Tag Archives: Sokratis

Advent Calendar Day 6: Snow King Florian and Papa Sokratis

Sometimes you get some sleep and it seems to fix everything, other times like today it makes no difference at all. Waking up I was just as tired as before I went to sleep and it took what felt like forever to actually get out of bed. I really did want to stay there, to not have to move and get up. I had nothing I really had to do today yet I felt that way anyway.  And I don’t feel much different to yesterday. In fact I feel worse in one way but that’s entirely my own fault. I shouldn’t be reading about such things when I’m in a good mood let alone when I’m feeling like I am right now. It’s not like I need a reminder of people’s ignorant attitudes toward disabled children and disability in general. I recorded three games tonight and haven’t really watched any of them. I’ve seen a little bit of all of them and that’s all I’ve done, I just couldn’t focus on anything. And to make the night a little bit more disappointing I didn’t get a Jogi video. Though I did at least get one of Miro to make up for it. So at least that’s not so bad. There’s nothing like that to make up for the rest of the stuff but at least I got something to show for the night, even if the day once more went to waste the night didn’t. Well not for me anyway, for Gladbach on the other hand it’s a night they’ll very much want to forget having lost 4-0 to Barcelona. Bayern were also facing Spanish opposition in the form of Atletico Madrid. They got a much wanted 1-0 win, the points meaning nothing in terms of the final group standings but it being very much a point of pride. The goalscorer was Robert Lewandowski and he has something else to be rather proud of, announcing that he’s going to be a father.

I don’t know how to straighten this all out, everything I’ve tried hasn’t worked. Leaving me to consider that at this point maybe I should just accept it. I mean it’s not like it makes much difference,  I have nowhere to be in the day. It’s not going to cause any real problems right now. All that matters is being awake in the daytime for weekends. No-one would care if I disappeared out of sight completely during the week. It would be a relief in a sense to stop fighting it. I don’t know what if anything I should do, I’m just tired of feeling tired and I want all of this to go away.

When I wake up I can’t and don’t want to think about anything. And after a few hours when it gets really late then I can’t stop thinking. All these thoughts come out of nowhere and I don’t know what to do with them. Most of them aren’t of any use, there’s nothing to channel into a story. It’s just anger and frustration at the ignorance of other people mostly. There’s nothing that can be channeled into anything constructive. And right now that anger extends to the book I’m reading. It’s the Icelandic one I mentioned in yesterday’s post named “The Draining Lake.” The source of my anger being the fact Erlendur agrees with a suspect who makes a comment about how you’re not allowed to call mentally disabled people halfwits anymore. They both agree that political correctness has rendered language useless in order to avoid offending anyone. From my experience people who complain about language being too politically correct these days are usually the ones who want to say the most offensive things and are unhappy they can’t anymore. How would they feel if they had a disabled relative and someone saw fit to refer to them as backwards or a halfwit. No doubt they wouldn’t like it very much. But then such people tend to be hypocrites of the highest order. It’s a curious book to be reading right now because part of it takes place in Leipzig and there are characters named Tomas, Niels and Emil. With the setting and that last name it just adds insult to injury. I really don’t like Leipzig, not the city of course, just their football team.

I don’t want to be thinking about any of that but it took root in my mind and I got fixated on it just like always. I want to be thinking about the stories I’m meant to be finishing but they aren’t going well. It’s just so hard to focus on anything. When it’s late enough like it is now I can at least read, whilst I’m grateful for that I’d much rather be able to write something. I hate not doing anything, if I’m going to spend all my time alone in my room I at least want something to show for it and something other than countless hours racked up on yet another game. Not that it’s an option anyway, I can’t even be bothered to do that. The only thing I really care about is getting back to my stories, writing is the only thing which feels important. I know ultimately it’s just as meaingless as anything else I do but they matter to me. Obsessing over the fact I’m struggling to write probably isn’t helping. I should be working out how to get in the right kind of headspace to do that, focusing on being calm and relaxed enough, in other words not getting angry at random people on the internet. I think spending a bit less time reading such things and more time reading books is what’s called for. I do at least have plenty of books to read and I don’t have to worry about picking any either. I know what I’m reading over Christmas, one of those books being  my by now annual re-read of The Book Thief. Plot hole or not it’s one of my favourite books and reading it in December has become something of a tradition now and you don’t mess with traditions. Speaking of Christmas I woud have liked to finish Jogi and Hansi’s Christmas story by now, it would have been perfect with it being St Nikolaus day but unfortunately it’s nowhere near finished. It’s just like everything else I’m working on right now, a lot of ideas but all of it in fragments and half written chapters, no coherence anywhere in sight. Which could pretty much be said of everything right now actually.

As for what to do now I have no clue, stay up and I’ll end up regretting it, go to bed and I’ll end up feeling much the same way. Whatever I do it ends up feeling wrong. I feel the same way about my plans on Thursday but I’ve said yes now, so there’s no backing out. I don’t like letting people down. Besides it’s the same as deciding whether or not to stay up or go to bed, whatever I do I’ll end up paying for it and regretting it.

At least it was a good day in terms of what the calendars had to offer, two players that I like a great deal, the Dortmund one having provided one of my favourite ever GIFs.  The player in question being Sokratis Papastathopoulos, or for those who don’t want to brave that tongue twister of a name and are somewhat fond of him Papa:

20161207_044604-1Thomas_Tuchel_celebrates_Dortmund_v_MainzSokratis- Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2And Florian Niederlechner is plenty special too having scored plenty of important goals for Freiburg in their promotion campaign last year, not least the winner against RBL which is the reason he’s called the Snow King and both goals against his old club Heidenheim on the penultimate day of the season. Funnily enough he also scored against his old club Mainz when Freiburg played them a few weeks ago:

Florian Niederlechner - SCF v RBL 1Florian Niederlechner - SCF v RBL 2Florian_Niederlechner_first_goal_SC_Freiburg_v_1_FC_HeidenheimFlorian_Niederlechner_s_second_goal_SC_Freiburg_v_1_FC_Heidenheim

Bundesliga MD29 2015/16

No doubt Thomas Tuchel had Liverpool in mind when he picked his team for the match against Schalke, that seems to have been the general consensus anyway. It’s also probably recognition of the fact that the Bundesliga title race is all but wrapped up by now. No team has ever overcome such a gap in the last four weeks of the season and Bayern seem unlikely to drop any points between now and then. With that in mind it seemed Dortmund were putting all their eggs into the Europa league basket so to speak. If that’s the case it’s a move which didn’t quite work out, in more ways than one. They did get a point at Schalke which is in all honesty a fair result but resting the number of players they did turned out to make no difference in the end as regards the Europa league.

The first half was largely uneventful for both sides, though overall Schalke had a few more chances. Dortmund’s best chance came in the 22nd minute for Christian Pulisic, he had just the keeper to beat but his shot went just wide. The second half things got better and fast. A fact which most likely had a lot to do with the appearance of Henrikh Mhkitaryan who replaced Mats Hummels at the start of the second half. Whatever the reasons anyway the game started to liven up and in the 49th minute Dortmund took the lead through a cheeky little goal from Kagawa. It was one of those goals which impressed everyone, even Thomas Tuchel. It was just perfect, both the lay-off from Moritz Leitner and the goal itself. Schalke had an answer almost immediately however because just three minutes later Leroy Sane pulled them level. After a largely dull first half it was a very lively and entertaining start to the second half. And things were about to get even better, not to mention stranger. Matze Ginter is becoming quite the derby expert. He scored in the reverse of the fixture too, back in November. Though his goal then was a lot more straightforward than this one. This time it was a deflection from a free kick which somehow landed perfectly for him to head into the net. Strangely enough Shinji Kagawa scored the first goal in that game too. Unfortunately for Dortmund that wasn’t the end of the goals, their lead lasted all of ten minutes. Sokratis was a bit unlucky to give the penalty away, I don’t know if it was a penalty or not. One commentator says no, the other says yes. I’d say it wasn’t but then I have to admit I’m slightly biased. If it was a penalty than Sokratis is at least lucky he only got a yellow card, since Ginter was covering Hunterlaar too, otherwise it would have been a red. Either way Hunterlaar had no problem converting said penalty, thus once again leveling the score. Despite Thomas Tuchel sending on an extra sharpshooter in the form of Aubaymeyang 2-2 is how it ended. Though not without a few more tussles and a couple more yellow cards, including one for Belhanda for elbowing Matze Ginter in the face.

Friday night saw another 2-2 draw and one which was an extremely surprising result. I know it’s not uncommon for a team who’ve sacked a coach and brought in a new (in this case temporary) one to benefit from a false revival of sorts but I didn’t think such a thing could or would happen to H96. Nor did I think Hertha would be in any danger of dropping points against them. Elsewhere in the relegation battle fellow strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt and Bremen both lost, both of them in a somewhat cruel fashion. Late goals it seems are becoming a feature for Hoffenheim under new coach Julian Nagelsmann. For once Bayern provided the entertaining game of the weekend, usually it’s their game which is a little dull to watch and Dortmund that provide the fun. Not so this time around, Bayern’s defeat of Stuttgart was plenty to fun to watch and the 3-1 scoreline flattered them a little in fact. Stuttgart may still be close to getting entangled in the relegation battle but they certainly gave Bayern a run for their money.

Bundesliga results MD29 Bundesliga table MD29 1 Bundesliga table MD29 2Stuttgart v Bayern highlights

Bremen v Augsburg highlights

Eintracht Frankfurt v Hoffenheim highlights

Schalke v Dortmund highlights

Schalke v Dortmund – 1st & second half & post-match interviews

Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Sokratis – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Sven Bender - Schalke v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Roman Bürki – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Roman Bürki – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Kagawa, Ginter & Ramos – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 4 Kagawa, Ginter & Ramos – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Kagawa, Ginter & Ramos – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Kagawa, Ginter & Ramos – Schalke v Dortmund 4 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 5 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 6 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 7 Roman Bürki – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Sokratis – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 4 Sokratis – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 9 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 5Matthias Ginter - Schalke v Dortmund post-match interview 1Matthias Ginter - Schalke v Dortmund post-match interview 2Matthias Ginter - Schalke v Dortmund post-match interview 3Matthias Ginter - Schalke v Dortmund post-match interview 4

Bundesliga MD9 2015/16

Coming into MD9 Dortmund were without a win in three games, their last win being a 3-0 defeat of Leverkusen on MD5. They followed that up with two draws against Hoffenheim and Darmstadt, and then of course the 5-1 humiliation at Bayern. MD9 served up a game almost as special as that one, with it being Thomas Tuchel’s first return to Mainz as an opposition coach. His homecoming of sorts was a success as far as Dortmund were concerned, they got back to winning ways with a 2-0 defeat of Mainz. Nothing showy, just an effective and efficient win and I’m happy to say Roman Bürki played better than he did against Bayern. He had better luck then Weidenfeller did anyway. Last season Dortmund played Mainz on a Friday evening too, eventually the game ended 4-2 in Dortmund’s favour. But not before Dortmund went 1-0 down courtesy of a very humiliating goal which involved Weidenfeller almost falling into one of his own defenders and the ball then being put in the net by a very alert Elkin Soto who made good use of the keeper being way off his line.

Thankfully no such curse befell Bürki and he made a strong start to the game, making a good save against Muto just five minutes in:

Roman_B_rki_Mainz_v_DortmundHe wasn’t particularly busy throughout the first half but then neither was his opposite number Karius. Though it turned out not to matter because you only need to slip up once against Dortmund and they make you pay. Which is exactly what happened in the 17th minute. One misplaced pass intercepted by Mkhitaryan, two moves later and goal, Marco Reus slotting it home past Karius for his third of the season. The first half provided a few chances for both teams but nothing clear cut, the number of attempts on goal was far outweighed by the number of tackles.It was a closely contested affair to say the least, Sokratis in particular being his usual imposing self in defence for Dortmund. Matthias Ginter made a few important decisions too, in particular this clearance. Bürki probably would have got there anyway but why take that chance:

Ginter_clearance_Mainz_v_DortmundMarco Reus got an opportunity just inside the box to make it 1-o before the end of the first half but he failed to capitalize on the chance, the lay off from Aubameyang was decent but Reus’ initial pass could have been better. As could much of the passing in the final third throughout the first half. Dortmund went into the half time break with a hard earned 1-0 lead, but they didn’t deserve to be 2-0 up. They were handed an opportunity right at the start of the second half to make it 2-0 when Nico Bungert was judged to have brought Aubameyang down. It’s a penalty which should never have been given, not only did Bungert play the ball but the initial contact was outside the box. It’s perhaps karma then that the penalty was saved by Karius, according to the commentator he’s saved his last four penalties, so maybe more than just karma there.

After that the second half continued in a similar vein to the first with there being few real chances for both side. One such chance for Mainz when Muto found space between Park and Hummels was however effectively dealt with by Bürki:

Roman_B_rki_Mainz_v_Dortmund_2(1)Dortmund got the chance to double their lead in the 61st minute after a well placed pass from Ginter to Kagawa but Karius seemingly did enough to put him off and his effort went wide. They had a few more chances in the following ten minutes but most of them off target. Aubameyang however had a good chance in the 76th minute but was unable to take it, Bungert doing just enough to put him off. They finally made it 2-0 in the 82nd minute, Aubameyang setting up Mkhitaryan. The goal was nice enough but it’s not that I care about, what I care about is the reaction from Thomas Tuchel. Sokratis went over to celebrate with him, hugging him. What’s funny is he was trying to get away and Thomas Tuchel wouldn’t let go. It was such a great moment that pictures alone wouldn’t suffice, so I made a GIF too:

Thomas_Tuchel_celebrates_Dortmund_v_MainzThomas Tuchel and Sokratis - Mainz v Dortmund 1 Thomas Tuchel and Sokratis - Mainz v Dortmund 2 Thomas Tuchel and Sokratis - Mainz v Dortmund 3Random Freiburg related fact I have to mention, Florian Niederlechener made a substitute appearance for Mainz in this game, coming on in the 83rd minute for Muto. It’s funny, the future Freiburger (temporary of course – he’s only on loan) against former Freiburger’s Matze Ginter and Roman Bürki.

Florian Niederlechner - Mainz v DortmundElsewhere in the Bundesliga Bayern followed up their demolition of Dortmund with a surprising 1-0 win over Bremen, not surprising they won, just the scoreline. Holding Bayern to just the one goal is an impressive feat, though it makes no difference of course. Whilst beating Bayern would probably be expecting too much Bremen could certainly have done with the points. They could at least be grateful that both Augsburg and Hoffenheim lost.

Bundesliga MD9 results Bundesliga MD9 table 1 Bundesliga MD9 table 2Pictures from Dortmund’s game:

Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 1 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 2 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 3 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 4 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 5 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 6 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 7 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 8 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund pre-match show 9 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 2 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 3 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 4 Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund 1 Sokratis – Mainz v Dortmund 1 Roman Bürki – Mainz v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 5 Roman Bürki – Mainz v Dortmund 2 Roman Bürki – Mainz v Dortmund 3 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 6 Marco Reus – Mainz v Dortmund 1Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 7 Roman Bürki – Mainz v Dortmund 4 Roman Bürki – Mainz v Dortmund 5 Sokratis – Mainz v Dortmund 2 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 8 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 9 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 10 Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 11Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 12Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 13Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 14Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 15Matthias Ginter – Mainz v Dortmund 16Roman Bürki – Mainz v Dortmund 6Roman Bürki – Mainz v Dortmund 7Sokratis – Mainz v Dortmund 3Sokratis – Mainz v Dortmund 4Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund 2Thomas Tuchel – Mainz v Dortmund 3

DFB Pokal Quarter Finals 2015/16: Tuesday

Tuesday night saw Bayer Leverkusen face a struggling Bremen side who just this Friday past got hammered by Gladbach 5-1. But of course league form counts for nothing and to add an extra twist to the story it was Gladbach who Bremen beat to reach the quarter finals. Their victory that night was no fluke and neither was their well earned victory against Leverkusen. They worked hard to come back from behind which isn’t something they’ve exactly done a lot of in recent months. Though they’ve certainly had some standout games, like keeping the scoreline 1-0 against Bayern, beating Schalke 3-1 and recently coming from behind against Hertha to draw 3-3. Holding Bayern to a 1-0 scoreline is even more impressive when you consider they had the worst defence in the league last year and that they beat them I think 6-0 last season, or was it seven, I can’t remember. Point is they hammered them.

Anyhow, Bremen are through to the semi finals and so far I’m two for two in my predictions because as expected Dortmund beat Stuttgart. The clash had an added dimension to it with connections on both sides, Thomas Tuchel having coached the youth side at Stuttgart and two former Dortmund players in the form of Mitchell Langerak (who played in last season’s DFB Pokal final for them) and defender Kevin Groβkreutz now playing for Stuttgart. Unsurprisingly Stuttgart proved to have a little bit of fight in them and not only did they manage to find an equaliser to Marco Reus’ fifth minute goal but they were still in the game right until the end. Dortmund went 2-1 up thanks to another fine goal from Aubayemang but it wasn’t until the 89th minute that they put the game out of a Stuttgart’s reach with a goal from Henrik Mhkitaryan. Given how it was the 89th minute Roman Bürki wasn’t going to allow himself to be left out of the celebrations and so Neuer style he joined his team-mates to celebrate the goal. Though if he’d been a bit more like Neuer, he obviously wouldn’t have had so far to run. The other amusing moment of the night comes once again from Thomas Tuchel, in terms of GIFs he’s proving to be almost as good as Jogi when it comes to providing material for such things:

Dancing_Thomas_Tuchel_Stuttgart_v_DortmundHighlights of Bremen’s game:

Full match of Stuttgart v Dortmund, including the pre-match and post-match show:

Full match of Leverkusen v Bremen:

Thomas Tuchel interviews:

Marco Reus interviews:

Pictures from Dortmund’s game:

Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Matthias Ginter - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Marco Reus - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Marco Reus - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Marco Reus - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Marco Reus - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 4 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Aubameyang - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Aubameyang - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 4 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 5 Dortmund players celebrate - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Dortmund players celebrate - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Sokratis - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Matthias Ginter - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Sokratis - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 4 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 5 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 6 Sokratis - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 7 Aubameyang - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 8 Dortmund players celebrate third goal - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 9 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 10 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 11 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 12 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 13 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 14 Thomas Tuchel - Stuttgart v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 15

Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors friendly – 15/01/2016

Matthias Ginter - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1 Matthias Ginter - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2 Matthias Ginter - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3 Roman Weidenfeller - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1 Roman Weidenfeller - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2 Sokratis - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1 Thomas Tuchel - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1 Sokratis - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2 Thomas Tuchel - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2 Thomas Tuchel - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3 Roman Bürki - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1 Matthias Ginter & Thomas Tuchel - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1 Matthias Ginter & Thomas Tuchel - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2 Roman Bürki - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2 Roman Bürki - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3 Roman Bürki - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4 Roman Bürki - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 5 Matthias Ginter - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4 Matthias Ginter - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 5 Matthias Ginter - Borussia Dortmund v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 6

DFB Pokal Last 16 2015-16/Quarter Final Draw

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:

Joachim Löw – DFB Pokal Final 1996-97 1 Joachim Löw – DFB Pokal Final 1996-97 2 Joachim Löw – DFB Pokal Final 1996-97 3Here’s the next best thing about this round of 16, a picture of a young Thomas Tuchel:

Young Thomas Tuchel picture

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:

Manuel_Neuer_s_ritualPhilipp Lahm & Manuel Neuer - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 1 Philipp Lahm & Manuel Neuer - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 2 Philipp Lahm & Manuel Neuer - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 3 Robert Lewandowski - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 1 Philipp Lahm - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 1 Philipp Lahm - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 2 Philipp Lahm - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 3 Philipp Lahm - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 4 Manuel Neuer - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal Philipp Lahm - Bayern v Darmstadt - DFB Pokal 5Manuel Neuer - Santa hat 1Manuel Neuer - Santa hat 2Manuel Neuer - Santa hat 3Manuel Neuer - Santa hat 4Manuel Neuer - Santa hat 5Manuel Neuer - Santa hat 6

Matthias Ginter & Thomas Tuchel - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Matthias Ginter & Thomas Tuchel - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Matthias Ginter & Thomas Tuchel - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Matthias Ginter - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Matthias Ginter - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Roman Bürki - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Roman Bürki - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Roman Bürki - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Matthias Ginter & Sokratis - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Matthias Ginter & Sokratis - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Matthias Ginter & Sokratis - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Sokratis- Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Sokratis- Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Thomas Tuchel - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 1 Sokratis- Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Roman Bürki - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 4 Roman Bürki - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 5 Roman Bürki - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 6 Thomas Tuchel - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 2 Thomas Tuchel - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 3 Thomas Tuchel - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 4 Thomas Tuchel - Augsburg v Dortmund - DFB Pokal 5

Advent Calendar Day 12: The Man from Cottbus, Speedy Karim & Papa Sokratis

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:

Thomas_Tuchel_celebrates_Dortmund_v_MainzKarim Bellarabi - DFB card 2015-16 1 Karim Bellarabi - DFB card 2015-16 2 Sokratis - Dortmund advent calendarToday 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:

Philipp_Lahm_celebrates_Bayern_v_IngolstadtPhilipp Lahm - Bayern v Ingolstadt 1 Philipp Lahm - Bayern v Ingolstadt 2 Philipp Lahm - Bayern v Ingolstadt 3 Philipp Lahm - Bayern v Ingolstadt 4