Sam Allardyce, Tony Pulis and Roy Hodgson will know Bayern took the direct route to Champions League victory

The successful tactics of the new European champions are not so foreign to England

There was inventiveness, fluidity, variety and a high level of individual skill on show at Wembley on Saturday night, but one aspect of the Champions League final may have drawn a wry smile from the likes of Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce. Both goals scored by the new European champions followed long balls lofted down the middle.

Bayern Munich's first goal began with a goal-kick punted forward by Manuel Neuer; their second came from a free-kick chipped into space behind the back four.

What followed in each case was more intricate. Mario Mandzukic muscled his way underneath the dropping ball from Neuer, played it off his chest into the path of Arjen Robben, who released Franck Ribéry. Robben kept running, making a smart break behind the Borussia Dortmund defence that Ribéry picked out; Robben then squaring for Mandzukic to tap in.

The second was even more direct. Ribéry reached Jérôme Boateng's free-kick – hit from his own half – ahead of Lukasz Piszczek and, with Thomas Müller making space with a clever run, played a neat back-heel to Robben, who burst past despairing tackles to score.

Each goal featured nimble dribbling, good movement and aware passing, but began with a ball that Barcelona never play – as did Robben's first-half chance that Roman Weidenfeller saved with his face.

Bayern played long quite often, aiming for Mandzukic then supporting him in numbers. The Croat's role underlined the validity of comments made by the England manager in Saturday's match programme.

"Big centre-forwards will never go out of fashion," said Roy Hodgson, though their brief, he added, had changed. "Today's No 9 needs pace, mobility and the ability to hold the ball up and provide time for team-mates to get forward and support him. We still want him to act as a focal point for attacks, giving defenders that are under pressure the chance to play a long ball forward, but we also expect him to make runs that threaten the back of the opposing defence and to be in a position in the penalty area to attack crosses."

Hodgson, who selected Andy Carroll for the England squad to play the Republic of Ireland and Brazil this week, only for the forward to withdraw through injury, added: "In the past the classic 'target man' may have got away with being somewhat immobile, but today's No 9 needs to be a superb athlete with the strength to hold off defenders and the pace to threaten behind them."

It was not just Mandzukic's performance that will have absorbed Hodgson. For all the plaudits Barcelona have attracted in recent years there is a school of thought that suggests English football should not try to copy the Barça way. Culture and climate make tiki-taka hard to emulate in the UK. Our game has far more similarities with German football, which is more physical than the Spanish and played at a higher tempo. English football has been guilty of following whatever is in fashion but there is logic to studying Bayern and Dortmund, with their aggressive mixture of direct play and individual skill, and examining what lessons can be drawn from them.

Hodgson will also have noted, though, that the dribbling was provided by a Dutchman and a Frenchman. The wide players in the German national team, such as Lukas Podolski, André Schürrle or Müller, tend to be tactically disciplined, powerful runners and good finishers rather than pacy, jinking dribblers. The same could be said of the options at Hodgson's disposal. It seems players like Robben and Ribéry, who can change and win matches, are as rare in Germany as in England – which is something for the Germany coach, Joachim Löw, to ponder as well as Hodgson.

News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine