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.
There are some games in the Bundesliga that seem to follow all my predictions to the letter. These are the games with nothing unexpected, no surprise goals – and there were enough of them on the 16th match day this season to make me wish I’d gone to the betting shop beforehand!
For a start, the table toppers at Borussia Dortmund won 2:0 against Werder Bremen: no surprises there, then. Then Leverkusen won 4:2 against HSV, a team currently in serious crisis. Meanwhile, last year’s champions Bayern München held the upper hand against St. Pauli, newly promoted up from the second league this year. Oh really? If Germany’s record holders in terms of Bundesliga wins can’t beat newcomers to league, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.
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!” What did yours used to say to you? What about this one: “I’d like to thank my producer, my fans and, of course, my dad. Dad, if you’re looking down on us right now, this one’s for you!” Yes, it’s Oscar-time again and you can bet your last Euro that there were a few speeches like that last night. Now, the German Bundesliga is not exactly Hollywood, but if it were to award Oscars, the 25th day of play wouldn’t be a bad time to reward a few teams and players who have really excelled.
“Hau den Ball ins Tor hinein!” – Bundesliga blog for the 24th day of play – Its derby-time!
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!” What did yours used to say to you? What about this one: “In order to enchant your audience, you have to open yourself to them and show them the determination inside you”? Ever heard that? Probably not – unless you’re also in an amateur dramatic club.
“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.
Birthday-boy Arjen Robben netted the decisive goal in this weekend’s top Bundesliga match between Bremen and Bayern Munich. The free-kick, taken from some 20 meters on the far right of the penalty box was whipped in – passing friend and foe in the box – and dipped in time to stroke the underside of the bar and land in the top corner.
The Bayern winger threw his hands up in celebration and sprinted to the dug-out where Bayern coach Louis van Gaal was involuntarily lying on his back after loosing his footing in celebration. A pile-up ensued and van Gaal was left sucking an injured finger. Not that he minded – Bayern dominated the game, created chances at will and played some mouth-wateringly good football.
The Bundesliga awakened from its winter slumber. Well, at least the players did. The referee of the Zweite Bundesliga match (Germany’s second highest league) between Duisburg and FSV Frankfurt obviously still had sleep in his eyes when he awarded a goal that was none. And I really mean none. Though the outcome of the match was not affected this was probably one of the worst phantom goals ever awarded in German football..
Business as usual as the Bavarian machine ground out an uncontested 2-0 home victory against injury-ridden Hoffenheim. Arjen Robben was in fine fettle running knots into the legs of the Hoffenheim defense. The result could have been a lot higher if it weren’t for Mario Gomez. The Bayern striker had chance after chance served to him on a golden platter but failed to convert. A performance that was reminiscent of his appearances at the last European Championships.