The best of German football from the Bundesliga and beyond
This time last year the German newspapers (read: rags) were adamant
Louis van Gaal wasn’t up to the job of turning Bayern München into
“Replace him before it’s too late!” some
were urging. With seven of the 34 games played, van Gaal’s side had 11
points from a possible 21 on offer. How little they knew – it turned
A huge improvement in the run up to Christmas and after
the winter break nearly led the side to a fantastic treble, with Jose
Mourinho’s Inter Milan pipping the Münchner in the Champions League
final. A year ago they had no excuses for the poor season start, so
Seven games played, the lowest scorers in the league,
just two games won and three points worse off than they were at the
same stage of season 2009/10. Bayern Münich is a club in crisis – who’d
have thunk it?
Club President, Uli Hoeneß, has now come out and
laid the blame entirely on the World Cup in South Africa. Surely, if
anything, the World Cup should have acted as a massive confidence boost
for players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philip Lahm, Thomas Müller
and Miroslav Klose – their Germany side defying the odds and nearly
bringing the trophy home for the first time in 20 years.
reckons that last season’s long campaign has taken its toll on his
team, and they’re now paying for it due to a shortened summer break. A
convenient excuse, you might think.
Munich daily newspaper, the
Süddeutsche Zeitung, assesses the FCB President’s excuses today,
concluding that it is indeed a viable reason for their pathetic showing
thus far in the new season, as the current top three sides in the
Bundesliga, Mainz, Dortmund and Hannover, only had five members of
their squad in action in South Africa in the summer.
rather argue, however, that losing Arjen Robben to a long-term injury,
plus the injury and personal problems of French superstar Franck
Ribery, is a more reasonable reason for their plight.
the World Cup! Aren’t all WC participants usually granted extended
holidays over the summer? Let’s face it, how hard can it be to live in
a five star hotel for a month while taking in, on average, a game every
Sunday was another majorly below-par showing from Van
Gaal’s troops. Away to Borussia Dortmund – a side on a run of five
victories in succession – they limped to a 2-0 defeat.
Gomez must be wishing he had been granted a move away in the summer –
although probably not to Liverpool as was rumoured at the time - as his
misfiring shooting was mainly the reason FCB failed to hit the back of
the net. Second half goals from Barrios and Sahin ensured the home side
stay within touching distance of Mainz at the top of the table.
gap of five points has already developed to third place Hannover, with
FCB a further five points back. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to
find new superlatives to describe this Mainz side.
Cologne-based Express newspaper posed the question “Kann Mainz wirklich
Meister werden?” [Could Mainz really win the league?] – well, what do
you think? Are they ‘doing a Hoffenheim’ from two years ago, or is
Thomas Tuchel’s team truly the real deal?
Indeed it was
Hoffenheim who they faced this weekend, with the Baden-Württemberg
outfit becoming the latest club to succumb to Mainz’s energetic and
hustling brand of football.
Seven wins on the spin means Mainz
maintain their status as the form club of European football, with no
other side in any of the top European leagues [we’re obviously not
including the SPL here…] having racked up a 100% record.
stuff, and they go into the international break in high spirits. One
does definitely feel, though, that they will be cursing having to put
domestic football on the back burner for two weeks, as they will need
to maintain their momentum for three massive upcoming games against
Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund.
then we will see what Tuchel’s boys are really made of. If they can do
the impossible and actually win all three games, then that will be ten
wins in a row, and will surely make them absolutely massively hot
favourites to win the top division for the first time. Quite the
fairytale might be developing!
Indeed, if Mainz’s season start
can be deemed a fairytale, then what of poor Schalke 04’s? Four points
from their last two fixtures against Freiburg and Borussia
Mönchengladbach probably filled their fans with all sorts of false
Finally the purchase of Real Madrid’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
has been vindicated, you could almost hear them screaming. Three goals
in three Bundesliga games for the Dutchman before matchday seven – as
well as four points from the last two outings for Felix Magath’s men -
almost, just almost, made things look a little rosier for the
Well, his great run of scoring continued this
weekend against Nürnberg, yet it wasn’t enough to earn his side even a
share of the spoils. They went down 2-1 at the Easy-Credit-Stadion in
Bavaria, and a massive improvement in form will be required if this
summer’s big spenders in Germany harbour any hopes of playing in Europe
next season. To make matters worse, their superb goalkeeper, Manuel
Neuer, has today come out and said he is no longer happy playing with
the Gelsenkirchen club and is “considering a change”. Music to the ears
of Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps?
Newcomers St Pauli again upset the
odds to gain a massive victory over the hugely-improved Hannover [0-1],
while Freiburg defeated FC Köln [3-2] to leapfrog their southern rivals
Bayern Münich in ninth place.
Borussia Mönchengladbach and
Steve McClaren’s VfL Wolfsburg could only play out a 1:1 draw – the
home side having now conceded 20 goals in their opening seven league
Stuttgart’s shocking season start slumped to a new low as
they went down 1:2 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt – Matthieu Delpierre
getting himself sent off in the process – while Swiss striker Eren
Derdiyok was to thank as his goal ten minutes from time ensured Bayer
Leverkusen avoided defeat at home against Werder Bremen [2-2].
Time for an international break!
BUNDESLIGA RESULTS Fri 01 Oct Hannover 96 0-1 St Pauli Sat 02 Oct SC
Freiburg 3-2 FC Köln, Hamburger SV 2-1 Kaiserslautern, FSV Mainz 4-2
1899 Hoffenheim, Borussia M'gladbach 1-1 VfL Wolfsburg, FC Nürnberg
2-1 Schalke 04 Sun 03 Oct Stuttgart 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Bayern München, Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Werder Bremen.
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