Category Archives: Review

The Bundesliga Show Episode 105 – 2012/13 Season Review

Bundesliga Show regulars Matt Hermann, Jon Hartley, Mark Lovell and Archie Rhind-Tutt gathered for episode 105 to give their analysis of the 2012/13 season.

The pod crew pick out the good, the bad and the ugly from the campaign and also give their views on which direction some clubs need to be going in for the next campaign.

Enjoy the show!

The Guardian European Paper Review with Raphael Honigstein

Here at the Bundesliga Lounge, we regularly enjoy the puns and wit of James Richardson and his European Paper Review at The Guardian. However, with James partaking in a little break on the slopes, the task of humour and headlines this week fell to German football guru Raphael Honigstein.

As this is a Bundesliga-centric edition of the ‘Paper Review’, we thought it was only right to share it.

Take it away Rafa!

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!

 

United: Euro 1996

Football Coming Home?

Ahead of their impending battle with Italy, and in the final instalment of his three-part series,  Kyle Barber turns attention towards Euro 1996, and yet more firsts for a now unified German side that had waited 16 years to once again be considered the best in Europe………..

Throughout the annuls of the European Championships, victories for German nations have been intertwined with ‘firsts’; both for the country, and the tournament itself (both negative and positive). 1996 was to prove no different.

Four years earlier, the 1992 edition of the Championships witnessed Germany competing as a unified nation for the first time in a major tournament, and doing so as one of just eight teams. This time around, that number was doubled, with teams split across four groups. Seeded for the draw as a result of their historic success and global ranking, the Germans had also topped their qualification group, and thus saw themselves paired with the Czech Republic, Italy, and Russia in Group C.

The squad as a whole adhered more to the perceived quintessential German stereotype of efficiency and pragmatism than their predecessors merited, with the flair and creativity of wingers Thomas Häβler and Mehmet Scholl being overshadowed by the dogmatic displays of Steffen Freund and Andreas Möller. Yet Coach, Berti Vogts, engineered a blend of both the prosaic and more exuberant to good effect. With five goals scored, and none conceded during the Group phase (courtesy of an ill-tempered 2-0 win over the Czechs – Christian Ziege, 26’ and Möller, 32’; a 3-0 defeat of the Russians – Matthias Sammer, 56’, and Jürgen Klinsmann, 77’, 90’; and a dour 0-0 encounter with the Italians), there was certainly a somewhat miserly air to the side led by the indefatigable Klinsmann. And while the on-field action of the second game had Germany again going about their business in a methodical, calm manner it was off the field that global attention was unfortunately focused; as an IRA bomb rocked the centre of Manchester less than 24 hours before the match between Russia and Germany – causing some £700m worth of damage, and injuring over 200 people. It is, to date, the only terrorist incident at a European Championships.

Group C

Team

P

W

D

L

GF GA Pts
Germany

3

2

1

0

5

0

7

Czech Republic

3

1

1

1

5

6

4

Italy

3

1

1

1

3

3

4

Russia

3

0

1

2

4

8

1

With passage to the knockout phase secured, Germany were next to face the surprise package of the tournament, in Croatia. Having brought the early stages to life with their effusive, fast-paced defeat of defending Champions Denmark – recall that goal by Davor Suker that helped send the Danes home – it would prove a stern trial for the Nationalmannschäft.

Playing for the fourth consecutive time in front of a capacity Old Trafford crowd, it would be the Quarter-Final stage that a new German hero would take his strides towards securing his place in the DFB record books. Any player asked to fill the position of Centre-Back-cum-Defensive Midfielder ‘libero’ within the German eleven has the unenviable comparison with the legendary Franz Beckenbauer invariably thrust upon them. Such a daunting moniker was thus bestowed on the square shoulders of Matthias Sammer when he was asked to do just that.

Having seen their early advantage (a 20’ penalty, converted by Klinsmann) levelled out by the imposing Suker a matter of minutes after the break. Ultimately, the difference would prove to be evoked by two incidents, separated by a few seconds. In the 54’ minute, Igor Stimac saw red – figuratively and literally – and just five minutes later a cool, placed finish from Sammer turned their numerical advantage into one reflected on the scoresheet. Sammer himself echoed the collected, matter-of-fact nature embodied by the German machine: “there was a pass from [Markus] Babbel, then a header, and I just put it inside the far post. Overall we had calmness [and] knew we were physically strong”. Having previously made 23 appearances for East Germany, Sammer became the first real integration from the East into the unified team. Robbed of greater participation four years earlier by a plethora of injuries, his was certainly a testing road to travel. Yet, four years later he would be the veritable linchpin for both club and country – coming off the bench to save an injury-ravaged team, with his coronation being cemented when he was awarded the Ballon d’Or.

With the likes of Sammer, Klinsmann and Andreas Köpke leading on the pitch, and Berti Vogts at the helm off it, the side found themselves orchestrated by a quartet who had recent experience of pulling on the national shirt, and who understood what unification meant for the country – echoed through the eleven who now did the same – Vogts himself enthused: “we can dominate World football [with unity, and] owe it to our children to do all we can to reach that aim”.

And so to the infamous semi-final match-up with England. So much has been written and spoken about the game, and to reprise too much would seem trivial. An Alan Shearer header with barely 3’ on the watch sent the vast majority of the 76,000-strong Wembley crowd into raptures, but Stefan Kuntz equalised 15’ later with a well-taken effort. Chances came and went – with Darren Anderton hitting the woodwork, and Kuntz having a second chalked off as a result of a push. Penalties loomed.

Ten players successfully converted before Gareth Southgate would ensure a lucrative contract with Pizza Hut, leaving (as is often forgotten) Möller with the chance to convert the winning spotkick; a task to which he duly obliged.

Moller, suspended for the Final, drags his team through

Final

And on to the climax where, once again, the Germans would reprise their opening encounter and, once again, it would be the Czechs standing between them and history.

73,611 supporters packed Wembley’s hallowed stands, as Vogts opted to make four changes to the starting eleven that had begun the tournament; in came Babbel, Thomas Strunz, Scholl and Klinsmann, for Stefan Reuter, Jürgen Kohler, Möller and Fredi Bobic. For the Czechs, coach Dusan Uhrin made just two alterations from that first match. Sadly, the final failed to really capture the imagination, as a largely attritional attitude overtook both sides. Patrik Berger finally opened the scoring after 59’ from a penalty conceded by Sammer (“I never touched him!” Sammer maintains to this day), before Oliver Bierhoff – replacing Scholl on 69’ – scored to level.

It came as no surprise to anyone watching that the match progressed to extra-time. Yet that very turn of events would yield presence to a history itself. With just five minutes of the first period gone, Oliver Bierhoff’s tame effort somehow found its way through the grasp of Petr Kouba in the Czech goal, and the only ‘golden goal’ in tournament history was secure the trophy for the Germans.

Sammer once more remained the very definition of calm, both at the time, and on reflection: “it was great for Oliver…he was a typical [English] centre-forward: not the best technically…but he deserved it so much. We all gained from it, but he deserved it”.

As Jürgen Klinsmann drew his side up the famed steps, prising the Henri Delaunay trophy from the Queen, before holding it towards the heavens, it seemed to most that Vogts’ wish would be fulfilled, and another period of dominance loomed large. Few, at that time, would have believed that (at least) 16 years would go by without ‘Deutschland’ being once more etched onto continental silverware. But in an age where the national side now boasts players born since unification, the prescience and homage to that mantra could, finally, be served.

The Last German Hands to Lift National Silverware

Bundesliga Matchday 33 Review – Schalke and Gladbach prepare for departures

It was an emotional weekend in the Bundesliga, not because of any spectacular results, but more to do with departures. The two clubs occupying third and fourth, Schalke and Gladbach, are coming to terms with losing players next season.

Whilst Gladbach will be saying ‘auf wiedersehen’ to Roman Neustadter, Dante and Marco Reus, Schalke have to bid farewell to Raul, a man who’s made quite an impression in his two years in Gelsenkirchen.

Signing a month after his 33rd birthday, Felix Magath, the man who brought him over to Gelsenkirchen, has called him the most influential foreigner to play in Germany. This is an exaggeration but you can understand where the-now Wolfsburg coach is coming from.

Raul has only missed one game in the Bundesliga since joining Schalke. During that time, he’s amassed 28 goals along with 11 assists. Add to that the Bundesliga Goal of the Year in 2011 (an extraordinary chip over Michael Rensing) and it is little wonder the Spaniard was overcome with emotion such was the send off he was given after Schalke’s victory over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Teammates bowed to the Spaniard when celebrating his obligatory goal against Hertha. That in itself isn’t much of an achievement such has been the form of Otto Rehhagel’s side. Schalke’s 4-0 victory means they will go straight into the Champions League group stages – without Raul however. Saturday’s win pushed them out of reach of fourth placed Borussia Mönchengladbach. They were held to a goalless draw at home by Augsburg.

Gladbach have somewhat limped over the line in securing a place in the 4th Round Qualifying of the Champions League in 2012-2013. That said Lucien Favre’s side deserve credit for their performance over the course of the season, going from relegation play-off survivors to Champions League qualifiers. The problem for Gladbach is that three key players who helped to make this possible depart this summer.

