Tag Archives: Europa League

Joachim Löw at Eintracht Frankfurt v Lazio (EL 2018/19)

Joachim Löw at Eintracht Frankfurt v Lazio (EL 2018/19)

Advent Calendar Day 7: Double Jogi Day

I don’t want to write about anything bad on a Jogi day, which leaves me wondering what I am going to write about. It’s not that anything bad has happened today, more that nothing has really happened at all. It’s not really possible for anything bad or good to happen when you’re asleep. Besides today isn’t the day I need to worry about anyway, that’s tomorrow. Jogi day is not the only reason I shouldn’t write a word about that. Whatever I do or don’t write it’s not going to change what happens, there isn’t anything to do but wait. Obsessing over it isn’t going to help. One thing I can’t help but obsess over is related to the title. Behind door number seven was one sticker; Mario Gomez (not happy about him being in there but that’s another story) and two cards. All normal so far, until I look at the cards. In this order I find Joshua Kimmich, Joachim Löw and Joachim Löw – two of the exact same card. Now I can’t believe I’m objecting to this but I hope they really didn’t screw up here, as happy as I am having an extra Jogi card all I can think about whether or not one is missing now. And of course I have to wait until the 24th to find out just who if anyone is missing, it’s not very Germanic of them that’s for sure. I won’t be losing any sleep over it, but only because I don’t expect to get any tonight anyway. Right now I’m watching Epic, which is ironic given that one of the main themes is balance. I’m watching it because I love Christoph Waltz as Mandrake, it’s something safe and familiar, something I know the words to. Mandrake is sick of balance and of the green, the good guys. I know the feeling, it would be easier to just let the dark side take over. But I can’t write about that now, no bad or depressing stuff on a Jogi day.

At least I didn’t miss seeing Hansi tonight, though it would have been better if he had looked a little happier. But then today wasn’t a very happy day for him and Hoffenheim, for tonight marked the end of their European campaign and they couldn’t even go out in style and win their last game.

Hansi Flick at Hofffenheim v Ludogorets 2017/18

Hansi Flick pre-match interview – Hoffenheim v Basaksehir (EL 17/18)

Hansi Flick SSN Interview 25/08/17

Champions League & Europa League Quarter Final Draw 2015/16

Champions League draw results - quarter finals 2015-16Video of the Champions League draw

Video of the Europa League draw

Europa league draw results - quarter finals 2015-16This time round I get both my wishes, Bayern avoiding getting drawn with Barcelona and Dortmund getting drawn with Liverpool. Last night Jürgen Klopp said that of course he didn’t want to get drawn with Dortmund, why would you want to get drawn with the strongest team in the competition. You can’t help but think Liverpool were doomed the moment he started that sentence.  Speaking of being doomed Wolfsburg have certainly been handed a tough if not impossible task, Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid, from a German perspective Max Kruse and Andre Schürrle v Toni Kroos. Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Barcelona have an all Spanish duel to look forward to, that should no doubt be a good watch. Funnily enough the Europa League served up an all Spanish duel too with Bilbao facing the holders Sevilla. Two German sides left in the Champions League and one in the Europa League. One English team left in each competition. Once the dust has settled no doubt that number will be down to zero.

Hansi Flick at Borussia Dortmund v Porto (Europa League L32 2015/16)

Back-up link

Hansi Flick at Dortmund v Porto - Europa League 2015-16 1 Hansi Flick at Dortmund v Porto - Europa League 2015-16 2 Hansi Flick at Dortmund v Porto - Europa League 2015-16 3

Advent Calendar Day 14: The Captain, the Unknown Keeper & A Painful Reminder

Behind door number 14 in the Freiburg calendar was midfielder Julian Schuster. His appearance is most ironic and just a little bit painful coming the day after Freiburg’s loss to Nürnberg because it was Schuster who scored the sixth goal against them back on MD1. Unfortunately worse was to come because in the DFB calendar was the card of H96 goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler. I suppose I should be grateful that it’s today his card appeared and not next week, that would have been a most unpleasant occurrence given what happened last Christmas. To make it worse Freiburg will be playing on a Sunday again this year, home to 1860 München. H96 themselves have the unpleasant task of hosting Bayern. Last year Freiburg played in the last game before the Christmas break, despite the result I liked that theirs was the last game I saw. This year it’s Gladbach who play the last game before Christmas, in a nice kind of symmetry Hertha Berlin are playing Mainz in the first game that day. Last year Hertha also played in the one but last game before the break. It was a most fun game, not because of the game itself but because of the weather. In fact it was a terrible game for Hertha, they lost I think 5-0 to Hoffenheim and shortly afterwards they sacked their manager. How things have changed for them, they’re currently sitting third in the table.

And finally in the Dortmund calendar was the unknown keeper, Hendrik Bonmann, unknown because until today I didn’t know he existed:

Ron-Robert Zieler - DFB 2015-16 card 1 Ron-Robert Zieler - DFB 2015-16 card 2 Hendrik Bonmann - Dortmund advent calendarToday was the draw for the first knock-out stages of the Champions League and the Europa league, both draws served up some very interesting ties indeed. Bayern will be facing last season’s finalists and runners up Juventus. Dortmund in the Europa league got drawn with Porto. In different competitions but still connected. It was Juventus that knocked Dortmund out last season, and it was Porto who of course beat Bayern 3-1 in the first leg before losing the second one 6-1. Wolfsburg were drawn with Belgian side Gent. As for the other three sides in the Europa League Leverkusen will face Sporting and Schalke face Shakhtar Dontesk who won’t have pleasant memories of their last trip to Germany having being comprehensively beaten by Bayern 7-0.

But it’s Augsburg who have the best tie of all. In a real quirk of fate Jürgen Klopp in his first season in England finds himself drawn with a German team, I was kind of hoping it would be Dortmund, but if they both go through then that can still happen.

German defender Shkodran Mustafi and his Valencia side face SK Rapid Wien. Mesut Özil and Per Mertesacker at Arsenal were not so lucky, they face Barcelona. No doubt Arsenal will continue their tradition in recent years of not getting past the last 16:

Champions League draw results - last 16 - 2015-16 Europa League last 32 draw results - 2015-16 1 Europa League last 32 draw results - 2015-16 2Today also served up two other good things, a new picture of Hansi and a signed picture of Nils Petersen in the post:

csm_flick_koch_22384d2420 Nils Petersen signed Bremen photo

Germany squad for European Qualifiers/Europa League Draw 2015-16

The squad for the two upcoming qualifiers against Poland on the 4th September and Scotland on the 7th:

Tor: Manuel Neuer (Bayern München), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (FC Barcelona), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96)

Abwehr: Jerome Boateng (Bayern München), Emre Can (FC Liverpool), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Jonas Hector (1. FC Köln), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Shkodran Mustafi (FC Valencia), Sebastian Rudy (1899 Hoffenheim)

Mittelfeld/Angriff: Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen), Mario Götze (Bayern München), Ilkay Gündogan (Borussia Dortmund), Christoph Kramer (Bayer Leverkusen), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Max Kruse (VfL Wolfsburg), Thomas Müller (Bayern München), Mesut Özil (FC Arsenal), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray Istanbul), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Schürrle (VfL Wolfsburg), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Kevin Volland (1899 Hoffenheim).

Roman Weidenfeller being dropped in favour of the younger Marc-Andre ter Stegen, no surprises there, everyone knew that was coming. It’s great to see Matthias Ginter in the squad after having played in the U21 Euros this summer past, as did of course Kevin Volland who’s also called up. It’ll be interesting to see where Ginter fits into their plans, with their defensive tinkering as of late and with him playing at right back for Dortmund at the moment.

And now to the other event today, the draw for the Europa League. Borussia Dortmund have been gifted with a fairly easy group, though they’ll have a fair bit of traveling to do. I just hope their campaign is as exciting and as goal filled as their qualifying matches were. And that Roman Bürki will get to play at some point.

Anyhow, they’re in group C along with Greek side Paok FC, Russian side FC Krasnador and Gabala SC from Azerbaijan.

The other two German sides in the competition Schalke and Augsburg are in groups K and L. In their first time in the competition Augsburg have been drawn with Athletic Club, AZ Alkmaar and FK Partizan. In Schalke’s group are Apoel FC, AC Sparta Praha and Asteras Tripolis FC.

And last not but not least is Miroslav Klose and his team, Italian side S.S. Lazio who of course lost their qualification play-off to Bayer Leverkusen. In their group is last season’s runners up Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, AS Saint-Etienne and Rosenborg.

There’s just under three weeks until the action begins with the first matches being played on the 17th September. The final this year will be held at St. Jakob Park, home to Swiss side FC Basel. The stadium hosted 6 games in the Euro 2008 competition, including two Germany ones, the quarter final against Portugal and the semi final against Turkey. It’s the first time a European final has been held at the stadium. And here’s my interesting fact for the day, the stadium has it’s very own railway station.

A Pokal dream come true/A Hansi dream

I wrote the other day that I couldn’t decide as to who I wanted to win, Bayern or Dortmund, that wasn’t strictly true. Truth was I secretly wanted Dortmund to win, although I’m not entirely sure why, but I didn’t want to curse it by saying that out loud or writing it rather. The reason being that each of the previous times I wanted something to happen and I wrote about, it didn’t happen. For example, I wanted an all German Champions League final in Berlin, that obviously can’t happen because there’s only one German team left. I also wanted Freiburg to get through to the semi finals of the Pokal and they got knocked out in the quarter final by Wolfsburg. And to return to the Champions League, I wanted Bayern and Barcelona not to get drawn together in the semis and of course they did.

As things turned out, I got what I wanted, Dortmund beat Bayern in a penalty shoot-out. I know that the Pokal is increasingly dominated by the big teams in recent years and that this year is no exception but I still think the phrase “the magic of the Pokal” deserves to be used here. Only in games like this can special things happen, incredible things that you will never see at any other time or in any other place. Things like two Bayern players consecutively missing penalties and then Mario Götze having his effort saved by Mitchel Langerak. Just to top things off, Manuel Neuer took the fourth and missed. People are always talking about how he thinks he’s an outfield player and how he could probably play as one, I’m sure this won’t dent his confidence any but he may think twice before willingly stepping up to the penalty spot again. He’ll never live it down that’s for sure. I’m curious as to if it would have gone any differently had Weidenfeller been playing in goal. Given the number of Bayern and Dortmund players in the national side, I’m sure they will all know each other very well, a fact which may have had some part to play had Weidenfeller been in goal.

I was worried that if I wrote about it I would curse Dortmund, equally I thought that because I had a Hansi related dream the weekend before the match that meant that Bayern were destined to lose. The reason being that every time I dream about a team (so far there’s only been one exception to this rule and luckily for me it was Freiburg) the next time they play they lose. Now I know it’s just stupid superstition and that what I dream has no effect on the game, regardless I still like noting such patterns.

In terms of dreams it was an interesting weekend, I had a dream not only about Hansi but about Roman Bürki too. The Roman one would have been great given that it ended with me hugging him, unfortunately everything that came before that was nightmarish so I’m not going to write about that. The Hansi dream on the other hand was most interesting. He was being strange, for him that is, in terms of how I’ve written him and Jogi. That is I wrote Jogi as the strange one, the compulsive collector and here Hansi was being that way.

There’s three people there, me, Hansi and a third unknown person (it’s not Jogi, I would have remembered if he were there). Hansi is putting stickers and/or tickets in a book of some sort. So focused is he on the task at hand that he doesn’t answer when I ask him if he wants another ticket for his collection. The ticket in question is a Europa League ticket for Wolfsburg v Anderlecht. That’s interesting because Anderlecht were in Dortmund’s group in the Champions League, they didn’t make it through the group stage and instead went in to the Europa League where they were knocked out by Napoli. I remember Dortmund played Napoli a few years ago in the Champions League and Weidenfeller got sent off for intentionally handling the ball outside the box. As well as Napoli knocking out Anderlecht in the round of 32 in the Europa League, they also knocked out Wolfsburg in the quarter finals. It’s also interesting because Wolfsburg are playing in the other semi-final tonight against Arminia Bielefeld. If dreaming about them means they lose, I have no objections to that.

Anyhow back to the dream, when he doesn’t respond I hold the ticket right in front of his face and he takes it without saying anything. Next thing I know the other person there is making fun of him, specifically they are making fun of his last name. That’s interesting because last week on The Football’s On they were talking about Jürgen Klopp and the fact that they had just discovered his middle name was Norbert. They were discussing how odd that was and said that it didn’t really fit with his name, nor was it very Germanic. They then went on to say that it wouldn’t matter if his last name was Flick or something that was similarly obviously German. As weird as this is, they are right about one thing, Jürgen Norbert Flick does have kind of a ring to it. Thinking about such things is proof that I’ve spent way too much time thinking about German names these past few days, writing it even more so. The reason I’ve been thinking of such things is I’m trying to come up with a name for a character, not a new character, an already existing one. I had a name for them, strangely enough that name was Jürgen but now I’ve decided that it doesn’t really fit them anymore. I have to add that character was named for Klinsmann rather than Klopp.

Hansi didn’t seem to care what this person was saying about him, or rather he didn’t seem to hear any of it. I don’t know exactly what they were saying about him, all I know is they repeated his last name several times. I of course defended him but he showed no interest in doing so himself. Seeing as how I’m writing about Hansi, I may as well post the picture I’ve been meaning to find space for these past few weeks:

csm_56766-hansi02_9ce3009a27I’m not sure what if anything it’s supposed to mean. I’m just happy that I dreamed about the right German for a change. I wonder if it’s significant that he doesn’t care that people are making fun of him. I had a dream a few weeks ago about such a thing. In that dream was Eintracht Frankfurt striker Alex Meier. Just in case talking to him wasn’t weird enough, the conversation took an even weirder turn when he admitted that he sometimes mixed up Jogi and Hansi. I have even less of an idea what I’m supposed to make of that, I’ve never heard of anyone mixing them two up nor do I see how anyone could do so. Even my friend in real life who hates football couldn’t do that. In fact not only did they learn who was who pretty quick but they also remembered enough to know that Hansi was his assistant. Also I wonder if the fact that he plays for Frankfurt is important since Jogi Löw spent a season with them as a player.

One final thing I want to mention, back in February I had a Champions League related dream in which Klopp and Robert Lewandowski featured. Relevant here for two reasons, firstly because it was Robert Lewandowski who put Bayern in front last night and secondly because I wondered if the dominance of Puma over Adidas in that dream meant it was predicting a Dortmund victory. Admittedly that dream was about the Champions League and about how I wanted an all German final in Berlin, but it’s partly right at least, Dortmund will get to play one final in Berlin this season.

Random bit of Pokal trivia, the last time a third division side reached the final was in 2001. The team that did so was Union Berlin and they lost to Schalke, relevant here because of course Schalke is who Manuel Neuer played for before Bayern.

To get back to last night’s game, I couldn’t help but add a few pictures and make GIFs of the first two penalties. I love how Neuer looks when he’s made a mistake or something goes wrong, like he can’t believe what’s happened, like mistakes are something that happen to other people. I want to be clear, I’m happy that Dortmund are through to the final but I’m not taking any pleasure in Neuer’s misfortune at all, really I’m not. As proven by the fact that I haven’t made a GIF of his penalty. I do get what people say though, that he’s one of those people who just seems to be good at everything and that it can get a bit annoying sometimes. Especially when he has that arrogant kind of look about him. This isn’t one of those times, now I just feel really bad for him. About the GIFs, it may be just me but watching the two of them together is really funny, I think because they are almost but not quite in sync. Plus the fact that they fall in such a similar manner.

Manuel Neuer - Pokal Halbfinale 1Manuel Neuer - Pokal Halbfinale 2Manuel Neuer - Pokal Halbfinale 3Lahm_penalty_miss_v_Dortmund Alonso_penalty_miss_v_Dortmund

Numbers fun/Roman’s misfortune

Continuing the world cup numbers fun yesterday I got some views from the US and from France,  France being the 1998 hosts and the US the 1994 hosts.  In another amusing twist I also got some views from Croatia, funny given that just the other day I watched the Euro 2008 match in which they beat Germany 2-1. Sadly no views from Italy, then it would have been perfect, given that the hosted the 1990 world cup when Germany won it.

I’ve also had some fun making a GIF of Roman’s moment of misfortune, I’m sorry Roman I really am but it was too good a moment not to make a GIF of:

Roman - Mainz goal

I keep watching it again and again, waiting for it to make some sense. No matter how many times you watch it, that doesn’t happen, it does however get funnier every time I see it.

I guarantee that moment will make the list when they put together the funniest moments of the second half of the season. It’s funny, Weidenfeller made the list of funniest moments for the first half of the season as well because of the time he threw the ball out, straight into the back of the head of his own team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Other than watching the Europa league last night, I also did something else that was a little different. I wrote and posted something that I wasn’t 100% sure of, I like what I’ve written but I’m not sure as to how good it is. It’s not easy writing dialogue for a character like Dr. King Schultz, not when his creator is someone as skilled with words as Quentin Tarantino is. Knowing that I’ll never be able to write dialogue that is of that standard made it a little easier to just have some fun with it all.

Also having fun with numbers at the moment is Dutchman Bas Dost, he scored two goals for Wolfsburg last night in their Europa League tie against Sporting Lisbon, bringing his tally to six goals in two games now after he scored four last Saturday against Leverkusen. The game was fun to watch and it was great to get to see Wolfsburg play, I don’t often get a chance to do so. However it feels weird watching football on Thursday, it’s an aberration since I don’t usually watch the Europa League. I think next week I may record the game and watch it on a Friday, just to make it a little less strange.

On a slightly related note, I finally finished reading the book about Robert Enke. I could have finished it a few days ago, I only had six pages left but I kept putting it off. Where I left it, it was two days before he died. I know it’s illogical and stupid but I kept thinking if I don’t read it then he won’t die. And the more I kept thinking that, the harder it was to convince myself to finish the book. The last few pages were as difficult as I expected them to be, reading about his wife thinking that he may be getting better because he was smiling again. No-one knew of course that he had already decided to kill himself, that was why he was able to smile, because he knew he would be free from the darkness soon.