GERMAN coach Daniel Stendel can make as big an impact at League One level as compatriots Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) and David Wagner (Huddersfield Town) have done higher up the football pyramid.
This is the belief of Mike Bahre, who impressed on his Oakwell bow where both Barnsley and Walsall maintained their unbeaten records.
It looked like a scruffy 55th-minute goal was going to be enough for the Reds, but the Saddlers hit back in the 89th and the hosts were left to rue failing to convert chances on the break.
Substitute Victor Adeboyejo was the most frustrated, although he played a central part in Barnsley’s goal after being brought on at the break.
The Nigerian met Alex Mowatt’s cross to the near post following a short corner only to see goalkeeper Liam Roberts make a smart block. However, the Walsall goalkeeper could only watch as the ball rebounded back into the net off central defender Jack Fitzwater.
Mirroring how Walsall had defended in depth before countering before the interval, Barnsley carved out three more clear-cut chances after going ahead with Adeboyejo missing the best as Roberts came out to block with his chest following a perfect set-up from Kieffer Moore.
The Reds were made to pay when Walsall captain and playmaker George Dobson fed the ball inside for substitute striker Andy Cook to sidestep his marker and fire home right-footed in the 89th minute.
It set up a frantic finish with George Moncur seeing a deflected shot palmed away with the last action of the game.
Bahre, who had made his debut in the EFL Trophy win at Oldham in midweek, had been given his league debut after the Reds were made to make changes.
Goalkeeper Adam Davies was away with Wales and midfield man Kenny Dougall with Australia so Jack Walton stepped in between the posts and Cameron McGeehan and Bahre came in with Brad Potts also ruled out through injury.
Everybody knows how he wants to play and everybody likes how he wants to play and he is making a good job of it. I think he can take this team back into the Championship.Mike Bahre
Bahre, who signed until the end of the season on loan deadline day from Hannover 96, having been brought through the ranks in Germany by Stendel, said there was more to come from him.
“We dropped two points. Had we scored the second goal the game would have been all over, but we are still unbeaten and you can’t win every game,” said the 23-year-old.
“I think it was not my best performance, but I have trained just three times with the team and I have to get to know everyone, how they play and how they think.
“Daniel Stendel was a big reason for me coming here. A few days after he signed here he called me and said he wanted me to come with him and it took time, but in the end I am really happy to be here.
“I see myself in the centre as my best position as an offensive player, but the coach decides and it does not matter where I play.
“It is a really young team, which makes it easier for me to come into a side with the players my age.”
Of his coach’s approach to the game, Bahre said: “He likes offensive play and to attack the opponent as early as possible. I know his style and how he wants to play and it is a little bit of an advantage for me.
“He loves to score many goals and play risky football so I think that makes it easier for me to get in the team.
“Everybody knows how he wants to play and everybody likes how he wants to play and he is making a good job of it.
“I think he can take this team back into the Championship. We want to play football while many teams just want to defend and play long balls and don’t play with any risk.
“But we want to play from behind from the goalkeeper and I think in many situations we play the much better football and we are still unbeaten.”
Asked if Stendel can be as successful as Premier League duo Klopp and Wagner, Bahre continued: “Yes, of course. I think every German coach always has a good tactical approach.
“They think about everything and there is a thought behind everything they do. We have to be on the top at the end of the season.”
Barnsley: Walton, Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay, Pinillos; Bahre, McGeehan (Adeboyejo 46), Mowatt, Moncur; Thiam, Moore. Unused substitutes: Greatorex, Isgrove, Bird, Jackson, B Williams, Brown.
Walsall: Robert, Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Leahy; Gordon (Morris 85), Osbourne, Dobson, Ginnelly (Cook 80); Ronan; Ferrier. Unused substitutes: Dunn, Kouhyar, Sangha, Johnson, Wilson.
Referee: C Hicks (Surrey).