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Dutch school

Passing, technique and tactics to the fore

Day 2 of the new term saw the first double dose of training at the club, and the first physical hiccoughs. On Thursday, Louis van Gaal had his men sweat their way through sessions at both 10.30 am and 4.30 pm, but two stars were unable to make it to the end. Franck Ribéry broke off the morning workout with a painful blister on his heel, and he was followed to the dressing room by bruised foot victim Christian Lell.

However, those were the only less than positive incidents from training, with the players pronouncing themselves impressed by Van Gaal. “The coach is very direct, very open, and clear about everything. He’s following a well-defined path, and the players are going with him,” Mario Gomez reflected. Fellow new boy Ivica Olic was equally upbeat: “Louis van Gaal works a lot with the ball, and we’re doing a lot of skills training. You always enjoy that. Other coaches make you do a lot of running at the start.”

Van Gaal’s preferences have not come as a complete surprise to Olic. In his time at Hamburger SV, the Croat was coached by two Dutch maestros (Martin Jol, Huub Stevens). Anatoliy Tymoshchuk played for Dick Advocaat at Zenit St. Petersburg, and Danijel Pranjic is highly familiar with the way of doing things in the Netherlands, as he spent the last four seasons with SC Heerenveen. “We had plenty of these training sessions, with lots of passing routines,” he revealed, “that’s the Dutch school.”

Technique and tactics

Pranjic is convinced the orange effect will extend from the practice ground to the field of play at Germany’s biggest club. “I believe Bayern will play a different type of football this season,” he opined. Technique and finely-honed tactics could shape Van Gaal’s FCB, the Croatia international feels.