WSV blog: Fortunate away win

Wuppertal escaped from Wanne-Eickel with a somewhat fortunate win against Schalke’s B squad. The first half seemed to give WSV an edge, as they had more ball possesion, but they really didn’t create any chances. The main opponent seemed to be the terrible condition of the pitch, which had consequences for both sides. Jörn Zimmerman had to be subbed early, as he wrenched his foot on the uneven turf. With WSV controlling the match, it seemed not much would happen, but Schalke created a goal from nothing. A perfect cross from Pascal Schmidt and a header from Alex Langlitz, and the Royal Blues were up 1-0. Schalke now gained the upper hand, and had a couple of promising chances that they blew.

In the 2nd half, WSV came out organized a bit better, and began to press harder. Both sides wasted opportunities, and it was ex-Schalke Marco Quotschalla who squared things with a perfect volley off a cross from Zieba. In the goal celebration, he ran towards the Schalke bench and pointed a finger at his ex-coach Bernard Trares. A somewhat wanker move by Marco, although he denied any intent in a post game interview. Both teams now pressed for the win, but the turf seemed to have more success. Schalke’s Schmidt missed an open net, and in the end, it was Christian Knappmann who decided the match on an assist from Marcel Landers. The Knapper’s 29th of the season, continuing his lead of all Regionalligen. The team and some 250 travelling WSV fans then had a nice party on the train returning to Wuppertal…

FC Schalke 04 II	 - 	Wuppertaler SV 	 	1:2 (1:0)

Attendance: 404 (Mondpalast-Arena, Wanne-Eickel)

1:0 Langlitz (39.) 	  
1:1 Quotschalla (69.) 
1:2 Knappmann (87.) 


Himmelmann - 
Langlitz, Fahrenhorst, Sabah, Weber - 
Volkmer, Muhovic    - 
Ernst, P. Schmidt, Torres - 

Thiele (46., Loheider)
Erwig-Drüppel (83., Ernst)
Trainer: Trares


Klafflsberger - 
van den Bergh    , Schlieter , Flottmann , Herzenbruch - 
Zimmermann, Fleßers , Asaeda, Zieba       - 
Knappmann, Quotschalla    

Landers (41., Zimmermann) 
B. Abelski (64., Asaeda)	
Baltes (77., Zieba)

Trainer: Bruns

DFB Pokal: Dortmund rips Bayern

Dortmund defeat Bayern 5-2 to do the domestic double! This is a huge win for Dortmund, as they’ve beaten their rivals in all three critical matches this season. Overall, this was an exciting game, where Bayern actually had more of the play, but the Neons were much more opportunistic.

Things started out with a disaster for Bayern: after only 3 minutes, Luiz Gustavo made a horrible pass, Kuba picked it up and passed to Kagawa, who had an empty net. bayern reacted well, with some pressing and strong attacks. Only a few minutes later, Gomez was put through, but Weidenfeller made a courageous dive to intervene. He was down injured for quite a while, with speculation that he had broken a rib. However, he continued in the match. Dortmund actually looked a bit confused after the early lead, and was relying more on a stout defense. Bayern then got a deserved equalizer in a similar Weidenfeller vs. Gomez repeat: this time however the keeper got the player instead of the ball and Arjen Robben put home the subsequent penalty. A few minutes later Weidenfeller had to leave the match, and he was replaced by Australian Mitch Langerak. One might have expected Bayern to gain the upper hand, but the opposite happened. Kuba tried to dribble in the penalty area, and Boateng chopped him down; Hummels put home the penalty, and the Neons were back on top. The lethal blow however came in injury time. Kagawa got to a bouncing ball and passed perfectly splitting the defense for Lewandowski to blast home.

Bayern tried to regroup and come out strong in the 2nd half, but didn’t look like they would take advantage of their chances. Instead it was Dortmund, showing some nice passing as Kagawa to Grosskreutz, who played through Schweinsteiger’s legs to Lewandowski, who hammered past Neuer. Bayern was stunned, and Dortmund was sailing along. Some good combination passing gave Lewandowski another chance, but Neuer made a great save. The Müncheners then recovered for a last ditch run. Gomez headed off the bar, then Ribery did somefancy footwork and finished with a nice shot into the corner. But that was as close as they would get. Lewandowski did get  his hat-trick near the end, as Neuer dove on a ball, but then lost it, Piszcek flipped it high to the far post where Lewandowski headed home for the final nail in a historic Dortmund victory.

Borussia Dortmund     -     Bayern München    5:2 (3:1)    74,794

                     1:0  Kagawa (3., Blaszczykowski)
                     1:1  Robben (25., penalty, Gomez)
                     2:1  Hummels (41., penalty, Blaszczykowski)
                     3:1  Lewandowski (45. + 1, Kagawa)
                     4:1  Lewandowski (58., Großkreutz)
                     4:2  Ribery (75.)
                     5:2  Lewandowski (81., Piszczek)

So is this signaling a changing of the guard in German football? I would say “no”. Clearly Dortmund is well on track to become the second force, but they still have a ways to go. Bayern still dominates the league financially, and Dortmund is only recovering from their previous run at the top. (where they also won the Champions League). Dortmund has yet to do anything in Europe, whereas next week Bayern could perhaps “salvage” their season by beating Chelsea in the Champions League final…in München.

Last season Dortmund stormed to the title, and Bayern played poorly. Management reacted by spending big, and things started quite well, as it looked like they would run away with things. But as Dortmund played themselves into (superb) shape, Bayern began to reveal some weakness, at the same time getting stretched in Europe. I would expect Bayern to spend some more to shore up the at times shaky defense, and certainly be one of the favorites again. Dortmund will have to achieve a deep Champions League run (or maybe win it all) in order to gain recognition as Bayern’s equal, while increasing their financial muscle. So I would say they still have quite a way to go, but at least they’re on the right track.

2.Liga playoffs: Slight Edge to Karlsruhe

Jahn Regensburg	    - 	 Karlsruher SC	  1:1 (0:0)    10,724

                   1:0  Alibaz (58., penalty, Binder)
                   1:1  P. Groß (76., Ngwat-Mahop)

Karlrsuher SC is trying to remain in the 2.Liga, and 3.Liga challenger Jahn Regensburg went into the series as a slight underdog.

Karlsruhe has a slight advantage after the 1st leg of the 2.Liga promotion playoffs. Jahn Regensburg had the support of a sold-out stadium, and looked equal to KSC, but will be at a disadvantage in the replay.

After an even but rather boring 1st half, things heated up. Regensburg got lucky as Binder took a dive and was awarded a penalty. This woke up KSC, and they pressed hard for the equalizer. A nice 20 meter blast by Pascal Gross squared the match, and the visitors looked the fresher team until the end, threatening to take all the points.

Both clubs will undoubtedly make adjustments for the replay in Karlsruhe on Monday the 14th…

Bundesliga playoff: advantage to Fortuna

Promotion playoff, 1st leg

Hertha BSC Berlin    -     Fortuna Düsseldorf    1:2 (1:0)    68,041

                    1:0  Hubnik (19., Ben-Hatira)
                    1:1  Bröker (64.)
                    1:2  Ramos (71., own goal, Ilsö)

Fortuna Düsseldorf took a giant step towards a return to the Bundesliga. The 2.Liga 3rd place club defeated Hertha BSC in Berlin, putting themselves in a good position to hold on at home and gain promotion.

Berlin started out trying to dominate the match, but Fortuna began to gain confidence. However, despite gaining some promising opportunities, they wasted them. They were duly punished. A corner from Ben-Hatira, and Hubnik leapt the highest, Berlin up 1-0. Now it was complete Hertha dominance, as Fortuna struggled to get the ball out of their half, and were in danger of being overrun. Berlin pressed, but couldn’t get another goal, Fortuna barely hanging on.

The half-time was definitely put to good use by coach Norbert Meier. Düsseldorf came out aggressive, and although they were still helpless going forward, they neutralized Hertha’s midfield. Then a brilliant piece turned the game. Thomas Bröker, one of Fortuna’s key players all season long, started a slalom run through the Berlin defense, beating 3 players and knocking home. Now Fortuna began to dominate, and and own goal off a free kick gave the visitors the lead. They then fell back and killed off the match, taking a massive win home to take to Düsseldorf. Meier definitely out-foxed Otto Rehagel in this one.

The rematch is next Tuesday in Düsseldorf. The club has already received over 100,000 requests for tickets, so the 51,000 capacity stadium will be packed to the rafters with Fortuna fans, hoping to see a return to the Bundesliga, last seen in Düsseldorf back in 1997. Fortuna had some hard times, falling down to the 4th division, but now they’re almost back. Hertha has their work cut out, as they’ve been weak on the road, but they basically have to win by two goals. Meier definitely out-foxed Otto Rehagel in the opener, so the old-timer will have to work some magic if Berlin is to prevail.

Schalke’s finances improved

Schalke 04 has been heavily in debt, but this season has been good to the Blues. Overall turnover at the clubs was up almost 20%, to 224 million euros. This allowed the club to reduce the debt from 217 million to 185 million euros. Still a large chunk is the stadium costs, still around 59 million at the end of 2011. The plan is to have the stadium completely paid off by 2018. Personnel costs had risen from 83 million to 100 million, largely a result of ex-coach Felix Magath spending like a drunken sailor (which he repeated at Wolfsburg in the winterbreak).

Schalke’s high attendance and Champions League run all last season all contributed to the improvement. This year figures to be fairly decent as well, since they had a great Europa-liga performance and will be playing Champions League again.

Random thoughts

I’ll follow up with some in-depth looks at the top three divisions, but I thought I’d put together some quick impressions of the (essentially) completed season….


This was clearly an impressive year for Dortmund, taking the title in style after a slow start. With impressive attacking football on display, they were clearly the best team. Their victory is probably also good for German football in general, as they are now rising to challenge Bayern, although they still have a way to go financially. Bayern München was in fact quite decent, impressive at times. And of course they can still claim victory by winning the Champions League (and to a lesser extent by defeating Dortmund in the DFB-Cup final). Schalke had a fine season, probably playing to their potential. They’re still lacking some steel to challenge Dortmund and Bayern. But they appear to be on the right path. Gladbach had a wonderful season, but you wonder whether they can repeat next season. Leverkusen and Stuttgart had OK finishes, but looked crap at times.One might have expected them to challenge, but they were nowhere near that level. Werder Bremen has really fallen off and one has to wonder whether they’re on they’re way back to mediocrity.

For the bottom teams, Augsburg was the most impressive, as everybody considered them automatic relegation fodder, but they fought and punched above their weight to stay up. Both Mainz and Freiburg were also candidates, but showed grit and determination. Kaiserslautern was found to be too weak, and Köln was a disaster, despite Likas Podolski’s best efforts. Hertha once again proved their management incompetant, as they fired coach Markus Babbel prematurely and almost got themselves relegated. (Still could happen if they lose against Düsselfdorf. Losing would be good for the game, perhaps the relegation would force some needed changes in Berlin). However, if they save themselves it will be because Köln was such a mess, not because of anything they (or Rehagel) did. Another dishonrable mention goes to Hamburger SV, which should be a power, but had their worst Bundesliga season ever.


Some interesting things happened in the 2.Liga. Eintracht Frankfurt was solid and earned immediate re-promotion to the Bundesliga. No real surprise there. Greuther Fürth has toyed with the idea for years, but always choked. This season they put everything together and deservedly go up. Düsseldorf was the pace setter for much of the season, but then fell off. They could still succeed if they upend Hertha in the playoffs. Fortuna has recovered from years in the wilderness, so this is definitely a positive trend. St.Pauli was strong all season, but lacked that little extra to put themselves over the top. Paderborn had perhaps their best season ever, and was in contention until the final day.

The rest of the news in the 2.Liga was mostly negative. Traditionals like 1860, Bochum and MSV Duisburg largely sucked. Karlsruhe and Aachen totally collapsed and got stuck in relegation. (KSC at least will be favoured to survive the playoff against Regensburg). The ex-GDR clubs were very disappointing. Hansa got relegated, and Cottbus and Aue were nervous until the final day. Aue was clearly punching above their weight last season, so at least their collapse was no surprise. However Energie might have harbored some thoughts of at least challenging, as they’ve gone up a couple of times. Instead they largely sucked. At least Union Berlin was decent, and Dynamo Dresden’s mid-table finish was positive. With Köln and Kaiserslautern coming down, at least a couple of attractive dates are on the schedule for next season, albeit balanced by Sandhausen and Aalen.


The third division turned out to be the most competitive of all. Notice that virtually every team had double-digit drawn matches, and promoted sides had double-digit losses. Sandhausen and Aalen surprised the pundits and gained relegation. Neither team was overly impressive, but they ground out results when they needed. Regensburg withstood a fierce battle to hold onto the promotion playoff spot. Disappointment for traditional sides like Osnabrück, Offenbach and Saarbrücken, who never really got into the race. Bielefeld never got started, but at least recovered from a horrible start to prevent disaster. Oberhausen cointinued their collapse getting relegated for second straight year. Jena was crap and deservedly went down. Normally I don’t care about the “B” sides, but Werder Bremen II reflects the chaos from the Bundesliga side. It’s the first time in some 40 years that they won’t be represented in the 3rd division…However the outlook for the league is quite nice: Aachen, Rostock and potentially Karlsruhe are very attractive draws for next season, Stuttgarter Kickers should create some interest as well. And one of Halle, Kiel or RB Leipzig should be coming up as well, all with decent attendance.


2.Liga, Round 34

Düsseldorf defends the 3rd place and promotion playoff, and Karlsruhe holds onto the relegation playoff spot.

Karlsruher SC	      -    Eintracht Frankfurt	  1:0 (1:0)    26.780

                     1:0  Charalambous (9., Schiek)

Erzgebirge Aue	      -    VfL Bochum	          2:1 (1:0)    12,500

                     1:0  Klingbeil (6.)
                     1:1  le Beau (57., own goal, Federico)
                     2:1  Curri (66., Kocer)

Hansa Rostock	      -    SpVgg Greuther Fürth	  2:2 (0:1)    14,100

                     0:1  Nöthe (35., Pekovic)
                     1:1  Gusche (59., R. Müller)
                     1:2  Sararer (68., Mavraj)
                     2:2  Mintal (90., Holst)

Fortuna Düsseldorf    -    MSV Duisburg	          2:2 (2:2)    51,000

                     0:1  Exslager (8., Brosinski)
                     1:1  O. Fink (18., Bröker)
                     2:1  Lukimya (21., O. Fink)
                     2:2  Gjasula (27.)

1860 München	      -    Alemannia Aachen	  1:2 (1:2)    25,100

                     0:1  Streit (10.)
                     1:1  Aigner (18., Nicu)
                     1:2  Uludag (21., Achenbach)

Energie Cottbus	      -    1. FC Union Berlin	  2:1 (0:0)    20,049

                     1:0  Adlung (59., Kruska)
                     1:1  Ede (61., Pfertzel)
                     2:1  Rangelov (73.)

FC St. Pauli	      -    SC Paderborn 07	  5:0 (2:0)    24,847

                     1:0  Sobiech (30., Funk)
                     2:0  M. Kruse (36., Ebbers)
                     3:0  Bruns (60., Ebbers)
                     4:0  Volz (65.)
                     5:0  Naki (90. + 1, Ebbers)

Eintr. Braunschweig   -    FC Ingolstadt 04	  3:1 (1:1)
FSV Frankfurt	      -    Dynamo Dresden	  1:1 (0:0) 

