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
Posted in Autism, Fußball, Germany, Nils Petersen, SC Freiburg
Tagged Amir Abrashi, Autism/Asperger's Syndrome, Borussia Dortmund, Christian Günter, Gonzalo Castro, Nils Petersen, Robert Lewandowski, SC Freiburg, Thomas Müller
On Sunday Freiburg confirmed their return to the Bundesliga winning their fourth 2.Bundesliga title. But before that came the penultimate weekend of the Bundesliga. Bayern’s hunt for the title has some parallels with Freiburg’s campaign, for one thing it’s their fourth title in a row. For another they both got to confirm their title whilst playing against a neighboring club, Freiburg playing host to Heidenheim and Bayern visiting their newly promoted southern neighbours Ingolstadt. Interestingly enough their manager Ralph Hasenhüttl will be taking over as head coach at RB Leipzig next season in their first ever season in the top flight. The one difference however between Freiburg and Bayern’s quest is that they didn’t get to officially celebrate last weekend, well they did celebrate but they don’t have their trophy yet. The reason being in theory at least Dortmund could have snatched the title from them. That however is not possible after their surprise 1-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt. I always intended to watch Bayern’s last game of the season live and now I most definitely will. It will be a lot of fun, getting to watch Bayern celebrate their title win as H96 officially get relegated.
Random Freiburg fact I have to mention, the first time they were promoted to the Bundesliga was 1993. Promoted alongside them was a team named VfB Leipzig. Also one of the teams relegated from the second tier that year was Darmstadt who are now in the top flight after 33 years in the lower tiers of German football.
Getting back to Bayern and their game Ingolstadt were no pushovers for the champions elect. Bayern took the lead after just fifteen minutes through a Robert Lewandowksi penalty. Ingolstadt however had plenty of fight in them and in fact they almost equalised just two minutes before Bayern scored their second goal. Strangely enough Ingolstadt did get a goal, through a penalty in the 42nd minute. Despite all the goals coming in the first half the second was still more than watchable. Ingolstadt haven’t always been the most watchable of sides this season but this was a most entertaining game, it’s easy to see why they’ve never been in any real danger of getting stuck in the relegation battle this season, unlike Darmstadt who were promoted alongside them last year. They didn’t defend perfectly however, it could have been three or four nil for Bayern but they had a little bit of luck, that and Douglas Costa took far too long and made everything more complicated than it needed to be.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga there was nothing complicated about Eintracht Frankfurt’s surprise 1-0 victory over Dortmund, they scored early on and spent the rest of the game successfully holding Dortmund at bay. Their victory did not come about without a bit of luck however, in the first half Mats Hummels wrongly having his goal deemed as offside. I wanted Frankfurt to win this one, I know normally I’m rooting for Dortmund but I was willing to make an exception for this one game. Especially seeing as how Dortmund’s dream of snatching the title from Bayern was always just that, whereas survival for Frankfurt is a very real possibility. And I would most like Freiburg to be visiting the Commerzbank Arena next season and for Niko Kovac to still be in charge, not forgetting Lukas Hradecky in goal of course. The other result of interest to me was Stuttgart losing 3-1 to Mainz, that is a result I wanted to see and I thought they would lose too. Yet I feel sort of bad about it which is very strange, especially considering who I feel bad for. The person in question being Kevin Groβkreutz who got very emotional after the game. I’m no fan of him so it was a huge surprise to me that I felt somewhat sorry for him. That loss however is fantastic news for both Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt. It also means nothing less than a win can save Stuttgart on Saturday, they have to beat Wolfsburg or they’re relegated. They escaped the same fate on the final day of last season against Paderborn, repeating that feat against Wolfsburg is a whole other story. Eintract Frankfurt play Werder Bremen. A win for Bremen would see Frankfurt in the play-off place, whereas a draw would see them stay as they are. That’s not a result I’d like to bet on and not just because I’m fond of both sides. I really have no idea who’s going to win. The only thing I’m certain of is that the final day of the season will be no less nail-biting than it was last year. Freiburg aren’t involved but I still have a horse in the race so to speak.
Ingolstadt v Bayern München 2015-16 1st & 2nd half
Ingolstadt v Bayern
Eintracht Frankfurt v Dortmund
VfB Stuttgart v Mainz
Pictures from Bayern’s game:
Posted in Fußball, Germany, Manuel Neuer
Tagged Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, Eintracht Frankfurt, Ingolstadt, Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, Werder Bremen
Fresh off their disappointment in the DFB Pokal Hertha were handed the unenviable task of facing almost champions Bayern. A win for Bayern would have sealed the title this weekend but only if Dortmund lost to Stuttgart. Bayern managed to find their way past Hertha in an efficient but most unsatisfying way. Dortmund however prevented them from being able to celebrate just yet. Unlike Bayern they had no trouble getting past Stuttgart and there was no luck involved with any of their goals. Indeed after the third it seemed as if Stuttgart had all but given up. Last week Jogi Löw said he was sure that Stuttgart would avoid relegation but then he said the same thing about Freiburg last year and look how that turned out. I’m not so sure he’s right this time either, Stuttgart usually do get away with it by the skin of their teeth but their luck has to run out sometime surely. I wouldn’t make any predictions as regards who’s going to survive, with just two points between them and Bremen and only three separating them from Frankfurt I really wouldn’t. I guess next week will be the telling one, not just because there’s only two games left after that but because Bremen face Stuttgart on Monday night. The final day of the season offers up a relegation clash too with Bremen hosting Eintracht Frankfurt. I hate the fact that’s the case because those are the two teams I would hate to see getting relegated. I hate it even more because I’m not sure I can watch it, I’m set on watching Bayern play H96 on the last day of the season just so I can watch them get relegated, getting revenge I guess. I don’t really need to watch it, I mean they are all ready relegated because of their draw against Ingolstadt and Eintracht Frankfurt’s victory on Friday. I’ve just been set on it ever since seeing the schedule, even before they were in actual danger of being relegated.
Bayern needed the first half and a little bit to get past Hertha’s defence and an impressive Thomas Kraft upon his return from injury, when they did finally do so it involved a bit of luck, Arturo Vidal’s shot taking a slight deflection on it’s way into the net. It wasn’t a pretty game to watch but their second goal certainly was, no luck involved there from Douglas Costa:
Dortmund’s game was a lot more watchable thankfully, especially seeing as how it’s the one I chose to watch live. It was a game which was guaranteed goals, neither side really the goalless draw kind of team. Unfortunately for Stuttgart it was for the most part one way traffic, after dominating for the opening twenty minutes Dortmund finally got off the mark through Shinji Kagawa. From then on you got the feeling it wasn’t a question of whether Dortmund would win or not but by how many. A little over twenty minutes later on the stroke of half-time Christian Pulisic made it 2-0, a goal which makes him the youngest ever player to score two goals in the Bundesliga apparently. Dortmund killed off the game eleven minutes into the first half with the goal coming from Henrikh Mkhyitaryan. It was a particularly cruel goal for Stuttgart’s keeper Przemyslaw Tyton to let in. He was unable to get hold of the header from Ramos and could only push it out into the path of the waiting Mkhyitaryan who was never going to miss from there. My favourite moment of the match however is reserved for Thomas Tuchel, the game was highly entertaining but Thomas was almost equally as fun to watch. Once more he provides another fun GIF for my collection. The funniest thing about his reaction is all he’s arguing over is a throw-in, as if that really matters:
The real highlight however is Jogi related and happened by accident, I hadn’t planned on watching the repeat of Leipzig’s game on Monday night but given the result I just had to. It’s a good thing I did because I got three awesome pictures of Jogi as a result, they aren’t from that game. I don’t even know what game they’re from or when. All I know is it’s a Stuttgart game:
The rest of the weekend was very entertaining too with Köln beating Darmstadt 4-1 and Leverkusen orchestrating an impressive comeback against Schalke. Going into the game Leverkusen were in better form, in particular their keeper Bernd Leno who hadn’t conceded a goal in five games. Yet it was Schalke who took the lead, though they didn’t convert the penalty they were gifted early in the first half. The way Schalke let themselves get overrun is a fair reflection of their entire season, losing puts their Champions League ambitions in doubt, leaving them with the more realistic prospect of the Europa League again. Sunday afternoon provided more entertainment with Gladbach erasing the memory of their truly awful performance against H96 last week. It was the second game which was of more interest to me, Eintracht Frankfurt playing host to Mainz. I don’t care so much about the latter’s European ambitions but I do care whether or not Eintracht Frankfurt get relegated. It wasn’t the most attractive game you’ll ever see, not by a long shot but they got the job done. Getting just their second victory under new coach Niko Kovac, funnily enough the scorer of the winner was Anis Ben-Hatira who scored the winning goal in the other victory since Kovac replaced Armin Veh. Technically it’s an own goal because it took a deflection off Stefan Bell but that won’t matter to Eintracht Frankfurt I suppose.
Videos, interviews first:
Hertha v Bayern
VfB Stuttgart v Dortmund
1.FC Köln v Darmstadt
Schalke v Leverkusen
Wolfsburg v Augsburg
Gladbach v Hoffenheim
Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz
Pictures from Bayern’s game:
Pictures from Dortmund’s game:
Posted in Fußball, Manuel Neuer, Matthias Ginter
Tagged Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, Douglas Costa, Erik Durm, Hertha BSC, Manuel Neuer, Matthias Ginter, Robert Lewandowski, Roman Bürki, Thomas Müller, Vfb Stuttgart
When I posted the pictures of the Euro 2016 album on Monday I said I hoped I’d have better luck today. Now I meant that solely in regards to stickers and it turned out to be true in this regard. But it also proved to be true in quite another important way. Earlier this evening RB Leipzig lost 1-0 to SV Sandhausen which means if Freiburg win on Monday night against Eintracht Braunschweig there’ll be a three point gap separating them. I have to say I like the fact it’s Sandhausen who brought this about, not just because they too are a south-western team but more because they are a Hansi team. It’s who he played for before moving to Bayern. Thursday night was a huge disappointment, not the game itself. That was absolutely incredible, a true once in a lifetime experience. It’s just the result which is so devastating. Dortmund are only a team I follow because of Matze Ginter and Roman Bürki but I’m still crushed over the result. Not least because it would have meant me getting one over on a Liverpool fan in real life. Though I have to admit if I had to pick I would choose Leipzig losing tonight, Dortmund getting to the Europa League final would have been great but Freiburg first as always. There is at least one upside to Dortmund being out of the Europa League, I’m now free and clear for my Captain America triple bill and don’t have to worry about getting someone to record the game.
Anyhow today’s stickers. I wanted my first German from the Euro 2016 album to be Matze Ginter, Manuel Neuer or Jonas Hector. Unfortunately my first two Germans are none of those. Yet the first one is still special, doubly so in fact. Because the first German is none other than Erik Durm. The reason for him being extra special is I’m working on a story for him and Matze. The second German was Jerome Boateng. In the same lot of packets I also got Robert Lewandowski, fitting seeing as how him and Boateng both play for Bayern. On the matter of things being fitting, it’s painfully ironic that today I get the sticker of Dortmund’s kits for the Bundesliga album:
Posted in Die Mannschaft, Germany, Stickers
Tagged Bundesliga 2015/16 stickers, Euro 2016 stickers, Jonas Hector, Kevin Volland, Matthias Ginter, Robert Lewandowski, SC Freiburg, Toni Kroos, Vladimir Darida
Sometimes after midweek games the weekend which follows can be a little slow, lacking in both goals and excitement. That wasn’t the case the weekend just gone, though ironically there were no goals in the biggest game of all. But then it didn’t need any, what it lacked in goals it more than made up for in terms of excitement. In one way it’s a good thing there were no goals because if there had been no matter who the goalscorer was it could not have bettered Pizarro’s goal against H96.
As for the other games on Saturday in total they racked up 26 goals with three high scoring games. Stuttgart’s 5-1 defeat of local rivals Hoffenheim, Bremen beating H96 4-1 and finally Leverkusen drawing 3-3 with Augsburg but only thanks to a last minute penalty. The Stuttgart game is interesting because the last time they scored five goals in a game was also against Hoffenheim, back in 2013 when they beat them 6-2. In charge of Stuttgart at the time was none other than Thomas Schneider. Bremen’s game was special and not just because they totally destroyed H96 which naturally I found most enjoyable. The main reason for it being special is Claudio Pizarro scoring his 100th goal for Bremen, because being the Bundesliga’s oldest scorer of a hat-trick at the age of 37 just wasn’t enough. Not only that but he’s the top scorer of the Rückrunde so far, having scored eleven goals. The only other draw of the weekend was Eintracht Frankfurt’s 1-1 draw with Ingolstadt, a result which turned not to be enough to save Armin Veh’s job. No big surprise there, with seven games without a win and the fans having turned against him weeks ago it seemed all but inevitable.
Ausburg v Leverkusen highlights
Köln v Schalke highlights
Wolfsburg v Gladbach highlights
Bremen v H96 highlights
Stuttgart v Hoffenheim highlights
Eintracht Frankfurt v Ingolstadt highlights
Dortmund v Bayern highlights
Mainz v Darmstadt highlights
HSV v Hertha highlights
Getting back to Dortmund the result of their game was anything but inevitable. I knew only two things for certain going into this game, that it wouldn’t end up quite as one sided as last time and it wasn’t going to disappoint. After the quarter finals of the DFB Pokal I was musing whether or not it would be good to see someone else in the final this year, a nice change from the Dortmund-Bayern match-up. I’ve changed my mind on that, I want them to go head to head once more. It’s tricky because I’d love for Bremen to get there too, but I think seeing a replay of this game especially seeing as it’s Guardiola’s last season at Bayern would be epic.
To be honest I wasn’t so concerned with the result as I was Roman Bürki not embarrassing himself like he did in the reverse of the fixture. He had a much better game this time round though he still had a few shaky moments in the opening minutes of the game, making two mistakes just a minute apart. I’ve seen the game twice and yet all that’s sticking in my head is not just Bürki’s mistakes but also the two great saves he made, one denying Costa the chance to score and secondly Vidal. The second one in particular goes some way to making up for the goal he almost gifted Müller in the first half. There is one non-goalkeeper moment I remember and that’s Erik Durm’s nice little turn and subsequent shot on goal in the 18th minute. Had that been a goal it would have been incredible, he scored midweek against Darmstadt but scoring against Bayern would have been a whole other world:
Obviously there were other important moments in the game but in the excitement the rest is forgotten and to be honest overshadowed somewhat by Freiburg’s victory over RB Leipzig on Monday night. No matter how great Dortmund’s game was nothing compares to that, not even getting the half-time interview with Jogi. What I lack in words I can more than make up for in terms of videos and pictures, getting nine videos from this week’s game:
Posted in Fußball, Germany, Manuel Neuer
Tagged Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, Claudio Pizarro, der Klassiker, Erik Durm, Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Robert Lewandowski, Roman Bürki, Thomas Müller, Thomas Tuchel
Normally when I upload stickers I do so in the order I got them, today I’m making an exception. That’s how special getting Florian Niederlechner’s sticker is. His and the SC Freiburg badge were at the top of my wish list for this season’s album, now all I need is a double of each for the wall and I’ll be happy. It’s funny I got Florian’s sticker today because his parent club Mainz played this afternoon. It’s even more amusing that I got two Darmstadt players and their badge because it was them Mainz drew with earlier.
The Freiburg badge was in between two players who have a Freiburg connection, Salomon Kalou who last season scored a very late and extremely important equaliser for Hertha against them and defender Sascha Riether who used to be a Freiburg player, in fact up until last season. I also got the Bundesliga ball and a shiny version of Robert Lewandowksi, he came out of a packet before Niederlechner yet he goes after him. He may be the best striker in this post but he’s not the most important one:
Longing for Gravity
You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?
Well one thing is for certain I wouldn’t miss other people all that much. I would be fine never seeing anyone ever again, I really would. I probably wouldn’t get lonely either, or rather I would but I’d have no trouble in dealing with it. I’m used to it by now. Imaginary friends are the order of the day once more. It’s kind of my default setting, as is not being able to do anything about it. Too lonely to be by myself but it’s too hard to be around other people. At least if I were on a mission to Mars I would no longer be troubled by such thoughts. I would imagine I’d have far more pressing issues to deal with.
As for what I would miss, I don’t know if you could watch football on Mars or on the journey. Just in case you can’t that’s the first thing on my list. Things like Lewandowski’s incredible five goals in just under nine minutes against Wolfsburg last year. A feat he didn’t match today, he just got the one. But the pre-match show had a great little segment on it. They showed all five of those goals but in different languages; in English, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese. The Portuguese commentator in particular is brilliant. I call it Lewandowski: Five Goals in Five Languages
I’d also miss good food, like currywurst, spaghetti and meatballs and Nutella. Not to mention stickers, there’s one thing you definitely won’t be able to get on Mars. I’ve traded with people from lots of different countries, by now; for example Russia, Hungary, Finland, Brazil and Romania but never anyone from another planet. I think most people would draw the line at sending stickers to Mars, even if it were possible. That would mean I’d miss out on special stickers like the one below. It’s Joachim Löw’s sticker from the Deutschland sammelt Deutschland album. Unfortunately Hansi’s not in there too which hardly seems fair seeing as how both Jogi and Klinsi are in the 11 Freunde album. Which Hansi is also not in. But at least Jogi’s sticker is cool:
There is one surprising thing I’d miss and that’s the weather. I wouldn’t have thought that would make my list, seeing as how me getting outside is such a rare occurrence. Surely the weather makes no difference to me, but actually it does. Not least because sometimes it gives me ideas for stories. Two days ago after training Amir Abrashi was interviewed and they were talking about snow. My German is not perfect and Abrashi is not the easiest of people to understand. He’s Swiss-Albanian and to make it more difficult he talks about as fast as he runs, there’s a reason I call him Triple-A and it’s not just his initials and his nationality. So I checked the weather in Freiburg just to double check what I’d heard and he really did say snow. Though happily it didn’t snow today, the sky was clear for their game against 1.FC Kaiserslautern, a game which they comfortably won 2-0.
The other thing I would miss very much is trains, though as it turns out you don’t need to go outside to enjoy those. Last night whilst I was meant to be watching Cologne’s game I came across some very cool videos on YouTube, train journeys in Germany, more specifically Stuttgart, like this one: