Of all the things I’ve been looking forward to this season the new sticker album would come close to topping the list and for two simple reasons, Freiburg being back in the top flight and finally getting a sticker of Nils Petersen as a Freiburg player. I’ve waited two years for the latter and it was worth the wait. As luck would have it I got one of his stickers in the first lot of packets I opened from the blisterpack, the shiny version of him too. In total I got six Freiburg players from the first lot of stickers, including getting Alexander Schwolow in the first page of the album which made me most unhappy. I wanted to get him from a packet and now I feel cheated of that. As well as Nils and Alex I also got who is shaping up to be my favourite player this season, Turkish defender Caglar Söyüncü. And Vincenzo Grifo, Marc-Oliver Kempf and Aleksandar Ignjovski. From the packets however it wasn’t a Freiburg player who was the first of my favourites to appear, that honour goes to Jonas Hector of 1.FC Köln. Now that I don’t mind, he may not be a Freiburg man but I like him a great deal and I was just as happy get Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski.
I do however have one major complaint with the album, just like the Champions League one it has no sticker of Matthias Ginter or Erik Durm, he was in there last season but isn’t now. It’s one of two reasons why I have no pictures of the Dortmund page. The other reason is the same one there’s no picture of the Bayern page either, with Freiburg being back in the top flight it’s not necessary. They’re in there and instead VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 suffer the ignomy of having just a sticker for their badge and kits at the back of the album:
Posted in Bundesliga, Fußball, Germany, Nils Petersen, SC Freiburg, Stickers
Tagged Aleksandr Ignjovski, Alexander Schwolow, Çağlar Söyüncü, Bayern Munich, Bundesliga 2016/17 stickers, Jonas Hector, Marc-Oliver Kempf, Nils Petersen, Robert Lewandowski, SC Freiburg, Thomas Müller, Vincenzo Grifo
I wasn’t sure I could enjoy any part of this evening’s games, indeed it took a little while before I could focus on what I was watching. I still felt a little guilty about being so easily distracted but I guess that’s normal. Whilst Tuesday’s round of games were a little disappointing and maybe didn’t offer sufficient distraction Wednesday was very different. I’m certainly glad I chose not to watch the news before the game (a mistake I made the previous night), had I done so it may have ruined what came after. Both games which were of most interest delivered not only on their promise of distraction and entertainment but in giving me exactly what I wanted. Three points a piece for Bayern and Freiburg from their respective games, and Leipzig being given no chance of resuming their brief stay at the top of the table. They I’m very happy to say are not the winter champions. It pains me to say they were last season, with them having a three point lead on Freiburg in the 2.Bundesliga table but they couldn’t repeat the feat in the top flight. I didn’t get my Christmas wish last year but I have now, it may seem unambitious in comparison to what Leipzig are aiming for but I don’t care. Freiburg are in the top half of the table and will stay there for another month. They are very far off from the position they were in two years ago, back then they were in the relegation zone and it’s where they spent the winter break. It’s nowhere near where they are now:
In their final game before the Christmas break in 2014 they played Hannover and drew 2-2, conceding a late goal which thanks to a technical fault I didn’t get to see. Matter of fact I still haven’t seen that goal, I guess some things you don’t need to see. There is one good thing from that game, the two players who scored the goals, Mike Frantz and Marc-Oliver Kempf are still part of the squad. This time round they faced Ingolstadt who are doing their best to do what Freiburg were doing two years ago, avoiding relegation. As the title suggests it was Florian Niederlechner who scored the winning goal, actually he scored both of them. It didn’t snow but that doesn’t matter, I like calling him a snow king. Nils didn’t start again which is always disappointing, even more so is that he didn’t get to add to his tally when he did come on. In his absence it fell to Niederlechner to take the penalty, and in scoring those two goals he got his first Bundesliga brace. It wasn’t an easy game and they worked hard for those three points, Schwolow like he did in the previous two games at his best to keep the score as it was towards the end. One final thing I have to mention about Hannover, neither they nor Stuttgart get the honour of being winter champions either. Both of them being overtaken in the table by Eintracht Braunschweig. Something which makes me happy for two reasons, firstly Braunschweig are my promotion pick for the season and secondly I don’t want them getting something Freiburg didn’t get.