 1  SpVgg Greuther Fürth	34    20   10 	 4     73:27  +46    70
 2  Eintracht Frankfurt (A)	34    20    8 	 6     76:33  +43    68
 3  Fortuna Düsseldorf	  	34    16   14 	 4     64:35  +29    62
 4  FC St. Pauli (A)	  	34    18    8 	 8     59:34  +25    62
 5  SC Paderborn 07	  	34    17   10 	 7     51:42  +9     61
 6  1860 München	  	34    17    6 	11     62:46  +16    57
 7  1. FC Union Berlin	  	34    14    6 	14     55:58  -3     48
 8  Eintracht Braunschweig (N)	34    10   15 	 9     37:35  +2     45
 9  Dynamo Dresden (N)	  	34    12    9 	13     50:52  -2     45
10  MSV Duisburg	  	34    10    9 	15     42:47  -5     39
11  VfL Bochum	  	        34    10    7 	17     41:55  -14    37
12  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	34     8   13 	13     43:58  -15    37
13  FSV Frankfurt	  	34     7   14 	13     43:59  -16    35
14  Energie Cottbus	  	34     8   11 	15     30:49  -19    35
15  Erzgebirge Aue	  	34     8   11 	15     31:55  -24    35
16  Karlsruher SC	  	34     9    6 	19     34:60  -26    33
17  Alemannia Aachen	  	34     6   13 	15     30:47  -17    31
18  Hansa Rostock (N)	  	34     5   12 	17     34:63  -29    27

A wild first half hour in Düsseldorf, as Fortuna hosted local rival Duisburg for a Rhein-Ruhr derby. Fortuna needed a result to ensure the promotion playoff, and the Zebras had nothing to play for. However, MSV did not roll over, on the contrary they came out swinging. They grabbed an early lead, Fortuna came storming back, then the deciding point of the match perhaps: Zebra Maurice Exslager got his ass tossed in the 23rd minute. With the lead and a man advantage, Düsseldorf could relax. Wrong. MSV countered and equalized, and for the rest of the match remained a dangerous opponent. Fortuna continued to press, as news from Hamburg indicated that St.Pauli was shooting a fish in a barrel. In the end, a deserved draw for both sides, and Fortuna will face Hertha BSC in the Budesliga sweepstakes.

St.Pauli hosted Paderborn in attempt to pass Düsseldorf. Paderborn could leapfrog Fortuna with a win, but the Paulistas needed some help from Duisburg…unless they could blast their way through. St.Pauli dominated from start-to-finish, and kicked Paderborn in the ass. After grabbing the lead, Pauli didn’t let up and continued to attack. SCP tried some feeble efforts to get back in the game, but ended up getting rocked like a punching bag. In the end, a nice win for St.Pauli, a bitter defeat for Paderborn, although they can look back at a fine season.

Karlsruhe defended the relegation playoff spot and with some luck might have saved themselves outright (Cottbus and Aue needed results to stay ahead). It was a nerve-wracking win against Eintracht Frankfurt in front of a sold out Wildparkstadion. KSC grabbed an early goal, but were pushed pack into defense by the superior Frankfurt side, looking to win and perhaps get promoted as champions.

Aue needed a result to ensure their survival, and facing crap Bochum, it certainly started well. However, despite the lead Erzgebirge got more nervous as the match progressed, and Bochum started to take over and attack. Bochum equalized and things were bleak, as another goal for KSC hundreds of miles away would send Aue into the relegation playoff. But Erzgebirge coach Karsten Baumann reacted by bringing on fan favorite Skerkilaid Curri, and the Albanian-German rewarded the trust by scoring the winning goal only 5 minutes later.

Dimitar Rangelov’s freekick gave Cottbus the win over Union, and secured Energie’s palce in the 2.Liga. Cottbus was in a decent position, as long as they didn’t lose they’d probably stay up due to goal difference. Neverthless, in a eastern derby, Energie was quite nervous in the 1st half, and despite better performance after the restart, couldn’t really enjoy things untl Rangelov’s winner.

A decent performance by relegated Rostock against the 2.Liga champions. hansa had nothing to play for, but at least had some pride. Greuther Fürth wanted to win to seal the title, but were met with tough resistance. In the end, Hansa got a deserved draw, and Greuther Fürth took the title anyway, as Frankfurt lost at Karlsruhe.

1860 played crap, Aachen picks up a bittersweet win in saying goodbye to the 2.Liga. The Alemannen needed Frankfurt to equalize in Karlsruhe, which didn’t happen. So despite a decent effort, Aachen is relegated.

WSV blog: easy win

WSV basically kicked Idar-Oberstein’s ass.

