from during a tube strike, I have never heard so many people so pleased to see a bus !! It was off-putting trying to watch the game as fans went nuts over a piece of transport, so I don't know what the players thought was going on. Then, when the players got into the stadium, they were watching from one of the corners of the pitch and the cameras focused in on them again, so cue massive cheers.
The only other cheers left before the end of the game came when Bale made way for Mayoral. The Spurs fans around us gave him a good reception, with the game played out at a leisurely pace, with the heat starting to take it's toll.
At the final whistle, the home fans at least had the good grace to applaud the two sides, who disappeared almost immediately into the hole in the floor that opened up allowing them to go down to the dressing rooms.
It had been a better performance by Spurs than perhaps I had feared, with few matches having been played and facing Real Madrid, albeit in a pre-season friendly, it could have got very messy. However, the team looked comfortable on the ball, but were sometimes too loose in their passing, meaning that they had to defend situations which might otherwise have been avoided. Kane was quiet, being shackled well and having two men on hi as soon as he received the ball, while others had more time and space, but our balls into the box need to be more threatening otherwise players are out of position when the move breaks down.
|Staying on for the Bayern v
AC Milan game, it was an interesting experience, as the atmosphere
was very different for that of the Spurs game.
Suddenly the PA was cranked up a few notches and AC Milan had even brought along their own announcer. There was a whole lot of music played that sounded like some Bayern club song and then there was a great deal of call and response interaction going on. The Gooners pinched the idea from the continent, where the announcer names the player's christian name and then the crowd call out his surname. This is done to military precision and there was more of it later.
The disrespect shown to the two teams earlier was once more evident as Bayern ran out easy 3-0 winners over a hapless AC Milan side, who, once noted for their steadfast defending, were now happily handing goals to the opposition. Then at 0-2 down, the manager, who had earlier booted the ball half the length of the pitch when one of his players put a pass out of play, decided to change the whole team (bar one he had changed already). After each goal, there was 'Seven-Nation Army’ by 'The White Stripes played at top volume, as the fans clap along. The the announcer says 'Goal scored by [christian name]' followed by the crowd shouting the player's surname. This happens three times before the announcer says 'FC Bayern' and the crowd respond with the number of goals they have scored. He then calls out the opposition's name and the crowd call out the number of goals they have scored ... although apparently, how ever many they have, the fans always call out 'Nul' (nil). German sides must be very tolerant of this, as some English teams might then go out to let Bayern know they are there after hearing that !!
At least they are polite, as the announcer thanks the crowd and the crowd tell him he is welcome.
The atmosphere is all manufactured though, with only a few chants heard (the first after about an hour of the game). The crowd were all given cardboard sheets to fold up for them to hit themselves with to make them sound like they were clapping and there is a sickening enthusiasm for the Mexican Wave. I thought it was that they had little interest in our game against AC Milan, but they even did it during their own match, with some more co-ordinated fans in the front of the second tier starting it off. They went on for ages too, which was particularly annoying when you are trying to watch a game of football.
That was the big difference
between English and German spectators, although there was almost
(but not quite as much) traffic of people going to get food and
drink during the game.
The opening goal came halfway through the first half, with Bernat having a shot that took a huge deflection off Balanta. The second came halfway through the second half, when Goetze ran in from the right and provided Lewandoski with a chance on the edge of the box. The striker's control was poor and Goetze took the ball off his toe to bend the ball past the keeper for 2-0. The third came near the end and in similar fashion to Bale's goal, except a Milan defender crashed the ball into Rode's shoulder and Muller picked up the ball to the centre of the D and flipped it over a defender to Lewandoski on his right. The forward smashed the ball as hard as he could on the volley from the 18 yard line to leave the goalkeeper helpless and round off a 3-0 win with just over five minutes left.
The Olympic Stadium ... scene of Spurs'
meeting in Europe with Bayern Munich in 1982 and 1983
Allianz Arena on the way in
The Spurs warm up for Real
Flags and marching ... ... a national ceremonial speciality.
Allianz Arena on the way out
Spurs threaten AC Milan from a corner (from the top tier !)
|Wednesday was another hot
day. We had spent the bulk of the day in the Englisher Garten,
which is a massive park in the middle of the city that spreads up
north towards where the ground is. It has a part where a river
is turned into a surfing area, with people riding the waves.
There is a massive lake, a Chinese pagoda and even a nudist area
(which is apparently common in German parks) !! Spurs shirts
were in evidence throughout the park, which was good to see and
indicated that a larger presence of fellow Spurs were in the city
than I thought. Only the Southern half of the park was covered
due to the heat and the need to get out of the sun.
The journey to the stadium was one of the most unpleasant train journey's I have ever been on. It could only have been made worse had the carriage been full of Gooners. But it was the heat and the fact that the journey to the stadium was in the middle of rush hour. There were also a significant number (and I mean significant) of Bayern fans going in the same direction even though their game was not until 19:45 local time. They weren't going to watch a decent match involving Spurs, but were heading for the beer zones around the ground to get "refreshed" before the match.
It wasn't supposed to be as hot as the previous day, but it felt it, being pressed up against sweaty bodies in a train carriage. We did strike up a conversation with a group of friendly Costa Ricans, who were there to support Real (their national keeper playing for Madrid) and they had some interesting views of Spurs, thinking our fans were very aggressive. I don't know what they would have thought of Chelsea and West Ham fans ! The Spurs fans on the train made their presence felt with a range of songs from down the years.
Anyway, we had to make a journey back into the city centre to be able to get on a train, so, by the time we got to Frotmanning, we only had to time get to the stadium and go straight in. It was a more straightforward affair this time apart from having to get to level 3, with only stairs to do so. Anyone with any nous would sit at the bottom selling tanks of oxygen !! Reaching our block and row, it became clear that the locals had got their beach towels out early, as a Bayern fan was sitting in my seat. No need to, as he had a seat, just obviously couldn't be bothered to sit in it.
The Bayern fans I sat next to in the stadium were very unfriendly and appeared not to really enjoy the match-day experience. They seemed annoyed that there were quite a few Spurs fans around this section and our signing, without being prompted, was odd. They did get excite din their game and I thought that I would witness the the moment the young lad's voice next to me broke, such was his anger at times !!
Luckily we didn't have to suffer the pomp before the kick off, as the game was about to start as we eventually claimed our rightful seats.
Interestingly at half-time, when we went to get some food and drink, you have to load up a "Stadium Card", which makes it very difficult to judge how much you should put on it, as some food was off the menu and most seemed to come up a few cents short of a full Euro. Clever marketing, other than reducing the handling of cash by the people serving food. Mind you, I was totally jealous of the woman who was loading the cards with cash, as she had a much better moustache than me !!
Getting food was also not
easy, as there were long queues (something Germans don't seem to
have mastered), but it did mean that we again didn't have to sit
through the pre-match flag twirling. We did notice that the
Directors box, which is huge, was better filled today than the day
before and this was probably as Bayern had reached the final.
There were also areas of the crowd that were filled with Audi
employees, making it a massive jolly for them.
|AC Milan 0 (0) Tottenham Hotspur
Audi Cup 3rd/4th place play-off
Wednesday 5th August 2015 Kick off 17:15 (UK time)
Chadli 7m 42s
Carroll 70m 28s
|Crowd : 70,000||Weather : Sunny and very hot|
|Referee : R. Hartmann (GER)||Assistant Referees : B. Cortus, E. BEITINGER (GER)|
|Fourth Official : M. Pflaum (GER)||-|
|AC Milan kicked off the first half.|
|Game time : - 90+ minutes.|
|?? :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Ignazio ABATE (10
Mattia DE SCIGLIO
18 Ricardo MONTOLIVIO (c) (34 Nigel de JONG 42)
Andrea POLI (28
Antonio NOCARINO 46)
Luke McGEE (
Hugo LLORIS 54)
Eric DIER (44
Harry WINKS 54)
|Manager : Sinisa Mijhailovic||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : Fly Emirates||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Featuring in the early game once more, Spurs had the dubious honour of facing AC Milan for the wooden spoon. The game was played in the heat of the early evening, which you would have thought might suit the Italians better, but our players coped well with the heat and took it out of the game with some good passing and movement to make Milan work hard and ended up winning by a 2-0 score-line.