Roman Neustadter, Dante and Marco Reus have all played their final game for the Foals at Borussia Park. They’ll move to the three sides above them in the table. Neustadter’s departure to Schalke has gone slightly under the radar, a bit like the player himself, whose contribution has been underestimated.

Dante and Reus meanwhile are off to Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Dante has been part of the second best defence in the Bundesliga this season whilst Reus is the most high profile departure. With 16 goals and 11 assists, he’s certainly one of the players of the season in the Bundesliga. It’s not too surprising that Dortmund were so keen to get a former trainee of theirs back at the club.

At Gladbach though will come Lucien Favre’s greatest test. It would be most impressive if he can build a side which can compete in the Champions League and most importantly in the Bundesliga.

Schalke are better equipped to deal with the departure of Raul than Gladbach with their leavers. Nevertheless, it’s overlooked that last season they finished 13th in the Bundesliga, only four points ahead of Gladbach in the Relegation Play-Off position. The Royal Blues excellent run to the Champions League Semi Finals and their DFB-Pokal win helped erase memories of the league campaign though.

Memories of Raul will arguably remain for longer although it’s odd to see that Schalke have decided to retire his shirt number for an indefinite period, after all he’s only been there two years. Still, Schalke must move on.

They have the squad to cope with Raul’s departure whilst Gladbach are going to have to rebuild. It would be a shame from a neutral perspective to see the Foals flutter away into the ether after the great work done by Lucien Favre so far.

But for now, both clubs can be thankful for what Reus, Dante, Neustadter and Raul have given to Borussia Mönchengladbach and Schalke respectively.

For more on the Bundesliga on Twitter, follow @archiert1

Matchday 33 Results:

Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Hannover

Bayern Munich 2-0 Stuttgart

Freiburg 4-1 Cologne

Gladbach 0-0 Augsburg

Hamburg 0-0 Mainz

Hoffenheim 2-3 Nuremberg

Kaiserslautern 2-5 Borussia Dortmund

Schalke 4-0 Hertha Berlin

Wolfsburg 3-1 Werder Bremen

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* PTS*
1 Borussia Dortmund 33 24 6 3 76:25 +51 78 CL*
2 FC Bayern Munich 33 22 4 7 73:21 +52 70 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 33 19 4 10 71:42 +29 61 CL*
4 Borussia Mönchengladbach 33 16 9 8 46:24 +22 57 CL* Qual.
5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 33 14 9 10 48:43 +5 51 EL*
6 VfB Stuttgart 33 14 8 11 60:44 +16 50 EL* Qual.
7 Hannover 96 33 11 12 10 39:44 -5 45 EL* Qual.
8 VfL Wolfsburg 33 13 5 15 45:57 -12 44
9 SV Werder Bremen 33 11 9 13 47:55 -8 42
10 1. FC Nuremberg 33 12 6 15 37:45 -8 42
11 1899 Hoffenheim 33 10 11 12 40:44 -4 41
12 SC Freiburg 33 10 10 13 45:57 -12 40
13 1. FSV Mainz 05 33 9 12 12 47:48 -1 39
14 Hamburger SV 33 8 12 13 35:56 -21 36
15 FC Augsburg 33 7 14 12 35:49 -14 35
16 1. FC Köln 33 8 6 19 38:71 -33 30 Play-offs
17 Hertha BSC Berlin 33 6 10 17 35:63 -28 28 Relegation
18 1. FC Kaiserslautern 33 4 11 18 23:52 -29 23 Relegation

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Website

This article was originally written for Football Fancast by Archie Rhind-Tutt and is reproduced with their kind permission. Please follow this link for the original article. http://www.footballfancast.com/2012/04/football-blogs/bundesliga-review-schalke-and-gladbach-prepare-for-departures

Bundesliga Review – All roads lead to Dortmund v Bayern

It’s an “English week” in the Bundesliga due to there being midweek fixtures in Germany’s top flight. There’s one game on Wednesday which is likely to receive all the attention though – Borussia Dortmund versus Bayern Munich.

Germany’s top two sides secured tight wins at the weekend to ensure there’s still only three points between the pair going into Wednesday night’s encounter. Both had to fight hard for their victories at the weekend but each side’s talisman came to the fore when it mattered most.

Augsburg travelled to the Allianz Arena as underdogs but such has been the way Jos Luhukay’s team has been playing lately, they couldn’t be discounted. Although when Mario Gomez netted Bayern’s first after just 24 seconds, you could have been forgiven for thinking another rout was about to take place in Munich.