Things started right off the bat. Lukas Van den Bergh, getting a chance for a start in place of the ill Thomas Schlieter, put in a perfect cross and the Regionalliga’s leading scorer Christian Knappmann banged home (no. 28). A few minutes later, Knappmann turned provider and his cutting pass sent Marcel Landers down the flank, and Landers found Maciej Zieba, who volleyed into the net. WSV was totally dominating the match, doing whatever they pleased. SCI didn’t even have a shot until over half an hour had passed. Flessers scored off another assist from Knappmann, and Zieba put the final touches on a great 1st half, as dribbled around SCI GK Kornetzky and tapped into the empty net.

In eth second half, WSV slowed down things a bit, although they were still dominating. Idar-Oberstein made it worse on themselves as Gündüz, who had only come on at half, got his ass red carded after 62 minutes. WSV must have thought “what the hell?!” and banged in a couple of more to complete the rout.

Wuppertaler SV   - SC Idar-Oberstein    6:0 (4:0)

Attendance: 750 (Stadion Am Zoo)
1:0 Knappmann (5.) 	  
2:0 Zieba (13.) 	  
3:0 Fleßers (27.) 	 
4:0 Zieba (43.) 	 
5:0 Quotschalla (65.) 	  
6:0 Herzenbruch (87.) 


Semmler - 
van den Bergh    , F. Haas , Flottmann , Herzenbruch     - 
Landers , Fleßers     , Moosmayer    - 
Zieba         - 
Knappmann     , Quotschalla

Baltes (73., Quotschalla)
B. Abelski  (77., Moosmayer)
El Hammouchi (83., van den Bergh)
Trainer: Bruns


Kornetzky - 
Lawnik , Schunck , Maurer , Garlinski - 
K. Schug , M. Lehmann    - 
Cordier , Sawin    - 
Mertinitz , Stumpf

Gündüz  (46., Sawin)
Vetter  (59., M. Lehmann)

Trainer: Hildmann

3.Liga, Round 38

Regensburg holds onto 3rd and promotion playoff…

VfR Aalen	      -    VfL Osnabrück	 0:4 (0:1)     7,180
SV Darmstadt 98	      -    VfB Stuttgart II	 2:2 (2:1)     4,400
Arminia Bielefeld     -    Werder Bremen II	 1:0 (0:0)    13,083
SV Wehen Wiesbaden    -    SV Babelsberg 03	 2:2 (2:2)     3,066
Jahn Regensburg	      -    Carl Zeiss Jena	 1:1 (1:0)     7,625
Rot-Weiß Erfurt	      -    Rot-Weiß Oberhausen	 4:0 (1:0)     6,439
Wacker Burghausen     -    Chemnitzer FC	 3:0 (1:0)     3,160
1. FC Saarbrücken     -    SpVgg Unterhaching	 4:2 (3:1)     3,461
Preußen Münster	      -    Kickers Offenbach	 1:0 (1:0)     4,745
SV Sandhausen	      -    1. FC Heidenheim	 1:2 (1:2)     4,560

 1  SV Sandhausen	  	38    19    9 	10     57:42  +15    66 
 2  VfR Aalen	  	        38    18   10 	10     50:42  +8     64
 3  Jahn Regensburg	  	38    16   13 	9      55:41  +14    61
 4  1. FC Heidenheim	  	38    16   12 	10     48:36  +12    60 
 5  Rot-Weiß Erfurt	  	38    15   14 	9      54:41  +13    59 
 6  Wacker Burghausen	  	38    13   18 	7      55:47  +8     57 
 7  VfL Osnabrück (A)	  	38    14   13 	11     46:35  +11    55 
 8  Kickers Offenbach	  	38    15   10 	13     49:41  +8     55 
 9  Chemnitzer FC (N)	  	38    15   10 	13     47:43  +4     55 
10  1. FC Saarbrücken	  	38    13   15 	10     61:51  +10    54 
11  VfB Stuttgart II	  	38    12   14 	12     44:47  -3     50 
12  Preußen Münster (N)	  	38    12   14 	12     40:44  -4     50 
13  Arminia Bielefeld (A)	38    12   14 	12     51:57  -6     50 
14  SV Darmstadt 98 (N)	  	38    12   13 	13     51:47  +4     49 
15  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	38    12    8 	18     63:59  +4     44 
16  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	38    10   14 	14     40:48  -8     44 
17  SV Babelsberg 03	  	38    11   11 	16     44:59  -15    44
18  Carl Zeiss Jena	  	38     9   12 	17     39:59  -20    39 
19  Rot-Weiß Oberhausen (A)	38     8   14 	16     33:47  -14    38 
20  Werder Bremen II	  	38     4   10 	24     29:70  -41    22

Osnabrück crapped all over Aalen’s promotion party. The Lilacs attacked and the locals were too drunk from their celebration to care. (actually, this was probably good that this happened away, as the Osnabrück fans would have been wondering “Why didn’t we play this way all season.) Elias Kachunga grabbed a hat-trick, and perhaps it’s something VfL builds on for next season.

Regensburg needed a draw, and Jena was already relegated. So what could be the problem? Jahn insisted they wouldn’t play for a draw, but it was hard to tell who (might) be going up, and who is going down. They finally woke up and took the lead, and then came out aggressive in the second half to secure the victory. Instead they got sucker punched, and seemed punch drunk as they withdrew into a shell to hold on.

Bundesliga, Round 34: Final round

Bundesliga final round, and Köln is relegated, Hertha will fight for survival…

1. FC Nürnberg	     -    Bayer Leverkusen	1:4 (0:2)    48,548

                    0:1  Kießling (6., Reinartz)
                    0:2  Kießling (32., Schürrle)
                    1:2  Mak (58., Bunjaku)
                    1:3  Schürrle (77., Reinartz)
                    1:4  Kießling (89., M. Friedrich)

1. FC Köln	     -    Bayern München	1:4 (0:1)    50,000

                    0:1  T. Müller (34., Ribery)
                    0:2  Geromel (52., own goal, Ribery)
                    0:3  Robben (54., Kroos)
                    1:3  Novakovic (63., Podolski)
                    1:4  T. Müller (85., Rafinha)

Werder Bremen	     -    FC Schalke 04	        2:3 (1:1)    42,100

                    0:1  Draxler (30., Huntelaar)
                    1:1  Pizarro (42., penalty, Hunt)
                    1:2  Huntelaar (65., Farfan)
                    1:3  Huntelaar (74., Höger)
                    2:3  Pizarro (82., Hunt)

FC Augsburg	     -    Hamburger SV	        1:0 (1:0)    30.660

                    1:0  Koo (34., Verhaegh)

Borussia Dortmund    -    SC Freiburg	        4:0 (4:0)    80,720

                    1:0  Blaszczykowski (5., Gündogan)
                    2:0  Lewandowski (20., Subotic)
                    3:0  Lewandowski (27., Piszczek)
                    4:0  Blaszczykowski (39., Kagawa)

Hannover 96	     -    1. FC Kaiserslautern	2:1 (1:1)    49,000

                    0:1  De Wit (7., Kirch)
                    1:1  Bugera (38., own goal, Ya Konan)
                    2:1  Ya Konan (71., Stindl)

Hertha BSC	     -    1899 Hoffenheim	3:1 (1:0)    51,837

                    1:0  Ben-Hatira (14.)
                    2:0  Ben-Hatira (78., Ramos)
                    2:1  Compper (85., Braafheid)
                    3:1  Raffael (90. + 2)

VfB Stuttgart	     -    VfL Wolfsburg	        3:2 (0:1)    58,500

                    0:1  Helmes (28., Mandzukic)
                    0:2  Russ (60., Helmes)
                    1:2  Cacau (73., Delpierre)
                    2:2  Maza (77., Sakai)
                    3:2  Traoré (79., Sakai)

1. FSV Mainz 05	     -    Borussia M'gladbach	0:3 (0:1)    34,000

                    0:1  Reus (31., Daems)
                    0:2  Reus (62., Neustädter)
                    0:3  de Camargo (69., Reus)

