Judge to fans: Be quiet!

Not sure about all the details, but apparently some judge in Gelsenkirchen passed a court order to Oberliga Niederrhein club FC Kray. The Essen club was relegated from the Regionalliga last season, but has recovered well and is challenging for promotion, sitting in 2nd place. However the judge apparently was reacting to some complaint and banned all drums, horns and other loud instruments for Kray’s home match with VfL Rhede – and even banned announcements over the loudspeaker. Kray won the match 3-1, but according to those present, it was quiet like a funeral wake in the stands. The club president was justifiably outraged, stating “This is the death of football!”

Again, I’m not sure about what the original complaint was all about, but it seems totally ridiculous. Hopefully this ruling will get overturned soon enough…

WSV Blog: Trainer raus!

The Oberliga Niederrhein isn’t going too well for Wuppertaler SV. Of course, after voluntary administration and forcible relegation from the 4th division Regionalliga West last season, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Basically, a completely new squad had to be put together, and several “security” related issues kept cropping up. (Most of the other clubs have expressed fear of uncontrolled WSV hooligans running rampant, although I don’t believe that there has been a single incident this season. But in any case, away matches are constantly getting postponed and rescheduled).

Overall, the team started mediocre, then started winning, coming close to 1st, but has since started to slide again. WSV was eliminated in the regional Cup, so no qualification for the DFB rounds. This one was perhaps a lack of luck, and then a loss on penalties. But it was followed by embarassing losses like 1-5 at home to SV Hönnepel-Niedermörmter, and this weekend a 1-3 loss to Baumberg.

As a result, coach Peter Radojewski was fired. This was his 3rd time with Wuppertal, always ending in similar circumstances. Of course, it’s not so clear that it’s completely his fault, because the squad is new and has only moderate talent. And according to club leadership, the only goal this season was to start straightening out the finances, and perhaps contend for promotion next season. But the recent lame performances (which include a 1-6 home loss to Rot-Weiss Oberhausen II, *after* actually beating Rot-Weiss Oberhausen I in the Cup) apparently were too much to take for ex-WSV player Achim Weber, now the Sportdirektor.

Maybe I should have held off on the “favorite club” poll…

Attendance up

The DFL, the governing body of the Bundesliga and 2.Liga, has issued some statistics that show that attendance in the top divisions is doing reasonably well. Right now the Bundesliga is averaging about 42,125 fans per match, which is a 1.8% increase over last year’s numbers. However, since most of the Bundesliga stadiums are pretty full every weekend, this increase is largely due to the fact that a small stadium club went down, a bigger one came up. Greuther Fürth and Düsseldorf went down, and Hertha Berlin and Braunschweig came up. Düsseldorf had pretty good numbers, but Hertha has drawn big crowds. And Braunschweig has a small stadium, but it’s bigger than Fürth, and they’ve filled it up too.

The 2.Liga has also seen an increase, currently at 17,497, which is up from last season’s 16,083.

Show me the money

It’s always interesting to see what the players are making, so here’s some interesting data from Bayern München

Below are the annual salaries of the main squad. It comes to around 133 million euros total, but the budget, which includes bonuses etc is well over 200 million.

Not too many surprises, but I would guess that Toni Kroos will be getting a raise, and perhaps Dante, who has been solid for Bayern, although he isn’t a regular starter for Brazil.

Interesting that Gerd Müller, “der Bomber” earned the equivalent of about 300,000 euros when he was playing for Bayern in the 1970s, about half of what Franz Beckenbauer made. Of course there’s been a bit of inflation since then. Overall in Germany, it probably averaged about 3% a year, so the greatest striker in history would be pulling down around a cool 1 million today. That’s a pretty good indication of players getting a better deal…

Anyway, here’s a list of who’s making what

12,000,000 - Franck Ribery
12,000,000 - Mario Götze
10,000,000 - Philipp Lahm
10,000,000 - Bastian Schweinsteiger
 8,000,000 - Thomas Müller
 8,000,000 - Thiago Alcantara
 7,000,000 - Manuel Neuer
 7,000,000 - Arjen Robben
 7,000,000 - David Alaba
 6,000,000 - Javi Martinez
 6,000,000 - Jerome Boateng
 5,000,000 - Daniel van Buyten
 5,000,000 - Mario Mandzukic
 5,000,000 - Rafinha
 4,500,000 - Toni Kroos
 4,500,000 - Claudio Pizarro
 3,500,000 - Dante
 3,500,000 - Holger Badstuber
 2,500,000 - Xherdan Shaqiri
 2,000,000 - Diego Contento
 1,500,000 - Tom Starke
 1,000,000 - Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg
   500,000 - Mitchell Weiser
   500,000 - Julian Green
   500,000 - Lukas Raeder
   200,000 - Alessandro Schöpf


The battle at the top got more interesting. OK, not the very top, since we all know that Bayern has already won that. But Schalke has continued their good for since the return of Huntelaar (and perhaps the dumping of Jones) and is now shaking things up in the Champions League spots a bit.

Of course Bayern was in second gear as they easily romped to a win over hapless Freiburg. Despite an estimated 187 million euros of players on the bench, the Bayern second squad had no issues, except they probably should have doubled the count.

Dortumnd was also on point as they blasted Frankfurt at home. The Neons are looking like they’ve managed to make some adjustments, despite the huge injury list, and are now threatening for the 2nd spot, and perhaps might be able to advance in Europe as well.

Schalke played a strong match in the head-to-head with Leverkusen, and come away with a deserved win. The Blues looked well organized and determined, the Aspirins dicked around too much and are now under severe pressure to hold on to 2nd place.

Of course the other big story is the relegation battle.

All eyes were really on Braunschweig, as everyone is fascinated with Titanticburger SV, err, HSV, troubles. And believe it or not, they got worst. In a hotly contested northern derby, Eintracht Braunschweig gave them the finger and beat them down with a fighting performance. Everyone knows Braunschweig doesn’t have the talent to stay up, but they give 100%. HSV probably has talent for Europe, but they give…50%? Anyway, another gutless outing…Well actually, HSV did show some fight in this one, but not nearly the level of their hosts, and that proved to be their undoing. Dominik Kumbela nailed a hat-trick in front of a sold-out house and sent Hamburg to their club record 7th straight Bundesliga defeat. (Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s a record going back to the Kaiser Wilhelm days). The Hamburg board reacted by fired coach Van Maarwijk immediately afterwards, of course having just “backed” him earlier. It will be very interesting who comes in. In reality, a couple of wins could get them out of the crisis, but they certainly don’t look capable right now. Kudos to Braunschweig for another fighting effort.

Bremen is another famed club in crisis, but they looked a lot better than HSV as they fought Gladbach to a draw. Werder trailed from the start, but didn’t give up and were rewarded with a deserved point through a late goal. Winter signing Ludovic Obraniak scored on a nice free kick. Gladbach had been flying high, but their wings have been clipped and they are now in a battle to hold on to a Euro spot.

In another relegation battle, Hoffenheim bitch-slapped VfB Sutttgart. No one expects much from the Hoppers these days, as the money spigot got turned off a while back, but they’ve played some decent football at times with what they have. Stuttgart is in the same boat with Bremen and Hamburg, expected to do a lot more , but instead sucking. The scoreline pretty much reflects the match, as the hosts did whatever they pleased and Stuttgart looked old and tired.

Nürnberg definitely seems to have awakened from their 2013 paralysis. They’ve won 3/4 since the winterbreak. This time they won a Bavarian derby against in form Augsburg, who had their 8 game unbeaten streak stopped. FCN has had good success in the Fuggerstadt, as they’ve now gone 10 matches without a defeat (not all Bundesliga, but impressive nevertheless). The match itself was played in front of a packed house, and although it had “Derby-stimmung”, it was largely a dour defensive affair. FCN snuck a goal and made it standup, and climb from the relegation zone for the first time in ages.

Wolfsburg was somewhat fortunate to get the win at Berlin. Hertha was at least even, and was clearly the better team going into the half. However the VWs struck with a lucky goal, and that seemed to throw the hosts for a loop. Wolfsburg began to even out the play and eventually grabbed the lead, which Hertha was unable to peg back.

Total attendance this weekend was 374,529 (avg 41,614), with sellouts in München, Bremen, Braunschweig, Leverkusen and Augsburg

1. FSV Mainz 05	       -   Hannover 96	         2:0 (0:0)   26,764

                      1:0  Malli (51., N. Müller)
                      2:0  Choupo-Moting (90. + 3, Zimling)

Borussia Dortmund      -   Eintracht Frankfurt	 4:0 (2:0)   80,100

                      1:0  Aubameyang (10., H. Mkhitaryan)
                      2:0  Aubameyang (21., M. Friedrich)
                      3:0  Lewandowski (47., penalty, Lewandowski)
                      4:0  Jojic (68.Großkreutz)

Bayern München	       -   SC Freiburg	         4:0 (3:0)   71,000 *

                      1:0  Dante (19., Contento)
                      2:0  Shaqiri (34., Pizarro)
                      3:0  Shaqiri (42., T. Kroos)
                      4:0  Pizarro (88.)

Werder Bremen	       -   Bor. Mönchengladbach	 1:1 (0:1)   42,100 *

                      0:1  Raffael (6.)
                      1:1  Obraniak (88., direct freekick)

1899 Hoffenheim	       -   VfB Stuttgart	 4:1 (1:0)   29,847

                      1:0  Schipplock (12., Roberto Firmino)
                      2:0  Volland (49., Salihovic)
                      3:0  Schipplock (66., Roberto Firmino)
                      3:1  Rüdiger (78., Maxim)
                      4:1  Roberto Firmino (90. + 2, penalty, Modeste)

Eintracht Braunschweig -   Hamburger SV	         4:2 (0:1)   23,200 *

                      0:1  Lasogga (23., Jansen)
                      1:1  Kumbela (51.)
                      2:1  Kumbela (61., Boland)
                      2:2  Ilicevic (76.)
                      3:2  Kumbela (85., Bicakcic)
                      4:2  Hochscheidt (90. + 3, Bellarabi)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen    -   FC Schalke 04	 1:2 (0:1)   30,210 *

                      0:1  Goretzka (28.)
                      1:1  Felipe Santana (66., own goal, Castro)
                      1:2  Huntelaar (74., Farfan)

FC Augsburg	       -   1. FC Nürnberg	 0:1 (0:1)   30,660 *

                      0:1  Drmic (65., Hlousek)

Hertha BSC	       -   VfL Wolfsburg	 1:2 (1:0)   40,648

                      1:0  Skjelbred (21., Allagui)
                      1:1  Knoche (58., KRodriguez)
                      1:2  D. Caligiuri (78., de Bruyne)

 1  Bayern München (M, P)	21  19 	2  0 	  57:9 	 +48 	  59 
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	21  14  1  6 	  38:22  +16 	  43 
 3  Borussia Dortmund	  	21  13 	3  5 	  51:24  +27 	  42
 4  FC Schalke 04	  	21  12 	4  5 	  41:30  +11 	  40
 5  VfL Wolfsburg	  	21  11 	3  7 	  35:25  +10 	  36 
 6  Bor. Mönchengladbach	21  10 	4  7 	  37:26  +11 	  34  
 7  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	21  10 	3  8 	  31:35  -4 	  33 
 8  Hertha BSC Berlin (N)	21   9 	4  8 	  32:26  +6 	  31
 9  FC Augsburg	  	        21   9 	4  8 	  30:30   0 	  31 
10  1899 Hoffenheim	  	21   6 	7  8 	  44:44   0 	  25 
11  Hannover 96	  	        21   7 	3  11 	  29:37  -8 	  24 
12  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	21   5 	6  10 	  24:38  -14 	  21 
13  Werder Bremen	  	21   5 	6  10 	  25:46  -21 	  21 
14  1. FC Nürnberg	  	21   3 	11  7 	  25:36  -11 	  20
15  VfB Stuttgart	  	21   5 	4  12 	  34:45  -11 	  19 
16  SC Freiburg	  	        21   4 	6  11 	  20:40  -20 	  18
17  Hamburger SV	  	21   4 	4  13 	  35:51  -16 	  16 
18  Eintracht Braunschweig (N)	21   4 	3  14 	  15:39  -24 	  15

M = Meister, defending Champion 
P = Pokal, defending Cup winner
N = Neuling, newly promoted

1st line: Champions League
2nd line: Europaliga (+ Cup winner)
3rd line: Playoff with 2.Liga 3rd place
4th line: Relegation to 2.Liga

2.Liga, Round 21

The fierce battle for promotion continue, as everybody jockeys for position.

Leaders Köln are in control of the board, as they got a difficult away win at Sandhausen. The Kölners were superior, but they had a hard time with the villagers, and could only come away with a single goal. Nevertheless, since others haven’t decided whether they want to go up or not, it seems like the leaders are safe at the top for at least a while. Greuther Fürth holds onto 2nd, but they had a hard time getting a draw at home against Karlsruhe.

