Category Archives: 1. FC Köln

Bundesliga Weekender: Cologne, Bielefeld and Hannover by Chris Lines

Chris Lines from Narrow The Angle took the plane to Düsseldorf and embarked on a Bundesliga weekend. Here’s what happened.

Something of a late convert to the charms of German football, I’ve admired the Bundesliga from a distance for a couple of years. But it was high time I made a trip over there and saw some action first hand.

Myself and a mate took a train from Waterloo to Southampton, where we were to meet another friend of his (whom I had never met) and fly to Düsseldorf, ahead of a heady weekend of three games in three divisions in three days – Cologne v Kaiserslautern, Bielefeld v Heidenheim, Hannover v ‘Gladbach.

Any mild apprehension about going on holiday with someone I’d not met was immediately quashed when said friend met us off the train at Southampton Airport with three ice-cold bottles of Krombacher and hearty sausage sandwiches all round. It turns out that this is a highly effective way of gaining my immediate trust and respect. After this impromptu picnic we were soon boarding.

Our Flybe aircraft to Düsseldorf could be best described as “funsize” but it did the job and got us there in little over an hour. Straight through passport control with no queue – hello Germany – we immediately whizzed off to Cologne on the train.

Our view at RheinEnergieStadion

Cologne v Kaiserslautern

A brief walk along the Rhine before we hopped on a tram to the RheinEnergieStadion. The tram was packed with fans, all of whom wore scarves and drank beer, but none of whom were in any way boorish or obnoxious – how refreshing.

Forty-five thousand people packed into the ground as the sky darkens and the stadium’s four distinctive corner pillars light up is a cracking sight. From our seats in the upper tier I took in this impressive vista. Fans of each team were making an almighty din in terraces at both ends of the grounds, while huge flags were waved with gusto among the throng of fans. They even appeared to rotate the bigger flags throughout the game, so that each impressive banner was given an airing.

It had been a rush to get from train to plane to train to tram to game – just as well then that we’d spent much of the travelling time consuming whatever premium German lager we could get our hands on, because we sure as heck weren’t going to be getting a beer at the ground in the few minutes we had before kick-off – curse you pesky arena card system. Handy for the regular punter as these prepaid cards are, they’re also the scourge of the time-poor tourist. Still, we were nicely merry by the time we took our seats – just as well given the temperature had plummeted to -1C. My fingerless gloves did a passable impression of mittens as my fingers retreated inside the gloves and away from the chill.

"Can you point me in the direction of the Baa"

The game itself was an absolute belter; the standard of play very high given this was a Bundesliga 2 game. The first-half performance of Kaiserslautern’s Alexander Baumjohann turned out to be the stand-out performance of our whole trip. For 45 minutes he was simply brilliant, constantly ghosting into space, sliding passes through small gaps and scoring an impressive opener over the top of Cologne keeper Timo Horn’s head. Sadly his influence waned in the second period, but he’d won over three new fans in our travelling party without question. And what a cool name: Baumjohann. Fun to say.

Other highlights among the six goals these sides shared were a great cut-inside-and-shot from Cologne’s Christian Clemens and a glorious header postage-stamped right into the top corner by Kaiserslautern’s Mohammadou ‘The Betzenberg Balotelli’ Idrissou, who also nicked a late equaliser to cap a giddy first 90 minutes of German football for this spectator. I was still catching my breath as Kaiserslautern’s players celebrated and high-fived with their delirious travelling army.

Out of the ground, onto a tram (of which there were many, ready to whisk away the thousands in wonderfully organised German fashion), a train, another tram and we were at our hotel in Bielefeld – my fifth city of the day, no less. Bags dumped and it was straight to the nearest tavern; a very cosy little place with friendly locals and an applaudable system of biro crosses on beermats by way of a bar tab. Just pass your beermat to the barmaid when you’re ready to pay: ace.

Large mural outside Schüco Arena

Bielefeld v Heidenheim

Saturday saw us take our time getting up – perhaps a key factor in our rather surprising lack of hangover. Waking up in the same city as our game for the day – what a treat – this would be a more relaxed affair than the day before. We arrived early at Arminia Bielefeld’s Schüco Arena to find fans standing around on the streets, most of whom were wearing several scarves, chatting and drinking crates of beer while they waited for the turnstiles to open.

Bielefeld have fallen on hard times of late and are now in the third tier of German football, but their hardcore support have not deserted them. A gang of scarf-bedecked youths crowded around a ghetto-blaster that pounded out German hard rock of the shouty-but-polished variety so favoured over here.

The travelling Heidenheim support

Come the game, a crowd of just under seven thousand had gathered, though it seemed a lot less in a stadium that holds 27,300. Most congregated on the terrace, which left the rest of the stadium decidedly barren. The terrace was making quite a noise though, which ensured the game had some atmosphere. Heidenheim had brought around 50 fans and were shunted away on a little terrace in the opposite corner.

In a game of few genuine chances, Bielefeld edged it 1-0 thanks to a deflected cross from left-back Stephan Salger. Attacking midfielder Patrick Schönfeld caught the eye in midfield for the hosts but it was centre-back and captain Manuel Hornig who really stood out as the pick of the bunch. His was a faultless display, both positionally and in his strong tackling throughout. He looked like the ideal leader to spearhead the battle to get back into Bundesliga 2.


Inside the AWD-Arena

Hannover v Gladbach

Onward to Hannover after the game, where we hit the Old Town area and a tremendous bar, all wood panelling and German thirty-somethings getting nicely trashed. Two chaps at the bar had their drinks lined up in a wooden rack, like one might see loaded with vile aniseed-flavoured shooters in some terrible chain pub in England. But these guys each had a neat row of frothing half pints of the local Gilde Ratskeller beer – now that’s how to get drunk. Line ‘em up, chew the fat, get steadily drunk.

Sundays would appear to still be a sedate affair in Germany, compared to the relentless shop-a-thons they seem to have become in the UK. And so we made the excellent decision to stop drinking beer for a bit and see the sights, given the streets were almost deserted.

A wholly pleasant walk around Hannover made apparent two things: that this is really rather an attractive city, but also that it had clearly had the living daylights bombed out of it during the Second World War. Attractive older buildings tend to be outnumbered by more modern counterparts. For the most part, though, the city has done this tastefully with garish juxtaposition between the old and the new largely avoided. One old building was peppered with shrapnel scars up one side, a testament to the fact that a rather large bomb had evidently landed in roughly the same spot we were now standing.

As Hannover 96′s impressive AWD-Arena loomed into view, it’s surrounds were equally as pleasing as the actual stadium. This may be my favourite surrounding area of a ground that I’ve ever visited. As we wandered we saw a fan park, countless wurst and beer stalls and a big, brilliant supporters’ pub kitted out with big plasmas, as well as dozens of Hannover shirts and pennants. And (for sunnier days) there was a big plasma on the outside of the building too, with rows of bench seating for communal boozy viewing. If I hadn’t developed a soft spot for Hannover already, I had now.

Hannover fan pub

The game itself was pretty average first half – not much happened – but it burst into life in the second. Hannover raced into a two-goal lead through the mercurial Jan Schlaudraff and Mame Biram Diouf, before chucking it away and conceding three goals in nine minutes to a grateful Alvaro Dominguez, Roel Brouwers and Juan Arango. The winning goal from Arango (who played brilliantly) caught Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler completely cold, feigning to cross before curling it near post and away from the goalie’s grasp. Hannover fans couldn’t believe what had happened, a fact not helped by the fact that the third goal saw a few hundred secret Gladbach fans incapable of containing their passions among the home support. No animosity on show from the Hannover fans, though, with frustrated shrugging the most common reaction.

What a cracking three days. No doubt I shall be returning before too long. Good trip, good football and – as a better and better-known European Football Weekender than myself would say – good old life.


Follow Chris on Twitter.

