The title explains the theme of this piece quite well, I feel. It wasn't without outing a grunt I watched Leverkusen beat my Frankfurt yesterday by 3-0 and this wasn't the first time Leverkusen have looked lively and creative this season. Even though the first half against Frankfurt should have ended 2-1 to SGE, Bernd Leno just had one of those days..., the second half was Leverkusen's and their creativity looked obvious at times.
We all know Leverkusen can score goals, we all know they can play blistering attacking football and we all know Schmidt's pressing often prevails. They have one of the most efficient and experienced, but still young and exciting attacking formations in Europe and should defintiely score more goals and play better football than they have this season. However, their incapability to score has been blamed on the coach Schmidt. Most would say thats not more than fair, the coach has the biggest responsibility, right? But having watched Leverkusen quite a lot this season in a try to understand their problems, I have come to the conclusion that they way they play isn't just down to Schmidt- it's down to the players.
Players having a responsibilty isn't new and pundits often say that the players should be responsible for what the team is doing. But Leverkusen is different. Sometimes it looks amazing and everything clicks, sometimes they are absolutely dreadful. Just when you think they'll go on a streak and win a couple, they lose against Ingolstadt or HSV. This has been Leverkusen this season, no form has been found at any time and this is obviously a big priblem for Werkself, a team in need of Europe.
Leverkusen remind me of my childhood favourites, Arsenal. This season has been an odd one for both. luckily for Arsenal, the rest of Premier League isn't as capable as the rest of Bundesliga and therefore Gunners are still in 4th. Both teams have had the same obvious problem- they can't find stability. Some games they look great as a team and some games the players look great individually. However, these two rarely occur at the same time, causing problems in attack. In England, Wenger has been blamed for this and Schmidt has been blamed for it in Germany, but are they actually responsible.
Having watched Leverkusen quite a lot this season I can safely say that Schmidt has either lost control of his players or they just don't understand his gestures. Sometimes the players just won't obey his commands. Perhaps Schmidt lost the dressing room after the rough start to the season, maybe he is still loved at the club, but his gestures are hard to understand. Something is not right. The players do whatever they like on the pitch. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
It could of course be Schmidt's fault. Maybe he has given the players too much freedom on the pitch. perhaps he has lost the dressing room, but then it's his job to take it back. He needs to figure it out quickly, because the gap is big as it is and if they are going to make it to Europe, the they need to fix whatever is wrong and step up. And yesterday.