The Spurs fans were in good voice, with "Everywhere We Go !" echoing around the Allianz Arena, as many Bayern fans were giving it a miss to soak up the sun and the beer in the beer zone outside. Spurs had lined up with Luke McGee getting the first taste of first team football in goal, while Kieran Trippier replaced Kyle Walker, who took a knock last night. Vertonghen started alongside Faz, with Bentaleb and Dier in front of them. The attacking three were Tom Carroll on the right, Nacer Chadli nominally on the left and Erik Lamela through the middle behind Josh Onomah, starting in place of the rested Kane.
It was an interesting line-up, considering Milan are pretty strong in midfield, but when the game kicked off, McGee got an early touch, collecting a deflected cross and then Lamela chased down a short header back to keeper Abbiati from Mexes and there appeared to be a bit more energy about our engine room today. Mexes is not a player I rate highly and the way he went through Onomah within the first five minutes was a bit unnecessary for a friendly. Tottenham had the first chance with Chadli skidding a free-kick just a few feet wide of the post from outside the area and then Onomah almost got onto Carroll's right wing ball in low at the near post, but the defender blocked it for a corner.
Not that it mattered, as within a minute, Trippier played a short pass form the right to Chadli. Cutting inside and letting go an early shot, it curled past Abbiati to give Spurs a 1-0 lead just eight minutes in. Even though Nacer was outside the box, his shot was hit with pace and out of the keeper's reach to his right and was a pearler of a shot.
Milan started to hit back and Cerci crossed for Matri to win a header, but he put it wide, then a long ball forward from the back found Trippier ducking under the ball, but it hit him on the back, falling nicely for Matri, with McGee off his line, as he had come for the ball. The Italian striker lobbed the ball up in the air to clear the stranded keeper, but as he ran back, he was relieved to see the ball land behind the goal. It looked as though Spurs might extend their lead, as Davies played a ball forward and suddenly Onomah and Lamela were through, but Lamela couldn't get the ball under control. When Chadli crossed into the heart of the Milan area, Onomah got on the end of it, but tried to control the ball by chesting it down, only for it to run away from him, when it looked like he might score.
Abate then dinked a ball over the Spurs defence and found Matri running into the right hand channel of the box. He struck the ball first time, but failed to get much power behind it, leaving McGee a comfortable save, as the shot was straight at him. Half an hour through the first half, there was an odd incident, as Spurs progressed down their right wing, but when the ball was turned inside, Mexes intercepted it ... with a scorpion kick !!
McGee was getting to see a fair bit of action, with a shot from Suso straight at him, then the same player tested the young goalie from a corner, firing a low shot to the keeper's left and he flopped to get behind the ball and hold it well. Cerci failed to test McGee, coming inside to rifle a shot at goal that went off for a throw !! Tom Carroll had been instrumental in prompting a lot of Tottenham's attacking play and he was played in on the left side of the box by Lamela, trying to slide the ball around the diving Abbiati, but the Italian keeper got a touch to it and diverted the ball just wide for a corner. The keeper was soon in action again, with Onomah bearing down on a ball from Chadli, but the Spurs striker was nudged as he went for it by a defender, sending Josh careering into Abbiati's midriff. After treatment he was OK to carry on, but was replaced at the break.
Matri tired an ambitious effort ahead of the near post to Poli's low ball in, but he would have had to have been double-jointed to trouble McGee from there. Suso was having a policy of shooting on sight and another long range effort had the pace taken off it by a deflection, but McGee got down to it well and before anyone could snaffle the loose ball away from him, grabbed it to his chest.
Riccardo Montolivio was taken off after treatment on the pitch, seemingly for a head injury, but there had been nobody near him at the time, although he had been caught inadvertently by Bentaleb earlier in the half, when the Milan man slid into a rash challenge. An ice pack was place don his head on the bench and at a time the game called for cool heads, in the humid conditions, Nigel de Jong entered the play !! Luckily, there was little time for him to get involved before the half-time whistle.
Wimmer came on to replace Vertonghen for Spurs, as Spurs kicked off the second half and Onomah soon put Chadli through with a reverse pass that should have been turned into a more dangerous situation, but the Belgian cut inside onto his left foot and while taking that touch, he allowed Paletta to take the ball off him. Chadli then provided Trippier with a ball out wide right to run onto and when his touch took the ball a bit wider, he ended up trying a shot at the near post instead of a cross, but the ball only found the side-netting. The new right back did well finding attacking positions out wide on the right, but it appears his crossing stats from last season were not too much in evidence today.
Chadli, Dier and McGee were taken off, with Ryan Mason, Harry Winks and Hugo Lloris coming on. It was good to see Hugo back in action and his first main involvement was to launch a ball up-field for Lamela to run onto on the left and when he reached the dead ball line, he pulled it back to the on-running Mason, who struck a low shot, but not with enough power to unduly trouble sub keeper Donnarumma. Moments earlier, the keeper had denied Mason the opportunity to get on the end of Trippier's low ball into the six yard box. There was also a neat one touch move which AC couldn't get close to, involving Winks, Carroll, Mason and Bentaleb (obviously crafted in the Academy), but Lamela was robbed just as he was about to shoot.
MIlan had brought on Honda and Bacca to try and get back into the game, but the Japanese midfielder looked off the pace and out of touch, while Bacca showed little aggression, which is usually his game and his one chance saw him head well wide from a similar position that James scored from the previous day. Winks played pass inside to Carroll from the right and he set up Mason for a first time shot, which he tried to curl around a defender and into the top corner, but he was leaning back and the ball ended up going over the bar.
In the 71st minute, Lamela and Carroll stood over a corner, as Erik played it back to Winks. His ball inside to Trippier saw the defender pick out Carroll's run into the area and he neatly curled a first time, low shot beyond the outstretched right arm of Donnarumma to see the ball go in off the post and nestle in the bottom corner of the net to double Tottenham's lead. The Spurs contingent went wild, while there was a lot of clapping from around the stadium too. There was a bit of a set-to in the box between Mason and Calabria as the ball was going in, with Ryan pulling the shirt of the defender and then pushing him in the face. Calabria went down a bit dramatically though.
Honda had a shooting chance, but sliced it horribly wide, then Paletta won a header at the far post and his header was drifting towards goal, when Fazio headed away. Mexes had even had to come back on, as Milan ran out of subs !!
The reason it was good to have Hugo back was obvious in the 85th minute, when a cross came in, was headed out, but Ely smashed a powerful half-volley that would have gone in under the bar, but Lloris pushed it upwards and then jumped to grab the ball as it came down before Luiz Adriano could get to it. Saves like that could earn us quite a few points during the season.
And that was about it, as Spurs held onto possession to see out time. The locals applauded with their cardboard clappers, having waited only three minutes to set off a Mexican Wave at the start of the game. Kieran Trippier was awarded the Man of the Mach trophy and he put in a good performance, while the team were awarded a replica of the Audi Cup, which was the third largest, with AC Milan being given a mini one.
It had been a good work-out for the team. A tough ask playing Real Madrid, even though they are further off their match preparation for the start of their season. AC Milan looked poor throughout and conceded five goals and scored none. However, they have some dangerous players, although that was not shown I these two matches.
I am not sure what Pochettino got out of the tournament. An opportunity to assess some fringe players, who mainly did well. Try out some different players within the formation. Get match playing minutes under the players' belts. Work out how the set-pieces can work. How the players will perform in different conditions. All of those were pros. The one con would have been the fact that they were not able to fly home the night on the last game and had to stay in Munich until the next day, training at Bayern's facility on the Thursday morning ... which was absolutely baking hot. It was bad enough walking around, let alone having to run in it !!
Having been abroad with Spurs a fair amount, this was a nice way to do it, with two guaranteed matches, no real pressure and against good opposition. Seeing the city of Munich over three days was also nice, as usually, it is straight in and straight out after European games, so that was also a bonus.
And the trip containing a
Spurs win ... now that is a bonus !!
|Having got Tottenham's game
out of the way, we settled back for what should have been a feast of
attacking football between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
Over the two days we had seen Spurs flags from Loughton, Southern Germany and Russia, while Tottenham fans from Germany, USA and UAE were spotted in the crowd. Many stayed for the final and while there was a slight competitive edge, Bale had been left on the bench, while Bayern put out a strong side.
The game was quite cagey and there was little love lost between the sides, with some meaty challenges, one of which earned Marcelo a yellow card for taking out Lahm right on the edge of the box, having made little attempt to go for the ball.
