Luiz Gustavo meets Marten Strauch

In Great Britain there is a turn a phrase that says: “Football is a gentleman's sport played by ruffians and rugby is a ruffians sport played by gentlemen.” In the latest instalment of our “players meet players” series we brought together a footballer with someone from the world of rugby.

It is an old cliché linked with Rugby in Germany and a saying that brought a smile to the face of Marten Strauch because he knows all too well that Rugby is a brutal sport that shows no mercy. For Strauch rugby is "a tough, but fair sport that has clearly defined rules".

For 1899 Hoffenheim midfielder Luiz Gustavo, his role in Ralf Rangnick's team possesses a lot of similar qualities to a rugby players style of play. "In my position you can't back out of a challenge", said the defensive midfielder who early on in his Bundesliga career was known for being somewhat of a "ruffian" himself.

The role of the modern number 6 in football is not so different to what is expected from Strauch - "accurate delivery of the ball, a solid tackle and breaking down the defensive line and looking to the wings for support." For the Gustavo this translates into accurate passing, winning the ball in the middle of the park and breaking down the opposition defence with a smart pass or a direct run, all of which are qualities that distinguish the Brazilian in the Hoffenheim team.

Gustavo also took part is a mini crash course of the sport with the German international and showed some natural talent with the oval ball: "We could put you to good use on Saturday!" said Strauch, but have no fear Hoffenheim fans as Gustavo admitted, "I had a lot of fun today and it made a nice change, but I prefer playing with a round ball!"


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