When it comes to team ratings having a serious effect on how difficult it is to play against a given team in sports video gaming, FIFA 12 definitely has to be one of the games where this is most true. If the team that you play as is at a significant ratings disadvantage to your opposition, then there is little doubt that you will be aware of that deficit as soon as the match begins. With this in mind, I took control as Werder Bremen of the German Bundesliga against the famous Bayern München squad; a squad which boasts nearly 10-point ratings advantages of Werder Bremen in nearly all categories.
Indeed, Bayern München features players like Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller, and Bastian Schweinsteiger; all players who are known around the world for their prowess on the soccer pitch. By comparison, few players on the Werder Bremen side would be known outside of the Bundesliga and the squad’s supporters. In a recent match between the teams on December 3rd, Bayern München scored a 4-1 victory. My prospects of leaving the field with a victory in this game of FIFA 12 for STAT BOX STORIES would require all of my effort.
Though the box score above reveals that I eventually prevailed in this German soccer match-up, the first half was literally all Bayern München. I did not manage a single shot attempt, let alone a shot on target, in the opening 45 minutes of the match. By comparison, Bayern München put up 10 shots—7 of which were on target—and converted on an Arjen Robben break-away strike in the 31st minute after Robben skillfully fielded a long pass from the midfield. With a goal conceded and all of the action on my defensive half of the pitch– Bayern München held a 71%-39% advantage in possession through the first half of play—I was beginning to feel as though a rout might be at hand if I wasn’t able to begin turning the tide.
With the start of the second half, I tried my best to maintain better possession of the ball. Instead of going for longer passes or trying extended runs along the touchlines at the top and bottom of the pitch, I instead opted for higher-percentage short passes and dribble attempts. After two earlier substitutions by Bayern München in the second half, my new strategy of protecting the ball paid off as Marko Arnautović chipped a ball into the box to Marko Marin, who converted the shot into the back of the net for an unexpected 1-1 tie in the 79th minute. The Bayern München supporters at Allianz Arena sat in shocked silence as the home squad faced the even score line.
Although Bayern München threatened to score on multiple occasions before the end of Regular Time, goalkeeper Tim Wiese of Werder Bremen was unbeatable after conceding the early Robben goal. As the full time whistle blew, I finally felt as though I might have enough to escape from the game with a victory; at the very least, my goal was to force Penalties, which would certainly even the playing field.
The first half of Extra Time passed with some scoring opportunities but no goals to speak of. When the squads switched ends again for the second half of the extra period, a long pass to Marko Arnautović nearly went out at the end line before he stopped it and brought it back into play. Though he was well-covered by a defender, he managed to dribble well enough to get close to the goal and drive home a go-ahead shot. The underdogs suddenly found themselves in the driver’s seat with a one-goal advantage and only 9 minutes remaining in Extra Time.
Though Bayern München put two more shots on target before the final whistle was blown, Wiese was more than up to the task and time eventually gave Werder Bremen the upset win. At the end of the game, Bayern München had managed 13 more shots and 8 more shots on target than Werder Bremen but had been unable to take the advantage. The possession numbers swung drastically from what they had been in the first half, as the final tally came to 51% for Bayern München and 49% for Werder Bremen; a 20% change. Tackles were fairly even, but Bayern München had 4 corner kick opportunities while Werder Bremen had none. Pass accuracy was also strongly in favor of Bayern München, whose 92% outclassed Werder Bremen’s 84%.
When it comes down to players who had the best performance in this match, the goal-scorers and players with assists were clear leaders. However, no player stood out as much as Tim Wiese of Werder Bremen, whose 11 saves made him the clear recipient of “Man of the Match” honors. So many Bayern München opportunities were punched aside or scooped up by Wiese; without his effort, the game wouldn’t have stayed anywhere near close enough to go to extra time or afford for an unimaginable comeback.
Though playing games in FIFA 12 for STAT BOX STORIES can sometimes be frustrating due to my inexperience in playing the game compared to playing NCAA Football 12, Madden NFL 12, or NHL 12, experiences like the one I had in this Bayern München-Werder Bremen match ultimately make it all worthwhile. With this victory, the STAT BOX STORIES record for the week goes to 3-0 and a win in the Army-Navy Game in NCAA Football 12 tomorrow would cap off another perfect week. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see if I can earn another “W” in the service academy showdown!