As for goal-mouth action, this was a little limited, with Kroos pulling a shot just wide from 25 yards out, then Alaba smacked a shot at goal from the left and Navas beat it out, but straight back in front of goal, where Thomas Muller ran in to head Real into what would have been the lead. Ramos was with him and did enough to put the German striker off forcing him to put his header well wide. At the other end Ramos came close to scoring without knowing much about it. Kroos dinked a free-kick into the box and as the Spanish central defender jumped for the ball, he was off balance, but the ball dropped onto him and his momentum almost got enough on it to beat Neuer. Carvajal almost replicated Bayern's opening goal of the previous day, with him getting a foot to a cross, but the ball headed towards the middle of the six yard box, where Ramos hoofed it away.
Lahm, Goetze and Muller linked up with come tiki-taka passing, resulting in the later side-footing a shot that went past the keeper's right hand post with what would have been almost the perfect goal. About eight minutes before half time, Muller tried another long shot, which Ramos stuck a leg out to on the edge of the box, deflecting the ball the opposite way to the way Navas was diving, so both were relieved when they saw the ball bounce out off a goal-post. Goetze had a good chance, shooting from Alaba's pull-back on the left wing, but the effort was kept out by the fallen body of Muller and Navas' legs.
The last round of a 'kick-a-ball-through-a-hole' contest was held at half-time, with the previous six participants missing the hole by a distance. Shooting from a wheeled on stage to try and get the ball through a hole in a sheet hanging from an inflatable zeppelin was a really odd one. The last two got closest, but still didn't succeed in what I think would have been winning an Audi car. Safe to say that no Spurs fans were chosen to take part !!
Five minutes after the restart Kroos hit a free-kick from just outside the box over the wall and got it down quick enough to force Neuer to dive and tip the ball over the bar with a good save. At the other end, Benatia missed from a corner with an unimpeded header. A glaring miss from a foot out by Lewandoski on the hour, from Douglas Costa's low ball across the goal, made you wonder what the fuss was about the man who had scored such a good goal yesterday. Kroos drew a Hollywood save from Neuer, who punched away a low dipping shot, while both Hojbjerg and Alaba tested Navas with shots he had to save. Costa drove inside form the right and hit a left foot shot from 25 yards a couple of feet wide.
However, with two minutes to play, after his earlier miss, Lewandoski got on the end of a Costa free-kick, to nudge the ball past Navas, who came for the ball in his six-yard box with his feet, to win the Audi Cup for Bayern. The ball in had seen Ramos attack it, but get under it, allowing the Polish striker to steal in for the winner. The home fans followed the script as the announcer read out the scorer and the goal and the fans shouted their bits to perfection. Bale's face appeared on the screen and sitting on the bench, he looked less than impressed.
The end of the match was a farce, as child after child (and then adult) got over the perimeter fence past the nonchalant security staff. One got James' shirt and another got a selfie with Ramos ... without getting kicked. This would never have happened in the old days !!
Anyway, our tournament experience was over and Bayern put on a good show on the pitch and with the pre-match show (although that is not what I would choose). The stadium was highly impressive, even if the fans were less so.
Also impressive was the way that the ground cleared so quickly and that 70,000 fans could be transported away without a great deal of hassle. There was a small bottleneck as fans tried to navigate their way around the barriers at the entrance to the bridge to the station, but that was not too bad and the trains were regular on both platforms, leading to them not being overly packed when they pulled out.
Will that be what it will be like at the Lane in a few years time ? I doubt it, as little will be done to improve the ease of travelling to and from the ground by public transport and the lack of government co-operation will be in stark contras to what happened here. The access from the stadium car parks to the autobahn next to it helps, but the road system in Tottenham will not be changed significantly enough to solve the traffic problem at Spurs.
The following day we strolled around the city centre, which is quite compact and has a lot to see and do. I recommend the Viktualienmarkt where a large number of outlets serve hot food from a large range of cuisines. We then took an over-ground train down to the south of the city to the end of the line, where the countryside is more Tyrol in nature and you can see the Southern Bavarian Alps in the distance.
Then it was time to get back to the airport for the flight home and a bus ride from Paddington to Liverpool Street that took longer than the journey from Munich to Heathrow !! That was due to the tube strike, which meant that even at 10 o'clock on a steamy night in London the roads and buses were packed as if it was the middle of the day.
Home at 20 past midnight.
In bed ten minutes later. Five hours after that it was up for
work and back to reality.
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