Freiburg get to hang on to their current spot in fourteenth, hovering just above the danger zone. Even if they had won this weekend they would have been unable to climb any higher because whilst a win would have brought their total to 32 points, even had Hertha not gotten a point against Köln they would still have had one point more than Freiburg.
Of course all of this is irrelevant since they unluckily lost to Mainz. Mehmedi pulled one back late in the game and Schmid got a second, but they proved to mere consolation goals thanks to a third goal for Mainz in the 83rd minute from Yunus Malli. A nice spring day, a great game to watch, a sweet goal from Mehmedi but of course no points and an end to their three game streak without a loss. Despite that I’m not too disheartened, since everyone else in the bottom third of the table lost today as well. Stuttgart lost 2-1 to Augsburg (more clumsy defending and stupid mistakes from them), Paderborn predictably lost to Dortmund and of course Hannover were thrashed 4-0 by Leverkusen. Hamburg play Bremen tomorrow, and I don’t really rate their chances of beating Bremen, new manager or not.
Next week Freiburg face Stuttgart and will no doubt want revenge for the humiliating 4-1 defeat back in November. Even without that, the game will most likely be a scrappy and hotly contested affair given that it’s not only a local derby but a relegation scrap as well. Let’s hope that Stuttgart are as careless defensively next week as they were today against Augsburg. They were equally careless in the game in November, but Freiburg took none of the chances, with them starting to show some slight signs of improvement in that area it may not go quite as badly. On the subject of that game, I added some newly discovered pictures of Jogi to that post, the last of them being the following, the caption reading: “I love it when he looks like he’s plotting to take over the world or some other such thing of an equally devilish nature.” I do like that picture.
Friday night provided plenty of excitement in the form of Frankfurt v Gladbach, plenty of goals were expected since the reverse of the fixture ended 3-1 in Frankfurt’s favour. Frankfurt were however without their top scorer Alexander Meier who will also miss the rest of the season due to knee surgery. The game ended 0-0 but you would never have thought that from all the chances both sides had, it was anything but a boring 0-0 draw. A Friday night in Frankfurt is always good fun.
It’s been a strange and busy week, both in general terms and in football terms with Champions League on Wednesday with Bayern and Europa League on Thursday with Wolfsburg who shockingly found themselves torn apart by Napoli. I’m not particularly happy about either of those results, they are both after all the last German team in each competition so I would have to root for them regardless of how I felt about them. I’m not that unhappy with them though either, to tell the truth, the reason being that they inspired the writing of a story titled “Hansi’s Viennese Nightmare.”
On the subject of inspiration, something I saw today reminded me of some interesting notes I made a while back. The event in question was part of Roman Bürki’s pre-match ritual. That reminded me of the notes I’d made entitled all Goalkeepers Have Aspergers. Think about it, they are part of the team but not really, because the nature of their job differs to everyone else. Their role requires them to highly focused and to be ok with being by themselves for long periods of time. Plus they are the first one blamed when something goes wrong, no matter what it is, somehow it’s always the goalkeeper’s fault. If they go for a shot and fail to stop it, then someone will say they should have stayed where they were, and if they do stay where they are, they’ll say they should have gone for it. In addition, keepers are often known to be somewhat eccentric, which doesn’t exactly detract from my analogy.
Departures are the story of the week with Jürgen Klopp announcing his departure from Dortmund at the end of the season and rumors flying about where he’s going to go, who his successor will be (whoever it is they are going to be a German, that’s what Hans-Joachim Watzke the chief executive said yesterday) and which of the players will be leaving as well. The other interesting departure related story is that of Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, he was until earlier this week Bayern’s team doctor. He’s worked for the club for about forty years and it’s not the first time he’s left, he previously left in the 2008/09 season following a dispute with then manager Jürgen Klinsmann. He’s also the team doctor for the German national side, which is interesting given his falling out with Klinsmann at Bayern.
This time the reason is again a disagreement with the manger, with him saying that he and his staff were blamed for the defeat to Porto in midweek. Guardiola himself denies any of this, saying that there is no rift between them and refuses to comment further. Guardiola’s behaviour during the Leverkusen game however would seem to support the doctor’s version of events, in that game he was seen sarcastically clapping at his subordinates on the bench. I thought that was a little pathetic personally, the way in which he automatically turns round and appears to blame someone else. It’s not like it could be his own fault now is it?
Interestingly enough, before I swore off reading online forums I did read a discussion about Bayern’s champions league chances and in that there were some fans who were convinced that Bayern would not win the champions league with Guardiola, that he’s not the man to do that. But then who knows, fans can be so fickle after all, when all is going well the manager is king and when things start to go wrong it doesn’t take long for the hyenas to appear.
A nice bit of symmetry in today’s events, Mehmedi was the one of the players who scored against Mainz last time round, Sebastian Rode gets another goal against Hoffenheim (he got his first goal for Bayern in the reverse of the fixture) and in the post I get another Jogi card. Last week it was Hansi with a signed trading card, this week it’s Jogi with a signed autograph card from Tirol Innsbruck: