The 29th match day of this Bundesliga season was a day of big-name duels. There was Frankfurt-Bremen, Stuttgart-Kaiserslautern and Mönchengladbach-Cologne, all of which were fights between relegation candidates – the latter, of course, was also something of a local Rhineland derby.
There was the Bavarian derby duel, too, with Munich up against Nuremberg. Attention was focussed pretty much exclusively on Bayern’s president Uli Hoeneß, though, who had had a real go at the club’s own fans last week after they gave him some flak for wanting to save TSV 1860, the other Munich club.
This is a preview of War is too important to be left to the generals.
Last week must have been difficult for all of you Bundesliga junkies: the season had just got going, and suddenly there was a pause for international games; and they weren’t even high-adrenaline games, either. We were forced into watching teams like Denmark, Belgium and Azerbaijan. That’s all over now, though: play started again on the weekend – and if you’re anything like me, you couldn’t wait!
“Hau den Ball ins Tor hinein!” – Bundesliga blog for the 23rd day of play
There’s one thing my coach never tired of saying to me: “Hau den Ball ins Tor hinein!” – best translated with: “Just slam it into the back of the net!” Of course, every country has got its stock footie-phrases – football isn’t a complicated game, after all. One of the classics in every language is: “Either we win today, or we get relegated”. Every professional footballer has heard that one at least once in his career; either that, or he has always played and will always play for a team that always wins the league cup – but there aren’t many players with that kind of luck. That makes the danger of dropping down a division a permanent – and exciting – part of professional football; the fear of losing is always audible in the background, like the moody music in a good thriller film. In a way, the fights at the bottom end of the league table are just as fascinating at the duels at the top.
This is a preview of One thing Neuner and Riesch don’t know about: relegation.