Die Bundesliga 2014/15

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messiah

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by messiah on Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:02 am

Dortmund are playing some fantastic stuff, it was myself and blut who said pep would have a much more difficult time against him than he did jose with the hindsight geniuses on here doing their typical lol, especially after they sold gotze.

but is was always going to be more difficult for two proactive managers to come up against each other, than a proactive vs reactive.

cant wait to see pep with a settles Bayern vs durtmund, maybe next year, those matches will be epic.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:39 pm

They really are a class team. Klopp's ambition and drive are what impress me most. Other managers, even talented ones, would probably bow to that Bavarian behemoth (especially after last season) and be content with finishing on the CL spots, but not Klopp. You can clearly see how much it annoyed him not to win a title last season.

He does play the 'underdog' card, true, but he'll do absolutely everything to win titles this season. He's a winner, actually quite similar to Pep as far as his ambition is concerned. I agree, the Bayern - Dortmund encounters are going to be epic, especially in the second half of the season once both teams are settled.

Also looking forward to the Dortmund - Arsenal matches in the CL group stages, especially now that Özil weaves his magic for the Gunners.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:10 pm

Borussia Dortmund shortchanged in Bundesliga's team of the weekend

Jürgen Klopp's men deserved more credit for what might have been the performance of their season in beating Hamburg 6-2

Man-marking has generally died out in the Bundesliga, along with moustaches and mullets – at least the non-ironic ones. But in the confines of tabloid newspapers and the venerable Kicker magazine, the practice is still very much alive.

It might surprise the interested reader to find out that a sizable contingent of players in the German top flight continue to take a strong, verging-on-unhealthy, interest in the marks (1-6, in ascending order of nicht gut) awarded to them by reporters who spend, on average, 45-60 seconds on this exercise.

Politics are occasionally involved, of course – there used to be some players who could never be marked worse than a 4 – but the grades seem to matter because they are seen as real: unlike in other countries, the full spectrum, from 1 (very good) to 6 (lacking severely) is regularly applied. You want nuances? Half marks are allowed, too.

But those numbers are only part of the grading process. Equally, if not more prestigious, is a nomination for Kicker's "Elf des Tages" — the XI of the weekend. One big problem for the reporters is to come up with formations that vaguely resemble realistic line-ups in the face of too many outstanding attacking players. German editorial standards are stringent and uncompromising in that respect – you cannot play with two at the back, even if you are Pep Guardiola or Thomas Schaaf.

On Monday, however, the colleagues at Kicker got it badly wrong. There were five Borussia Dortmund players in the line-up. Five. It is a ludicrous number, so wrong that it verges on the offensive. It makes you wonder if stumbling upon it this morning forced Dortmund's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, a quiet, reserved man who shuns the limelight and hates giving interviews, to pick up the phone and demand satisfaction from the men in Nuremberg (where Kicker is based) in the strongest possible terms.

We do not know if he did get involved but he would have been right to: there should have been at least nine Dortmund players in the list. They were that good in the 6-2 win against Hamburger SV.

Granted, the centre-back Neven Subotic had a bit of nightmare and had to be substituted before the referee could send him off. In goal, Roman Weidenfeller lived through one of those uncomfortable evenings that most keepers will have experienced at some stage: hardly anything to save but the two Hamburg goals (Zhi Gin Lam's sensational corner-curler, Heiko Westermann's close-range header) were unstoppable.

Everybody else, however, had a good case for being included in the XI, since Dortmund did not just produce their best performance of the season but, quite possibly, the performance of the whole season. There was a moment in the second half, when one attacking move tore through the dozy Hamburg lines like a school of barracudas, that the Westfalenstadion seemed unable to contain its joy.

A few goals more, you feared, and the whole ground would have burst at the seams, spewing out bits of yellow like a popcorn machine in the cinema. "It's madness what the boys in attack played today, simply amazing," said Jürgen Klopp.

Marco Reus, he added, deserved "to get to heaven" for leaving the ball to Robert Lewandowski before Dortmund's fourth goal.

Going forward, everyone was sensational – special mentions for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (1-0, 3-2) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (2-0) – but Reus was out of this world; a raft of missed chances notwithstanding. His incredibly cool shot through Dennis Diekmeier's legs (5-2) capped off a superlative show from the 24-year-old. "Our transition game was frightening," said Klopp and he was right, in more ways than one.

Dortmund have managed to integrate the new signings so well that they look like having been around for ever. The team's devilishly hard to learn – and even harder to stop – collective pressing and switching already works much better than anyone could have anticipated at this stage.

Five wins out of five have made this Borussia's best start to the league – 32 shots on goal equalled their own record versus Bremen this season. Aubameyang's superhuman pace – Bild counted 51 high-tempo sprints and clocked a maximum speed of 35.1 kilometres an hour – has turbo-charged the whole attack.

Wednesday's Champions League game at Napoli will show if this is shaping up for a customary all-or-nothing season under Klopp or if the team can reach the next evolutionary level and perform consistently in both main competitions for once.

Self-critical appraisals from Weidenfeller – "we lacked focus in some situations, you can't award your opponent too many chances" – and Reus –"it makes you vomit if you lead 2-0 and then concede two goals out of nothing"– certainly suggest a new maturity and Klopp cleverly made use of the opportunity to demand more respect for Mats Hummels – the centre-back had been left out by Jogi Löw in the two recent World Cup qualifiers and subjected to some harsh criticism in the press.

"When mistakes are awarded names, it's not unlikely that a Dortmund player is involved," claimed Klopp, who was careful not too attack Löw too overtly. "We will talk about it in the next few weeks," replied the Germany manager, in a conciliatory mood.

In case you were wondering, only the goalkeeper René Adler was awarded a half-decent (3) grade by Kicker. Lam was marked 4.5, the rest were 5s, 5.5s and downright 6s.

Thorsten Fink's risible tactics – the HSV coach started with three at the back, then changed it to a 4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield, before settling on 4-2-3-1 – were apparently not considered in the marking process. "The system wasn't too blame," insisted Fink. Impossible to say really, as there wasn't one.

Talking points

• While Hamburg could console themselves with the fact that they won't have to play Dortmund again this calendar year, their northern neighbours Werder Bremen had no excuses: they lost 3-0 at home to an Eintracht Frankfurt team that had only done "all right", according to their manager Armin Veh.

Werder's cause was not helped by Franco Di Santo's brainless, head-high challenge on Bastian Oczipka – the former Wigan striker was sent off, Oczipka lost half a litre of blood – but the coach Robin Dutt felt the "motivational condition" had not been right to begin with.

The 48-year-old uses different syntax but the basic gist of his explanations – the players don't want it enough – have begun to echo Schaaf's. Next Saturday the Bundesliga's two increasingly glum northern lights meet in the derby. You would not put it past them both to find a way to lose.

• "Can't hide behind the manager" … "token performance" … "have to get out of our comfort zone" … "lack of emotion" … "14 titles … but that's not the real world"… Yes, it was time for another Matthias Sammer rant on Saturday.

Bayern had won 2-0 against Hannover without too much trouble but the Bayern sporting director saw fit to warn about complacency in the strongest terms. It's what he does.

It's hard to say whether the players still pay attention – "you can't do that too often, the effect wears off," said the president Uli Hoeness, the inventor of anti-cyclical criticism – but history is on Sammer's side.

He fired a similar broadside a year ago, when Bayern were flawless in the league, and who knows? Maybe having an annoying alarm clock that goes off prematurely is not such a bad thing after all. One possibly deliberate side-effect is to unite Pep Guardiola – "this wouldn't be possible in Spain" – and the team in their irritation with the former Germany international.

Hoeness, however, was not amused. "It doesn't give a good impression of FC Bayern – in Dortmund they are killing themselves laughing," he grumbled.

Results: Hertha BSC 0-1 Stuttgart, Werder Bremen 0-3 Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern Munich 2-0 Hannover 96, Mainz 0-1 Schalke, Leverkusen 3-1 Wolfsburg 3-1, Dortmund 6-2 Hamburger SV, Augsburg 2-1 Freiburg, Hoffenheim 2-1 Gladbach, Braunschweig 1-1 Nürnberg.
http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/sep/16/borussia-dortmund-bundesliga-jurgen-klopp
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Fey

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Fey on Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:32 pm

Ohhh dear, Blut I told you Bremen would be in problems after they had those 2 victories gifted by the DFB. And to make it all even worse, the derby with HSV is coming up, who also started shite as usual. Could become an interesting battle.
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Fey

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Fey on Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:04 pm

Scrappy game between two teams void of any talent, nontheless 0-1 Bremnen thanks to a nice backheel from Elia.
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Isco Benny

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Isco Benny on Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:34 pm

You're watching it on teletext aren't you?
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Fey

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Fey on Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:41 pm

I watched your mother once on teletext, the 4 pixels suited her better then her actual face.

Anyway, I watched it in HD and Bremen won in the end with 0-2. HSV made the push but had bad luck with the finishing. I heard they get van Marwijk as coach. It's time to turn it in Holland Sport Verein again!
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messiah

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by messiah on Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:09 pm

bayern looked like barca at their best under pep for a while yestersday
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Kroos

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Kroos on Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:25 am

yeah it was INDEED a very impressive showing of our class, the first real test will be against city

the movement off the ball and the confident passing is really barca like, also to lob the ball, thats are pep/barca trademarks Very Happy
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Rosicky

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Rosicky on Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:32 pm

Ledwandowski to sign a pre contract with Bayern in January. Rolling Eyes
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Kroos

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Kroos on Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:49 am

Rosicky wrote:Ledwandowski to sign a pre contract with Bayern in January. Rolling Eyes
it`s not really a surprise, he probably have already signed, but official he has to deny it


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Fey

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Fey on Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:27 pm

Dortmund lose against Gladbach, silly Hummels anyway, makes Leverkussen-Bayern even more interesting.
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Kroos

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Kroos on Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:46 pm

Bayern and Dortmund losing points, both utterly dominated there games

well it keeps the league tight
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Isco Benny

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Isco Benny on Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:03 pm

Rosicky wrote:Ledwandowski to sign a pre contract with Bayern in January. Rolling Eyes
The main problem with the Bundesliga. No other clubs able to compete with Bayern financially, and instead of selling abroad for big money allow Bayern to strengthen and often for peanuts.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:20 pm

Lewandowski leaves Dortmund for free, his contract is finished next summer. He is one of Europe's best and most sought after strikers and basically had the choice to join any club he liked. And he decided to join Bayern, there is nothing BVB could have done about it. It's a very bad example to get your point across, to say at least.
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Effenberg

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Effenberg on Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:09 pm

Well, that was weird. Dortmund and Bayern completely dominant and both lose points. Still, It's kind of scary to see how overwhelmed Leverkusen (a CL team!) were by Bayern at home. Bayern had 27-5 shots on goal and a crystal clear penalty not given. Should have ended anywhere from 3-1 to 7-1.
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Fey

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Fey on Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:41 pm

Dutch coaches Ale

What a difference it makes for HSV!
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:44 pm

To be fair, anyone would have been an upgrade to that retard Fink, Dutch or not. And Van Bommel's father-in-law is a good, experienced coach who knows the league well.
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Antarion

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Antarion on Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:03 am

After matchday 8 there is no single 0-0 result!
Take about entertainment and the "Hummels" curse

Smile
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:12 pm

Goals, goals, goals

Posted by Uli Hesse

There were 26 minutes left on the clock in the Sunday evening game when Eintracht Frankfurt wing-back Constant Djakpa crossed from the left. No forward was near the goalmouth, yet Freiburg goalkeeper Oliver Baumann tried to intercept the cross with his left foot.

Baumann's attempted clearance didn't get very far. It hit Freiburg's onrushing defender Christian Günter. From Günter's right knee, the ball rebounded into Freiburg's goal. I clenched my fist and quietly said, "Yes!"

Now, it's not as if I'm a fervent Frankfurt fan or passionately dislike Freiburg. And I'm aware of the fact that it was bordering on indecency to celebrate such an ugly, unlucky own goal. But the statto in me couldn't resist. Because the instant the ball hit the back of the net, a historic and highly unlikely streak had been extended.

When Frankfurt took the lead, I looked at a piece of paper that was lying next to me on the table. There were many numbers, letters and dates jotted down in my sometimes hardly legible handwriting. The most important line read: "63/64 -- 6 -- KL-MS."

It may look cryptic, but it's very simple. On the sixth matchday of the 1963-64 season, the Bundesliga's inaugural campaign, Kaiserslautern and Münster played against each other. The reason I didn't put the result down in writing was that all the games listed on my sheet of paper had finished with the same scoreline anyway: 0-0.

For half a century, this October 1963 game between Kaiserslautern and Münster was noteworthy, because never again would it take so long -- six rounds of games -- until a league encounter failed to produce any goals.

How long is six rounds? Long. Even staving off the inevitable scoreless draw for five rounds is pretty rare. In the 50-year history of the Bundesliga, there were only four seasons when the first 0-0 came as late as matchday five.

Normally, one of the first three rounds of games will produce the first scoreless draw. There were even two periods (1969-1972 and 1977-1980) when the first scoreless draw came on the very first day for four years in a row.

You guessed it: This year, there hasn't been a single scoreless draw so far, even though we have already played eight rounds of games -- almost a quarter of the season.

When you now consider that there were only 16 teams in the Bundesliga in 1963-64 -- which means that, round for round, there was one fewer potential 0-0 back then -- you have to say that the old record has not just been broken but pulverised.

So, why hasn't there been a scoreless draw so far? Naturally, luck and chance play a major role. On the very first day, Bremen's 1-0 winner away at Braunschweig came only eight minutes from time, so this match could have easily finished scoreless. And on matchday four, the only goal of the game between Nürnberg and Augsburg was scored in the 84th minute.

But there's also the most obvious explanation of all. We have yet to see a scoreless game simply because people are scoring too many goals. The first eight matchdays have produced 238 of them, for an average of 3.31 goals per game.

Those of you who are familiar with my traditional end-of-season column, which looks at the goals-per-game averages in Germany, England, Spain, Italy and France, will be aware that 3.31 is a massive figure. For those of you who don't quite know what to make of the number: In the past 20 years, the highest goals-per-game average in those five big leagues has been 2.98 (racked up by the Bundesliga in 1996-97).

Of course we won't finish the season with an average of 3.31 goals per game. That number has to drop, and it will drop, because even cracking the 3.0 barrier is unheard-of in a big, competitive league in the modern age. It's a noteworthy figure, nonetheless.

In fact, it could easily be even higher. Both Dortmund and Bayern, the two clubs with the most fearsome attacking departments, wasted chances by the truckload on the weekend. Gladbach's coach, Lucien Favre, called it "a miracle" that his team kept a clean sheet against Dortmund, while Bayern's director of football, Matthias Sammer, said that "under normal circumstances" his team would have scored seven goals at Leverkusen instead of just one.

But "chances" is a good cue. Of course, such a goal deluge can have many causes, from penalty-happy referees (there is indeed a debate about an increasing number of penalties for handball) and the presence of whipping boys who concede tons of goals, to simple statistical outliers, meaning deviations from the norm that have to be expected.

Yet it seems we can rule out most of these factors. For instance, the team that has conceded the most goals, Hoffenheim, is also the team that has scored the most. So let's instead look at the chances created. According to the scoring-opportunity charts regularly published by Kicker Magazine, the Bundesliga teams have had a total of 886 opportunities so far. Dortmund created the most (87), Braunschweig the fewest (29).

One year ago, in 2012, the teams had only 785 chances during the first eight rounds of games, according to Kicker. Back then, Bayern had the most (76), Düsseldorf the fewest (19). In 2011, the first eight matchdays produced 746 scoring opportunities.

Football doesn't easily lend itself to numerical analysis and -- who knows? -- maybe the Kicker writers' definition of a chance has become more generous. But it does seem that in the Bundesliga, which has always been the most goal-hungry of the big leagues anyway, attacking is currently very much en vogue.

Of course, Bayern and Dortmund have always moved forward, but even Braunschweig, widely regarded as hopeless relegation fodder, don't put everyone behind the ball, but rather try to play football.

Perhaps Hoffenheim right-back Andreas Beck spoke for the majority of his colleagues last week. After his team had come back from two goals down to draw 3-3 with Schalke, Beck said, "We don't want to change our game to earn a narrow 1-0 win. We prefer this -- pedal to the metal and delivering a real fight."

It makes you look forward to the next matchday, when Hoffenheim play Leverkusen at home. But there is also Bremen vs Freiburg. The last eight games between these teams produced 37 goals. But for me, the crucial encounters are Frankfurt versus Nuremberg and Augsburg vs Wolfsburg. Last season, these two matches both finished 0-0.
http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/bundesliga/id/141?cc=5739
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Xavier

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Xavier on Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:22 am

Way too many goals, which helps explain why our teams have had difficulty in European competitions... too many Bundesliga teams are prioritizing the attack over the defense, a policy which will get you nowhere in KO competitions (particularly where the away goals rule is in effect), something which the German national team still fails to acknowledge.

Plenty of goals is fine when you're at the game and you're drunk and you want to be spoon-fed easily digested excitement... clean sheets are fine if you want to win tournaments.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:28 am

I wouldn't exactly say that Bundesliga teams have 'difficulties in European competitions' these days, but you're right that a lot of teams tend to be too naive at times, even if the league has improved massively on the tactical level in the last few years. We are, we were and always will be a very attacking minded league, the most attacking of all the big leagues, but with the emerge of pressing and counter pressing strategies, some necessary balance was added to the picture, which is particularly important in Europe.

So there has been a massive improvement in this regard, even if it's far from perfect yet indeed. Bayern and Dortmund show the way, it's up to the rest of the league to catch up tactically, which they are actually doing, despite deluge of goals domestically.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:08 am

Schalke are apparently interested in De Bruyne, as a long term replacement for Draxler who will likely leave them next summer.

http://www.spox.com/de/sport/fussball/bundesliga/1310/News/ultimatum-fuer-jermaine-jones-schalke-04-clemens-toennies-kevin-de-bruyne-fc-chelsea.html

Would love to see Werder signing him but it's probably not realistic these days unfortunately.
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Kroos

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Kroos on Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:07 pm

Dortmund and Bayern, both will have an new turnover record

bayern over 400 million
dortmund over 300 million

also bayern sold for the first time 1 million jerseys in one year


thats a list from last year = PROGRESS

1. Real Madrid, mit 1,4 Millionen verkauften Trikots

1. Manchester United, mit 1,4 Millionen verkauften Trikots

3. FC Barcelona, mit 1,15 Millionen verkauften Trikots

4. FC Chelsea, mit 910.000 verkauften Trikots

5. Bayern München, mit 880.000 verkauften Trikots

6. FC Liverpool, mit 810.000 verkauften Trikots

7. FC Arsenal, mit 800.000 verkauften Trikots

8. Juventus Turin, mit 480.000 verkauften Trikots

9. Inter Mailand, mit 425.000 verkauften Trikots

10. AC Mailand, mit 350.000 verkauften Trikots
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Kroos

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Kroos on Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:09 pm

blutgraetsche wrote:Schalke are apparently interested in De Bruyne, as a long term replacement for Draxler who will likely leave them next summer.

http://www.spox.com/de/sport/fussball/bundesliga/1310/News/ultimatum-fuer-jermaine-jones-schalke-04-clemens-toennies-kevin-de-bruyne-fc-chelsea.html

Would love to see Werder signing him but it's probably not realistic these days unfortunately.
silly rumour, but they will have the money when draxler really leaves

good player, would love him back in die BUNDESLIGA
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:15 am

Article on the newest Schalke sensation, 18 year old Max Meyer:

Meyer: So tickt Schalkes Mega-Talent

Manager Heldt und DFB-Coach Sorg sind voll des Lobes über den Super-Youngster. Nur eine Nummer schüchterte Meyer zunächst ein.
http://www.sport1.de/de/fussball/fussball_bundesliga/artikel_789532.html

The Schalke academy's output of class players in recent years has been pretty impressive. Özil, Draxler and now Meyer.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by blutgraetsche on Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:50 am

Very interesting piece by Honigstein on football managers, their work and influence. Highly recommended. Not directly Bundesliga related, but didn't really know where else to put it.


The more football we see, the less we really know?

Posted by Raphael Honigstein

Over the past few days, I have often thought back to a Twitter debate I had with my colleague Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror when Martin Jol took over Fulham in 2011.

"Great coach" -- or something to that extent -- Martin tweeted. I replied that I had once thought the same but had changed my mind once I had heard (indirectly) from a couple of Hamburg players who had worked under him and were far less complimentary. Martin then mentioned Jol's success at Tottenham as a counter-argument. It was a fair point, and he could have mentioned the Dutchman's season at Hamburg, too. In 2008-09, Jol had taken the Bundesliga side to the semi-finals of the UEFA and DFB Cup plus they finished fifth in the league. Hamburg haven't qualified for European competition since.

What's more, Jol had come across really well off the pitch in his previous jobs as well. He was engaging, funny and intelligent. You sensed that the players responded to his genial manner. To conclude, he had everything a great coach needed -- charisma and good results. As I said, I too had been convinced that Jol was one of the best in the business. There was simply no evidence to the contrary, but then a chance meeting with a German agent in the summer of 2010 changed my view.

The agent had no axe to grind with the Dutchman and indeed stressed that both he and a couple of his players at Hamburg had enjoyed working with him. But Jol, he said, had not impressed his players in actual coaching terms. He hadn't made any particular mistakes but also didn't introduced any particular good ideas either. Jol, said the agent, had mostly left the players to their own devices. He didn't believe in minute tactical coaching but was essentially happy to pick a squad, pick a formation and then motivate the side. It's true; one can do a lot worse than that. But to my surprise, this all came down to a rather basic, old-school approach. In other words: nothing special at all.

Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, the authors of Soccernomics, have shown that football managers are to an extent overrated. Jol's Hamburg side was full of very good players like Vincent Kompany, Jerome Boateng, Ivica Olic and Piotr Trochowski -- his Tottenham team wasn't bad either. Perhaps it's only logical that his considerably less-talented Fulham side are struggling. But they shouldn't be struggling this much.

If league results closely correlate to players wages as Soccernomics has shown, the Cottagers should be smack bang in the middle of the Premier League table. (They had the 11th highest wage bill in 2011-12.) In Jol's first season they came ninth, doing slightly better than anticipated. Last year they finished 12th and this season, they're 17th again. Providing their wage bill hasn't gone down significantly, Fulham are much worse than they should be. No wonder that Jol is under pressure.

But I'm not mentioning all of this to show that I was right and that Martin was wrong. My point is a different one: what this example has driven home to me is just how big the disconnect is between media coverage and the actual knowledge of a manager's training ground work. There's never been more football on television or more intelligent debate online, on radio and in print. But closed training sessions in the Premier League, as well as a culture of omerta, have taken us to the point where we have never known less about what's actually going on in the dressing room and in the practice sessions. (Things are slightly more open on the continent, generally speaking.)

Sure, we can judge managers on results, performances, post-match conferences and on their nous in the transfer market but after that, it gets complicated because there's no reliable information.

A handful of managers get their teams to play in an obvious, highly specific style -- think Jose Mourinho's first Chelsea squad, Tony Pulis' Stoke, Marcelo Bielsa's Athletic Bilbao or Pep Guardiola's Barca -- so you can see their hard work on the pitch. Others are good at making clever impact substitutions. But we have little idea what most of them do, because neither they nor the players tell us.

You'll find that only managers with a chip on their shoulder or those who feel insecure will openly talk about their tactics in great detail. The good ones keep quiet -- because they don't want to divulge trade secrets -- and as for the bad and lazy ones, those who don't turn up at the training ground at all from Monday and Thursday, also keep quiet -- to pretend that they're guarding important secrets.

Because there's no real external scrutiny and because many Premier League clubs still don't employ sporting directors who can evaluate a coach's work, football remains an industry in which it's possible to get away with mere pretense. I know of one coach who made a point of never speaking to his Premier League team. He left everything to his subordinates and effectively told the players that they had to coach themselves on the pitch. His pre-match team talks consisted of banalities like "play with intelligence." One foreign player could see that the season was heading for disaster but couldn't bring himself to speak out. He didn't want to be seen as a trouble-maker. The club was duly relegated but when I asked him to go on the record after he'd moved to another club, he declined. The manager was a nice man, he explained. He didn't want to hurt him.

Occasionally players will brief about outrageous dressing room behaviour from managers, but these are very rare cases -- think of Paolo Di Canio at Sunderland -- where the trust between squad and coach has broken down completely. What you don't hear or read about is the much more common, low-level incompetence or dereliction of duty, about a top four manager never bothering video analysis, for example, or another one only buying players from one particular agent he's very close with (yes, that's a euphemism). Players and officials feel it's wrong to talk about these matters and without sources, journalists can't write about them. And even if they do, these pieces are invariably sourced from off-the-record conversations and are thus seen as unconvincing by readers. Their natural instinct is often to suspect bias, both from the writer and/or his informants.

Furthermore, there's an interesting psychology at play. Supporters are happy to debate whether a coach is good or bad but they will refuse to believe point blank that the man entrusted to lead their club might simply do very little. It's like the emperor's new clothes in reverse: many look for intricate patterns and tactical layers in matches that aren't there. Or to put it more precisely: they might be there, but will only have come about by pure accident as a result of the complex interactions between players on both sides -- while the manager had, say, spent his entire team talk banging on about "mentality."

It took a book from Germany captain Philipp Lahm to reveal what many had known but never openly discussed: Rudi Voller, the Germany manager who had taken the team to the World Cup final in 2002 but crashed out in the first round at the Euros two years later, had done almost nothing by way of proper preparation with his squad. He'd pick his best XI, set them up in a shape and then hoped the players would take it from there. No player complained about it until long after he was gone. No journalist wrote about it since everyone liked Voller and appreciated his efforts. He himself probably knew that he wasn't a great manager in a technical sense.

Barring a fundamental change in the rules of media access or the dressing room culture, we -- meaning reporters and supporters alike -- will remain largely in the dark. Football, you sense, wants it that way; it doesn't like the attention before and after the final whistle.

I wish there was an uplifting conclusion to draw from all of this but if anything, it looks as if the gathering of real information will become even more difficult in the future. The best I can do is leave you with a warning. The next time you see a nice, well-spoken manager on TV, ask yourself what you really know about the way he works.
http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/bundesliga/id/159?cc=5739[/quote]
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debaser

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by debaser on Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:18 pm

Interesting piece. I think one of the big mistakes we (and perhaps clubs) make is thinking all managers do the same job. As described there, Jol sounds like a classic motivational manager, who'd need to work alongside quality coaches for the tactical side. I think Martin O'Neill is similar - he was the man-manager and always had the same coaching team with him who did the training ground work, etc. Whereas there are other managers who are clearly more first team coach, who are hands-on with all the training ground work.
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Isco Benny

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by Isco Benny on Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:22 pm

Excellent article indeed. Particularly relevant in light of Joey Bartons recent comments regarding Fergie
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abundance

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

Post by abundance on Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:40 am

that piece reminded me a couple of old adages:

"90% of a coach's job is just about avoiding to ruin things"

and

"there are only two jobs that one can do with no experience or preparation: prostitute and sport journalist"

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Re: Die Bundesliga 2014/15

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