Saturday, 17 September 2011
Why playing away in Europe is so tough?
I'm sure so many people often wonder why teams in the Champions League struggle so much away from home. We saw Manchester United, last season's beaten finalists, struggle in Benfica and draw the game 1 all. Arsenal really struggled in Dortmund, Madrid won just 1 nil away to Dinamo Zagreb. Lyon couldn't win away and nor could Valencia achieve an away victory and these are top teams in European football.
I believe the intensity of playing in a completely different atmosphere is the main reason for this. The unfamiliarity, the obscurity of these challenging away games make it very difficult for teams to pick up points away from home. The unfamiliar styles of football make a big difference too, as teams playing in the same leagues know each other inside and out, but in Europe it's a different story.
The travelling to these venues doesn't help the situation either, as you incorporate a touch of jet lag, the inconvenience of travel and players staying in unfamiliar environments.
The referee's are also a big factor in the Champions League games and can often influence the outcomes in games. I believe you see more of the referees buckle under the pressure of an intimidating atmosphere and favour home teams. Who could blame them at times? The atmospheres being created in Dortmund on Tuesday night and the barrage of noise teams are put under when they travel to Turkey, as an example, is astronomical.
These are just a number of factors that I believe affect teams playing away from home in Europe. It brings about a completely different game, but a game that also is very exciting for the fan's. The fan's love European nights and the different styles of football that is seen across a week in Europe is fascinating.