Speaking of getting something Freiburg didn’t Bayern did that and then some, putting three goals past Leipzig and not just beating them but taking them apart. I know it’s wrong to enjoy someone else’s misfortune (not least when it’s Freiburg who face Bayern next) but I make an exception when it comes to Leipzig. As always Neuer celebrated the goal as he usually does, the GIF isn’t quite as good as the other celebatory ones of him but I had to make it:
Same as I had to add some pictures of Florian and one of Nils to complete the set:
It’s funny in a way, I’m totally focused on football after being unable to stop thinking about bad stuff and now the football is over. I’ll have to find something else to occupy myself with until the 20th January. It’s not as bad as it sounds though, it’s only 29 days without football. To be more precise without German football. The time will most likely fly by, if these past few weeks are anything to go by I won’t even notice it, let alone remember.
I don’t know how much of that I’ll remember but for the next few days there’s one thing I can’t forget, the last few days of the advent calendars. Day 21 saw defender Marc-Oliver Kempf make his appearance which is excellent timing on his part, seeing as how I was just talking about the Hannover game in which he scored the first goal. Though to be honest there’s not a bad time for him to make his appearance, he’s the kind of person I’d always be happy to see. In the Dortmund calendar was midfielder Felix Passlack whose last appearance for Dortmund was in the crazy 8-4 win against Legia Warsaw, in fact he scored the seventh goal. And because it’s Marc-Oliver’s day I think the GIF of him and Grifo dancing should make a reappearance, it’s so good it should be used twice:
Posted in Bundesliga, Fußball, Germany, Manuel Neuer, Nils Petersen, SC Freiburg
Tagged Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, FC Ingolstadt, Felix Passlack, Florian Niederlechner, Marc-Oliver Kempf, Nils Petersen, RB Leipzig, SC Freiburg
The previous weekend Freiburg secured promotion when they defeated Paderborn 2-1 and with the 2- 0 win over Heidenheim they sealed their position in first place. They not only sealed their return to the Bundesliga but did so in pole position, ahead of RB Leipzig. It was perfect in a sense, not least because the scorer of both goals was former Heidenheim player Florian Niederlechner. The goals were made even more perfect by the fact they were both made and scored by two jokers, Lucas Hufnagel and of course Niederlechner. Not a great game to watch by any measure but that doesn’t matter, not when what happened afterwards was so much fun.
SC Freiburg v 1.FC Heidenheim 2015-16 – 1st & 2nd half
RB Leipzig confirmed their inevitable promotion with a 2-0 defeat of KSC, being gifted a second goal after an error by KSC’s keeper. If 1.FCN hadn’t screwed up they could have taken advantage of RBL’s poor run of results in recent weeks, it could be them in second place. But they didn’t and they have to content themselves with third place which is guaranteed at least since they have an eight point lead on St Pauli. With one match-day to go everything is decided at the top of the table, all but one thing that is. Freiburg have won the league, they’re the best team offensive wise in the league and have the best home and away record. Yet there’s one thing they don’t have, it’s not Nils Petersen who’s the current league top-scorer because he didn’t score against Heidenheim and Simon Terrode did against Braunschweig. In order to be crowned top-scorer Petersen needs to score two goals against Union Berlin and for Terrode not to score against Heidenheim. Fingers crossed for Petersen, it’s already been a great season but him being crowned top scorer would make it just that little bit more perfect.
Meanwhile at the foot of the table things went from bad to worse for Paderborn after they lost 1-0 to 1860 München and Duisburg managed to salvage a point at Sandhausen. Going into the final day of the season Paderborn have the difficult task of getting at least a point from third placed 1.FCN, I suppose they can take some hope from the fact their opponents need absolutely nothing from the game. As they can from the fact Frankfurt who they need to lose face 1860. I would put good money on them beating Frankfurt. The situation at the foot of the table offers no salvation for any of the bottom three. The best all of them can hope for is the play-off place. None of them can achieve automatic safety, not realistically. In theory Duisburg could but only in theory, because they would have to not only beat RB Leipzig but score seven goals against them whilst conceding none and counting on Fortuna Düsseldorf to lose to Eintracht Braunschweig. Paderborn, Frankfurt and Duisburg can all win yet still not be safe. If that were to happen the table would stay exactly as it is, with Paderborn in 18th, Frankfurt in 17th and Duisburg in 16th.
SC Freiburg v 1.FC Heidenheim
1 FC Nürnberg v St Pauli
RB Leipzig v KSC
Bochum v Eintracht Braunschweig
Pictures and GIFs from Freiburg’s game:
Posted in Fußball, SC Freiburg
Tagged Alexander Schwolow, Christian Günter, Christian Streich, Florian Niederlechner, Marc-Oliver Kempf, Maximilian Phillipp, Mensur Mujdza, Nicolas Höfler, Nils Petersen, SC Freiburg, Vincenzo Grifo
I didn’t expect the trip to Eintracht Braunschweig to be an easy one but I underestimated just how difficult it would be. Sometimes things are just a little too perfect and the lead-up to this game is a perfect example of just how that’s true. It was just too good to be true, both RB Leipzig and 1.FCN losing in the same weekend. The stage was set perfectly for Freiburg to open up a three point gap on Leipzig. As things turned out they just have the one point gap. But to see it from another perspective I guess it’s not the worst time to drop points, after all Leipzig did too. So it could be worse. Freiburg have an excellent record against Eintracht Braunschweig apparently, they haven’t lost to them in quite some time, not since 1986 if the presenter on the pre-match show is to be believed. The reason that’s important is because in 1986 one Jogi Löw was playing for Freiburg, in fact he played in both games in the 1985/86 season against Braunschweig. Not only that but he scored the second goal in the home fixture which ended 2-2. The reverse of the fixture ended 2-0 in Braunschweig’s favour. It’s not just the trivia I got from the pre-match show, I also got these two pictures:
Well they still haven’t beaten Freiburg at least, but they came very close to doing so. Freiburg’s point was saved with the assistance of the referee in fact. Going into extra time the score was 2-1 to Braunschweig. Their coach wasn’t happy about the amount of extra time, nor about the fact they actually went over the three minutes by about 50 seconds. Had they not done so Freiburg wouldn’t have had time to take the corner and Marc-Oliver Kempf wouldn’t have scored the equalising goal. That’s three goals in two games for him now. They got lucky, I know. I’m just glad they got a point from it at least.
It certainly wasn’t a fun night, up until now they’ve had pretty good luck on Monday nights. But Braunschweig well and truly put a stop to that, it was no fun watching Freiburg get outclassed for the better part of ninety minutes. They dominated possession in the first half as has been their way this season, yet despite having 61% they only created one shot on goal. By comparison Braunschweig created six, four of which were on target. Niederlechner got a chance in the eighteenth minute right in front of goal but he couldn’t quite get there. Another frustrating moment came later in the first half when Grifo was perfectly placed yet he stepped aside for Frantz to take it, despite being closer than him. Frantz wasn’t quick enough and the chance went wasted, proof that sometimes being selfish is the better option. The past two games Freiburg have been the ones to start brightly and actually get on the score-sheet pretty early, but here it was Braunschweig who had the brighter start. Alexander Schwolow had a very busy night indeed. Somehow it was 0-0 at half-time, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort on Braunschweig’s part.
The start of the second half was not much better, Freiburg were restricted to one long range effort from Grifo, it was on target at least. Other than that it was all Braunschweig, if there were going to be goals they would be the first to score, that much was obvious. I just wish it hadn’t happened in such a way that Schwolow was partly at fault. Though Abrashi and Torrejon were at fault too, the former for underhitting the back-pass and the latter for not dealing with it properly. It’s lucky Schwolow’s ill-timed sliding tackle wasn’t too badly misjudged, the player was able to get away from him but had he not and Schwolow not got the ball then it would of course been a red card. It would have made a bad night even worse. Braunschweig were plenty dangerous by themselves from an attacking perspective, they most definitely did not need Freiburg gifting them chances that way. Their second goal came not long afterwards and Schwolow was helpless to do anything about it. At this point salvaging even a point seemed beyond Freiburg. They did manage to pull one back but it was more a quirk of fate than anything else. A long ball launched upfield by Höfler which Petersen managed to get on the end of, after heading it into the net he ended up clattering into the keeper. Somehow the ball went in and the goal stood. But getting a second seemed like a big ask, most likely impossible. They did however liven up towards the end of the game, in the last five minutes in particular. In the 85th minute Havard Nielsen was taken down in the box, he probably should have gotten a penalty. The ball was gone and contact was made but no penalty given. Nielsen may not have gotten a penalty but he did win the all important corner in extra time. Problem is they were already 20 seconds over the three minutes of extra time, the referee should have blown his whistle already for time. Yet he didn’t, a fact which understandably made Braunschweig’s coach furious. With this being the very last act of the game even Schwolow was up there, though of course his presence turned out to be of no consequence. Because it was Marc-Oliver Kempf who headed the ball home and saved Freiburg’s point. Everyone was celebrating, everyone but Christian Streich that is, he didn’t move one inch. He knew how lucky they were to get the point.
Eintracht Braunschweig v SC Freiburg
KSC v 1.FCN
RB Leipzig v SV Sandhausen
Posted in Fußball, Germany, SC Freiburg
Tagged Alexander Schwolow, Eintracht Braunschweig, Joachim "Jogi" Löw, Marc-Oliver Kempf, Maximilian Phillipp, Nicolas Höfler, Nils Petersen, SC Freiburg, Vincenzo Grifo
Posted in Die Mannschaft, Fußball, Germany
Tagged Admir Mehmedi, Borussia Dortmund, Christian Günter, DFB Pokal, Hans-Dieter Flick collectibles, Joachim "Jogi" Löw collectibles, Jonathan Schmid, Marc-Oliver Kempf, Marcel Schmelzer, Mesut Özil, Roman Bürki, SC Freiburg collectibles, Vladimir Darida
Behind door number eleven in the Freiburg calendar was defender Marc-Oliver Kempf. In the DFB one was the card of “Mr Cool,” midfielder Toni Kroos and finally in the Dortmund one was my second favourite Roman, German Roman Weidenfeller who has of course found himself dethroned from his spot as no.1 keeper by the arrival of my favourite Roman, the former Freiburg keeper and current Swiss international Roman Bürki:
Today went exactly as I didn’t want it to go. A late night last night because of a new chapter I started working on, it was one of those things I had to start just then. I could have just made a note of the idea and tried to sleep but I couldn’t let it go. As pleased as I am with what I’ve written I most likely should have left it alone and gone to bed. I didn’t mean to stay up so late but then you never mean to, it just kind of happens. So I have twelve new pages which is great but on the other hand I’ve wasted a whole day. A day which could have been spent writing my post on e5 & 6 of The Bridge, a post I’ve not even started yet.
Getting up so late meant I woke up just in time for Sandhausen’s game, not an ideal situation. Lately it feels like I’ve only been getting up to watch football, as if nothing else is worth getting out of bed for. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. Regardless of which it is I had to watch Sandhausen’s game, this weekend’s games are the reverse of the fixtures that took place on MD1, so as far as possible I want to see all the games I watched on opening weekend. Freiburg don’t play till Sunday when they visit 1.FC Nürnberg. As much as I want to see a good game I’d be happier with them keeping a clean sheet, or at least not conceding three goals like they did on MD1. Of course they did score six themselves but that’s not the point, at this point goal difference means everything. I don’t care how many they score, I can live without another nine goal thriller, I don’t need them to win 3-0 or anything like that. As long as they take all three points and they’re more organized defensively I’ll be happy.
I’ve not really needed to do anything so far today, the biggest decision I’ve had to make so far was whether or not to get up to watch Sandhausen’s game. That was up until I found a certain collectible online. Something which initially I thought I had to have. Upon giving the matter some more thought I realised that was not the case. Taking into consideration the financial side of things and whether or not having this particular item was a good idea I decided otherwise. As much as I feel like I need it, I know I don’t really. Having a card from a game that wasn’t even played, at a stadium I hate and with associations that I just can’t forget, it’s just not a good idea. Not to mention the fact that from a financial perspective it would have required some serious juggling, I could afford it but not without moving some things around and not without dipping into the money set aside for the Jogi and Hansi collectibles I’m in the process of obtaining. Pictures and clippings of them is a much better addition to my collection than that card, I know this, and in a few days I’ll know I’m right. Plus I’m meant to be getting over what happened, having in my possession a reminder of that night is probably not a great idea.
I may not have gotten that particular collectible but I did get something I want today, my new DFB polo-shirt. This one is rather special because it has the Mercedes logo on it and has Mercedes Benz written on the back, just like the ones that are officially issued to players and the coaching staff: