Bundesliga 2013

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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue May 07, 2013 8:57 am

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund turn phoney war into feisty feud

Champions League finalists fielded weakened teams for their Bundesliga meeting but the arguments raged on the touchline

Few had hoped to extract any sort of meaning from this meaningless game. But in the event, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich helpfully provided enough on-field clashes, off-field aggro and backroom intrigue on Saturday to keep us all going until 25 May. Billed as a gentle lap in safety car mode and a chance to try out a few spare parts on the road to Wembley, this occasion veered almost out of control and head-long into an advertising board. Head of state Franz Beckenbauer, the emperor himself, was gravely concerned about the possible damage to both teams and to German football's new-found, well-deserved status as the light unto all nations. "Stop these hostilities! Don't embarrass us!" he pleaded in Bild. "Let rationality prevail! The whole world is looking at Wembley. Bayern and Dortmund are there as representatives of Germany, too".

By the look of things, these ambassadors will embark on their trip to HA9 with a curt, disagreeable message in tow: the much-feared La Liga-isation of the Bundesliga has already begun. The meeting of the former and present champions certainly came with clásico-strength animosity between the sides, verging from quarrels about a perceived lack of decorum ("they could have talked to us, that would have shown style", said Dortmund's chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, about Bayern's sneaky signing of Mario Götze), Sergio Ramos's signature move (a Rafinha elbow on Jakub Blaszczykowski, rightly sanctioned with a dismissal) and a tête-à-tête between Matthias Sammer and Jürgen Klopp on the sidelines. The only thing missing was an eye-poke. "It was spicy," Manuel Neuer said, summing up proceedings.

There was a bit of football, too, but not much of it. Dortmund played their B-team, Bayern their reserves. It was a phoney war, designed to give nothing away, and goals from Kevin Grosskreutz (11th minute) and Mario Gomez (23rd) set things up nicely for a convivial, resolutely non-ominous draw. But the second half soon brought bananas – thrown at Neuer, the former Schalke keeper – and then drama. Soon-to-be Bavarian Robert Lewandowski had his penalty (handball from Jérôme Boateng, once again) tipped away by the Bayern goalie (60th minute). It was Neuer's fifth save from the last 13 penalties in the league. "That sort of thing might become relevant on 25 May in the motherland of missed penalties," warned Süddeutsche Zeitung.

A minute later, Rafinha was off. "My arm was too high," the Brazilian admitted later, but he had compounded his sin by poking Blaszczykowski in the cheek on his way to the dressing room. "Get off!", Klopp shouted at the Brazilian, that in turn had Sammer shout "leave him alone" at Klopp – from about 3cm away. "We exchanged views in an emotional manner but with respect," the Bayern sporting director explained later on, not too convincingly.

The Dortmund manager promised more restraint at Wembley. "I don't think that me and Matthias Sammer should be at the centre of this final," said Klopp, "and I for my part am sure that I can do that." They had both come across as schoolboys, he added, ruefully. There was one clear winner of this altercation, however. Jupp Heynckes, 68, had watched on with a bemused smile, resplendent in his elder statesman guise. "I don't care about the things that happen on the sideline any more," he said.

On the pitch, Bayern believed that they had kept the upper hand as well. The visitors saw out the draw pretty expertly with 10 men to remain unbeaten against their rivals this season – despite what they felt was bad refereeing from Peter Gagelmann. "One-one, with 14 men, well done!" Sammer exclaimed on his way out of Signal-Iduna-Park, with heavy sarcasm. Neuer, captain for the day and a suitcase full of fruit – "I'm taking the bananas back to a friend in Gelsenkirchen with a food shop" – said that the result "felt like a victory".

The home side's captain, Sebastian Kehl, had a different take. "We had a plan and showed that we can beat Bayern," he insisted. The make-up of both sides makes it difficult to draw conclusions either way but it's probably fair to say that Heynckes' men will feel a little more confident about their chances in the Champions League final.

Bayern's cold war tactics in the pursuit of Lewandowski and Götze, who were both persuaded to defect without Dortmund's knowledge ensure that 25 May will be less of a celebration of German expertise than a fierce tribal battle away from home. "Of course we are interested in a good relationship with BVB, but I'm less interested in their perception [of it] because that's not up to me," Sammer told Sky, a petrol can and box of matches in his hands. "We assume that we have a good relationship but that Dortmund see it differently at the moment."

Sammer, 45, seems to have taken over the "attack department" from president Uli Hoeness, who is currently otherwise engaged. Much of Watzke's ire, in turn, has been directed at the former Germany midfielder. Borussia expected to be informed by Sammer, their former player and manager, about Bayern's agreement with Götze, not to get confirmation of it from the player's agent after the event. As a consequence, Watzke had vowed to banish release clauses from future contracts. He, too, has been on a steep learning curve, along with the rest of the club.

Most of the work upstairs in the next couple of weeks will focus on bringing in new recruits and tying down existing pillars of the side, in advance of further interest from other clubs following the final. The goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller agreed to extend his contract to 2016 on Monday.

Mats Hummels admitted the team had been shocked by news of Götze's imminent departure – "he is one of the best 10 players in the world, I couldn't sleep all night when I heard about him leaving" – and that the club needed to work hard to improve its standing with the players, in order to be seen as a bona fide top club. It's just a suspicion but Saturday's fan banner ("The pursuit of money shows a lack of heart. Piss off, Mario Götze") might not have helped in that respect.

Talking points

• Sensational news from the BayArena: perennial runners-up Leverkusen (aka Neverkusen, aka Vizekusen) are no longer content to come second. These days, they celebrate coming third. "To be the No1 team behind the two best teams makes us very proud," said the striker Stefan Kiessling after the 2-0 win at Nürnberg. Leverkusen are guaranteed Champions League football next season; some of the incoming millions will reportedly be spent on keeping Joachim Löw's least-favourite best German striker (23 goals) a little longer. Kiessling could have been ahead of the equally prolific Lewandowski in the goalscorer column but his team-mate Sidney Sam insisted on taking Bayer's second penalty – Kiessling had already converted the first – and hit the bar. "I forgive him," said the 29-year-old. The coach, Sascha Lewandowski, was less sympathetic to Sam's egotism. "Kiessling was supposed to take it, you cannot simply take the ball off him," he said.

• Werder Bremen looked home and almost dry with a 2-0 lead five minutes from time against Hoffenheim. But two goals from Sven Schipplock rescued a point for 17th-placed TSG to keep their hopes alive, while for Werder, the nightmare that is this season, just doesn't stop. After 11 games without a win, they're only three points ahead of a relegation zone with two games to play. Going down would be unfair on the supporters, who had turned up in thousands at the Weserstadion dressed in green, but can the same be said of the manager, Thomas Schaaf? The 52-year-old changed his player-bashing tune after the final whistle, praising "passion and commitment", but soon found another target for a rant. "I'm fed up with many of these [refereeing] decisions against us, I can't tolerate them at all," he said. Schaaf's case might have been a little bit stronger if he hadn't mentioned the early penalty for Werder – Aaron Hunt had actually been fouled outside the box, Schaaf wanted a red card as well – and the correctly-awarded equaliser as evidence of this anti-green agenda.

Remarkably, sporting director Thomas Eichin has vowed to "march on" with the long-serving coach until 2014. "The team follow him," said the executive chairman, Klaus Filbry. Maybe it's a clever ploy. Schaaf has looked so out of his depth this season that you wouldn't bet against him bungling relegation, either.

• SC Freiburg are also in the wrong spot in the table but in much happier circumstances. "It would be a lie to talk about survival," said Cedrick Makiadi, one of the goalscorers in the 2-0 win over Augsburg on Sunday. Not just a lie but a preposterous one: Freiburg are two wins away from making it into Europe. "I want to play in the Europa League, of course," said the goalkeeper Oliver Baumann. The only question is: will they have a team next season. At least four players of the existing squad will move on to other pastures, even their manager, Christian Streich, had reportedly been approached by Schalke. He turned them down, citing a lifelong ambition to take over from David Moyes at Everton instead. (He didn't really. But he did say no to Schalke.)

Results: Dortmund 1-1 Bayern, Freiburg 2-0 Augsburg , Gladbach 0-1 Schalke, Frankfurt 3-1 Düsseldorf, Nürnberg 0-2 Leverkusen, Hannover 2-2 Mainz, Stuttgart 0-2 Fürth, Hamburg 1-1 Wolfsburg.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2013/may/06/bayern-munich-borussia-dortmund-feud


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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue May 07, 2013 10:17 am

Schürrle to Chelsea?

http://www.spox.com/de/sport/fussball/bundesliga/1305/News/andre-schuerrle-bereits-bei-chelsea-fc-unterschrieben-bayer-leverkusen-wolfgang-holzhaeuser.html

Stupid move, enjoy the bench in London Andre. Or more likely, not even the bench in Brazil next year.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue May 07, 2013 12:59 pm

Napoli supposedly intend to replace Cavani with Gomez

http://www.bild.de/sport/fussball/mario-gomez/im-sommer-nach-neapel-behaupten-italiener-30301178.bild.html
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Romford Pele

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Romford Pele on Wed May 08, 2013 3:31 pm

Is Sven Ulreich good?
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Wed May 08, 2013 3:40 pm

Not a bad keeper. But Leno and Ter Stegen have a lot more potential.
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Romford Pele

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Romford Pele on Wed May 08, 2013 3:41 pm

Ale

We've been linked with him and Adler a lot in the last two months. I prefer the latter, only because I know more about him obviously.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Wed May 08, 2013 3:53 pm

Adler is a whole lot better than Ulreich. Not so long ago, Adler was Germany's #1. He has arguably been the league's best keeper this season, too.

He actually is some strong competition for Neuer. Some fans actually prefer his calm and 'sober' style of goal keeping to Neuer's rather risky / swashbuckling style.

He'd be an excellent signing for Arsenal and would considerably strengthen that position at your club.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Thu May 09, 2013 4:54 pm

In fear of Dortmund's strong interest in Julian Draxler, Schalke have extended his contract (2018) and doubled his wages.

http://www.spox.com/de/sport/fussball/bundesliga/1305/News/julian-draxler-verlaengert-bis-2018-auf-schalke-borussia-dortmund-s04-bvb-ausstiegsklausel-autos-homepage.html


Best player in the league outside of Bayern and Dortmund.
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Balack was Coward

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Balack was Coward on Thu May 09, 2013 5:32 pm

Huntelaar.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Thu May 09, 2013 5:33 pm

lol!

You must be fucking kidding. Don't let TS read that, hell, don't even let the Dutch on here read it...
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Balack was Coward

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Balack was Coward on Thu May 09, 2013 5:55 pm

Huntelaar > RVP <Ale>
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Antarion

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Antarion on Tue May 14, 2013 12:51 pm

http://www.11freunde.de/interview/robin-dutt-ueber-talente-matthias-sammer-und-seine-arbeit-beim-dfb

Very interesting read.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue May 14, 2013 1:16 pm

Good interview indeed, very 'sober' and down to earth. It remains to be seen what he can do for German football in the coming years, Sammer did a very good job in this regard. But after reading this, I'm less sceptic.
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Deluded F*ck™

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Deluded F*ck™ on Tue May 14, 2013 1:50 pm

I watched a Holtby compilation when it was announced that he'd be joining Spurs - half of that Video was of albino missing open goals from the chances created.
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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Kroos on Wed May 15, 2013 6:29 am

http://www.footballspeak.com/post/2013/05/14/German-Football-Masterplan.aspx


GERMANY GERMANY GERMANY lol!

a wonderful article
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Kroos

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Kroos on Wed May 15, 2013 6:36 am

jesus schalke Grr

now they have an endgame in freiburg, FREIBURG in the CL Quali Round means an automatic LOSS (freiburg already lost 3 key players for the next season)

schalke needs the CL, right now they are building a wonderful team

-----------------------

also leverkusen will buy sokratis from werder (sry blut^^) but it`s a good thing, we need strong teams in the CL rendeer

de bruyne joining dortmund means that the schürrle deal to chelsea is now OFF, agood thing that leverkusen doesn`t need the money, they are also buidling a great side, they are already a great side



Last edited by Kroos on Wed May 15, 2013 7:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kroos

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Kroos on Wed May 15, 2013 6:47 am

Deluded F*ck™ wrote:I watched a Holtby compilation when it was announced that he'd be joining Spurs - half of that Video was of albino missing open goals from the chances created.

holtby on his experience since he joined tottenham:

"teams defend very deep, you can see that very often players can ran through the whole midfield without being attacked, there is also not much one touch football" he said he doesn`t understand it, because he learned that the best way to play football is to have just 2 contacts with the ball until you pass the ball"

"the english game is much more strength sapping, most of the time it`s going up and down the whole field"



no wonder that he needs time to adapt, or foreign players in general

he said nothing about pressing or gegenpressing

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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Wed May 15, 2013 8:26 am

The real question is why Holtby is so surprised about that? As a supposedly die hard EPL fan, he should have known that by simply watching a few matches.
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Balack was Coward

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Balack was Coward on Wed May 15, 2013 9:03 am

I wonder how Gomez will adapt to English football ?
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Kroos

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Kroos on Wed May 15, 2013 9:40 am



the englands asking themself:
why can`t we be more like GERMANS
from politics to football, britain is losing OUT

lol!
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Romford Pele

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Romford Pele on Thu May 16, 2013 8:21 am

Apparently Schalke are about to sign Coquelin. Very good technical central midfielder with a high work-rate. Unfortunately there's no room for him in our team right now but he could be very good in the few years. Hope we put a buyback clause in there.
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Kroos

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Kroos on Sat May 18, 2013 4:02 pm

looking good so far, die Bundesliga will field 4 strong teams in the CL
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon May 20, 2013 11:21 am

A pity that those Hoffenheim plastics were saved from relegation though, but Düsseldorf only have themselves to blame.

Dortmund's greatest weakness is their lack of killer instinct. Despite (or because?) of Lewandowski, they simply miss too many clear cut chances. That could cost them in the final, that and Hummels' lack of consistency this season, should he make the CL final which is likely.
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ERIK LAMELA

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by ERIK LAMELA on Mon May 20, 2013 11:41 am

blutgraetsche wrote:A pity that those Hoffenheim plastics were saved from relegation though, but Düsseldorf only have themselves to blame.

Dortmund's greatest weakness is their lack of killer instinct. Despite (or because?) of Lewandowski, they simply miss too many clear cut chances. That could cost them in the final, that and Hummels' lack of consistency this season, should he make the CL final which is likely.

GOMES!!!

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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon May 20, 2013 12:20 pm

Here's hoping that Kaiserslautern put them out of their misery in the play-offs and kick them back where they belong. Ale
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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Fey on Mon May 20, 2013 2:08 pm



Laughing

One has to wonder who Lennard will support on Saturday!
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon May 20, 2013 2:16 pm

lol!

Genuine Orc.

German football's heart is located im Ruhrpott. Ale
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Antarion

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by Antarion on Mon May 20, 2013 4:55 pm

lol!
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon May 20, 2013 9:54 pm

Bundesliga signs off with a madcap afternoon of comedy and drama

On a frantic final day Freiburg missed out on the Champions League, while Dortmund got involved in the relegation scrap

After the incessant plaudits for the forward-thinking, superlative state of German football over the recent weeks, it was almost refreshing to see the Bundesliga sign off with a defiantly back-to-basics, madcap Saturday high on tears, comedy defending and drama.

First stop: the battle for fourth-spot at the Mage Solar Stadium. Freiburg, known as the sunniest city in Germany, incredibly found themselves with a chance to gatecrash the fat-cat party. Christian Streich's merry men came pretty close to embarking on this flight of fantasy, too, but at the end of 90 nervous minutes, Schalke smuggled three points to make it on to Uefa's standby list.

"It's like a trophy for us, the mental strength of my team is fantastic" the manager Jens Keller didn't say. The 42-year-old will be allowed to stay in the job for next season after neither Bild's attempts to push Stefan Effenberg on to the Royal Blues nor Rafael Benítez's come-and-get-me pleas proved successful.

Streich, who was a more realistic candidate for the Veltins-Arena job, will stick around in the Breisgau a little longer, even if his "whole attack is gone", as the 47-year-old lamented. Johannes Flum, Jan Rosenthal (both Frankfurt), Max Kruse (Gladbach) and Daniel Claigiuri (VfL Wolfsburg) are all off to pastures new and purpler.

"It's OK for Schalke to be in the Champions League, we don't really belong there," Streich said with characteristic honesty. "But today, they weren't the better side. We were." He had a point. Freiburg gave it their all and put in a performance that was excellent in all relevant criteria (tactics, spirit, work-rate) apart from scoring goals.

Schalke were just that little bit more refined in the final third. Julian Draxler had settled the visitors' nerves with a fine goal after 20 minutes. Jonathan Schmid equalised after the break but parity lasted only three minutes. Jermaine Jones mishit a shot. Immanuel Höhn tried to clear the ball, but blasted it on to Julian Schuster, from whose knee it bounced into the net. It's exactly the kind of end-of-season-review-bloopers-reel goal you'd have expected Schalke, the masters of disaster, to score … at the other end.

Freiburg at least have the consolation of Europa League football, in itself an extraordinary achievement. Streich, however, was careful not to herald a new dawn for the Bundesliga's most lovable (read: inoffensive) club. "Everything is possible next season, in terms of moving up or down," warned the 47-year-old. "Maybe we'll make it to the Champions League, maybe we'll get relegated after rebuilding the team. Oh well."

For Schalke, Saturday's win constituted a satisfactory end to a very difficult season. They fired "manager of the century" Huub Stevens, fought off suitors for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Draxler, and even poached the Dortmund centre-back Felipe Santana for a reported bargain €1m. (The Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos might be sold for a more Premier League-compatible fee of €15m to Liverpool.)

Now, all that's left to is to sit back and watch the Champions League final. It's a bit of a lose-lose situation, admittedly, and working out who they'd least like to win the trophy might prove complicated. "Even Schalke supporters want us to win, the whole Ruhr area is rooting for us, I believe," the Borussia midfielder Ilkay Gündogan said last week. S04's manager Clemens Tönnies will be in the Bayern camp, however, for purely financial reasons. "I've got my fingers crossed — if they win, the till will be ringing for us too," he said. Schalke are believed to be in line for an extra €1m in transfer fees for Manuel Neuer if Bayern win the European Cup.

Truth be told, the Royal Blues' fourth-spot triumph was overshadowed by events at Dortmund, where everything did not go according to plan. The dethroned champions hosted TSG Hoffenheim and were widely expected to consign the billionaire's boys club — they are bankrolled by the software tycoon Dietmar Hopp — to the 2. Bundesliga.

Much to the joy of the Black and Yellow supporters who detest all that TSG stand for, Robert Lewandowski squeezed in the opener after only six minutes. Dortmund had plenty of chances to double the lead and nothing suggested that the Westfalenstadion was in for an extraordinary finish. Then Mats Hummels kicked Kevin Volland while attempting to clear the ball in the box with 13 minutes to go. The Dortmund defender twisted an ankle in the process ("He's got a realistic chance to make the final," said the team doctor); Sejad Salihovic converted from the spot.

Five minutes later, Salihovic was taking another pen, after the goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller had Weidenfeller'ed Sven Schipplock and been sent off. Kevin Großkreutz took the gloves but Salihovic left him no chance, blasting the spot-kick under the bar. There was still time for a bit of controversy. Marcel Schmelzer seemed to have scored an equaliser but after much deliberation the referee Dr Jochen Drees rightfully chalked off the goal – Lewandowski had interfered from an offside position.

"The whole season has been as chaotic as this game today, we have an unbelievable chance now," said the TSG captain Andreas Beck after the final whistle. Hoffenheim [16th] can save themselves in two play-off games against 1.FC Kaiserslautern, who finished third in the second tier.

Fortuna Düsseldorf could not believe their bad luck. They had spent the entire season outside the relegation places. But a 3-0 defeat at Hannover, coupled with Dortmund's surprising inability to at least draw at home to Hoffe saw them drop to 17th – and straight back down to the second division. "Where words fail you, tears are sometimes the best form of communication," sniffed the midfielder Axel Bellinghausen rather poetically. "It's a horribly brutal scenario," said Jens Langeneke, who along with some team-mates and the coach Norbert Meier – "I've never gone down, believe me, it doesn't feel good" – had been misinformed about Schmelzer's supposed equaliser for Dortmund.

Düsseldorf's misfortune was Augsburg's joy. Their 3-1 win over Fürth capped off a fantastic second half of the season to keep them in the top flight. "We can all be proud, this is sensational," said the coach Markus Weinzierl. The Bavarians had finished 2012 with only nine points on the board but for once the proverbial "mechanisms of the business" didn't set in. Augsburg kept faith in the 38-year-old Weinzierl, who turned things around with nothing more than hard work and the loan-signing of Ji Dong-won from Sunderland. Coming through the "second season" unscathed is a triumph on par with Freiburg and Frankfurt's Europa League qualification and testament to the Bundesliga's continued unpredictability. The record-breaking Bayern (and Dortmund) might be in danger of outgrowing the league but behind them it's still like Studio 54's infamous basement: everything goes.

Talking points

There was nothing to play for at the Borussia Park, but Jupp Heynckes' Bundesliga farewell in his hometown turned into a very moving occasion. Fans from both sides cheered the 68-year-old ahead of Bayern's 4-3 win over Gladbach. "This is where I started my career as a player, as a coach," said Heynckes, struggling to retain his composure.

Then the emotions got the better of him. "I want to thank the supporters from the heart for this farewell," he said, by now in tears. "They showed me that this is my home." The journalists in the press room applauded him.

On Sunday, the record-breaking manager – Bayern won the title 25 points clear of Dortmund – invited his squad to dinner at his farm. "The team were curious how I lived – and they wanted to see my [German] shepherd dog Cando, of course," explained Heynckes.

Thomas Schaaf's goodbye after 14 years at Werder Bremen was a lot more discreet. The 52-year-old had been relieved of his duties after the 1-1 draw with Frankfurt last week; taking charge for one final time away to Nürnberg didn't appeal to him. There were plenty of supportive banners in the stands and the players wore "Thank you, Thomas" T-shirts, but everyone knows that the club was in dire need of some fresh impetus. "We need a restart, Werder must shape the future, not the past," said the sporting director Thomas Eichin. He will have his hands full. Werder must find a new coach, clear out a bunch of well paid trouble-makers and save more money after missing out on Europe for the second year running.

Results: Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-4 Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund 1-2 TSG Hoffenheim, SC Freiburg 1-2 Schalke 04, FC Augsburg 3-1 Greuther Fürth, 1. FC Nürnberg 3-2 Werder Bremen, Hannover 96 3-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf, Hamburger SV 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart 2-2 Mainz 05, Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 VfL Wolfsburg.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2013/may/20/bundesliga-comedy-drama-final-day


Freiburg Ale

Considering Freiburg's budget, they really do shame the traditional Bundesliga powerhouses like Werder, HSV, Stuttgart etc. Watch and learn you idiots, that's how you run a club.

Streich is a very very good manager who I'd love to see in Bremen, but won't happen unfortunately.

Kudos to Veh, too. He had become a laughing stock not too long ago and now completely redeemed himself in Frankfurt. Frankfurt actually are a traditional Bundesliga powerhouse who had been lost in the nether regions for a decade. They'll need reinforcements for Europe, though.

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blutgraetsche

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon May 20, 2013 10:31 pm

Freiburg's astonishing rise

May 18, 2013

By Uli Hesse


It's during months like this one that you realise there are many kinds of finals. There are those that everyone talks about, such as the Champions League final, and those that whoosh by almost unnoticed (at least over here in Germany), such as the Europa League final. Then there are finals that don't even bear that name but are crunch- time affairs nonetheless.

On the last matchday of a Bundesliga season that by and large has been full of records but short on thrills and stunners, Freiburg could cap off a most astonishing rise. Only sixteen months ago, the team were in last place, with just three wins from seventeen games. Now they are just one point behind Schalke in fourth place - the very team they are going to host on Saturday.

It means if Freiburg win their final game of the league season they will have made the Champions League qualifiers. The mind boggles.

Not even under the iconic coach Volker Finke - who was in charge of the team for almost sixteen years between 1991 and 2007 - have Freiburg ever reached such dizzying heights. Yes, Finke's legendary team celebrated an amazing third place in 1995, but back then this meant the UEFA Cup, now we're talking about the glitziest, most glamorous showcase in world football.

Add to this that Freiburg have also reached the cup semi-final for the first time ever this year and what you have is the most successful season in the club's entire history even if the team should fail to beat Schalke on Saturday.

To say that it's all the work of a dotty butcher's son from a village between the French and Swiss borders is stating the obvious. In late December 2011, Freiburg looked and felt like the surest relegation candidate you've ever seen. The club was in such turmoil that no less than five players, among them the captain, had just been indefinitely suspended and told to go and find a new club. Then Christian Streich took over the team. The first thing that happened under his tutelage sounded like the final nail in the coffin: the club sold their best goal scorer, Papiss Demba Cisse, to Newcastle.

But somehow this far-reaching overhaul on the pitch and at the sidelines served to kick-start an astonishing reversal of fortunes. Under Streich, a highly idiosyncratic man who always speaks his mind and does so in a thick Baden dialect, and with a young team almost entirely devoid of recognisable names, let alone star players, Freiburg went on to win 21 of their next 40 Bundesliga games. One more win and they could rub shoulders with Real Madrid next year.

Not that any of this awes Streich. "I'm not talking about fourth place," he warned reporters this week. "I won't talk about future things in subjunctive moods. We can't finish worse than sixth place, everything else is just a bonus." Well, but is it really?

Only two months ago, in mid-March, Streich appeared on a nationwide sports show and was asked about playing in Europe. At the time, the questions concerned the Europa League, as the Champions League wasn't even a pipe dream then. The bottom line of the interview was: can a club like Freiburg even cope with the strain that comes with all those midweek games?

"On the one hand, it would be really great," Streich said. "On the other hand, it would be dangerous. Of course we want to win every game and be as good as possible, but this is a tricky subject." Then he made one of his trademark faces, think "worried schoolteacher", and added: "Some of the teams that have been active in the Europa League this season, like Stuttgart or Hannover 96, have played ten or twelve games more than we have." He paused, then admitted: "We couldn't manage that with the squad and the number of players we have."

Streich made that television appearance only a few days after it was announced that Eintracht Frankfurt had signed his offensive midfielder Jan Rosenthal. Since then, Streich's squad has been dealt numerous additional blows. In mid-April, Gladbach let it be known that the 25-year-old offensive midfielder Max Kruse would activate a get-out clause in his contract and join them. Only days later, Daniel Caligiuri left for Wolfsburg. And on May 3, Eintracht Frankfurt confirmed the signing of another Freiburg player, Johannes Flum.

This mass exodus reportedly soured the relationship between Streich and business manager Dirk Dufner, who's since dissolved his contract and joined Hannover 96 after almost six years in Freiburg. It's not that they aren't used to losing good players down south, quite the contrary. The club officials have repeatedly stated that they consider Freiburg a "tuition club", meaning they find talents, school them and then sell them to a bigger club at a profit. It may have been the "profit" bit that angered Streich, given that one of the four regulars left on a free transfer and the three others will earn the club good but not great money.

Not to mention that all of that money will have to go into not just replenishing but enlarging the squad for European football next season. As Streich hinted at when he referred to the number of games played by teams "like Stuttgart or Hannover 96" this season, many Bundesliga clubs face severe problems when they have to incorporate a third major competition into their calendar. A visibly tired Stuttgart team too often underperformed in the Bundesliga for many months, while Hannover ran out of steam down the stretch.

And that was "only" due to the Europa League. Now imagine a club like Freiburg in the Champions League, with all the massive hoopla, intense media glare and limitless potential for distraction that comes with it. Suddenly there would be a need they have never had in Freiburg, namely the need to invest. Suddenly there would be something they have rarely felt in Freiburg, namely the pressure to perform. Would the Champions League be a threat rather than an opportunity for a club of this size?

In any case, it would be an interesting experiment. And whatever happens, one thing is for certain: Christian Streich will furrow his brow, shake his head at all the hullabaloo and remain his unflappable self. After all, this is the man who was once asked about the public perception that he is "different" and replied: "Of course I'm different. But all the others are also different. There are more than seven billion people out there. Every single one of them is different from all the others."

http://espnfc.com/columns/story/_/id/1451935/uli-hesse-freiburg-astonishing-rise?cc=5739#

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Re: Bundesliga 2013

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