Who are Bangkok Glass? Meet Thailand's best attacking team spurred on by female cheerleaders
Who are they?
Thai teams have started to make an impact on Asia's showpiece tournament, well, at least Buriram United certainly have, as they made the quarter-final in 2013 and were a little unlucky to exit at that stage. Bangkok Glass are not quite in the same class as their Thai Premier League counterparts, but are one of the most professional and well-run clubs in Southeast Asia and tend to hover just outside the top spots. Although they may not quite have the consistency to win every week, they are dangerous in cup competitions, which is why it is no surprise that their ticket to the AFC Champions League play-offs came from winning the 2014 Thai FA Cup. For JDT fans, a trip to Bangkok on Tuesday should be quite a night in the capital's northern suburbs, as their opponents are also desperate to make a debut in the tournament.
Goals. Bangkok Glass can score plenty of goals as evident from the 2014 season, where they were the top scorers in the Thai Premier League. Furthermore, the goals are usually spread around the team. They don't just have one goal-scoring threat that can be neutered by careful marking; the danger comes from everywhere.
Namibian forward Lazarus Kaimbi is quick, nimble and works well with the more technical Goshi Okubo from Japan. Keeping these two at the club could be the best bit of business of the close season, as they should be able to carry on where they left last season. Macedonian midfielder Darko Tavesksi tends to chip in with plenty of goals and assists too.
The defence. Finishing as the league's highest scorers is great, but when you also finish tenth in the league standings, it is obvious where your problems lie. The midfield was more geared up to supplying the attack with chances and producing goals of its own, but offered little protection to the back four. Too much chopping and changing as well as having an inconsistent goalkeeper did not help, neither did the mid-season coaching changes.
Their inability to stop conceding goals at a dizzying rate led to the appointment of Ricardo Rodriguez, who may be just the man to sort the defence out. The Spanish coach has been focusing on the organisation and shape of his team and working without the ball in the limited time he has had so far. A new fitness coach from Spain has also been employed to try and make the team more competitive in the final stages of games. Besides that, the signing of Australian centre-back Matt Smith should add some steel, fight and leadership at the back and make a real difference.
Rodriguez has a reasonably impressive resume at the lower Spanish levels and, given his thorough preparation ahead of games, is known as an excellent organiser and analyst. He has yet to play a competitive game with Bangkok and it remains to be seen as to what style he prefers, but the team played a 4-2-3-1 last season, which sometimes became more attacking when they fell behind. Away from home, Rodriguez's tactical awareness may have a greater effect.
Macedonian midfielder Darko Tasevski is one of the best players in the entire league, scoring and making goals like it is going out of fashion. At the age of 30, he reads the game excellently and is able to find space in between the lines to hurt opponents. He perhaps does not get back as much as he could to help his side's defence, but when he produces so many assists and goals, it is understandable.
Taking over Krung Thai Bank FC. Back in 2006, as a bank was not allowed to have a team in the country's top flight for legal reasons, the ticket to the league was a fairly easy one for one of the country's biggest glass making companies. Then there are the Female Rabbits, which is pretty explanatory due to the club’s nickname, the Glass Rabbits.
Current captain Chatree Chimtalay has been a mainstay of the team since 2008, helping Bangkok Glass win all of its major honours including the 2014 Thai FA Cup and the 2010 Singapore Cup. Reliable and popular, if you cut him, he will cut you back because he has glass in his veins.
(Pictures: Credit: Bangkok Glass FC @ Facebook)