However, the visitors displayed why prior to the game they’d only lost one of their nine last league games. After having an effort cleared off the line, Augsburg grabbed the equaliser through Ja-Cheol Koo’s strike midway through the first half.

The newly promoted side were unable to resist Bayern in the second period as Mario Gomez scored the winner after an hour. It was also his 25th in the Bundesliga this season as he leads Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar by two goals at the top of the scoring charts.

Robert Lewandowski is Borussia Dortmund’s top scorer but he is still seven goals off Gomez. Nevertheless, Jürgen Klopp won’t mind too much as long his side continue to top the table. His Polish forward was the goal hero on Saturday for the Black and Yellows in their victory against Wolfsburg.

Like Augsburg, the Wolves have been playing well of late as Felix Magath’s team have even occupied a Europa League spot in the table. Despite running BVB close, they were eventually edged out at the VW arena. Lewandowski slid in the first after good work from Ivan Perisic on the left.

Borussia’s second saw some neat footwork by Ilkay Gündogan before the defensive midfielder unleashed a great curling effort from inside the box to double Dortmund’s lead. Mario Mandzukic pulled Wolfsburg back into the game before Alexander Madlung was sent off. The centre back’s dismissal was evident after a stray pass at the back saw Lewandowski go clear and nonchalantly flick the ball past Diego Benaglio.

Attention now turns to the game on Wednesday night. Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has said BVB will win the title if they are victorious on Wednesday night whilst Bayern Munich’s President Uli Hoeness is convinced the Bavarians will be German champions if they win the game in the Ruhr.

“The moment of truth comes when we play in Dortmund,” declared Hoeness. Bayern’s run to the end of the season is more favourable than Dortmund’s but they also have to contend with being in the Champions League. Dortmund on the other hand now enter an eleven day period which will show whether they have the mettle to retain the Bundesliga. The Champions face the other members of the top four, including their arch-rivals Schalke who will be desperate to deny Borussia.

This season though could prove a seminal moment for German football. If Bayern win the title, the old order is restored as they would maintain their record of not going two years without a title since 1996. That year it was Borussia Dortmund who won back-to-back championships. If the Black and Yellows do retain the Bundesliga in 2012, it could usher in a new era in Germany where Bayern don’t rule supreme. Wednesday night might not prove definitive but it has the feeling of being a watershed moment nevertheless.

So call it what you want. The Bundeslásico, first versus second, Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich – there’s no escaping from the enormity of Wednesday night’s game at Signal Iduna Park which promises to be a fascinating encounter.

For more musings on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1

Matchday 29 Results:

Bayern Munich 2-1 Augsburg

Cologne 1-1 Werder Bremen

Freiburg 2-2 Nuremberg

Kaiserslautern 1-2 Hoffenheim

Stuttgart 4-1 Mainz

Wolfsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund

Gladbach 0-0 Hertha Berlin

Schalke 3-0 Hannover

Hamburg 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* PTS*
1 Borussia Dortmund 29 20 6 3 66:22 +44 66 CL*
2 FC Bayern Munich 29 20 3 6 69:19 +50 63 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 29 18 3 8 64:35 +29 57 CL*
4 Borussia Mönchengladbach 29 15 7 7 41:20 +21 52 CL* Qual.
5 VfB Stuttgart 29 12 7 10 52:39 +13 43 EL*
6 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 29 11 8 10 40:39 +1 41 EL* Qual.
7 SV Werder Bremen 29 11 8 10 42:44 -2 41 EL* Qual.
8 Hannover 96 29 10 11 8 37:42 -5 41
9 VfL Wolfsburg 29 12 4 13 41:52 -11 40
10 1899 Hoffenheim 29 9 10 10 34:40 -6 37
11 1. FSV Mainz 05 29 8 9 12 43:48 -5 33
12 1. FC Nuremberg 29 9 5 15 27:41 -14 32
13 SC Freiburg 29 8 8 13 39:55 -16 32
14 Hamburger SV 29 7 10 12 33:51 -18 31
15 FC Augsburg 29 6 12 11 31:44 -13 30
16 1. FC Köln 29 8 5 16 36:59 -23 29 Play-offs
17 Hertha BSC Berlin 29 6 9 14 30:52 -22 27 Relegation
18 1. FC Kaiserslautern 29 3 11 15 18:41 -23 20 Relegation

Table thanks to Bundesliga Official Website

This article was originally produced for Football Fancast. The Bundesliga Lounge thanks them for giving permission for it to be used on this website as well. The original article can be found here: http://www.footballfancast.com/2012/04/football-blogs/bundesliga-review-all-roads-lead-to-dortmund-v-bayern