Category Archives: Managers

The Bundesliga Show Episode 86 – Pep’s arrival is no longer a guarded secret

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Matt Hermann and Jon Hartley, finally get to talk about the announcement that Pep Guardiola will be taking over as coach of Bayern Munich in the summer. Outside of the Pep talk, there is the small matter of the return of the Bundesliga from the winter break. The fall out from matchday 18 and the a preview of next weeks games are all included.

Enjoy the show!

The Bundesliga Show Episode 85 – The Prodigal Son Returns

The Bundesliga is almost back from the winter break, as is the Bundesliga Show. Jon Hartley and Matt Hermann are joined by Mark Lovell to talk about the big transfers so far in the transfer window, including Nuri Sahin, Ivan Perisic and the defensive bolstering at Hannover 96.

In addition, there is a chat about the state of affairs at 2.Bundesliga club 1860 Munich. All that, and a look at the up-coming fixtures at the start of the rückrunde.

Enjoy the show!

 

The Bundesliga Show Episode 84 – The Hinrunde Review with Phil Bonney

The Bundesliga has closed its doors for 2012. Jon Hartley and Matt Hermann pick over the best of the first half of the season with the help of Bundesliga commentator Phil Bonney.

Outside of the the best of the Hinrunde there are managerial changes that have taken place. Huub Stevens departure from Schalke and Marco Kurz’ arrival at Hoffenheim are all up for discussion.

Enjoy the show!

 

Thorsten Fink – The New Boy at Big School

When Thorsten Fink was appointed at Hamburg recently, it finally put to bed the speculation about who will be the new coach at the club, but it unfortunately left far too many questions unanswered about the future of HSV.

By the time the former FC Basel coach finally started his tenure at Hamburg, it was just shy of a month since the departure of Michael Oenning from the post. But why did it take so long to fill what should be an extremely coveted position, that many coaches around Europe should have been clamoring to take? Was it purely the case that the club wanted to make sure that they got their man? Or was it that they didn’t know the kind of guy they needed or wanted? Either way, it was probably another case of poor planning at the Volkspark Stadium that has dogged Hamburg for many a moon. Let us not forget that with the arrival of Fink it took the number of HSV coaches (including interim appointments) in the last decade to 13 (since Frank Pagelsdorf). And of those ‘permanent’ coaches, only one managed to win over 50% of his games at the club (Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf has 50.75% over the last 12-years), and that was Martin Jol. The Dutchman has been a bit of an exception to the rule of late in Hamburg, a manager who left rather than was fired and chose to go to Ajax. Yes Ajax are a big club, and he is Dutch, but when you look at the size and potential of both clubs it could be argued that Hamburg would have been an equally good fit…perhaps even better. This doesn’t paint a good picture for what is going on behind the scenes at Hamburg, as it seems that coaches are either fired or they choose to leave even when the going on the pitch is not too bad.

Last week, Hamburg Sporting Director Frank Arnesen, stated that Fink was his first choice to be Oenning’s replacement but the history of the move doesn’t exactly suggest that. There was the reported attempt to get Huub Stevens into the role, but this didn’t happen and the club were left to search again. There were big names and up and coming names flying around in the speculation. Everyone from Marco van Basten to Morten Olsen were linked with the job, and even the likes of Louis van Gaal and even Gus Hiddink was reportedly in the frame…but the man who got the job was Fink.

But is this going to be a good choice for Fink and HSV? As we know, the club expects results and when they don’t get them the manager at the time usually gets the boot. The fans expect as well, after-all, (as is so often banded around) HSV are the only constant in the history of the Bundesliga and are three time winners of the title – and this loads pressure on Fink from the off. But the good thing is that unlike his predecessor Oenning, this young manager is twice winner of the Swiss Super League and also has a Swiss Cup to his name as well. This of course is no guarantee of success at HSV. Armin Veh won the Bundesliga title with Stuttgart, but has not gone on to great things at Hamburg or anywhere else for that matter. One thing that Fink has in his favour is the fact that he has been working with a side that has had to blend youth and experience, something that at Hamburg is a must. He promoted several of Basel’s members of the Swiss under-21 squad, and blended them with veterans like former Dortmund striker Alexander Frei. This bending of youth and experience is certainly the philosophy that has been employed at HSV (even if a little rapidly), but there is no doubt that Fink if can do the same good job with Hamburg’s youthful talent and the veterans, then this will be a successful time at the club.

He is unfortunately faced with the problem of trying to get the best out of the squad quickly, which could be especially after they have seen so much of upheaval already this season. He needs to galvanise a the team, tactically and mentally and keep it up as just around the corner is the winter break. The winter break, far from being a time of rest and relaxation is crucial to a teams season, and dealing with the second half of the season preparation is key…HSV aren’t in the position to get that wrong.

Being coach of HSV has in recent time had its serious pitfalls but for Thorsten Fink, it could pay off…but then again, this hasn’t been the way for so many before him at the Bundesliga Dinosaur.

It’s a Mad Tea Party

There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter… Which luckily, I am!

One of the more signficant contributions to pop culture ever made by Charles Lutwidge Dotson was giving Disney theme parks an excuse to create the Mad Tea Party ride. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a fantastic contraption that sees park-goers voluntarily decide to hop into oversized, pastel-coloured tea cups and spin round and round until either their eyes cross or their meals are involuntarily ejected. Despite these potential unfortunate side effects, the Mad Tea Party is considered one of the most iconic rides of all of Disney’s tehme park attractions and still quite popular.

A mad tea party also describes what we often see when it comes to the constant movement of trainers in Bundesliga of late, quite often with Felix Magath as the Mad Hatter.

So often when the sacking season begins, we refer to it as the “coaching carousel,” but this doesn’t quite fit the description of how things take shape for managers in Germany’s top flight. A carousel simply goes around in a wide circle, rhythmically moving up and down. Someone gets on, such as when Michael Oenning did in March for HSV, once someone else had been chucked of the horse, to begin a ride. The problem here, is that the carousel only goes in one direction, typically at only one speed, and the movements up and down can be timed so that the rider can come to expect when he’s on a high, and when he’s on a low.

Instead, Oenning just got his eyes crossed after having been spun violently every which way but up during his time in charge of Hamburg and from matchday to matchday likely had little notion of how to predict a high or low. Instead, he hopped into that red-shorted tea cup vacated by Armin Veh and gave it a spin for what many might have thought would be a short ride as a caretaker. The club opted to stay with Oenning to begin this campaign, however, and after one point from their opening six matches, could no longer wait to see if he might be able to lessen his vertigo and see the way forward. Even though it is still early doors at this stage of the Bundesliga season, it was becoming apparent the 45 yr old trainer was about to lose his lunch.

What is the hatter with me? Have I gone mad? 

Also, on the carousel, there is usually a large pole the rider can hold onto for security as the seat moves up and down. In Bundesliga, as in all top flight European football these days, there is typically no sturdy pillar with which a manager can cling to for support when his ride is at its ebb. Even a previous record of title triumphs is often not considered secure enough for them to latch onto to ride out the down times. Rather, in these eighteen tea cups, with some moving faster than particles in a CERN accelerator, a poor runs of form are spun so quickly into clubs being in crisis and managers start to look slightly dizzy and lost as the ride keeps speeding up as they try desperately to slow it down.

In the end, those, like Oenning, end up being spun right out of their seats before they decided to end their ride in the tea cup.

Now, there is the announcement that Ralf Rangnick is stepping away from Schalke 04, citing health reasons. Having listened to Rangnick prior to his appointment as the Royal Blues trainer in April, this is not an incredible shock. After Dietmar Hopp began spinning his tea cup in the wrong direction with Hoffenheim, Rangnick sounded like a person who wanted to take some time away from the game, watch the Mad Tea Party from the sidelines for a spell, before hopping back on the ride.

Instead, when the Mad Hatter himself left and took his party back to Wolfsburg, Rangnick was coaxed to come back for another spin, and he accepted perhaps too early for his own health. Those final days with Germany’s richest village team appears to have made him a bit sick of it all, and probably he should have given himself more time to focus on personal matters he most likely set aside while he remained a guest at the mad tea party.

You’re not the same as you were before You were much more…”muchier” You’ve lost your “muchness.”

So for Rangnick, being a rather seasoned veteran of this particular amusement park attraction, knew he was experiencing that feeling one gets right before they are about to be sick again if they have ridden the Mad Tea Party more than once, and chose to get off the ride on his own terms. As Schalke look for someone to replace him on a permanent basis, the question now becomes if another established Bundesliga manager is offered enough of a sweetener to hop out of their current seat to take a spin in Gelsenkirchen or if another guest is invited to the party.

Either way, it’s a mad ride. And do YOU know how a raven is like a writing desk?