They definitely kept the best till last as far as the stickers are concerned, Toni Kroos is a pretty damn good Christmas present to get. Though I’m plenty happy with my real life gifts too. That’s one of the best things about a German Christmas (other than Bratwurst at the Christmas market that is), getting your presents a day early. It means I get a head start on playing my new PC games, at least I’ll have plenty to occupy myself with whilst the Bundesliga takes it’s winter break.
Last year I missed one days post and had to do a double post the next day, but never did I miss two days in a row. I somehow managed that this time around, too many late nights and not enough sleep catching up with me I guess. It’s been a very slow few days and I don’t feel like writing anything at all. I did however get two pieces of good news today, first finding out that the final series of The Bridge will be on TV at the start of the new year. And second that the DFB have confirmed their preparation plans for the world cup, having finally decided on where they’re staying. Not in Sotschi which is what Jogi apparently preferred but near Moscow in a place named Vatutinki. They also named their first friendly opponents, Austria who they’ll play on the 2nd June.
Despite getting out of bed whilst it was actually still morning today didn’t go as I wanted it to. Even though I was out of bed and doing what I was supposed to be doing it didn’t feel right, half the time I felt like I was still asleep and the rest of the time I was wishing I were. It was only late in the evening that I actually felt awake, something which doesn’t bode well for my efforts at straightening out my sleeping patterns. I’m doing everything I can to resist a nocturnal schedule but evidently the rest of me does not agree. Come night time that old familiar feeling returns, a feeling of invincibility almost. Like I can do anything and I have a million and one ideas. Which of course I don’t actually do anything about, that’s all anything is these days, ideas and thoughts. Hardly anything is real anymore, most things don’t get beyond my head. I plot stories, come up with ideas for posts and projects. Yet I don’t do any of it. When it comes to writing stuff down the words aren’t there anymore. And when they are it’s not right, the stories are more complete when they’re in my head. Like something gets lost when I try to put them down on paper.
Things aren’t happening as they’re meant to and these posts are no exception. I thought I might use them to get back on track. And of course I had plenty of ideas, like digging some stuff out from my archives and making videos for the players whose cards and stickers I got on that day. Something which never materialized, not because I forgot about the idea. It was just the thought of all that work, what is usually fun felt like a chore. Almost everything feels that way these days. Forget about actually getting anything done by the time you’re out of bed, showered and dressed it feels like that’s half of your energy gone already. Yesterday was a lot of fun, maybe too much fun.
Not a lot happened today, other than what seems to be the now mandatory Playstation marathon (the game of choice being Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood this time) the main event today was the Champions League draw. Bayern have got what on paper is a not so difficult draw, having been drawn with Turkish team Besiktas. I find it funny myself, because Besiktas are from RB Leipzig’s group. The best of the bunch though is obviously Real Madrid v PSG. I don’t care about the Ronaldo v Neymar competition though. What I care about is German being pitted against German, well Germans since PSG have two in the form of Julian Draxler and Kevin Trapp. And of course Real Madrid have Toni Kroos. I can’t really root for either, I don’t like PSG because of where their money comes from yet I can’t root for Real Madrid because I can’t stand Ronaldo. As for picking who I like better, I don’t know if I can do that. My first instinct is to say Julian, though I think that might be Matze’s fault. Either way it’ll be brilliant to watch, I just hope that Julian actually gets to play. On the subject of Germans being pitted against one another the draw of Chelsea and Barcelona does just that. This time it’s Antonio Rüdiger against Marc-Andre ter Stegen. And this is the point where I say I’m staying neutral. Between those two I really can’t pick.
Despite the excitement of the Champions League draw the highlight of today was a new video for my collection, not Jogi of course (I’ve never gotten one of him from a 2.Bundesliga game – besides they’re in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup) but Stefan instead.
Of all the things I expected to happen today that wasn’t one of them. I know it doesn’t sound good when you go into a game like this unsure if your team can win or not, but I didn’t want to curse anything by thinking about winning at all. I honestly thought they would draw and well they almost did. Were it not for Nils Petersen’s last minute penalty it would have been a 3-3 draw, and quite a spectacular one too. Freiburg came back to win 4-3 and that’s great, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be relegated. Those three goals they conceded are exactly why relegation is still a very real threat. That was their way of playing in the 2.Bundesliga in 2015/16, don’t worry if you concede two, we’ll just go and score three more. They’ve always been partial to a very open style of play, which isn’t to say they can’t be disciplined defensively. Their 0-0 draw against Dortmund earlier in the season proves that, a result all the more impressive for the fact they played the majority of the game with ten men. That open kind of play worked when they had players like Maximilian Philipp and Vincenzo Grifo around. But they left in the summer for Dortmund and Gladbach, taking some of the magic. their goals and more importantly their assists with them.
I don’t even know what today’s game was, it was crazy that’s for sure. And it’s proof that whatever they do Köln are doomed, they threw away a three goal lead, you can’t draw any other conclusion. Then again this game didn’t doom them, that was already done several match-days ago. There remains only one question, can they really go a whole Bundesliga season without winning a single game? Today’s game brought back a lot of memories, like the equally crazy (but much better to watch) snow game against Leipzig in the 2015/16 season. And of course their first game of that season against 1.FC Nürnberg. which was Nil’s first league game as a proper Freiburg player. A game in which he scored a hat-trick and just like today two of them were penalties. In fact Nils scored a hat-trick in his first ever game for Freiburg as well, against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Speaking of memories there was a very familiar face at today’s game, though not a very happy one obviously:
As happy as I am they won I don’t feel like I can celebrate, not only because they’re still in danger of relegation but the game seems to be reflective of how their season is going and life in general. They can’t go on conceding goals at the rate they have, not even if they start scoring some themselves. On the subject of unexpected events the confirmation of the sacking of Peter Bosz wasn’t one of them. The announcement of his replacement the very same day however was, not just the fact they did so quickly but who it was. They’ve switched one Peter for another, Dortmund’s temporary coach until the end of the season being none other than former Köln coach Peter Stöger. I don’t think anyone saw that coming.
I still can’t find a word other than crazy to describe today’s game but I know one thing, I really needed today. It was exciting, infuriating and intense. But most of all it was fun and for those two hours the game was on things felt like they used to do, like when I first started watching them. They were struggling then and they’re struggling now, so it’s not that they’ve changed, it’s me. But I don’t want to reflect on that now or anything else serious or real life related, today was fun and that’s enough. For once I just want something to be simple. Today’s game was anything but simple but the joy I derived from it was exactly that. No obsessing over what I’m doing and why, no wondering if maybe I’m not too obsessed and shouldn’t I be spending time with other people instead of stuck in my room alone. Today none of that mattered. Today there was the game and nothing else.