I may be playing catch up in other regards but not in the case of this season’s new Bundesliga album.This time round I’ve gotten it not long after it was released. It’s a lot less fun knowing Freiburg aren’t in there but doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. Though I can’t help feel this collection is doomed from the start. The reason being my limited edition Thomas Müller sticker was not in the starter pack as promised, neither were the customary four packets of stickers. Given the way the packet was ripped open it’s obvious someone somewhere along the line helped themselves to Thomas and the others. Stupid limited edition stickers, I’ll have to get all of them online because they only come with certain German magazines.
Other than that and Freiburg only getting two stickers, the badge and kits I quite like this season’s album. I’d like it a lot more if they had a picture or a sticker for the coaches. That’s weird, Topps make the Premier League album too and that has a picture of the coach yet the Bundesliga one doesn’t. One feature I do like is the section for the all time top goal scorers and players who’ve played the most games. There’s a downside to that however, because if Freiburg hadn’t gotten relegated Jogi would be on there. The other positive about the album is each team has four pages instead of two meaning there’s more stickers to collect, 439 this season instead of 300. The major source of frustration is that I’m still waiting for a Freiburg sticker of Nils Petersen. Last season I had to make do with his Bremen one, this season I have nothing. At least I will have one of striker Florian Niederlechner because despite him being loaned out to Freiburg he’s included on Mainz’s page. Plus there is of course Roman Bürki’s Dortmund, not to mention Matze’s. Neither of which I have yet. This isn’t something I like, more I’m amused by it. Freiburg share their page with FSV Frankfurt, Vincenzo Grifo’s former team.
In my first few packets I got Köln’s badge, Andre Schürrle, Aytac Sulu, Arminia Bielefeld’s kits, Philipp Lahm and Lukas Hradecky. Köln is of course a Hansi team. As for why Andre Schürrle’s so special to warrant a mention, I just thought it was funny to get his sticker a few days after his hat-trick against H96. To make it even funnier I got both their team stickers. Bielefeld is of course who Freiburg defeated 4-1 yesterday afternoon. And Philipp Lahm needs no introduction, Hradecky is on the notables list simply for being a good keeper. And Sulu just for being very likeable.
Posted in Autism, Die Mannschaft, Jogi Löw, Manuel Neuer, Obsessions/special interests, Stickers, Writing
Tagged 2010 World Cup stickers, Autism/Asperger's Syndrome, Champions League, Deutschland sammelt Deutschland, Joachim "Jogi" Löw collectibles, Lukas Podolski, Manuel Neuer collectibles, Per Mertesacker, Philipp Lahm, Writing
There was plenty of excitement in the second set of games but ultimately no real surprises. Joining Bayern and Bremen in the next round are Bayern and Hertha BSC. Bayern for their part I’m pleased to say beat Bochum 3-0. Though it was by no means an easy game for them with Bochum getting off to a much better start and getting their first opportunity in just the seventh minute but Terrode put it wide. Lucky too since Neuer watched it sail past the post. Had it been on Terrode’s other foot he may have been in trouble. After taking a little while to get going Bayern eventually took the lead in the 38th minute through Robert Lewandowksi. But there was plenty more drama to come with Arjen Robben being brought down in the box just a few minutes later. Bochum were down to ten men and Bayern had a penalty, at this point you would think they had the game all wrapped up. But no, Thomas Müller’s penalty was saved and Bayern were left waiting until the 61st minute to double their lead. Bochum for their part battled hard considering they were down a man and still had a few more chances. The game was finally put to bed right before the final whistle with Lewandowski getting his second of the night.
Hertha BSC and former Freiburger Vladimir Darida triumphed over 2.B side 1.FC Heidenheim. They didn’t have it easy either, going 1-0 down after just ten minutes. They managed to equalise just four minutes later , with Ibisevic doubling their lead five minutes later. Hertha were in control by that point and had no trouble in adding to their tally in the second half. Though they conceded a penalty just eight minutes from time which could have resulted in a very interesting end to the evening’s events but it wasn’t to be.
So there’s no lower league teams left this year. It’s the top three of the Bundesliga with Bayern, Dortmund and Hertha. And coming up the rear in 16th place Bremen. Hertha will face Dortmund and after their 0-0 draw with them last weekend they’ll certainly be seeing this as a game they can win. It wouldn’t be completely unthinkable for Bremen to beat Bayern either, extremely unlikely but certainly not impossible. Their clash is made all the more interesting by Claudio Pizarro playing for Bremen again, he’s won the competition six times, five times with Bayern and once with Bremen. The games are to be played on the 20th and 21st of April. Dortmund and Bremen is the final I’d like to see. It would be Thomas Tuchel’s first DFB Pokal final were that to happen.
Yesterday it was Thomas Tuchel who provided the night’s amusing moment, today it’s Manuel Neuer. Not once but twice. First him doing his usual thing and living up to his nickname of the ever wandering Neuer. The second moment was him doing something else which is by now familiar but that never stops being funny, him running to find someone to celebrate with:
Full match of Bochum v Bayern, including the pre-match and post-match:
Full match of Heidenheim v Hertha:
Robert Lewandowski interview:
Manuel Neuer interview:
1.FC Heidenheim v Hertha BSC highlights:
Pictures from Bayern’s game:
There were unfortunately no major surprises in the round of 16, the only thing close to a surprise is Gladbach losing to Bremen in a thrilling encounter. Also something of a surprise was Bayern’s 1-0 win over Darmstadt, one might have expected a more convincing victory for them. Unterhaching got to live the dream for a little while, they went 1-0 up against Bayer Leverkusen. True they took less than five minutes to concede the equaliser but it was not until part of the way through the second half that Leverkusen were able to take the lead, and Unterhaching up until that point were actually in the game. They certainly held their own against a side that just a few days ago put five past Gladbach. Third division Aue are also out after losing 2-0 to 1.FC Heidenheim, leaving the latter as the last 2.B side in the competition after 1.FCN lost 2-0 to Hertha BSC, Eintracht Braunschweig lost 3-2 to VfB Stuttgart in extra time and 1860 losing 2-0 to Bochum.
As things stand that means Jogi and Hansi both still have one team each in the competition, though I don’t expect that to be the case after the next round which offers up a most exciting clash indeed, at least for me personally anyway. The very first team out of the pot was VfB Stuttgart who were drawn with Borussia Dortmund. It would take a miracle for VfB to win that tie, regardless of how much they improve before then. Next out was Heidenheim who will face Hertha BSC. After them was the most ironic tie of all, after beating the other Munich 2-0 Bochum find themselves facing Bayern. And finally Bayer Leverkusen v Werder Bremen. I wonder, is this season going to be business as usual, that is a Dortmund-Bayern final.
The highlight of the two days was the following piece of video footage. I have the 1996-97 DFB final on DVD in it’s entirety, what it’s missing is the presentation of the trophy. Now that’s been slightly rectified with this video showing Jogi lifting the trophy:
Here’s the next best thing about this round of 16, a picture of a young Thomas Tuchel:
Next is highlights of every game plus a video of part of the laser show from after Bayern’s game:
Then all the matches in their full length, the Dortmund one includes the post-match show which has interviews with Marcus Weinzierl and Thomas Tuchel. In order, Bayern v Darmstadt, Augsburg v Dortmund, Unterhaching v Leverkusen, Stuttgart v Brauschweig, Nürnberg v Hertha, Gladbach v Bremen, Aue v Heidenheim and finally 1860 v Bochum:
Then of course pictures, first from Bayern’s game and from the laser show afterwards, and then some from Dortmund’s. Also there’s a rather cool GIF of Manuel Neuer’s pre-match routine:
Posted in Fußball, Germany, Jogi Löw, Manuel Neuer
Tagged Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, DFB Pokal, DFB Pokal Final 1996-97, Joachim "Jogi" Löw, Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Roman Bürki, Sokratis, Thomas Müller, Thomas Tuchel, Vfb Stuttgart
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
Posted in Die Mannschaft, Fußball, Germany, Jogi Löw, Manuel Neuer
Tagged Emre Can, Joachim "Jogi" Löw, Jonas Hector, Lukas Podolski, Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller