Africa, Asia Cup pose great challenge to German Clubs and others


By Oliver Trust

When the first snowflakes tumble from the gray winter skies the significance of African and Asian football for European clubs seems to come to light like a surprise.

Having to replace 33 key players and potential Africa and Asia Cup participants beginning of 2024 might describe parts of the demanding circumstances as far as the German national league and European first-tier sides are concerned.

While preparations might help to satisfyingly deal with the difficult times amidst a running season from January 12 to February 12, the inevitable changes contain a pinch of uncertainty.

Some assume the partial losses might influence the 2023/2024 season outcome such as the national title, international spots, and relegation.

Table leaders Bayer Leverkusen and the third-placed VfB Stuttgart for instance need to close gaps of five important players heading for their national teams.

The problems might not be smaller for low-ranked sides as they mostly have to do without their leading force.

“We prepared last summer and signed at least two players for every position,” Leverkusen’s sporting director Simon Rolfes is reporting.

When things go well for Edmond Tapsoba (Burkina Faso), Odilon Kossounou (Cote d’Ivoire), Amine Adli (Marocco), Nathan Teila, and Victor Boniface (Nigeria) they require action from Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso.

From the 17th to the 21st rounds of matches changes might be needed.

League runner-up Bayern Munich faces only three replacement reasons but announced to be active in the winter transfer window to make up for the Africa and Asia Cup losses and update the squad quality for the crunch time in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern must replace Eric Maxime Choupo-Moting (Cameroon), Noussair Mazraoui (Marocco), and Min-Jae Kim (South Korea).

More challenging might be the situation in Stuttgart as Silas (DR Congo), Serhou Guirassy (Guinea), Woo-Yeong Jeong (South Korea), Hiroki Ito and Genki Haraguchi (Japan) are off to international tasks.

The VfB is far from the options better-padded sides such as Bayer and Bayern are enjoying while title challengers such as Dortmund and Leipzig only send two players.

Others such as the struggling Frankfurt and Union Berlin fear facing problems when Omar Marmoush and Fares Chaibli (Egypt), Ellyes Skhiri (Tunesia) and David Datro Fofana (Cote d’Ivoire), and Aissa Laidouni (Tunesia) are not around.

Returning after the energy-taking tournaments usually comes near a challenge for the participants as games and traveling are included.

Despite all preparation efforts, daily life comes along with disturbing changes as teams need to change tactics or find a suitable replacement for a well-oiled structure.

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