The Nets Big Thing?
Early on in a season, paying too much heed to a league table is a bigger waste of time than teaching George Michael the rules of the road. A prime example would be the Danish SuperLiga. The season is only a few weeks old and Midtjylland are the early and unexpected challengers bidding to end Copenhagen recent dominance. What stands out isn’t so much the narrow margin by which they trail defending champions, but the goals conceded column. Five games into the season, their defence has only been breeched twice and that is due in no small part to the excellent displays of Jonas Lossl.
Towards the end of last season, Lossl made his senior debut for the club and in his handful of appearances he has showed real potential. It would be doing his team-mates a big disservice to credit him entirely with the miserly defence, but there can be no doubt that he has been crucial in keeping opponents at bay. His reactions are top drawer. He has an uncanny ability to throw some limb in the way of a goal-bound shot really stands out.
Every Danish goalkeeper is going to face inevitable comparison with Peter Schmeichel, but in the case of Lossl it’s a link not without merit – most notably in his aggression in one-on-one situations. Schmeichel’s surges towards the attacker seemed to mark a sea change in this game within the game where the goalkeeper went from being an almost inanimate obstacle for the striker to negotiate to a pro-active participant with his own ability to dictate proceedings. That perception was in now small part aided by the Sky cameras and increased coverage of the English game.
Lossl is very much a proponent of this style. He makes himself very big (at 6ft 5, he is very big) and tends to stay upright for a commendably long period of time. In appearance, there’s a real similarity to Pepe Reina, who’s arguably the most natural successor to Schmeichel in the role of aggressive the goalkeeper. Added to his arsenal is an agility that comes very naturally to a man so tall. In particular, he gets down to low shots extremely well and as you’d expect, has no problems with shots sneaking in under his crossbar.
The video evidence is here and although a it’s acknowledge that clever editing can even make Jedward look good, the sheer volume of great saves he’s made from such few top flight games stands out. Already this season, he’s chipped in with more stunning saves that aren’t included in the video. One flaw – as you may noticed in the highlights reel – is his footwork. At times it doesn’t give him the best chance of pulling off a save, but his natural ability generally compensates.
Lossl has made appearances for Denmark all the way up the age groups and is currently part of the Under 21 squad. He’s right on track for the senior and if he continues the form he’s shown in the early part of the season, he’ll at the very least be in the squad at some stage during this Euro 2012 qualifying campaign and may even earn his first cap in a friendly during the two year cycle. It may take a while longer to displace Thomas Sorenson, but much like a move to a bigger club, it very much looks on the cards.