Saturday, November 3, 2007
Next we have F.C. Bayern in their second straight nil-nil draw, only this time at the Allianz and against Frankfurt, whose last road trip resulted in a drubbing by Nurnberg. Nurnberg for their effort, was part of something that has been a rare feat this campaign, which is a loss to Stuttgart. Two wins on the bounce seems to have calmed nerves in the Swabian camp.
The most shocking result of the entire day, perhaps the year, was Hamburg's 2-1 victory over Hertha Berlin. The result itself isn't a suprise as HSV proven themselves title contenders, but seeing a scoreline without 1-0 from the Rothosen challenges my world view. But the 1-0 we did get was from Werder Bremen, of all teams, who won at home against lowly Hansa.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
1. FC Bayern
Nil Away Draw with BVB
For the first time this season, it can be said that they lost the midfield battle. And they were lucky to get out of
1-0 Road Win against
They are learning to win without Rafael van der Vaart, which will be important come next year. Vincent Kompany scored both goals in their 2 1-0 wins in the league and UEFA Cup.
3. Werder Bremen
1-1 Away Draw with Schalke
Torsten Frings aggravated his right knee in the game and will miss an additional month after recently returning from injury to the same knee. Fortunately for Werder, their midfield isn’t completely knackered at the moment, so they should manage.
Nil Road Draw with Hansa
Markus Miller tore a knee ligament two minutes into the game, played the full 90 with a taped knee, made at least two spectacular saves and found out afterwards that he will be out for half a year. The feel good story of the season just went sour.
5. Schalke 04
1-1 Home Draw with Werder
I don’t know what’s more bankable, a 1-0 win for
Nil Away draw with Eintracht
Mike Hanke hasn’t scored in nearly 600 minutes. Dieter Hecking has obviously never played Football Manager; otherwise, he would know this is normal.
3-1 Home Win against
Somebody got a new bottle of peroxide. I’m looking at you Marcelinho. It’s distracting us all from the Wolves fantastic run of form.
8. Hertha Berlin
2-0 Home Win against
While the 29 year old Serbian Marko Pantelic might be the focal point of HBS’ offense, the impressive aspect of this is that everyone knows it and he’s still supremely productive. Scored one and caused the own goal against
Nil Home draw with
Between last week’s shellacking by a pathetic
1-0 Away Loss to
It truly pains me to say this, but Rene Adler’s timid approach on a ball that should have been cleared allowed Andreas Beck to steal a point from
Nil Home Draw with
They had a truly inspirational performance against Bayern this week. Were it not for their forwards, they could have easily won 3-0.
1-0 Home Win over
Thomas Hitzelsperger returns from injury and the confidence returns immediately. They may not have deserved to win, but it’s no coincidence that the return of Hitzelsperger saw a change in luck and form.
1-1 Home draw with
Jonas Kamper’s rumblings that he wants to start might make Ernst Middendorp’s job more difficult as he scored to help Arminia avoid an embarrassing home loss to
14. Hansa Rostock
Nil Draw at Home with
Did what few have accomplished at home against KSC this year: got a point.
3-1 Away Loss to the Wolves
It was a poor week for the Cup holders as they suffered a drubbing by Felix Magath’s men and then got knocked out of the DFB Pokal by lowly
2-0 Away Loss to HBS
Going down faster than Stanislav Sestak in the box.
1-0 Home Loss to HSV
Have now lost six of seven in the league, and just got dumped from the Cup. Meanwhile trainer Rudi Bommer seems to have no answers.
18. FC Energie
1-1 Away Draw with
They scored their first road goal of the season. At this rate, expect exactly two more this campaign.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
For the former, we need to look at the tactics. That’s not such a bad thing, seeing as I title this column “tactical analysis”. With Franck Ribery out due to injury and the General unwilling to listen to me, even though I am a genius (my mother has reassured me), Bayern went with a 4-4-2, with Ze Roberto and Van Bommel lying deep with Schweinsteiger and Sosa patrolling the wings to link up with Klose and Toni.
On the other side, Borussia Dortmund employed the exact same 4-4-2 with Tinga and Kuba protecting the back four, while Buckey and Kinge provided for a front pairing of Petric and
The tactical beauty of this game was the placement of the two deep central mids. Bayern’s two typically set about 10-15 meters off of their centerbacks of De Michelis and Lucio; whereas, BVB’s Tinga and Kuba set 15-25 meters off of their, and may I add much inferior, centerbacks Brszenka and Kovac.
This small difference was enough to give BVB domination of the game. Tinga and Kuba moved forward to engage Bayern’s attack much higher up the pitch than the opposite case. They won the ball in Bayern’s half more often where they could quickly push forward. This can be seen in the 18 chances they made. It’s less visible in the number of chances they didn’t create, but I will get to that later. They won the pivotal battle at the center of the pitch and controlled possession. And it is never a bad idea to deny possession to great teams.
All in all, BVB was a much better side on the day and, while the result may have been surpsing, it was well earned. In fact they deserved more.
So why didn’t they? It’s rather simple. Doll’s side lacked what could be termed the final ball. Don’t mistake the final ball for a final pass. I mean that
So Doll won the tactical battle and his defense stood solid for once, but it was a bad day by the forwards that cost this team the shock of the season.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Not a bad midweek overall in Europe for the Bundesliga. The UEFA Cup sides had a perfect record, Werder secured their first points in the Champion's League and a surprise in Trondheim gave a life-line to the Royal Blues.
Yes, things are bad, however,
Few expected Schalke to go into
They finally got a European win. But Schaaf’s squad is starting to look comfortable with one another after an iffy start to the season. Another game against an injury plagued and squad-bare Lazio bodes well for Werder. I predict a win against the struggling Romans in two weeks and they could well sit 2nd going into the final two games.
A 1-0 road win against Norwegian outfit SK Brann. One might think they would do better, but A) any road win in Europe is good and B)
They were a little lucky to beat
Bayern have said they care about this competition, but they obviously don't. Missing only Toni, Ribery and Kahn, they squeezed by Crvena Zvezda, who aren’t in the same Universe as Bayern, on a last minute goal by wunderkind Toni Kroos. While they will skate through this group, eventually their attitude towards this competition will catch up with them.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
2-1 away win against
Who was the genius that said they weren’t as good with a four-man midfield. Oh yeah, me! They almost got nicked by relegation fodder, and probably deserved to be.
2. Werder Bremen
3-2 home win against Hertha
Klose who? Almeida and Sanogo are proving to be the second best pairing in the Bundesliga…..to, oh, Klose and Toni. But Rosenborg looked spry for once and the goals just keep coming for Werder.
4-1 home win against
Ivica Olic, who has been fairly quiet since his pickup last January, scored a first half hat trick to sink holder Stuttgart. The 4-1 win takes
Goalless draw at home against Arminia
Had possession and shots against
5. Schalke 04
1-1 away draw with Hansa
At this rate, may well set a Bundesliga record for draws. More importantly they are shaky defensively without Mladen Krstajic and Christian Pander, who look set to train this week.
2-2 home draw with the Wolves
Michael Tarnat blunders to allow
7. Bayer 04
2-2 draw at home with BVB.
Steffan Keißling saved the home side embarrassment with a late goal at BayArena. But it was Adler’s heroics in the first half that even allowed the last gasp heroics.
5-1 road loss to
Road woes continue as they have now dropped 7 points away to bottom feeders.
2-2 away draw with 96
Captain Marcelinho and douche bag Dejagah netted a draw with
10. Hertha Berlin
3-2 loss away to Werder
2-2 draw on the road with
Mladen Petric has become the quiet efficient engine of
Goalless draw on the road against
Ended a four game skid in the loss column, but didn’t deserve the point. Their bend but don’t break attitude did keep a clean sheet, and may be a harbinger of the end of their leaky defense that has allowed 14 goals since their sterling start.
13. Hansa Rostock
1-1 home draw with Schalke
Midfielder Marc Stein was the eighth player to score this campaign for the newly promoted side. They have only scored 11 goals.
4-1 away loss to HSV
How important is Captain Fernando Meira? Just ask Serdar Taşçi, whose utter incompetence at the back, wasn’t glossed over this week by the one typical bright spot for the failing holders.
5-1 home win against Eintracht.
Are they a better team without Ivan Saenko? Results say yes.
2-1 home loss to F.C. Bayern
No shame in this weekend’s performance. Scored early with Dennis Grote and nearly grinded out a result, but Bayern was too strong. One of the best defensive performances by a team all season.
2-1 away win against F.C. Energie
18. Energie Cottbus
2-1 home loss to
A late goal by Captain Timo Rost after extended pressure looked just desserts for the bottom dwellers. But
Friday, October 12, 2007
What Dejagah has done is deplorable and should never be forgiven. Sorry, that may seem harsh, but his action has galvanized the fundamentalists on both sides of a political/religious argument and given more voice to the stupidity of a region that has been in perpetual war since the Sumerians (literally 5000 years for you with no historical acumen).
And I don’t care if he doesn’t want to play against
The queue for political hacks is forming in
Where has his act landed him? He is permanently suspended from the German national team. This is the right move by the DFB, but it, of course, has many saying that they are bending to the will of Jewish concerns (why would they ever do that?). But it’s an act they had to make for many more reasons than one volatile midfielder, who will now just move over to
For whatever reason they made the decision to say goodbye to Dejagah, it was absolutely the correct thing to do. Germany has a large number of U21’s that have attachments to Muslim countries: Sami Khedira, Serdar Taşçı, Mounir Chaftar, Serkan Çalik, Mustafa Kučuković, Barış Özbek and Nejmeddin Daghfous have all been called up recently (some as full internationals) and what message would succumbing to this ridiculousness cause them, especially if they got grouped with Israel in 2010 qualification? And it’s not just Muslims. Germany is growing multi-cultural by leaps and bounds: with callups to parental heritages including Brazilian Kuranyi, Spaniards Gomez and Castro, Poles Klose, Podolski and Polanski, Kosovian Mavraj, English Hunt, American Jones, Nigerians Ede and Book and many Ghanians including Odonker, Boateng and Asamoah. This list shows just how many possibilities for making a political statement exist within the coming years for the DFB. Whether a coward or a political hero, Dejagah lit a fire under German football, and it responded correctly. Will FIFA follow?
It needs to act on this, because if ex-Herta player is allowed to continue his international career in
Give them a piece of paper and have them sign it. It simply states that the signer will play any other FIFA team if it is necessitated. If they don’t: Goodbye! See how quickly
Thursday, October 4, 2007
The going has been tough for the three Champions League teams. Werder Bremen and Stuttgart find themselves in 4th in their respective groups, having failed to secure draws this past week to secure the coveted 3rd spot, a position that drops teams into the UEFA Cup Round of 32. Schalke currently find themselves in 3rd spot, but questions at Chelsea following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho and Valencia’s inability to finish, leave the current second place team in the Bundesliga in a dubious position. A positive result in either of the upcoming fixtures with Chelsea could see the Gelsenkirchen side slip into second place.
It wasn’t like manager Mirko Slomka didn’t try. He employed a midfield with no width against Rosenborg, who dominated the midfield, but his team unfortunately countered for two goals. Werder Bremen’s Thomas Schaaf will be disappointed with his team’s loss to Olympiakos. The goal they so desperately wanted to concede after dominating possession by over 60% during the match, escalated into two others quickly, meaning they need to win one of the games approaching with Lazio to move up one space. Stuttgart have to hope they are less sucktacular than Lyon to secure third.
Meanwhile in the actual competition, Leverkusen, FC Bayern, Hamburg and even lowly Nurnberg made it to the group stages. Leverkusen gave away two early goals which seemed to jeopardize their chances, but pulled through at Uniao Leiria. Nurnberg used the away goals rule to get by Rapid Bucharest. Hamburg demolished a Lycra/Spandex blend from Bulgaria, while Bayern made short work of another Portuguese side. All four will find their group pairings this coming Tuesday.
If things go according to plan, the Bundesliga could see seven teams through to the quarterfinals of the competition, which is now being called “das Ligapokal Zwei” colloquially in Germany. It would undoubtedly give Germany a half-decent chance of capturing its first UEFA Cup since Bayern and Schalke’s double of 95/96 and 96/97. The closest the Bundesliga have come since was Borussia Dortmund’s loss in Rotterdam to Feyenoord in 2002. It was a tragedy, really, as Dortmund awaited the return leg only to find out the competition had changed to a one-leg final three years prior.