 1  Borussia Dortmund (M)	34    25    6 	 3     80:25  +55    81 
 2  Bayern München	  	34    23    4 	 7     77:22  +55    73 
 3  FC Schalke 04 (P)	  	34    20    4 	10     74:44  +30    64
 4  Borussia M'gladbach	  	34    17    9 	 8     49:24  +25    60
 5  Bayer Leverkusen	  	34    15    9 	10     52:44  +8     54
 6  VfB Stuttgart	  	34    15    8 	11     63:46  +17    53 
 7  Hannover 96	  	        34    12   12 	10     41:45  -4     48
 8  VfL Wolfsburg	  	34    13    5 	16     47:60  -13    44 
 9  Werder Bremen	  	34    11    9 	14     49:58  -9     42 
10  1. FC Nürnberg	  	34    12    6 	16     38:49  -11    42 
11  1899 Hoffenheim	  	34    10   11 	13     41:47  -6     41 
12  SC Freiburg	  	        34    10   10 	14     45:61  -16    40 
13  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	34     9   12 	13     47:51  -4     39 
14  FC Augsburg (N)	  	34     8   14 	12     36:49  -13    38 
15  Hamburger SV	  	34     8   12 	14     35:57  -22    36
16  Hertha BSC Berlin (N) 	34     7   10 	17     38:64  -26    31
17  1. FC Köln	  	        34     8    6 	20     39:75  -36    30 
18  1. FC Kaiserslautern	34     4   11 	19     24:54  -30    23

All matches were in sold-out stadiums, with the exception of Stuttgart and (surprise!) Berlin…445,365 in attendance, an average of 49,485 per match.

Köln went down in a heap against Bayern München. It as always going to be a tough assignment, but at least until Bayern opened the scoring, it was a pretty even match. Köln made up for lack of talent with effort, and especially Lukas Podolski (playing his last match for Köln) was up and down the field. But after Bayern took the lead, some of the air went out. At the same time, news trickled in that Hertha was winning. This meant that Köln would need a win. Geromel’s own goal sealed their fate, and relegation was reality. For Bayern, it was basically a stroll in the park.

Hertha BSC would only have a chance with a win. Luckily for them, their opponent was Hoffenheim, not exactly the most motivated opponent. Ben-Hatira’s free-kick gave Hertha the early lead, and then the Hopper’s Ryan Babel got his ass red carded just before half. This made things easier for nervous Hertha. Ben-Hatira scored late in the 2nd to calm things down, but Hoffenheim struck back, leaving a few anxious minutes. Now Hertha will have to face the 3rd place 2.Liga team in a home/away playoff for Bundesliga survival.

Champions Dortmund had no trouble with a lame Freiburg squad. SCF had done the heavy work earlier and saved themselves, so they decided to go on vacation earlier. The Neons could have scored a boat-load of goals, but settled for a simple rout. Since it was a party atmosphere, nobody seemed to mind. Dortmund sets a record for most points in a Bundesliga, passing the great Bayern teams of the early seventies (when re-calculated on 3 point scale).

Leverkusen had one of their best performances as they kicked Nürnberg’s ass. Actually the match was pretty even, but FCN dicked around in front of goal, and the Aspirins were deadly. It was an ex-FCN man, Stefan Kiessling who did all the damage. The Alka-Seltzers defend 5th place, which is automatic qualification into the group stages of the Europa-liga.

An exciting match in Bremen saw Schalke take the points. Werder has been in free-fall and blew their last chance for Europe. Schalke’s Huntelaar takes the scoring title, the first Dutch player to do so.

Stuttgart was taking a beating against Wolfsburg, but oldtimer Cacau ignited a stunning 6 minutes when VfB came roaring back and won the match.

Hannover was struggling against last place Kaiserslautern. Didier Ya-Konan then got the winner that sends Hannover back into Europe.

Augsburg capped a wonderful fighting season with a win against disappointing Hamburg. After the match, FCA’s Dutch coach Jos Luhukay resigned. My guess is that he’s figured he’s taken the Fuggers as far as they’re going to go and he doesn’t want to be around if they take a beating next season. Of course, given the great job he has done, he might be looking to move to a bigger club.

Gladbach kicked Mainz ass in a match with nothing on the line. Marco Reus says goodbye with another two goals for MG.