So there you go: the last match day of the 2010-2011 season has been played, and the 18 Bundesliga teams is divided into two camps – the winners and the losers. Nevertheless, deciding which teams belong to which category is a matter of personal interpretation – and here’s mine.
For my money, the biggest disappointment is Eintracht Frankfurt. You name it, they’ve done it wrong, and so they deserve what is looking likely to be the fourth relegation in club history. I mean, just look at them: the worst second leg to a season ever and a disastrous attempt at something approaching football against Cologne this weekend – which, needless to say, ended with them losing 0:2.
After having recently spent most a blog post cracking jokes at the (considerable) expense of vulgar nouveau riche football clubs, I thought I should even things out a bit by admitting something: tradition, as nice as it is to have, is no better at buying success than good, hard cash. A team that has been demonstrating this over and over again in the last couple of weeks is the Hamburger Sportverein, or HSV. This Hamburg team, with their long and great history, lost by a very poor 0:3 to VfB Stuttgart on the weekend; the week before, they only just limped to a disappointing 0:0 draw against Hannover Sportverein 1896, despite the fact that they were playing at home and that Hannover are supposed to be the smaller and less important HSV from the North German plain.
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.
Christoph Daum’s return to Bundesliga football has grabbed the headlines and suddenly, the full heat of the media microscope is bearing down on him and his new employers, Eintracht Frankfurt.
So how will this famous motor-mouth do? He is known across Germany as a talented coach, beginning his meteoric career in Cologne, then progressing onto a head coaching job at Stuttgart. He was soon back on the Rhine, helping Leverkusen become a fixture as runner-up champions. At these dizzy heights, he almost made it to the top spot as national coach, but lost it all following a sleazy cocaine scandal, fleeing to Turkey and dropping off the radar here.
It’s been a dramatic few days, and as I write, a whole locker-room full of coaches is facing the sack, jockeying to try and find other teams or biting their nails about their first ever trip to the dole office. In fact, the kind of frenetic behind-the-scenes wrangling that’s been going on in the last couple of weeks is something of a novelty for most Bundesliga fans: Van Gaal, Magath, Veh, Skibbe, Littbarski, Dutt, Tuchel, Heynckes – 8 out of the 18 club trainers in Germany’s top football league are making more headlines than the teams they coach.
This time Bundesliga Blog’s showing you some (low-budget) videos. On Saturday, Oliver and Johannes went to Commerzbank Arena Frankfurt, watching the southwest derby between Eintracht Frankfurt (red shirts with black stripes) and 1. FC Kaiserslautern (white shirts). The fight against relegation drew a 49,400 crowd and the atmosphere created by the fans was top-class (Video #1).
Unfortunately, both teams played a pretty poor match with nearly no chances. The best one was missed horribly by Kaiserslautern striker Srdjan Lakic in minute 89 (Video #2).