With Kaiserslautern going Monday night, it was a chance for others to make a move. Instead, the Red Devils failed miserably, a;most disgracefully, as they went down against relegation threatened Aue. Union Berlin failed, as they were held to a point at Düsseldorf. St.Pauli also failed miserably, as they even lost at home against Bochum. It was Paderborn that seized the chance to leap into 3rd. They did it with a crushing rout in the Westfalen derby against more storied Bielefeld. It was a strong effort by the homeside (with a rare sellout), but it wasn’t without some help from Arminia. SCP started well and had just taken the lead as their pressure paid off after about half and hour. But a minute later, the game was decisively changed. Arminia’s Schonfeld lost his cool when a ball was kicked at him when he was on the ground. He leapt up and shoved the culprit, and the ref red-carded his ass. What a dunce. From that point on, Paderborn dominated and ran to a historic victory.

The relegation battle remains tight, and although Cottbus finally got an away point after a horrible stretch, they are still dead last and look hopeless. FSV Frankfurt defeated Dresden in a hard fought match, so that keeps Dynamo in a drop spot. Bielefeld’s rout meant that Arminia holds the playoff spot, and Aue did themselves a huge favor as they outplayed a lame Lautern. Ingolstadt played a strong Bavarian derby with 1860 and got some critical points.

Fortuna Düsseldorf     -   1. FC Union Berlin	1:1 (1:0)   30,687

                      1:0  Erat (35.)
                      1:1  Brandy (58., Dausch)

SpVgg Greuther Fürth   -   Karlsruher SC	1:1 (0:1)   11,235

                      0:1  Yabo (19., van der Biezen)
                      1:1  B. Röcker (82., Brosinski)

FC Ingolstadt 04       -   1860 München 	2:0 (1:0)   13,734

                      1:0  P. Hofmann (21., Mo. Hartmann)
                      2:0  Quaner (88., Lappe)

FSV Frankfurt	       -   Dynamo Dresden	3:2 (0:1)    6,229

                      0:1  Grifo (11., direct freekick)
                      1:1  Kapllani (54., Kauko)
                      2:1  Epstein (83., penalty, Kauko)
                      3:1  Huber (86., Leckie)
                      3:2  Schuppan (89., Poté)

FC St. Pauli	       -   VfL Bochum	        0:1 (0:1)   29,063 *

                      0:1  Eyjolfsson (12., Tasaka)

VfR Aalen	       -   Energie Cottbus  	2:2 (1:1)    5,571

                      1:0  Traut (4.)
                      1:1  Möhrle (10., Bohl)
                      2:1  Barth (81., A. Hofmann)
                      2:2  Michel (90. + 3, Fetsch)

SV Sandhausen	       -   1. FC Köln	        0:1 (0:0)    9,800

                      0:1  Helmes (48., Gerhardt)

SC Paderborn 07	       -   Arminia Bielefeld	4:0 (1:0)   15,000 *

                      1:0  Wemmer (33., Bakalorz)
                      2:0  Meha (50., Hünemeier)
                      3:0  Vrancic (57., direct freekick)
                      4:0  Strohdiek (86., Vrancic)

Erzgebirge Aue	       -   1. FC Kaiserslautern	1:0 (1:0)    8,600

                      1:0  Sylvestr (5., Löning)

 1  1. FC Köln	  	        21   12  6  3 	  33:11  +22 	  42 
 2  SpVgg Greuther Fürth (A)	21   11  3  7 	  37:25  +12 	  36
 3  SC Paderborn 07	  	21   10  5  6 	  37:32  +5 	  35 
 4  1. FC Kaiserslautern	21   10  4  7 	  34:22  +12 	  34
 5  Karlsruher SC (N)	  	21    8  9  4 	  28:19  +9 	  33 
 6  1. FC Union Berlin	  	21    9  6  6 	  32:27  +5 	  33 
 7  FC St. Pauli	  	21    9  5  7 	  28:26  +2 	  32 
 8  SV Sandhausen	  	21    8  6  7 	  18:18   0 	  30 
 9  1860 München	  	21    8  5  8 	  19:24  -5 	  29 
10  FSV Frankfurt	  	21    7  6  8 	  32:32   0 	  27 
11  Fortuna Düsseldorf (A)	21    7  6  8 	  23:31  -8 	  27 
12  VfL Bochum	  	        21    7  5  9 	  20:22  -2 	  26 
13  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	21    7  4  10 	  21:27  -6 	  25 
14  VfR Aalen	  	        21    6  7  8 	  22:25  -3 	  25 
15  Erzgebirge Aue	  	21    7  4  10 	  23:32  -8 	  25
16  Arminia Bielefeld (N)	21    6  4  11 	  29:42  -13 	  22
17  Dynamo Dresden	  	21    4  10  7 	  22:32  -10 	  22 
18  Energie Cottbus	  	21    3  5  13 	  23:35  -12 	  14