Bundesliga Review – Derby excitement tempered by Pezzoni incident By Archie Rhind-Tutt


Derbies – they are part of what makes not just the Bundesliga but football in general great. It’s there where all of the passion is poured out onto the pitch by both fans and players. This weekend the Bundesliga had no less than four of them on show. Not all of them were necessarily local – Bayern Munich and Stuttgart for instance are 136 miles apart.

The pair nevertheless make up the Southern derby (not to be confused with Nuremberg v Fürth which is the South derby). With Borussia Dortmund drawing with Nuremberg on Saturday, it was a great opportunity for Bayern to take an early lead over the Champions. They did just that, but not before Stuttgart were made to realise that Bayern are like the Incredible Hulk – you wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.

The Swabians hit the bar early on and then took the lead through Martin Harnik’s superb volley on 25 minutes. By half time, Stuttgart were trailing by two after Müller, Kroos and most spectacularly Luiz Gustavo, gave the Bavarians the lead their fans expected. In the second half, it continued with Müller (again), Mandzukic and Schweinsteiger ensuring last year’s runners up were 6-1 up just six minutes after half time. That’s how it stayed but there was still time for Vedad Ibisevic to be sent off, completing a bad start in the Bundesliga for the Bosnian after last week’s horrible miss.

Perhaps not for the last time this season though, Bayern went to the top of the Bundesliga. Still, they weren’t the only side to enjoy a Sunday roast. For the Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) derby was more like the demolition derby as Hannover thumped Wolfsburg at the VW Arena.

This in itself was a surprise. After all, Hannover hadn’t won in Wolfsburg since 2006 and they weren’t great on the road last year, picking up just two away wins all season. The Wolves have also been tipped to do well this season and were expected to build on last weekend’s win at Stuttgart.

Still, Hannover are not a side to be underestimated, as they showed. Their star was Szabolcs Huszti. The Hungarian, who returned to the club after three years at Zenit St. Petersburg, set up all four goals for “The 96.” Karim Haggui and Artur Sobiech made it 2-0 before the break. In the second half, Leon Andreasen and Sobiech completed a fantastic day for Mirko Slomka’s men. Wolfsburg also had substitute Robin Knoche sent off in the second half and it was unsurprising when coach Felix Magath apologized to the fans after his side’s tame performance. After all, the Lower Saxony bragging rights were firmly with Hannover.

It wasn’t as clear cut in the Niederrhein (Lower Rhine) derby as Fortuna Düsseldorf and Borussia Mönchengladbach renewed rivalries in the Bundesliga for the first time in over 15 years. Yet neither was able to find a winner in a tight affair on Saturday evening. The match belied the ever entertaining nature of Fortuna Düsseldorf whilst for Gladbach, you can’t help but feel it was the sort of game they might have won, if they still had a certain Marco Reus. Still, the Foals look well set for the season, something which cannot be said of Hamburg.

HSV travelled to Werder Bremen in the Nordderby (North derby) but were outclassed for a second week running. With new signing Rafael van der Vaart watching on having returned from Spurs, Werder picked up from their encouraging performance at the Champions on the opening night of the season. Aaron Hunt had one penalty saved by René Adler, a definite positive for Hamburg in the new season. However, Adler was beaten by a second Hunt penalty in the second half and then by a Nils Petersen strike, ensuring that Werder and Hamburg were looking in different directions going into the international break. BILD even questioned after the result whether van der Vaart’s contract extends into the 2.Bundesliga – a cheeky and slightly premature jibe. Time is on their side but HSV’s start has been far from inspiring. Patience is thin on the ground with fans, as it is with many supporters these days.  Passion runs high which is what makes derby matches and indeed what made this weekend’s Bundesliga matches special.

However, we must be careful, especially after what happened to Kevin Pezzoni this week. Pezzoni was a player at another big club who have been going through hard times, that being Cologne who were relegated from the Bundesliga just a few months ago. He cancelled his contract this week after being threatened outside his home by a group of angry Cologne fans – an appalling development. So while fans displeasure at results is understandable, the Pezzoni incident certainly helped to put into context where football’s boundaries for passion lie.

For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 2 Results:

Mainz 0-1 Fürth

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Freiburg

Hoffenheim 0-4 Eintracht Frankfurt

Nuremberg 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Schalke 3-1 Augsburg

Werder Bremen 2-0 Hamburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-0 Gladbach

Wolfsburg 0-4 Hannover

Bayern Munich 6-1 Stuttgart


Position Club Games W* D* L* F:A GD* Points
1 FC Bayern Munich 2 2 0 0 9:1 +8 6 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 2 2 0 0 6:1 +5 6 CL*
3 Hannover 96 2 1 1 0 6:2 +4 4 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 2 1 1 0 5:3 +2 4 CL* Qual.
5 Fortuna Düsseldorf 2 1 1 0 2:0 +2 4 EL* Qual.
6 Borussia Dortmund 2 1 1 0 3:2 +1 4 EL* Qual.
7 1. FC Nürnberg 2 1 1 0 2:1 +1 4
7 Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 1 1 0 2:1 +1 4
9 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2 1 0 1 3:2 +1 3
9 SV Werder Bremen 2 1 0 1 3:2 +1 3
11 SpVgg Greuther Fürth 2 1 0 1 1:3 -2 3
12 VfL Wolfsburg 2 1 0 1 1:4 -3 3
13 1. FSV Mainz 05 2 0 1 1 1:2 -1 1
14 Sport-Club Freiburg 2 0 1 1 1:3 -2 1
15 Hamburger SV 2 0 0 2 0:3 -3 0
16 FC Augsburg 2 0 0 2 1:5 -4 0 Relegation
17 1899 Hoffenheim 2 0 0 2 1:6 -5 0 Relegation
18 VfB Stuttgart 2 0 0 2 1:7 -6 0 Relegation

Table thanks to the Bundesliga Official Website

Article originally written on Football Fan Cast

The Bundesliga Show Episode 65 – Relegation, Play-offs and the Cup

The league season may be over, but there is still so much to play for in Germany. Jon Hartley and Terry Duffelen run down through the key talking points of the final matchday of the season, which confirmed Cologne’s relegation and Hertha’s place in the play-off. Hertha Berlin face Fortuna Düsseldorf in the first leg of the play-off on Thursday evening at the Olympic Stadium.

In addition, ESPN’s Jim Proudfoot joins the pod to preview the up coming DFB Pokal final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. Richard Montague from Football Radar also makes guest appearance to talk about the final day of the season in the 2.Bundesliga.

Chaos at the Carnival Club

Jon Hartley takes a look at the turbulent tenure of Stale Solbakken at Cologne.

Not too long ago, Franz Beckenbauer said of the situation of the situation in Cologne, “Wolfgang Overath (former club President) has gone, Volker Finke (former Sporting Director) has gone, Podolski is likely to go. I ask myself, is the Goat still there?”. Now coach Stale Solbakken has also departed the club…thankfully though, the Goat is still around.

Lets not pretend that things were rosy in the garden of the RheinEnergie Stadium before the beginning of this season, but there was some genuine hope that Solbakken’s appointment might lead to a change in Cologne’s fortunes. The club fought hard to get him, so it was understandable that they left it this late to finally part company. The Norwegian had achieved great things with FC Copenhagen, he was awash with Danish titles and also credible performances in the Champions League. His stock was certainly high and he was due to take over as Norwegian national coach until Cologne came knocking. They must have been quite persuasive, not only financially, but also in terms of the potential of a club like Cologne. Sure, there has always been potential at Cologne, but it seems that turning potential into success is a very tough act to pull off in the Cathedral city.

There was little chance if instant success for Solbakken with the Cologne soap opera in full flow. There was Miso Brecko’s drink driving, Kevin Pezzoni’s Carnival punch-up, Slawomir Peszko’s run in with a Taxi driver, not to mention the Cologne fans stopping the team bus for a chat and smashing up another with Gladbach fans in. There has been a lot to deal with at the Geißbockheim this season.

Solbakken hasn’t always made life easy for himself. Pre-season dithering over the captaincy was not the best of starts, especially when it involved taking the armband from Kölsch golden boy Lukas Podolski and giving it to Pedro Geromel. While the coach may not have got off to a flying start with that move, he also wasn’t given great tools to work with. Cologne spluttered into 10th place last season, yet the nucleus of that side still remains. Summer signings from Volke Finke were few and far between and the only one of any note was Sascha Riether from Wolfsburg. Riether has proved himself as a good Bundesliga player but has also proved that he can’t change a team. Henrique Sereno and Ammar Jemal both arrived on loan to help bolster the defence, but this doesn’t constitute the overhaul needed at the club. One reason that the overhaul didn’t happen is that Cologne don’t have a lot of cash. They have big visions, that is true, but few funds to finance it.

Solbakken arrived with the reputation of playing compact and counter attacking football. Only on a few occasions has his concept really been realised at Cologne and that might have something to do with the coaching, but probably a lot to do with not having the squad needed to execute it.

After two disappointing defeats and a draw in the opening three games of the season, Cologne fans gave the coach and the team time to bond and that is credit to Solbakken’s personality. From the first day of the season he did his press conferences in German and he had to work very hard to achieve that. Even for a native speaker, it takes some bravery to explain your vision and defend decisions to the Cologne press pack, but as a learner of German it was very impressive. It was also done with great humour, which can only have helped his standing with the fans and media alike. This is of course the man who joked in a packed press conference when his phone rang, that it was his wife calling to enquire if he would have a job the following day.

The squad strength aside, Solbakken hasn’t had much luck in other areas either. A string of injuries mainly in defence, and some silly suspensions have played their part to put extra stress on the team. Some of those injuries have also hit the attacking options as well.  A two month lay-off for Milivoje Novakovic and a month without Lukas Podolski, have no doubt had an effect on the abilities of this threadbare squad.

Speaking of Lukas Podolski, his story will have played a part in Solbakken’s and Cologne’s poor showing this season. On the one hand he has been the Cologne saviour, having has scored 17 of their 36 league goals, yet the distraction of his transfer talks and outspoken (yet truthful) interviews can only have caused problems for the rest of the team.

The other elephant in the room has been the relationship between Solbakken and Volke Finke. It is safe to say that the two did not see eye to eye. This was all too evident at the end of the January transfer window with the signing by Finke of Chong Tese from Bochum. Solbakken had barely seen the player and didn’t agree with the signing, and that will have hardly improved relations.

So when the decision came that Finke would leave the club, it looked like Solbakken was the winner in this contest, and he would be the one to take the club forward. That was more evident when the blame was levelled at the team and not the coach after the defeat to Augsburg. One improved performance followed, but the 4-0 loss to Mainz was the last straw, and the club let go of Solbakken.

It wasn’t a decision that Cologne hierarchy really wanted to make. Having got rid of Finke, the last thing they wanted was another change, and more importantly another public failure. Given the trajectory of the club it was perhaps understandable, if a little late in the season, but what about the future and the next step for Cologne? Frank Schaefer is in charge until the end of the season and if he can work the same magic as last season while in charge, it is possible for Cologne to survive. But regardless of what division Cologne are in next season, this summer is the time that the club needs to put its house in order once and for all and capitalise on this potential for the long term. Both the fans and the club need to lower their expectations and look to the example of other Bundesliga clubs who have nurtured success with a blend of young talent and experienced heads. When that happens they should look for a coach just like Stale Solbakken…he would be a perfect coach for a stable and progressive club.

Derby Fever

Matthias Suuck looks at the stories behind some of German’s biggest local derbies…big derbies that are taking place this weekend.

This weekend is derby weekend in the Bundesliga and nothing evokes supporters’ passions more than a derby match. These are the matches where (for the supporters) league position is secondary and bragging rights against their bitter rivals is all that matters. There are plenty of great rivalries in the football world and Germany is no different. There are scores of great rivalries across German football, from the lowest leagues on up to the top of the Bundesliga. The region richest with rivalries is undoubtedly the west of the country, more specifically Nordrhein-Westfalen, since it is one of the most densely populated regions of the country, both in terms of inhabitants and football clubs. It is also the cradle for what is widely recognized as the greatest of all German football rivalries, the “Revierderby”; Borussia Dortmund vs. FC Schalke 04 and it will once again be on display this weekend.

THE derby of the west features two of the most passionate (and similar) fan bases in Germany. In fact, the similarities between the two clubs cannot be denied. Both come from the working-class areas of Gelsenkirchen and Dortmund, where historically most supporters (and even some players) came from the mining industry of the region. These clubs’ supporters are not separated by their religion or their income, but rather simply by the fact that they grew up a mere 35 km apart. Ever since the founding of both clubs over 100 years ago, they drew much of their support, as well as players, from eastern European immigrants. Simply looking at some of the great players’ last names from the past highlights this fact, e.g. Ernst Kuzorra, Fritz Szepan, and Heinrich Kwiatkowski. I believe, in fact that the bitterness of this rivalry does not lie in the differences between the clubs and their supporters (as is the case in the Old Firm derby), but rather in the similarities. They are almost like estranged brothers and nobody likes losing to their brother.

What many outsiders do not realize is that the rivalry did not even exist prior to World War II. Schalke, with its magical “Schalker Kreisel” dominated football in Germany during the 1920’s and 30’s, when it won four German championships and one cup title. Dortmund at that time was more of a lower league or also-ran club. However, after the formation of the Oberliga system in 1947 the rivalry truly began to take shape, especially with a new batch of immigrants to work the local mines, coming from the recently lost eastern reaches of Germany. In the 1950’s the rivalry came to a head when Dortmund, lead by manager Helmut Schneider won two German titles (1956, 1957) and Schalke one (its last) in 1958. Dortmund supporters have never let Schalke supporters forget the fact that the last of their seven German titles came over 50 years ago. In fact, a group of BVB supporters paid for a small plane to fly over Gelsenkirchen in 2008 with a banner reminding them of the 50 years without a league title.

Though the rivalry ebbed a bit in the 1970’s and 80’s, when both teams had their spells in the second tier of German football, it came back with a roar in the 1990’s. This was a decade that saw Dortmund’s greatest success since the 50’s and both clubs winning European titles in the same year, 1997 (Dortmund the Champions League and Schalke the Uefa Cup). Though Dortmund has had more league success than Schalke in the last 20 years (4 Bundesliga titles), the “Knappen” (nickname for Schalke) have had more success in the cup (3 titles).

The animosity of both sets of supporters runs deep, with neither side actually using the name of the other’s city. Schalke supporters refer to Borussia Dortmund as “Lüdenscheid-Nord” and Dortmund supporters refer to Schalke as “Herne-West,” in a way to make each side sound more provincial and less sophisticated. Ironically, Schalke (unlike Dortmund) is one part of the city of Gelsenkirchen (Gelsenkirchen-Schalke) and not its own true city. This deep seated rivalry also extends to the pitch. Nowhere was this more on display than in the recent cup tie between Dortmund and Greuther Fürth. One of the Fürth players (Gerald Asamoah) played many seasons for Schalke. Before the match he stated how much he would enjoy ending “Lüdenscheid’s” cup dreams with a winning goal late in the match. After Dortmund defeated Fürth with a dramatic last-second goal, lifelong Dortmund supporter (and former Ultra member) and star player Kevin Großkreutz (who once said that if his son became a Schalke supporter he would stick him in an orphanage) decided to rub the victory in Asamoah’s face, who took exception to it (but let’s remember who actually started it shall we).

This weekend’s match has added importance for both clubs. With Dortmund hoping to extend their lead over Bayern Munich at the top of the table to claim another title and Schalke in a tight battle with Mönchengladbach for the final direct Champions League spot, neither club (nor their supporters) will give an inch and either side would relish in making life difficult for the other.

The other derby on display this weekend is the “Rheinland Derby” between FC Cologne and Borussia Mönchengladbach. This rivalry only really began to take shape when Gladbach was promoted to the Bundesliga in 1965. By that point, Cologne had already won two German titles. What added to the spice of the rivalry was the fact that Gladbach’s manager was the former Cologne manager Hennes Weisweiler. Under Weisweiler, Mönchengladbach quickly eclipsed Cologne with its young squad of attacking players and rose to prominence in the 1970’s, winning 5 Bundesliga titles. When Weisweiler returned to Cologne in 1976, they quickly won the cup and in 1978 won the double. Now you had two legitimate powerhouse clubs in the same Rheinregion of Germany battling near the top of the Bundesliga for many years in the late 1970’s and early to mid 1980’s. However, both clubs fell on very hard times in the last 20 years, seeing both of them relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga a number of times.

Though the tradition and cultural history behind this rivalry in no way compares to that of Dortmund vs. Schalke, it is a bitter rivalry nonetheless. The edge to this rivalry, as is often the case, is delivered mainly by the fans. In recent years and months there have been extremely ugly scenes from both sets of supporters, but mainly coming from Cologne, which included a recent incident where Cologne supporters stopped a bus full of Gladbach supporters and assaulted them. Part of this is just brain dead thuggish behavior, but some of it clearly stems from the fact that Cologne are once again fighting off relegation, while Mönchengladbach are the surprise team of the season and are fighting for a spot in the Champions League.

There are plenty of other great rivalries across German football that still play out every year, such as the “Nord Derby” between Hamburg and Werder Bremen. There are also more recent derbies that have sprung up over the past decade or two, e.g. Freiburg vs. Stuttgart, Mainz vs. Kaiserslautern, Wolfsburg vs. Hannover, etc. Then there are those rivalries that only success brings with it, such as the ones between Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach, Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, but these lack the bitterness of the local derbies. There have also been historically significant rivalries that have faded a bit over time, since the clubs hardly face off anymore, as is the case between Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich or Eintracht Frankfurt and Kickers Offenbach.

As you can see, the rich history of football in Germany has delivered some outstanding rivalry matchups over the past 100 years, and this weekend’s fixtures of Dortmund vs. Schalke and Mönchengladbach vs. Cologne are sure to be no different.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 42 – A mixed weekend of sadness and joy in the Bundesliga

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Terry Duffelen and Jon Hartley, talk about the big issues of Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga. It was a mixed weekend of emotions in the Bundesliga…sadness at the news of Referee Babak Rafati tried to take his own life before Cologne’s game with Hannover.

Also in the show, author and journalist Uli Hesse talks about the big match of the week between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 42 – A mixed weekend of sadness and joy in the Bundesliga by soundoffootball

The Bundesliga Show Episode 41 – More crisis in Cologne & the battle of the top four

This week Jon Hartley & Terry Duffelen record The Bundesliga Show from the banks of the River Thames in London and discuss the latest problems at FC Cologne after the resignation of President Wolfgang Overath.

They also preview the big matchday 13 battles between the top four – Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 41 – More crisis in Cologne & the battle of the top four by soundoffootball

The Bundesliga Show 26 – Season Preview, Super Cup & DFB Pokal Round One

Thankfully the summer break is almost at an end and the Bundesliga is about to resume. To mark that occasion, The Bundesliga Show with Terry Duffelen and Jon Hartley, also makes a return to round up what’s been happening during the football hiatus. There is a special report on the Schalke’s prospects for the coming campaign from Stuart Dykes aka Schalke UK, and there is also a look at what Cologne have to offer in the season ahead…plus chat about Bayern, the Super Cup and the first round of the DFB Pokal.

To download the podcast direct, right click here. Alternatively, listen via Soundcloud, below.

The Bundesliga Show 26 – Season Preview, Super Cup & DFB Pokal Round One by soundoffootball

Audio: Cologne Pre-season Preview

The Bundesliga Show co-host, Jon Hartley caught up with two FC Cologne fans, Marcel and Christian, to discover their take on their club’s friendly with Arsenal and the ‘Billy Goats’ prospects for the coming season.

The Bundesliga Lounge – Cologne Pre-season Preview by soundoffootball