Tag Archives: Bundesliga

Notes from a spaced out soccer fan, Feb. 22

By Jonathan Gold

(Note: I have officially banned myself from writing about Arsenal – Orient on the advice of my physician. I have absolutely nothing to say about a team that can go toe-to-toe with the best in the world one day and then draw with Leyton goddamn Orient, or why so many good players at Arsenal are out of form or…takes drugs)

Aah, fine. Away we go.

SPAIN

The mighty Sid Lowe over at the Guardian thinks the goal scored by goalkeeper (!) Dani Aranzubia to rescue a point for incredibly dull relegation candidates Deportivo is the biggest story of the La Liga weekend, and he might be right. It was the first scored by a goalkeeper from open play in the history of the league, after all. Personally, I like his name enough that I’ve been going around saying “Arrrranzubia!” to friends and co-workers and that’s the extent my my interest in the matter. Hats off to him, though, big goal.

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Time is right for Michael Bradley move to Aston Villa

Michael Bradley's loan move from the Bundesliga in Germany to the English Premier League will help the player keep growing and it will be another challenge for the American midfielder.

By Kevin Koczwara

Michael Bradley made the best of his chances in Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach, but right now, as Gladbach sit in last place in the Bundesliga, and Michael Fink’s arrival at the club on loan, Bradley needs to get out. Aston Villa signed the American midfielder on loan for the rest of the season. It’s about time he moves on and test his American spirit in the English Premier League, a league tailored to his style. .

Bradley will find himself in a similar situation at Villa to the one he leaves behind in Gladbach. Aston Villa is fighting the relegation battle too, but it has better prospects than its German counterparts. Things look brighter these days at Villa Park.

Gerard Houllier has the team fighting again. He has removed a few of the cancers in the side that were sleep-walking through the season (looking at you Stephen Ireland). The one piece Houllier is missing, a hard-working and young holding midfielder who can break up an opponents attack and spring a counter-attack. He gets that missing piece with the arrival of Bradley.

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Notes from a spaced-out soccer fan, January edition

By Jonathan Gold

SPAIN

It doesn’t speak particularly highly of Emanuel Adebayor’s progress as a player since joining City a couple seasons ago that they could only even hope to get 15 million pounds out of Real Madrid, a club not known for its fiduciary restraint. And they probably won’t even get that, of course, given that the extent of The Special One’s ambitions in his boardroom battle with Jorge Valdano are just to get an extra striker for the rest of the season.

Why on earth would Madrid want to exercise that option, anyway? Who wants a fifteen-million-pound overgrown baby and noted malcontent in a locker room that already includes Cristiano Ronaldo?

Elsewhere, Valencia won a truly wacky contest against Malaga 4-3, and Real Madrid and Barca are close to a completely unexpected meeting in the finals of the Copa del Rey after both teams won the first legs of their semi-final matches.

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Bundesliga's back and Dortmund still rolling

The Bundesliga's winter break is over and Dortmund picked up where it left off, beating any and everyone in its path.

By Jonathan Gold

I do love a romp through the collected online bounty of sports punditry that accumulates – like that weird scaly stuff in the shower – with mechanistic regularity. There’s plangent mockery, high-flown rhetoric, and the occasional genuinely insightful analysis to be had. (The latter is mostly at Zonal Marking, from some of the Guardian’s guys, and, of course, on this illustrious site.)

Of course, there’s also woefully dumb crap like this, in which Peter Staunton says it’s somehow a bad thing that moneyed powerhouses like Bayern are occasionally undone by less-wealthy competitors, pointing to Dortmund’s struggles in the Europa League as evidence of the terrible damage that can be done when the likes of Mainz and Hannover get ideas above their station.

This is, as I’ve said, crap. Staunton’s idea is that, by gearing themselves solely to take on heavyweight domestic sides like Bayern and Schalke, teams like Dortmund, Mainz, and Hannover are essentially one-dimensional and unable to compete with serious European heavyweights like Barcelona and Chelsea. News flash – NO Bundesliga teams can stack up to the big-time powerhouses right now, period. I for one would much rather see exciting teams like BvB go out there and take a swing at Real Madrid than watch “perennial Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich and thank God they’re there because they’re the only German team the commentators know anything about” crap out in the first knockout round.

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Dortmund finally lose a game – and why that won’t matter, either

Borussia Dortmund go into the Bundesliga's winter break with a commanding lead, having only lost one game thus far.

By Jonathan Gold

Despite Arsene Wenger’s protestations that the English Premier League needs a winter break, the Bundesliga is currently the only major European league to provide one. It’s an excellent idea, giving the season a two-part feel and, more importantly, resting the players.

I’ll admit, I was pretty sure Dortmund was going to make it to the break undefeated. They have looked untouchable in their domestic campaign, despite having crashed out of the Europa League to a badly out-of-sorts Sevilla. Given their last fixture before the holiday break was Eintracht Frankfurt – hardly a match to make an undefeated side with a double-digit lead at the midway point of the season quake with fear. There’s no way they could lose that, right?

Oh yes there is. The Borussians missed chance after chance and were undone by a scrappy late goal from Theophanis Gekas. Hmm, played better, missed a lot of chances, lost because of a late goal…gee, they’re taking tips from Arsenal now.

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Bundesliga Bringing the Boom

Young German starts Philip Lahm (left), Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira defend a free kick in the World Cup this summer against Argentina. (Photo Courtesy sdhansay)

By Jonathan Gold

Quick, no thinking allowed: What’s the most entertaining soccer league in Europe? I guarantee you just got that wrong.

The Prem? Overpaid, overexposed, overcapitalized.

La Liga? If you’re not a fan of the endless financial pissing contest between Barca and Real, then you’re out of luck.

Serie A? Corrupt, slow, predictable.

Ligue 1? Sorry, too many racist shithead fans (at some clubs), the national apparatus is in utter disarray and all the talent goes to one of those other three leagues about 0.00145 seconds after it gets discovered.

Why didn’t you say the Bundesliga? Vas ist deine probleme? (Apologies, I’m 99 percent sure that doesn’t mean “What’s your problem?”)

All that aside, you should be watching German soccer. Yes, you. Particularly since the Revs season is over.

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What The Soccer guys Are Reading — Sept. 14, 2010

Ajax midfielder Evander Sno suffered a a heart attck during Ajax's reserve match on Tuesday night. Courtesy CrazyPhunk

Telegraph — German Bundesliga academies provide valuable lessons for Premier League — by Jeremy Wilson

Champions League soccer kicks off today, and a few of England’s top teams will be facing German opponents in the group stage of the tournament, and they will see just how good the Bundesliga youth academies are. Germany’s national team finished third at this year’s World Cup thanks to their up-and-coming talent that has percolated through the German leagues youth ranks. Clubs have been forced to pump money into their academies since 2000 and the results have been positive for both the league and the national team. With teams able to spend less on big-name transfers and focus their money on their academies the clubs have been making yearly profits while developing the next wave great German players. Maybe some other leagues around the world should take notice.

NJ.com — Giase: Sky Blue president Hofstetter hopes to see Women’s Professional Soccer grow healthier, despite departures —  by Frank Giase/The Star-Ledger

The Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPS) has almost finished two seasons — only the playoffs remain– and over the course of those seasons a lot has changed, but the league keeps cutting its losses and making progress. 2009 regular season champions the Los Angeles Sol folded after last season, but the league went on and is even trying to expand with a team maybe in Dallas or a rebirth of the Sol. As this season comes to a close the league is trying to stick together and weather the tough financial times at hand and resolve some of the issues that players have expressed.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading – August 30,2010

Ronaldo could miss up to three weeks after injuring his ankle while playing for Real Madrid on Sunday. Courtesy Leslie Bay

Sky Sports — Injury blow for Ronaldo

The world’s most expensive player will be out for three weeks after getting injured during Real Madrid’s 0-0 draw with Real Mallorca on Sunday. Ronaldo picked up a right ankle injury and is expected to miss Portugal’s two upcoming EURO 2012 qualifiers against Cyprus and Norway as well as two league matches and the opening round of UEFA Champions League play for Madrid.

BBC — Villa to seek manager with Premier League experience

Caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald has Aston Villa in fourth place in the Premier League table after three weeks, but the club is looking for a more permanent replacement for the departed Martin O’Neill.  Villa’s management will be looking for a manager with Premier League experience to take the helm of the club as it looks to try and improve on last season’s results despite the loss of star James Milner and the resignation of manager Martin O’Neill. MacDonald has done a fine job leading the club, but a 6-0 thrashing a week ago to Newcastle was not a good showing the caretaker.

Boston.com — Hannover signs US midfielder DaMarcus Beasley

The former Rangers player was let go by the Scottish Premier League champions after his contract expired at the end of last season. Now, the U.S. international is set to join his compatriot Steve Cherundolo at Bundesliga club Hannover on a two-year contract. Hannover narrowly avoided relegation last season and has been looking to bolster their squad depth with inexpensive players.

The Guardian — Milan may bid for Manchester City’s Robinho, says Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi, AC Milan’s owner, has just signed Barcelona’s want away striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a loan deal and he is still looking for a few more parts to help bolster the Rossoneri squad. One possible move the the Italian club would be to try and strike up a deal with Manchester City for Brazilian Robinho. Robinho has fallen out of favor with City’s manager Roberto Mancinni and he is looking for a move out of England as he has not adapted to the style of play in the Premier League. While Milan are lining up more moves to improve their squad before tomorrow’s deadline, they could be seeing one of their best players from last season look for the exit. Striker Marco Borriello may be looking for a new club because the signing of Ibrahimovic means the Italian striker will have limited opportunities to play for the club this season.

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Matches to Watch This Weekend

By Kevin Koczwara

Liverpool v Burnely (ESPN 2 Sat 9:45 a.m.)

Why watch this game you are surely asking me? I have two answers for you:

1. The game is in beautiful High Definition on ESPN 2. If you have watched a game in HD on ESPN recently, then you know why I am suggesting this game. The picture is outstanding, making the game more enjoyable. The Reds jerseys glisten over the green grass of the pitch. Hopefully this year ESPN decides to spend the money and show Champions Leagues games in HD. It makes every game easier to watch, and more enjoyable.

2. This may be a stretch, but this game will be tough for Liverpool. Burnley will present a challenge for the struggling Reds. Benetiz’s crew just aren’t up to snuff, yet anyways. And the squad could be looking ahead to their Champions League match later in the week. And Zonal marking has made every set piece interesting for Liverpool, and their opponents. I see some goals being scored, but Torres and Gerrard pulling the Reds out with a win.

Outcome: 3-1 Liverpool over Burnley.

Tottenham v Manchester Utd. (FSC Sat. 12:30p.m.)

This is the Spurs chance to prove that they really are what their record says they are (unbeaten EPL play). It is also a chance for Manchester United to put the Spurs in their place, and make it known that Sir Alex and his squad plan on defending their title.

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Hoffenheim's Story of Success

By Ryan Fleming

Coming off the field just past 8:30 p.m. on May 23rd, the players of TSG Hoffenheim lifted their heads finishing an entertaining 3-2 win over FC Schalke coming from behind on two separate occasions on the last match of the season. Sure, the win was nice, but the real reason for such a positive aura is that they were alive, alive in the league that took them so long to reach.

Despite being on the top of the table at the winter break (35 points), ahead of German powerhouses like Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen, the forever-underdog team began struggling, not because of its play but because of the injuries that began to engulf the team. Ten players went down with injuries including Hoffenheim’s leading scorer, Vedad Ibisevic. During a friendly match against Hamburg (in the midst of winter break), the 24-year old tore his anterior cruciate ligament, sinking the hopes and dreams of his teammates and supporters in one swift motion.

The injury kept Ibisevic out for the rest of the year but the importance Hoffenheim puts on his shoulders is still recognized. Just days after the season ended Hoffenheim extended Ibisevic’s contract through 2012 – hoping the striker returns to the form he maintained prior to the injury.

To Hoffenheim and the small village of 3,200 that it represents, each goal means much more than a just a means to victory, but another chance and survival in a place where for so long even evaded their dreams.

Just over 20 years ago Hoffenheim was buried deep Germany’s eighth division, obviously having no real hopes of ever making it to the Bundesliga. Then, just like that, everything changed. Dietmar Hopp grew up in Hoffenheim and played for its youth team in the 1950s. Today he’s worth over $8 billion and fortunate for his hometown team, he likes them … a lot. Since 1989 Hopp has invested over $135 million into club, rejuvenating its players and supporters. Hoffenheim has a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium, the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, that holds just over 30,000, a significant upgrade from the old park that held just 6,500.

Carlos Eduardo scored a goal

Carlos Eduardo helped his team stay in the Bundesliga and avoid relegation this past year. (Courtesy Sportsillustrated.cnn.com

In Germany, clubs can’t be owned privately, so Hopp doesn’t own the team or is he involved with them in anyway.

In 2006, Hoffenheim wanted to procure players with Bundesliga experience and a manger that had experience within the league. The club hired Ralf Rangnick, former manager of VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96 and Schalke 04. Hoffenheim, in a remarkable effort remained in the Bundesliga 2 for only one year, finishing in second place and automatically receiving promotion.

So, after Carlos Eduardo scored the winner on a penalty in the 89th minute, Eduardo and his teammates had a reason for being proud – they did it. They didn’t finish at the top of the table, they didn’t qualify for European play but they remained in one of Europe’s best leagues for another year.

With the success of Hoffenheim lately, I say to their supporters, continue to dream.

Ryan Fleming is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at ryanrfleming@gmail.com.

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