The Copa America this year has been quite the goal fest, the group stage of the Euros not so much. Weirdly enough there was a 7-0 win in the semi-finals of the Copa America, Chile getting the better of Mexico and Javier Hernandez, a score-line which of course ineveitably merits a comparison to Germany’s 7-1 defeat of Brazil. In the other semi-final the USA of course lost to Argentina, meaning they’ll be playing Colombia for third place. The final is a repeat of last year’s, Chile v Argentina. It’s strange, the USA opened the tournament against Colombia and it’s how they’ll be ending it. On a similiarly strange note Germany started their tournament preparations against Slovakia and now they’ll be meeting them in the last 16, though their tournament journey is of course unlikely to end there.
Despite the low number of goals and a lot defensive football being played it’s not been quite so bad. True there hasn’t been a huge number of goals, but there have been plenty of exciting ones. Last gasp winners and equalizers have been a key feature. On the one hand it keeps things interesting, at the same time it makes for a very nerve-wracking experience. Especially as far as Albania are concerned. I knew them getting through to the next round was a long shot anyway but it was so damn close. They almost got there, the first half of last night’s games went exactly as they needed them to. But Portugal came back to draw and Ireland somehow got the winner against Italy. The latter in particular is most annoying. Both countries are on my root against list anyway, Italy for that video of Jogi and Ireland for beating Germany in qualifying.
Germany will be playing Slovakia in the last 16 which is most disappointing, I was hoping they’d play Albania which I know is completely illogical seeing as how that’s a guaranteed defeat for them but it doesn’t matter now. I do still have one of my wildcards left in the tournament though becuase Iceland made it through to the knockout round whcih is pretty incredible. A nation of approximately 330,000 people is up against the fifty somethimg million of England. With Albania out and Denmark not there at all I’m left with Iceland to root for as a second team.The last 16 has thrown up some good draws, not least Italy v Spain. I was disappointed by that at first, it means one of the favourites going out at such an early stage. I’m not now and will be rooting for Spain to win. This is very strange indeed, I have to root for Spain to win. The other game of interest to me is Switzerland v Poland. Two players I like going up against each other, former Freiburg player Admir Mehmedi for Switzerland going up against Robert Lewandowski.
I have to admit I had mixed feelings about the expanded format, I know without it teams like Albania would be unlikely to even be at the tournament let alone have a chance of progressing to the knockout stages. It has been a little more interesting than I thought it might be but it still feels wrong, the idea of being rewarded for finishing in third place. Not that it matters now anyway, Albania are out. But at least I got Amir Abrashi’s sticker before that happened, plus three more Germans:
As for favourite moments there’s two sets of those, Jogi moments and then the best of the rest. Some of the Jogi ones are from training and some from matches, my favourite one is probably him gloving up or maybe him taking pot-shots at Bastian in goal. And it pains me to say it because I’m not a fan of Mario Gomez at all but his goal celebration with Jogi was quite cool.
As for favourite goals so far, Shkodran Mustafi would be top of the list but he’s upstaged by Armando Sadiku scoring Albania’s first ever goal at an international tournament. Apart from that I think Schweinsteiger’s is my favourite out all of them:
Posted in Euro 2016, Fußball, Germany, Jogi Löw, Stickers
Tagged Albania, Amir Abrashi, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Euro 2016, Euro 2016 stickers, Julian Draxler, Lukas Podolski, Roman Bürki, Thomas Müller
Behind door number twelve in the Freiburg calendar was striker Tim Kleindienst who joined Freiburg in the summer from Energie Cottbus which is also the former club of his fellow striker Nils Petersen. Random Jogi tangent, Cottbus is team who VfB Stuttgart played in the DFB Pokal final of 1996/97, Stuttgart beat them 2-0, Jogi winning his first trophy as a coach. In the DFB one was the card of quick footed winger Karim Bellarabi. He’s speedy in more ways than one, not only is he quick footed but he holds the record of having scored the fastest ever Bundesliga goal. Said goal was scored just nine seconds after kick off against Borussia Dortmund in the 2014-15 season.
It’s very fitting that I get Bellarabi’s card today, he and Leverkusen brought to an end the reign of Andre Schubert’s lucky green sweater, beating his Gladbach side quite spectacularly so in a 5-0 rout. Since he took over Lucien Favre he’s worn that green hoodie for every domestic game and they haven’t lost any of them not until now. It was a much needed victory for Leverkusen after getting knocked out of the Champions League in midweek, in addition they’ve been struggling for form in the league so it will have been a considerable boost to their confidence.
And last but not least in the Dortmund calendar was Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, helpfully nicknamed Papa and the subject of one of my most favourite GIFs:
Today went much the same as yesterday did, a late night because of getting carried away with a new adventure, this time for Jogi and Hansi. Difference is this time I didn’t get up in time for the game, I missed the first five minutes. Good thing it was only KSC’s game and not Freiburg’s, I can’t make the same mistake tomorrow.
Today Bayern played Ingolstadt, I only saw some of the game, it wasn’t a lot of fun to watch but I don’t think that matters. I couldn’t think of anything but the impending draw for the Euro 2016 groups. I’m happy that not only did I get a video of a Jogi interview from the news but I got all of my wishes in regard to who didn’t want to be in Germany’s group. Jogi himself said that he didn’t have any preferences, neither do I, but there were a few teams I did want to avoid. Not because they are tough teams to beat but for my own reasons. Most important of all I wanted Albania not to be in Germany’s group so I don’t have to root against them. It’s a very strange quirk of fate in that Albania have been drawn in the same group as Switzerland. Strange because Freiburg midfielder Amir Abrashi is of Albanian descent but he grew up in Switzerland and he considers himself Swiss. Yet he plays his international football for Albania, not out of a sense of connection with his homeland but because of practical issues. The Swiss team has several talented midfielders, it would take a while for him to break his way into the team, so he opted to play for Albania instead. I’m very happy that they qualified and even more happy that they aren’t in Germany’s group. Assuming Abrashi makes the squad for the tournament and that Mehmedi does for Switzerland then the current Freiburger will be facing off against the former Freiburger.
Germany’s group is ok, Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland are the teams in their group. They’ll obviously be the favourites to win the group but they can’t take anything for granted. It’s nice in a sense that Poland are in Germany’s group because they were in Germany’s group for the very first tournament that Jogi was involved in, back in 2006 when he was Klinsmann’s assistant. Given that next year will be his tenth year in charge it’s very fitting somehow.
To get back to the topic of Bayern’s game, it may not have been much fun but Philipp Lahm’s goal certainly was. The last time he scored for Bayern was last season when they beat Bremen 6-0. It was his celebration with Thomas Müller that I particularly liked:
Posted in Die Mannschaft, Fußball, Germany, Jogi Löw
Tagged Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, Euro 2016, Joachim "Jogi" Löw, Karim Bellarabi, Philipp Lahm, Sokratis, Thomas Müller, Thomas Tuchel, Tim Kleindienst