A = Absteiger just Relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

1st line: Promotion to Bundesliga
2nd line: Playoff with 16th Bundesliga
3rd line: Playoff with no.3 of 3.Liga
4th line: Relegation to 3.Liga

3.Liga, Round 25

The top match was in Rostock, but Heidenheim once again proves to be the class of the league, and their solid defense (Of course, they also have the league’s best offense) pretty much stifled any Hansa attempts to get anything.

RedBull money was once again successful, as Leipzig defeated Wehen in a tight match to maintain hold on 2nd place. Darmstadt had a hard-fought win over Regensburg to stay on their neck and keep 3rd. Since the top 3 all had wins and the three chasers lost, the 98ers have a slight gap now in the battle for promotion chances. Of course 4th place is not without merit, as it is an automatic qualifier for teh main round of the DFB Cup.

Meanwhile, things are still brutal in the relegation zone.

Stuttgarter Kickers has been on a tear. They were in the relegation zone for most of the season. Now after winning 5/6 they’ve clearly straightened things out and their win (despite a man down a whole half) against Osnabrück pretty much sinks the latter’s chances.

I think Saarbrücken is now on their third or fourth coach this season, but the new guy, Fuat Kilic, at least starts with a win. Probably too late, but it’s now or never as FCS has a huge gap to make up. Dortmund II had a solid win over Chemnitz, which gives them some room and plunges CFC into deeper waters.

Preußen Münster won an important relegation battle over Elversberg to give themselves a bit breathing room.

Total attendance 62,572 (avg 6,257)

Borussia Dortmund II  -   Chemnitzer FC	        3:0 (2:0)    2,029
1. FC Saarbrücken     -   SpVgg Unterhaching	1:0 (1:0)    3,323
Stuttgarter Kickers   -   VfL Osnabrück	        1:0 (1:0)    3,450
Hallescher FC	      -   VfB Stuttgart II	3:2 (2:1)    6,366
Preußen Münster	      -   SV Elversberg	        2:1 (1:1)    6,256
Wacker Burghausen     -   Holstein Kiel	        1:0 (0:0)    2,150
MSV Duisburg	      -   Rot Weiß Erfurt	3:2 (1:1)   11,200
SV Darmstadt 98	      -   Jahn Regensburg	2:1 (1:0)    5,600
Hansa Rostock	      -   1. FC Heidenheim	0:1 (0:1)   11,000

RB Leipzig	      -   SV Wehen Wiesbaden	1:0 (1:0)   11,198

 1  1. FC Heidenheim	  	25   17  6  2 	  43:14  +29 	  57 
 3  RasenBallsport Leipzig (N)	25   14  4  7 	  38:26  +12 	  46
 2  SV Darmstadt 98	  	25   12  7  6 	  40:22  +18 	  43
 4  Hansa Rostock	  	25   11  6  8 	  32:35  -3 	  39 
 5  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	25   10  7  8 	  29:31  -2 	  37 
 6  VfL Osnabrück	  	25   10  6  9 	  33:28  +5 	  36 
 7  MSV Duisburg (A)	  	25    9  9  7 	  33:31  +2 	  36 
 8  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	25   10  5  10 	  30:28  +2 	  35 
 9  Rot Weiß Erfurt	  	25   10  4  11 	  36:30  +6 	  34 
10  Jahn Regensburg (A)	  	25    9  7  9 	  36:34  +2 	  34 
11  Hallescher FC	  	25   10  4  11 	  29:30  -1 	  34 
12  VfB Stuttgart II	  	25    9  5  11 	  33:34  -1 	  32 
13  Preußen Münster	  	25    7  10  8 	  36:36   0 	  31 
14  Borussia Dortmund II	25    9  4  12 	  34:39  -5 	  31 
15  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	25    8  7  10 	  32:42  -10 	  31 
16  SV Elversberg (N)	  	25    8  5  12 	  24:35  -11 	  29 
17  Holstein Kiel (N)	  	25    6  10  9 	  27:25  +2 	  28
18  Chemnitzer FC	  	25    6  9  10 	  24:35  -11 	  27 
19  Wacker Burghausen	  	25    6  6  13 	  26:44  -18 	  24 
20  1. FC Saarbrücken	  	25    5  7  13 	  27:43  -16 	  22

A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

1st line: Promotion to 2.Liga
2nd line: Promotion Playoff with 2.Liga 16th place
3rd line: Relegation to Regionalliga

No Magath for you!

Felix Magath pulled a variation of the Soup-Nazi: “NO MAGATH FOR YOU!” (Sorry, a poor American cultural reference) as he denied that he would be taking over Hamburger SV. He basically criticized the board and said they had completely different ideas. And all this during a lecture about chess in the schools. (Among other things, the German-Puertoriqueno is good chess player). And of course he then made good on that statement by taking over FULHAM in the EPL today…more on that below.

First, a little background. After the disastrous 0-3 home loss to Hertha and the fans assaulting players, HSV held an emergency board meeting. Packed with members and the press, it was the major event in the city. It was widely assumed that certain members of the board would resign, coach Bert Van Maarwijk would get axed, and Felix Magth would be brought in to save the sinking ship. However after more than 8 hours of acrimonious debate, no decision was reached and the board agreed to keep Van Maarwijk (who seems a decent enough chap, but certainly hasn’t had success, with an even worse record than his predecessor Torsten Fink, who was sacked not long ago). Many of the members in attendance were outraged and have announced that they will try and recall the board. Meanwhile, Magath was pretty silent at this stage, merely stating that everybody wanted what was best for HSV.

Of course, Magath is a HSV legend. One of the greatest players in HSV history, he also scored the goal that gave them the European Cup (which pretty much assures that he’ll never have to pay for a beer in Hamburg, except maybe in St.Pauli…) and was a key player in the club’s best years ever. Of course on the coaching side, he’s also quite the story. He’s won titles, but what makes him a legend is that he won a Bundesliga title… with Wolfsburg!! His methods are somewhat difficult, and he’s not always a good fit. (Recently Schalke and a second stint at Wolfsburg were disastrous). He is a disciplinarian and likes to shake up the club roster, which often gets him into trouble, as he likes to go on a spending spree and buy all sorts of players that he subsequently discards. But in the right situation, he is golden.

Whether he would have been able to rescue HSV is open for debate. Although he initially sounded positive about “everybody doing everything for the beloved club”, I think he basically realized that *he* probably couldn’t save them from relegation, as his methods would take a bit of time, which HSV doesn’t have. Now maybe someone else can straighten the ship to prevent it from going down, but it won’t be Magath.
(Maybe they can find Udo Lattek, who saved Dortmund in a similar situation, hehehe).

Now back to Fulham. They suck, they’re probably going down. So you have to wonder why Magath would even bother. Perhaps he was having lunch with the clueless owner, who offered a boatload of cash that Magath couldn’t turn down. This makes him the first German to coach an EPL side (Ex-GDR international Uwe Rosler played a long time in England, and was a popular player for ManCity before the money spigot got opened, and has coached a couple of lower division sides). Now in general, the English media seems to think that the only reason the Germans have a left hand is to hold down spontaneous eruptions of the Hitlergruss and yelling Sieg Heil!. However, by and large, the few German players that have shown up in England have been pretty good and popular. Not sure that Magath’s methods will play over in the EPL, and Fulham’s situation isn’t really any better than HSV, maybe even slightly worse from the table. Player morale seems better, but Magath will certainly change that :) My guess is that money aside, if Fulham goes down, nobody cares, whereas HSV going down is a catastrophe, and Magath doesn’t want to be associated with that.

Actually, the HSV crisis is shaping up to be one of the “feel good” stories this year in the Bundesliga. (Just kidding, I prefer St.Pauli.) However it certainly is the biggest story, having exploded in recent weeks, which is good, since Bayern ruined everythig by already wrapping up the title.

DFB Pokal Viertelfinale

The quarterfinals of the German Cup.

