Giggs admires German football
The Bundesliga has crested a wave in recent years, culminating in last season’s all-German Champions League final and Bayern Munich’s domination domestically and in Europe. So Ryan Giggs subsequently expects a stern challenge from Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday night.
The Reds face the 2012/13 Bundesliga’s third-placed club to kick-start Group A at Old Trafford and Giggs is looking forward to taking on a team who finished just a point behind Borussia Dortmund last term and who were the only team to defeat Bayern in the league.
“They will be a tough test, that’s for sure,” Giggs says in an exclusive interview with the matchday programme, United Review. “German football is on a real high at the moment and last season’s final, with two German teams at Wembley, proves that.
“Bayern Munich have been terrific for a long time now and then the emergence of Dortmund has been really exciting. They play the game with so much energy and make life really difficult for you. A lot of people were blown away by them last season.
“At the moment, Germany has a lot of good young players coming through and a good national team that’s not only getting results but performing well and playing attractive football.”
With Sami Hyypia as their boss, Bayer are built on a solid defensive foundation but also like to attack. Wingers Sydney Sam and Heung-Min Son are a threat and rangy front man Stefan Kiessling was the Bundesliga’s top scorer last term.
Leverkusen's counter-attacking style will keep United alert on Tuesday as Giggs knows well as the study of German teams tactically has cropped up several times whilst conducting his coaching badges.
“The interesting thing is that there are two distinct styles, certainly when you look at Bayern and Dortmund,” says Giggs. “There was the Bayern team that beat Barcelona, which got men behind the ball and then counter-attacked at speed, utilising the work-rate and talents of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.
“Dortmund pressed high up the pitch and won the ball back quickly. They had young, hungry players who were really enthusiastic. I don’t think you can say there’s one style of German football.”