Monthly Archives: November 2012

Bundesliga Review – Entertaining Hoffenheim rewarded with a win by Archie Rhind-Tutt

 

Markus Babbel secures a vital win as Schalke are hassled by die Hoffe…

Hoffenheim’s season so far has been eventful to say the least. On the pitch, there’s been plenty of entertainment with the matches involving die Hoffe averaging just under four goals per game – the Bundesliga’s highest. That’s impressive when you consider they’ve even had a goalless draw against Augsburg, though that was one of the more sombre moments of the season.

It came just a day after Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic was nearly killed in a car crash. Thankfully, he’s no longer in a critical condition and is now recovering out of hospital. Vukcevic’s team hadn’t won in his absence but they didn’t get off to the best of starts with him either, picking up six points in five games. Going into this weekend’s game against an in-form Schalke, Markus Babbel’s side were lurking just outside the relegation zone.

At the beginning of this season, Babbel was both the coach and the director of football. However, as results caved in, Andreas Müller arrived to allow him to focus on coaching the team. The pressure hasn’t relented. Babbel made fourteen signings in the summer and with results not picking up, rumours have circulated that he was close to losing his job. A win in the Bundesliga was imperative. Somehow it arrived on a weekend when Hoffenheim faced one of the division’s best teams.

In true Hoffenheim style, it was a most crazy victory, encapsulating the bizarre nature of their season. That comes in itself by having Tim Wiese in goal. The German goalkeeper is one of the Bundesliga’s more eccentric characters but he’s been a figure of ridicule this season after some of his performances. Wiese though was able to answer some of his critics on Saturday.

But for a goalkeeper to do this, he needs to be tested a fair amount. Schalke’s dominance at the Rhein-Neckar Arena provided this opportunity as Wiese made some crucial saves. Even so, Hoffenheim weren’t faultless defensively. Then again, what would you expect from the worst defence in the Bundesliga?Twice the home team went ahead. Twice they were pegged back by Schalke. In their previous home game against Fürth, they managed to do this “trick” three times. Saturday was to prove different.

With the game just about to enter stoppage time the seemingly luckless Babbel made one last roll of the dice by bringing on striker Sven Schipplock. Minutes later, he was celebrating an unlikely win. Schipplock combined with another substitute, Vincenzo Grifo, to send the ball past Lars Unnerstall and lifting Hoffenheim away from the relegation zone.

It might not be long until they’re back near it. After all, this was their first victory since September. Hoffenheim are having to work hard for their wins this season too. On the three occasions they have won in the Bundesliga, they’ve scored three. Already they’ve netted three in two other instances and not emerged victorious – there’s still plenty of work to do for Coach Markus Babbel.

He talked of Saturday providing another exciting game but what he could really do with is his side grinding out a few more results and gaining some consistency. Neutrals will be hoping otherwise as Hoffenheim are proving to be one of the Bundesliga’s most entertaining teams this season.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

  • There was increased attention on Bayern Munich this weekend – what would happen after their first league defeat of the season? Well, a win of course. They beat Hamburg 3-0 as their challengers slipped up.
  • With Schalke beaten in Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund failed to close the gap on either Bayern or their rivals. The Champions were held at home by an ever improving Stuttgart. Armin Veh’s Eintracht Frankfurt had to settle for a point too against a fellow promoted side, with Greuther Fürth drawing at the Commerzbank Arena. No need though to get the Veh-olin’s out just yet…
  • For some, it was a case of getting back on track this weekend. Nuremberg won for the first time in six games beating Wolfsburg in Franconia. Hannover on the other hand recovered from their first home defeat in over a year by defeating Augsburg. For Borussia Mönchengladbach though, it was disappointment after last weekend’s heroics in Hannover. The Foals slipped to a 1-1 draw against a Freiburg side progressing well under Christian Streich.
  • And finally, Sunday proved to be another entertaining day in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen and Düsseldorf played out a five goal thriller with Bayer coming out on top. Werder were the day’s other winners despite Mainz’s Adam Szalai becoming the joint top goal scorer in the division.
For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 10 Results:

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Fürth

Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Stuttgart

Gladbach 1-1 Freiburg

Hannover 2-0 Augsburg

Hoffenheim 3-2 Schalke

Nuremberg 1-0 Wolfsburg

Hamburg 0-3 Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Düsseldorf

Werder Bremen 2-1 Mainz

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 10 9 0 1 30:4 +26 27 CL*
2 FC Schalke 04 10 6 2 2 20:11 +9 20 CL*
3 Eintracht Frankfurt 10 6 2 2 21:14 +7 20 CL*
4 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 10 5 3 2 18:14 +4 18 CL* Qual.
5 Borussia Dortmund 10 4 4 2 20:11 +9 16 EL* Qual.
6 Hannover 96 10 4 2 4 20:16 +4 14 EL* Qual.
7 SV Werder Bremen 10 4 2 4 17:15 +2 14
8 1. FSV Mainz 05 10 4 2 4 13:12 +1 14
9 Hamburger SV 10 4 1 5 11:14 -3 13
10 VfB Stuttgart 10 3 4 3 10:15 -5 13
11 Borussia Mönchengladbach 10 3 4 3 13:19 -6 13
12 SC Freiburg 10 3 3 4 14:13 +1 12
13 1899 Hoffenheim 10 3 2 5 16:22 -6 11
14 1. FC Nuremberg 10 3 2 5 8:15 -7 11
15 Fortuna Düsseldorf 10 2 4 4 9:15 -6 10
16 VfL Wolfsburg 10 2 2 6 6:17 -11 8 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 10 1 4 5 7:16 -9 7 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 10 1 3 6 5:15 -10 6 Relegation

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Website

Article orginally published on Football Fan Cast

Betze News – Latest Kaiserslautern News

Thanks to the media department at Kaiserslautern! We will now be bringing you each edition of Betze News on the Bundesliga Lounge. The Betze News is the club’s English section of the official club magazine and is available to download in PDF form.

Kaiserslautern -Betze News – 06 – 2012/13

(PC: Right click and ‘Save As’or Mac: CTRL+Click & ‘Save Link As’)

For other news concerning Kaiserslautern go to http://www.fck.de/en/home-page_.html

The Bundesliga Show Episode 78 – Shock! Bayern Beaten!

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Jon Hartley and Matt Hermann breakdown Matchday 9 in the Bundesliga. Bayer Munich were beaten for the first time in the league by Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg finally got back to winning ways after the departure of Felix Magath and there were other good results for Mainz and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

All that and a chat about the 2.Bundesliga and a preview of Matchday 10.

Enjoy the show!

 

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.

Cheers!

Follow Chris on Twitter.