A hard fought battle in Frankfurt, where host eintracht started off fiarly well. however gradually Dortmund began to assert control of the match. Lucky for Frankfurt, the Neons missed a few good opportunities. The 2nd half was pretty much a repeat of teh first, with Dortmund graudually gaining the upper hand. Kehl extended Mkhitaryan’s corner, and Aubameyang snuck in at the far post to head home the winner.

A stunning result in Leverkusen, as 2nd division Kaiserslautern upset the Aspirins. And it wasn’t an undeserved victory, as FCK played hard and created chances, whereas Bayer mostly dicked around aimlessly like they expected their opponents to eventually give it up. When it looked to peter out towards penalties, Kaiserslautern pulled out a win with a late strike.

In a match nobody really cared about, Wolfsburg maintained the upper hand at Hoffenheim and advance. The VWs were just more clever, and never seemed like not getting the win.

Finally, another embarrassing performance by HSV. I don’t see how the board won’t now stump for bringing back hero Felix Magath. (Porbably end up firing themselves too, as the membership is sure to be outraged). And of course to drive the point home with viciousness, it was Bayern München that utterly kicked their ass. If the fans were assaulting the players last match, they’re probably already putting up the ropes with nooses on lampposts across the city now. It was literally a walk in the park for the defending Cup holders. (This stadium was originally know as the “Volksparkstadion”, but unlike the Berkeley version, this People’s Park didn’t even have dog poop to bother the visitors.) Bayern dominated from start to finish, and only because they were lazy that they didn’t score in double digits. This of course was the worst Cup defeat in club history for HSV, and to add insult to injury, captain Rafael van der Vaart had to leave injured.

Eintracht Frankfurt  -   Borussia Dortmund     0:1 (0:0)   51,500 *

                    0:1  Aubameyang (83., Kehl)

Bayer Leverkusen     -   1.FC Kaiserslauterm   0:1 (aet)   25,244

                    0:1  Jenssen (114., Idrissou)

TSG Hoffenheim       -   VfL Wolfsburg         2:3 (1:2)   13,524

                    0:1  Rodriguez (26., penalty, de Bruyne)
                    1:1  Roberto Firmino (39.)
                    1:2  Rodriguez (44., penalty, Rodriguez)
                    1:3  Dost (64., Perisic)
                    2:3  Roberto Firmino (90. + 1, Salihovic)

Hamburger SV         -   Bayern München        0:5 (0:2)   57,000 *

                    0:1  Mandzukic (22., M. Götze)
                    0:2  Dante (26., T. Kroos)
                    0:3  Robben (54.,  T. Kroos)
                    0:4  Mandzukic (74.,  M. Götze)
                    0:5  Mandzukic (76.)

FIFA bullies small German club

SV Wilhelmshaven, currently struggling in the 4th division Regionalliga Nord, has become somewhat of an international celebrity. They’ve been struggling against relegation for several seasons, and indeed would have been dumped last season. Except VfB Lübeck and SC Oberneuland were forcibly relegated due to financial problems. And it’s finances again that raise it’s ugly head, albeit under somewhat different circumstances.

About 5 years ago, SVW was in trouble and tried to strengthen their club. So they signed a free agent from Argentina, Sergio Sagarzazu. He was without a team, but had previously been in the River Plate and Atletico Excurcionistas youth systems. Basically he wasn’t any good, and I’m not sure even if played more than a handful of games for Wilhelmshaven. However the Argie clubs used the FIFA statutes whereby you have to fork over “compensation for youth training”. FIFA agreed, and assessed a compensation fee of 158,000 euros – which basically would have wiped out the Wilhelmshaven budget (which is already in the red). SVW refused to pay and appealed, but of course in this case it’s a FIFA appeals court, and apparently they just turned down the appeal. Wilhelmshaven doesn’t have the money, so FIFA has ruled that they be forcibly relegated. Their only recourse would be to go through the German court system, in which case FIFA could actually try and punish the German DFB.

On the one hand, SVW is barely above water, and there’s a good chance they would go down anyway. But on the other hand, this situation shows what a ridiculous setup this “youth training” is. When a player leaves after fulfilling his contract, he should be free to leave. Especially when his current club isn’t even going to offer a contract, which was the case with Sagarazu.

My feeling is that SVW doesn’t have the money to go through real courts, so they’ll probably just let it lie and accept relegation. The FIFA ruling is just another example of it’s arrogance. Actually, instead of “youth compensation”, perhaps Wilhelmshaven should have sued the Argie clubs for doing a crap job in youth training, since the player was no good.