Arrived from Bayern, where he spent his last ten years, Jérôme Boateng brilliantly continues his acclimatization in Lyon. Where it silences the most skeptics and exceeds the expectations of enthusiasts.
A world champion in Lyon. The same story accompanied the surprise arrival of Jérôme Boateng at OL, where few people expected a player of such stature. But the 33-year-old defender, at the end of his contract with Bayern, has put his suitcases between Rhône and Saône. Suitcases weighted down with their share of uncertainties, about a player that some thought was on the decline. Doubts swept away in barely two months.
Imperial against Monaco last Saturday (2-0), Boateng signed his first full match with OL. A benchmark match. “I am making progress but I am not yet 100%, modestly hammered the person concerned after the meeting. I know myself well, I know that I will be really back when I can do full matches every three days. ” Starting with the trip to Prague, where OL hope to sign the pass of three in the Europa League this Thursday (9 p.m.). The presence of the German Shepherd seems essential to this purpose, as the Rhone defense seems stabilized as soon as he is on the meadow.
The specter of the casting error was quickly swept away by the native of Berlin, who was able to assume the role of leader of a Lyon defense orphaned by Marcelo, dismissed by the management. Already very visible during the shocks in Paris (1-2) and Saint-Etienne (1-1), where OL had kept their clean sheet until their exit, the German shines thanks to qualities interviewed for years. “Boateng is very good at dueling and playing the game, when he has the game in front of him, analysis Patrick Guillou, Bundesliga consultant on the antennas of beinSport for almost five years. He excels when he doesn’t have to turn around to manage depth.“
To his qualities of anticipation, the defender passed briefly by Manchester City (16 matches between 2010 and 2011) adds an impeccable recovery, a prerequisite for Peter Bosz, follower of the game of possession and therefore clean recovery. Capable of breaking lines, as when he launched – on the wrong foot – Karl Toko-Ekambi against Monaco (21st), Boateng proved to be an added value both defensive and offensive for OL. “He can shine through his openings, like a quarterback, says Guillou. He is able to go and play long transversals. ” In The team, Claudio Caçapa, deputy of Peter Bosz in charge of the defenders, corroborates: “He has both feet and his presence allows us to have a very good first raise. He knows how to reverse the game, but also find partners between the lines.“
A clever mix that allows Berliners to blend in ideally in a tailor-made system. “If he has the game against him, in a middle block or even a low block and he does not have too many races to do … he may still be one of the best at his post.», Enthuses Guillou.
The hypothesis of a return to selection
A status that no one dared to give him since his slip in May 2015 in front of the liveliness of Lionel Messi. A slip passed to posterity that he himself had commented on five years later, when football stopped due to the pandemic: “It is better to laugh about it in these complicated times. In the meantime, I’ll go get some popcorn and… Watch the 2014 World Cup final. “
In Rio de Janeiro a year earlier, Boateng had muzzled the Pulga, completing a high-end 2014 World Cup, which had then consecrated him as one of the best defenders on the planet. Associated with Mats Hummels, the other culmination of the German rearguard, the slender defender of 1m92 made the heyday of the Nationalmannschaft. A truth which is now conjugated in the past for the one who celebrated his 33 years in September. Since the fiasco of the 2018 World Cup, he has been excluded from the selection, like his partner Hummels, with whom he shares the same number of selections (76).
To better come back to it? The appointment as manager of Hansi Flick could turn the cards down. The former Bayern coach actively participated in the return to favor of his ex-defender, undermined by injuries and a time scattered outside the sportsman (he was sentenced in September for domestic violence). “In the consistency and requirement on a daily basis, he was able to get lost a little on the way, in particular because of extra-sporting events but Hansi Flick managed to refocus on football», Notes Guillou, who was able to observe it every weekend for the Franco-Qatari channel.
With the impassive German manager, Boateng has regained his splendor, actively participating in the triumph in the Champions League in 2020. And since his successful appointment at the head of the Mannschaft, already qualified for the next World Cup, Flick has proven that the statutes were not fixed, since he recalled his former player Thomas Müller, also placarded since the end of 2018. A pattern called to be repeated with Boateng? “The planets must be aligned, tempers the German football specialist. He must be spared from muscle injuries and be present on the European scene as in the very big matches of Ligue 1. ” What he does for the moment, without being 100% …