Have Newcastle anything to fear from Jurgen Klopp protege?
Looking back at the results from the 2015/16 campaign, Huddersfield Town were comfortably plodding on in the Championship. Never looked like climbing higher than mid-table but were just about keeping their heads above water and hovering just above the relegation trapdoor. One of the division’s survivors.
Suddenly though, that wasn’t deemed to be good enough anymore and the Terriers’ board surprisingly dispensed with the services of the ever reliable Chris Powell and brought in David Wagner from Germany. Who?!
David Wagner was Jurgen Klopp’s right hand man at Borussia Dortmund. They shared the same attacking philosophy that proved very successful in the Bundesliga, with Dortmund’s quick and fluid style of play extremely popular with the masses at the Westfalenstadion. Jurgen Klopp and Wagner were a match made in heaven.
In fact, so much trust had Jurgen Klopp in David Wagner, that he offered him the job of first team coach at Liverpool. The ambitious David Wagner though wanted to test himself as a manager and when Huddersfield came calling, Wagner rejected the lure of Anfield in favour of the green grass of West Yorkshire.
Wagner immediately vowed to bring his philosophy of all out attack with him from Germany, promising fans a feast of exciting attacking football. And as good as his word, Wagner has tried to do exactly that. He has slowly turned the Terriers from battling Dogs of War to a side that floods players up front at every opportunity in an almost Keegan-esque effort to outscore the opposition. Unfortunately, that’s where the Keegan comparison ends.
As you are well aware, Keegan had quality at his disposal. A lot of it in fact. Unfortunately for Wagner, he does not have that. At least not enough to try and blow away every team in the Championship without receiving a lot of collateral damage in return.
Talking to a lad I know who is a Smoggie, apparently an example of this was when Wagner took his team to the Riverside late on last season where sides used to go to Teesside to merely ‘park the bus’, Aitor Karanka was shocked to come up against a team that not only wanted to play football, but one that threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Smoggies from the off.
After taking twenty minutes or so to adjust to a side not camped in their own half, apparently the Smoggies began to revel in the acres of space afforded to them, taking the lead on the half hour. As the game wore on, the more Huddersfield threw players forward, the more they picked them off at will on the counter, eventually dishing out a heavy beating to Wagner’s brave troops.
And that’s exactly what I expect our beloved Mags to do on Saturday.
Although Wagner’s adventurous style is to be applauded, Huddersfield sadly have neither the quality nor defensive nous to go at teams in their ‘ hammer and tongs’ manner without expecting our quality side (yes I did say quality) not to punish them severely. I can see the likes of Gayle and Ritchie having field days and will fully exploit the spaces available.
It remains to be seen if David Wagner has learned from last season and curbs his sides attacking instincts, especially at St James Park.
If he does, it could be a battle for us but still ending in three points for the Mags, expect the lads to get our season off and running in style.
Players to watch:
Much sought after striker Nahki Wells, speedy winger Sean Scannell, the evergreen Dean Whitehead and new signing Aaron Mooy, a very highly rated Australian international midfielder whom Wagner has done extremely well to snap up in a shrewd piece of business.
Newcastle 4 Huddersfield 1
Keep the Faith.
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