Home » FC Bologna rocks the Italian Serie A with Joshua Zirkzee

FC Bologna rocks the Italian Serie A with Joshua Zirkzee

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FC Bologna rocks the Italian Serie A with Joshua Zirkzee

As of: February 22, 2024 11:41 p.m

Italy’s media speaks of the “Miracle Bologna”. The young team is currently inspiring fans with offensive and successful football. And even dreams of the Champions League. The most important factor is a former FC Bayern player.

Bologna is not a city of exuberant football emotions. In the well-kept trade fair and university city, the streets are not decorated with club garlands like in Naples or the walls of houses are decorated with football graffiti like in Rome.

In Bologna, which has been governed by red politics for decades, the visible enthusiasm in the central Via Indipendenza is limited to two red and blue club flags above a pizzeria and a café. FC Bologna’s last championship was 60 years ago and the Bolognese live football like they live their entire life – interested and committed, but with enjoyment, friendly approach and, above all, relaxed.
Actually.

Reception like after winning a title

Because last weekend there was a football party in Bologna. Hundreds of euphoric supporters turned the train station into a fan curve after the team’s arrival. Afterwards, more than a thousand fans made a pilgrimage to the Casteldebole training center outside the city gates and because of the loud Bengali fire at night, the street was barely visible as the players got into their cars and drove home.

A reception like after winning a title. FC Bologna had simply achieved another victory in Serie A, this time against Lazio Rome. But the joy just had to come out, given the ongoing wave of success Red Bluewhich has brought the team to the threshold of the Champions League places.

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Serie A, 26th matchday arrow right

“Miracolo Bologna” – the biggest surprise of the season

The Gazzetta dello Sport calls it the “Miracolo Bologna”, the Miracle of Bologna. And the country’s leading sports newspaper is not exclusive in its admiration for Bologna FC’s current achievements. According to Corriere dello Sport, the team from Emilia-Romagna is the biggest surprise of the season, with performances “that have the city rightly dreaming of the Champions League”. The Corriere della Sera judges that Bologna is currently playing the best football in Italy alongside league leaders Inter Milan.

A former Munich resident makes a significant contribution to this. Joshua Zirkzee, who made his Bundesliga debut for FC Bayern in 2019, is the leader of the team that is currently rocking Serie A. The Dutch U21 international is Bologna’s top scorer with nine goals (together with strike partner Riccardo Orsolini).

A lot of fast Bolognese attacking football goes through Zirkzee. The winning goal against Lazio is exemplary, scored in a period of time that takes a long breath in and out. In nine seconds it went from the center line through six stations.

Joshua Zirkzee scores like Roberto Baggio

Zirkzee was involved twice, first playing a technically demanding high-speed pass and then completing it with a volley as he entered the penalty area. Ivan Zazzeroni, editor-in-chief of Corriere dello Sport, revealed that he called Roberto Baggio after the game and told him he had to watch Zirkzee’s goal. Because, Zazzeroni found, only one person in Serie A had ever done something like that – Roberto Baggio.

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Zirkzee seems to have arrived in its suitable habitat after not easy years. He had an exciting start to the Bundesliga at Bayern Munich at the age of 18. Coming from Feyenoord Rotterdam’s youth team a year and a half earlier, Zirkzee scored three goals in his first four Bundesliga games and was suddenly the subject of media hype.

However, he was unable to permanently establish himself as a backup for Lewandowski. His coach at that time, Hansi Flick, repeatedly criticized Zirkzee’s training performance. At some point, those responsible at Bayern wavered in their belief that the easy-going teenager with the smart smile could become a striker suitable for Bayern in the foreseeable future. They sent him on a journey.

Zirkzee “multiplies the qualities of his teammates”

The loan spells in Parma and Anderlecht were unsuccessful for Zirkzee, the Munich team ultimately sold their goal-scoring talent to Bologna for 8.5 million euros (but, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, secured a share in a possible resale and a buyback option worth 40 million Euro).

At the age of 22, Zirkzee is now the celebrated star of the fifth-place team in Serie A. And it fills the headlines in Italy, not just in the sports press. The second largest daily newspaper “La Repubblica” dedicated a feature-length homage to Zirkzee because of his qualities as a playing center forward, so poetic that it was worth an excerpt:

“He is a 22-year-old who has something in him that multiplies the qualities of his teammates. With a touch of the ball, a pass, a physical illusion, a vision of what can happen on the field. He is like a butterfly whose flapping wings can trigger a storm in a completely different area of ​​the field.” To put it more prosaically: With 13 scorer points, Zirkzee is one of the top players in Serie A in this category too.

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Thiago Motta on Zirkzee: “He’s a leader”

Zirkzee has so far lived his adoration in Bologna calmly. He lives with a view of the stadium, below the iconic San Luca church, and the residents greet him warmly when Zirkzee walks his dog in the morning.

If anyone in Bologna dares to criticize Zirkzee, it is his coach. “Joshua still has to learn not to be irritated when he doesn’t score,” chides Thiago Motto and then distributes XXL praise from Thiago Motta about Zirkzee: “Joshua is incomparable as a footballer. “He reminds me most of Ronaldinho, who I played with in Barcelona.”

Coach Thiago Motta as the “innovator”

Thiago Motta himself also enjoys hero status in Bologna as a coach. “Thiamo Motto” is a word game that is currently popular in the city. The former Italian international with Brazilian roots has given Bologna its best interim record in 30 years.

And is praised for the confident, dominant and attacking football played by his team, which is one of the three youngest in Serie A. And who is living the dream of taking part in the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.

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