But what is it that makes Guardiola so enthusiastic about Farke’s football? The ex-Bayern coach says: “I appreciate Farkes courage. His approach is always so attractive. I like that.” Indeed, it doesn’t take many more words to get to the heart of Farke’s philosophy – or “Farkeball” as they call it in England. Born in Westphalia, he prefers to go down with attractive offensive football than to submit to nominally stronger opponents with destructive defensive walls. It is this idealism that is both key to his friendly bond with Guardiola and why Gladbach have chosen him as their new manager.
Constant stress as the key to success
After the disappointing season and the expensive misunderstanding with Adi Hütter, Gladbach wants to return to the philosophy that has defined its club identity for the past 15 years: away from the ball-chasing switching game towards ball-possessing offensive football. That’s one of the reasons why sports director Roland Virkus worked intensively on the return of former successful coach Lucien Favre. The last-minute jump of the hesitant Swiss could turn out to be a real stroke of luck for the foals. Because Farke has the profile it takes to turn a side that conceded 61 goals last year and finished 10th last season into European contenders again.
Already in Norwich Farke managed the unexpected by leading the “Canaries”, who were inferior to the competition, twice as second division champions in the Premier League. He did so with a modern take on Dutch ‘total football’. Farke’s 4-2-3-1 system was designed to create constant superiority situations and thus expose the opponent to constant stress and excessive demands. For that he needed players who could run holes and make offensive decisions out of position. It is precisely this constant castling when in possession of the ball that should be the element that not only inspires the self-confessed Cruyff supporter Guardiola in Farke’s football.
“Jürgen Klopp recently said: If he were allowed to take two coaches to a desert island, it would be Pep Guardiola and myself,” said Farke during his introduction round in Mönchengladbach. A choice that Klopp may have made mainly due to sporting and less personal aspects.
Because even if the British tabloids like to overstrain the parallels between the two coaches – the Dortmund past, the optics, the German origin – and knit a male friendship out of it, Farke and Klopp are by no means as close to each other as Farke and Guardiola are.
The bottom line is that it is above all the intensity of “Farkeball” and its blatant parallels to his “heavy metal football” that inspire Klopp and Farke. In any case, he takes his compatriot’s homage with humor: “You always have to be careful about compliments from Jürgen. He probably needs me to row.”