There’s plenty to talk about from yesterday’s press conference and not all of it good, but there is one of Jogi’s mistakes that he corrected which interests me above all else. It’s something which wasn’t the most talked about but is what I’m happiest about, and that’s the inclusion of Nils Petersen in the squad again. As for things I did see coming, well I was only half right on that count. Thomas Schneider is no longer Jogi’s assistant but Hansi is not replacing him and coming back, that was too much to hope for (I think in reality I knew that but it was a nice dream whilst it lasted, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still have a little hope for it happening) instead Marcus Sorg will take his place on the bench.
All in all it was a little underwhelming, given that they took eight weeks to come up with this and they talked about big changes. I respect Jogi for admitting his mistakes and for saying he was arrogant in his way of thinking, though it’s interesting to note that Oliver is still very defensive about the whole thing. Football matters aside one very interesting topic was that of the Özil situation, the day he had his little online tantrum and released that stupid letter I did write a very angry and long post about the whole thing. But I deleted it, deciding such an angry post served no purpose whatsoever. I’m glad I did, but my feelings on the situation remain the same, in fact learning about his behaviour towards Jogi only strengthens them. Whatever you think of the situation, whether you agree with his accusations of racism or not, there is one thing no-one can dispute, he behaved in an extremely disrespectful way towards Jogi. More than that Özil has shown himself to be pathetic, if he wanted to retire from international football, fine, but the least he could do is be a man about the situation and speak to his coach himself. The irony is Jogi was the one defending him, both during and after the photo scandal, nice to see how he repays that loyalty, misplaced as it was. There’s no way they should have defended his actions at all, if a German player had been photographed with a public figure from a far right (or far left for that matter) non-democratic party they would have been kicked out of the squad without a second thought. And for him to play the victim card is just absurd, I think I’ll reserve my sympathy for the people suffering as a result of Erdogan thanks, not some overpaid spoilt football player who doesn’t even live in the country.
Today was one of those times I tried to come up with a snappy title and failed miserably, giving up in the end and going for one that does at least sum up what this weekend has been about. Well it doesn’t include Söyüncü in there but that’s probably for the best. Normally by the time the first round of the DFB Pokal comes around I’m just happy to be watching football again, but this weekend hasn’t been a lot of fun, and Söyüncü is the reason why. It’s not like I’m over the whole world cup disappointment, more that it’s been temporarily taken over by a new pain. And it’s one which hurt a lot more than I expected it to, maybe because I wasn’t prepared for it right now. There is a lot of real stuff I should be worrying about right now, yet all I care about is Söyüncü. It’s not just the fact he’s left, it’s how and where he’s gone. Right on the last day of the transfer window in England, that’s when they snapped him up. By that point I thought we were safe, that he would get to stay for at least another year. I’m relieved now that I haven’t bought my home and away shirt yet for this season, if I had already gotten his name printed on the back then this would be immeasurably worse. I did think about getting Heintz on there instead, but I can’t get another centre-back’s name on there, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that. Unless the impossible happened and it was Matze Ginter, now that I could happily do.
Last night was Freiburg’s first competitive game without him, and boy did they miss him.It would have been a special game even without him being gone, the reason being Freiburg were playing Energie Cottbus, former team of Nils Petersen. So it’s kind of fitting then that it was Nils who helped to save the day, he scored the second goal – which was not unusually for him a penalty. Though he didn’t score this one in his usual fashion, his actual penalty was saved by the keeper, but he somehow managed to be in just the right place to head it into the net. And of course he was the first to step up in the penalty shoot-out, putting that one away just fine. Thirty-two games and only one went to penalties, and it just had to be Freiburg. Cottbus missed their fourth penalty, leaving it to Dominique Heintz to slot home Freiburg’s fifth and confirm their place in the second round. It was all round a night of very narrow margins. Nils’ goal came in the 99th minute, and the first goal to equalize even more so, it coming about three seconds into extra time and being scored by Freiburg’s new captain Mike Frantz. As the commentator funnily quipped “O Captain, my Captain.” Very fitting words indeed.
Though they weren’t the only ones to cut it close in terms of going through to the next round, and there were a few surprises too, not least last season’s surprise winner Frankfurt getting knocked out by SSV Ulm. Going through the games and guessing the results I picked Ulm to win just as a joke, I never thought it would actually happen. Though I was pleased to be correct about Wehen Wiesbaden knocking out St Pauli. Bayern and Dortmund both scraped through, with the former surprisingly only winning 1-0 over an amateur team and the latter beating Greuther Fürth right at the death. As for the other Borussia and Matze they had no trouble whatsoever on Saturday, scoring a whopping eleven goals. Matze unfortunately was not on the score sheet but the pictures I got from the end of the game kind of make up for that: