World News – AU – Scouting Report: Facts about FC Midtjylland


Scott Fleming

Ahead of Liverpool’s Group D Champions League clash with FC Midtjylland, we take a closer look at the innovative methods and continuous advancements that are reaping rich rewards for tonight’s visitors to Anfield, at home and now in Europe.

Defending Danish title holder Midtjylland was formed just 21 years ago when two small clubs on the Jutland peninsula decided to join forces

Wolves made their way to a first Superliga title in 2015 before proving they could bite and bark in the Europa League the following season, beating Southampton in qualifying and only succumbing to Manchester United in the last 32 after a 2- 1 first leg win in their compact but atmospheric home, the MCH Arena

A wave of publicity followed FCM at that time, not only because of what it was doing, but also

With sports betting expert Matthew Benham for owner and world-renowned author and motivational speaker Rasmus Ankersen for president, Midtjylland used all kinds of innovative techniques to gain an edge, employing a l throw-in coach – Thomas Gronnemark, who has also worked with Liverpool since 2018 – to set up a ‘set-piece lounge’ where players were introduced to a host of unusual kick routines frank and corner

The data-driven FCM’s success is reflected in a remarkable statistic that has emerged in the Danish press over the weekend Since Benham took power in 2014, the club – of which Herning’s hometown has only 50,000 residents – collected a total of 435 league points, two less than 13-time national champions FC Copenhagen and the dominant force in Danish football for most of the past two decades

Midtjylland’s second and third Superliga titles, in 2018 and July this year respectively, gave that notion of a change of power more weight, but the holy grail for Benham – who also owns the championship side Brentford, where Ankersen is co-director football – and the board remained the Champions League group stage Having failed in the preliminaries twice before, that itch was finally scratched this season with a flawless qualifying campaign that saw them send Ludogorets and Young Boys ahead of a 4-1 aggregate victory over a Slavia Prague side who took points away from Inter Milan and Barcelona in last year’s group stage

« Whatever happens in the group stage, Midtjylland will be proud of the qualification », says Klaus Egelund, journalist at Ekstra Bladet « They have made very distinct adjustments in order to break the European curse Over the past 18 months , they focused on younger, faster players, where previously they relied on experience and set pieces Before this season only three clubs had completed three qualifying rounds for the Champions League as an unranked team Midtjylland is the fourth, so it’s a major achievement « 

While previous European excursions have not always gone as planned, Midtjylland has never failed to gain friends and admirers, including Michael Beale, the former LFC Academy coach who is now a member of the Steven Gerrard’s staff at Glasgow Rangers

« It’s such a beautiful stadium and they made us feel so well, » Beale told Liverpoolfccom, recalling how he, Gerrard and assistant manager Gary McAllister were warmly welcomed at Herning ahead of a qualifying match for the Europa League in August of last year

« On the floor they have this room as a tribute to the Boot Room at Anfield, because a lot of them are big Liverpool fans, so it was huge for them to have Steven and Gary there. Simon Kjaer, AC Milan defender, his dad is the man of the kit and he’s a big Liverpool fan so he was the one who showed us the shoe room It’s a really classy club off the pitch and I found that afterwards I really wanted them to do really well, so I was delighted to see them enter the Champions League, I posted a Tweet to congratulate them

« In the football world there are only a few interesting clubs, but if you look at Denmark I find Nordsjaelland and Midtjylland really interesting If you were to start a new club from scratch you would do it like Midtjylland, with a great stadium and training complex, and it’s also interesting the recruiting of Moneyball that they do, attracting players from Africa and South America Even during the lockdown, they turned their parking lot into a drive-through cinema for fans to see their games They do things that other clubs don’t, so play fair with them « 

This particular draw ended in a 7-3 cumulative victory for Rangers, but the Midtjylland side running ahead of Kop tonight will be very different, in terms of approach if not staff. The man responsible for the change is Brian Priske, a former Portsmouth defender who was previously in charge of the aforementioned setback, before being promoted to head coach shortly after the Rangers games

Under Priske, FCM scored 15 fewer goals last season than as runners-up in 2018-19, but conceded 14 fewer as well, and as a result had their most comfortable title win in this league. day, 14 points in front of Copenhagen

As far as this campaign goes, it’s a case of so far, all is well, with a superb 3-2 comeback victory over Brondby last weekend – having followed by two with an hour gone – taking them in the lead of the Superliga and restoring all morale lost in their 4-0 home defeat to Atalanta on the first day of the Champions League

« It was disappointing, because no Danish team has ever suffered a heavier defeat in their first group stage game, » added Egelund « Priske returned to his formation of 4-2-3- 1 Superliga and gave up the three-way midfielder who paved the way for qualification It spawned the defeat as Midtjylland lacked players in the central midfield to contain Papu Gomez once things started to go wrong

« The general feeling was that the team had actually quite equaled Atalanta when they didn’t invite pressure by making mistakes, and the second half, when they came back to midfield at three, provided insight into a way forward »

Sory Kaba – a teammate of Naby Keita in the Guinea national team – is the focal point of Midtjylland’s attack, backed by Anders Dreyer, an old school winger whose career once took him to St Mirren via Brighton & Hove Albion’s U23 and already has five goals this season Pione Sisto, the Danish international who spent the previous four seasons with Celta Vigo, has been showing allusions to his old magic since returning from Spain last month

The central midfielder is the strongest area in Midtjylland according to connoisseurs, although Egelund and Beale identify different 22-year-olds when they explain why

« I would definitely mention Nigerian, Frank Onyeka, in the central midfielder, » said the former « Very quick, physical and strong – he rarely attracts attention, but the way the team dives into the performance without him speaks volumes »

The latter, meanwhile, highlights the former string shooter of Vasco da Gama Evander: « He’s probably the same height and size as a Gini Wijnaldum-type, a No10 but one who plays in midfield three as right or left No8 A very, very good player « 

And for Beale, the intrigue lies in what will follow, as much as what tonight’s 90 minutes have in store for us

« The fact that they’re on the same pitch as Liverpool will be a huge thing for them, but the project is really bigger, and getting that Champions League money is the first step for them in a way. » , the first Deputy director of Sao Paulo finishes « They will try to stay in it, they will try to get games stopped and play at the counter, and they will treat it like a cup final, because it is their dream So first of all it could be about matching the enthusiasm they have and then hopefully the quality of Liverpool will start to show. »

Liverpool FC, UEFA Champions League, FC Midtjylland, Jürgen Klopp, Thiago Alcântara

News from around the world – UA – Screening report: The facts about FC Midtjylland


Donnez votre avis et abonnez-vous pour plus d’infos

Vidéo du jour: