Category Archives: Lounge Act

Lounge Act – Short Fat Müller

With the current frenzy surrounding Lionel Messi’s injury-hit attempt to break Gerd Müller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year, Mark Lovell gives the lowdown on the prolific German striker affectionately known as ‘Short Fat Müller’.

, from Wikimedia Commons”]

Gerd Müller - Promifotos.de at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Müller was a stalwart striker for Bayern Munich as they rose from obscurity to the highest echelons of the world game; top scoring every season from 1964/65 to 1977/78. He was the Bundesliga’s leading marksman on seven occasions, racking up 40 goals in 1971/72. Bayern legend Franz Beckenbauer is famously quoted as saying, “without Gerd’s goals we would still be sitting around in a wooden shack on Säbener Strasse [Bayern's training facility].”

With his motto “if I think, it’s way too late,” Muller was an instinctive poacher who was born to score goals. The 5ft 9 inch striker was squat and chunky, with thighs like tree trunks, not too dissimilar to Diego Maradona’s build in his prime. Bayern coach “Tschik” Cajkovski labelled him as ‘too small and too fat’ but he soon had to begrudgingly recognise his predatory scoring ability.

Unlike our modern-day ‘Messiah’ Messi, Müller was not one for ‘beautiful’ goals. The German scored a lot of goals lying prone on his backside. “I was never into performing magic tricks for the crowd. I just wanted to score. ”

Müller was the bane of England and English clubs during his career, scoring the winner as West Germany knocked the holders out of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Yes, England the World Champions were bundled out in extra time, throwing away a two goal advantage in the soaring heat of Leon. You could argue that English football has never recovered from this bitter blow. The German finished top scorer in the tournament with 10 goals.

, via Wikimedia Commons”]

Gerd Müller - Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-N0716-0314 / Mittelstädt, Rainer / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org /licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)

Müller also scored at Wembley, eliminating England from the 1972 European Championships. He starred for Bayern with a typical no-thrills goal in their 2-0 European Cup success against Leeds United in Paris in 1975. He was a fixture for the Bavarians as they secured three successive European Cup crowns (Champions League in today’s money) in the Seventies.
He had an uncanny knack of scoring goals from unlikely positions, often when totally off balance or when rooted to the seat of his pants. This was epitomised by his goal in the 1974 World Cup final as West Germany prevailed against Holland’s ‘Total Football’ in Munich.

His sudden retirement from international football was accelerated after a disagreement with a team official, who berated him for being too loud during the after-match celebrations. The stubborn striker succinctly summed this up: ”I just thought they could kiss my arse!”

He saw out his career like so many legends of the time in the North American Soccer League (NASL) with the now defunct Fort Lauderdale Strikers in Florida. Müller doesn’t look back too fondly on his time in the States. He missed his friends and family and ”the constant sunshine really got on my nerves.”
Superstar George Best (now there’s a player we could compare with Messi!) was once a team mate in America. Like the Northern Irishman, Müller also slumped into an alcoholic haze as his drinking worsened. “I ruined my life,” he later admitted.

It is typical of the compassionate nature of Bayern Munich and the way they look after their former players, that when ‘The Bomber’ fell on harder times, the club’s hierarchy did not turn the other cheek. The Bayern family rallied round, most notably Uli Hoeness, and perhaps spared him a tragic ending (unlike George Best).

After treatment and admitting his alcohol dependency, the club was in some way able to repay their debt to him. The 67-year-old has gone on to thrive as a respected coach at the record German champions and is currently helping out Mehmet Scholl with the reserves. “It does not get any better than being at Bayern,” he says proudly.

His goal scoring record for Germany stands at a remarkable 68 goals in 62 internationals. No doubt Miroslav Klose will overtake his goals tally sometime during 2013. It will have taken the Lazio striker over twice the number of internationals. No disrespect to Klose, who also possesses admirable qualities, but there is a strong case for him to retire from international football to pay due deference to ‘The Nation’s Bomber’s record. Take note, Miro, you would actually earn a lot of respect by such a magnanimous gesture.

Gerd Müller is quite simply the best striker of all time. I can quite confidently state this as, for all of his genius; Messi is not an out and out striker.

This article was originally written for the Munich Eye.

Lounge Acts Postview: Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund

In what was billed as the match of the round, the supposed epic tussle between current Bundesliga champions Borrusia Dortmund and current league leaders Bayern Munich turned into a farce with both sides ending the match with fewer men than they began and Jürgen Klopp likely awaiting a heavy fine after his antics in a scoreless draw. On a night when Klopp lost his cool under the dual pressures of managing his young squad both in Germany and in Champions League competition, it was in fact Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer who will be stealing the headlines after his unsporting behavior following his save of a Lucas Barrios penalty in the 65th minute earned him the early gate. The shared points, coupled with Werder Bremen’s 2-1 success at Borrusia Park saw BvB drop to third in the table, while the Bavarians’ lead at the top shrunk to three points.

With Bastian Schweinsteiger and Anatoliy Tymoschuck both out for Bayern, Jupp Heynckes drafted in Luiz Gustavo alongside Toni Kroos in the center of his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Danijel Pranjic was given a rare start on the right wing with dynamo Thomas Müller pulled inside to support top scorer Mario Gomez, and French James Bond villain Franck Ribery manning the left. The level of comfort and communication among this set of players was lacking from the off, as what appeared to be a promising offensive movement in the 18th minute, begun on the break by a deep-lying Gustavo, ended in tragi-comedy as an outlet pass made by Müller out wide just rolled out of bounds with a non-reactive Pranjic watching it go out. Pranjic then shrugged his shoulders, motioning to young Thomas as if asking, “Wait, you meant to pass it to me? What team am I on again?” This came on the heels of an incident in the 13th minute, where it Ribery could be seen attempting to sneak up on BvB’s Sven Bender from behind and to give the young midfielder a “wet willy.”

The Wet Willy & Shinji’s Socks Formation

Dortmund were just as impressive in their end, however, and refused to come second in had quickly become a comedy of errors at the Allianz. Shinji Kagawa, eager to regain the form that brought him such accolades last campaign prior to a metatarsal injury suffered in January’s Asian Cup shelved him for a spell, ran his socks off. Quite literally it could be said, as when made a cutting run across the face of Manuel Neuer’s goal area in the 32nd minute, he was unable to slow his momentum and ran off the field of play, into a bank of cameramen pitch-side. Subsequently extricating himself from one cameraman’s equipment Kagawa ripped his right sock, revealing a shin guard covered in images of Shinji’s supposedly favorite Dragonball Z characters. Exacerbated that this occurred with the ball still in play and Dortmund down a man, Klopp accidentally performed a reverse double-fist pump on the opposite side of the pitch which connected with the 4th official, causing a ten minute delay in play while the head referee checked on his colleague. Dortmund’s staff quickly re-socked Kagawa, who continued for the rest of the match in what he later described as “Super Saiyan” mode.

The first half ended with neither side truly showing his quality, as the stoppage of play for the 4th official, coupled with the Ribery’s insistence on not passing to Gomez until the German international called for the ball by flapping his arms like a chicken made the opening 45 minutes a clunky affair. It was not until the 2nd half when the action became truly interesting, if not alarming. With BvB having gained a foothold in the match once Klopp brought on young Moritz Leitner in place of Sebastian Kehl around the hour mark, Neuer began being called into real action for the first times of the evening. As that trademark pressure around the opposition’s final third started wearing down a rather exhausted Bayern back line, Neuer was forced into making two fine saves–one on a cheeky backheel from forward Lucas Barrios and the second from a dangerous free kick from Mats Hummels.

A penalty call for a hand ball in the box by Gustavo in the 65th minute was turned down by referee Wolfgang Stark, and at this point is where Klopp lost his composure. Play was once again halted as the young trainer stormed the pitch to confront Stark, causing copious amounts of spittle to fly from his mouth onto Stark’s slightly aghast face. As the referee sought assistance in removing Klopp from the field as well as the park, Klopp dropped to his knees and began pulling up handfuls of the turf and shoving the blades of grass into his mouth in an apparent attempt to stem the amount of saliva still dribbling. Once order was restored and Klopp was no longer about, real calamity struck for Dortmund when they were reduced to ten men following a questionable red card handed to Sven Bender just a short time later.

“Coq au Vin Gomes, Coq au Vin.”

In the 68th minute, Bayern’s Müller slipped on the now-bald patch of dirt created by Klopp’s performance as he was advancing the ball up the park. Bender, who had been marking Müller tighter in this 2nd half, had been defending Müller at the time and supposedly said, “What you fell over for Mule?” while the Bayern player was on the ground. Stark, who was near enough to hear Bender’s words, immediately blew his whistle and reached for a red card to tumultuous applause from the dumbstruck Allianz Arena. While Stark has yet to speak officially on his decision, reports suggest he thought Bender had used racist language when addressing Müller, and the red card was given for grossly unsporting conduct. And while he was no longer a party to the proceedings by this point, it has been further reported Klopp ruptured a blood vessel in his temple upon hearing of Bender’s dismissal, and there is now a doubt as to his health over managing the squad in their upcoming Champions League match against Arsenal.

Now down a man, Dortmund lost the initiative, and the match favored Bayern going forward. Ribery delivered a well-placed cross into the box for Gomez but the striker’s headed shot went well wide of Roman Weidenfeller’s goal in the 74th minute. Having the bulk of possession playing with the man advantage, Bayern Munich were able to pin BvB into their end for the remainder, until a swift counter attack turned the match completely upside down. His first touch having let him down, Toni Kroos gifted the ball to Hummels around the 77th minute. Hummels then swiftly hoofed the ball to a streaking Kagawa, finding the speedy player on a dead run just over the midfield stripe. As Bayern’s defenders were too far up the pitch in search of that winning goal, Kagawa looked to have had a free run on Neuer, but Germany’s captain Philipp Lahm recovered to shield his keeper but in the process had a deserved penalty called on him.

With Bayern now also reduced to ten men, it was Barrios who was called upon to attempt and snatch a winner from Fortress Allianz if he could but sneak one past the mighty Neuer. Amazingly, Barrios scuffed his shot, sending it over the crossbar and into the dark of that cold, Bavarian night. Even more amazingly, Neuer then produced a replica Borussia Dortmund shirt from behind his goal, waving it in front of a crestfallen Barrios before proceeding to wipe his bottom on the BvB crest of the jersey. Match officials tell us Neuer was yelling something like, “There’s your Arsemund Lucy!”

At this point, Stark had lost complete control of the match, and with members of both clubs on the field attempting to keep both sets of players from engaging in an all-out fight–well, except for Gomez, who was still to be found up far up the pitch running his fingers through his hair–the full time whistle was blown after only 82 minutes of play. Pranjic could be seen reaching into Stark’s pockets for cards and confusingly, looks to have given himself a yellow card.

There is no word on whether the caution Pranjic awarded himself will be counted as an official card by league officials. Further, there is no word on whether Schalke 04 have plans to send a congratulatory card to Neuer for his part in the match.

Lounge Acts: Marko Arnautovic

A slightly whimsical and completely false accounting of a footballing life from the first person. Today, we hear from Marko Arnautovic, that reputed troublemaker from Werder Bremen. Marko’s spoken up this summer about being less of a distraction this season as Werder look to rebound from a poor 2010/11 Bundesliga campaign. He chose to elaborate further on his new attitude.



When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. In fact, I did that just yesterday when I didn’t yell at that goalkeeper for not allowing me to score a spectacular goal in training. I think his name was Tom. Instead, I just gave him a respectful golf clap for catching the ball and told myself I let him do that so he would feel better about himself.
Because I think our GK Tom Wiener needs a bit more confidence after last season’s performance, especially since he had to live in my shadow for the first time ever last year.

What’s that you say? I used a quote from the Bible? But of course I did, silly! It’s from one of those Arnautovical texts left out of the New Testament. It’s from the book of Marko 3:31. Look it up. Great read, highly recommend. The author is a handsome devil who’s just as good with words as he is with the ladies. And speaking of ladies, is it not a sign of my increasing maturity that I admit, and then later lie about what I want in a woman? When I was keeping the benches warm in Milan a couple seasons ago, there were SO many beautiful women, and I sampled a bit of everything Italy had to offer. I was able to play the field and narrow down my choices. After all, I had plenty of energy to burn with that so-called “Special One” not giving me much time on the pitch, so I was as active as a rabbit while I was off it.

Heh, heh. Oh wait, supposed to be “mature” now.

Since I’ve been stuck in Bremen, (Remember Marko, not a dump, not a dump, not a dump) I’ve had a chance to consider who the future Mrs. Gold Boot Fantastic should be, and since I can’t get any more tattoos while here (not a trash heap, great place, happy place), I want her to have the beautiful ink. And silicone. Lots and lots of silicone. Other grown-up adult male types prefer a woman with a sense of humor, a good personality, or a love of music, and this is similar to me wanting a dark haired tattooed devil godess with massive, uh, “talents.” Some people even announce things like having attacking midfielders that play for their favorite clubs to score goals! That Peter Crouch chap loves nachos and doesn’t score goals over in England as a striker–nobody calls him immature.They call him into the England XI. As for me, I score a hat trick for the season and Herr ‘Tache saw fit to keep me on the bench most of last season.

This year, though, it’s a new attitude and a new Marko. I will not be bitter about any lack of playing time (which shouldn’t be an issue anyway since no one wants to come and play in this du…stop it Marko!) and do exactly as Mr. Schaaf says. I am out to prove I can play well with these Italian players they’ve got around me, such as Caligula Pizzaface and Mario Marinara and at last fill the void when that bug-eyed guy was sold off to Real Madrid (I hate him). I will demonstrate my mature turn at decision-making on the pitch, so when I consider that Pizzaface is highly unlikely to score, or that fake Marko looks like he’s going to trip over himself again, my not passing to them shouldn’t be considered selfishness. Instead, just assume I’m maturely deciding to take a shot for myself and that a spectacular goal is about to be scored.

That’s what I tell myself anyway.

And, if later in the season I should voice my concerns about my team’s performance or inadvertently remark that I still think this place is still a dump, that I hate the colour green or that Claudio Pizzaface smells like warmed goat cheese again, Please don’t think of it being another episode from last season’s bad boy Marko. Rather, think of it as a mature, adult Marko trying to be a leader for his squad now that Torsten Ringo has left. Also, should I remark that Thomas Schaaf is as useless as teats on a bull that hasn’t been injected with silicone, I’m not being immature but just trying to be an honest grown-up type person. For as it says in the Good Book, Marko 4:17, “He who is honest with himself and with others should be rewarded for his noble works with his own parking space in the club car park.”

I wonder if Klaus Allofs has read that passage yet?