“Kuba” night in Dortmund, as Jokob Blaszczykowski (aka “Kuba”) decided the match early against Nürnberg. The Neons dominated from the start and continue their sharp pot-winterbreak campaign. FCN was totally overwhelmed, and there wasn’t anything to achieve in this one.

Freiburg gave Leverkusen all they could handle, and despite pressure from the Aspirins, an active effort by the Breisgauer secured a point.

Frankfurt continued their fine season with a tough win over sinking Hoffenheim. The guests started brightly, but as the game progressed, Eintracht got the upper hand. They took a deserved lead into the half, but Hoffenheim came out strong after the break and was able to equalize. However Frankfurt was hardly fazed and almost immediately re-grabbed the lead, and the guests were essentially out of gas. The Hoppers now sink to an auto-relegation spot, with little end in site.

Greuther Fürth was completely lame and are mired at the bottom deservedly. Mainz ran circles around them and had little difficulty kicking their ass for a nice road win.

Augsburg on the other hand is showing some fight. After a nice win to restart, the Fuggers battled a rather disappointing Schalke to a draw, and perhaps had the edge most of the match. The Blues showed little in attack (despite 5 in the winterbreak restart), and I’m not convinced that their clean sheet was anything but Augsburg usual attack weakness. FCA almost got the win as Mölders hit the post, but overall a scoreless draw is a fair result.

Hannover managed to edge Wolfsburg in a tense Niedersachsen derby. The 96ers grabbed an early lead and then even managed to extend it despite going down a man (Pocognoli got his ass tossed in his debut). The VWs proceeded to dominate the match but were brought to their knees with a gala performance by 96 GK Ron-Robert Zieler, who has had a ho-hum season so far. But he showed why he had advanced into the national team today. Despite grabbing a goal, Wolfsburg was unable to square and end up losing. I would say undeservedly, but if you play an hour with a man advanatge and don’t win, don’t whine about it.

Gladbach decided the Rheinderby against Düsseldorf and then coasted. Fortuna was lame most of the match, and although they managed to pull back a goal, Gladbach was never really threatened, despite just going through the motions for almost the entire match.

On Sunday, Bayern dominated the match against Stuttgart, and it was pretty clear that VfB would have to play almost perfect to avoid a loss. They managed to hold off the leaders for a half, but then a hospital pass from Molinaro to GK Ulreich was intercepted by Mandzukic, 0-1 and essentially game over. Bayern then toyed with their hosts before kicking them in the nuts with another.

A wild Nordderby between eternal rivals Hamburg and Werder. HSV was ready for the match, and despite Werder jumping out early, the home side asserted control and eventually pushed into the lead. Werder immediately cut it back to one goal, and one would have expected an exiciting remaining 35 minytes to match the earlier back-and-forth action. Instead, it actually started to peter out, and then Bremen went amok with both Fritz and Arnautovic getting tossed in the waning minutes.

Total attendance was 388,234 (avg 43,137), with the Suttgart-Bayern match the only sell out. Still, not too bad, considering the cold weather (and of course higher than any other league anyway)

Borussia Dortmund      -   1. FC Nürnberg	  3:0 (2:0)   80,100

                      1:0  Blaszczykowski (18., penalty, Piszczek)
                      2:0  Blaszczykowski (21., M. Götze)
                      3:0  Lewandowski (88., Reus)

Borussia M'gladbach    -   Fortuna Düsseldorf	  2:1 (2:0)   50,315

                      1:0  Juanan (6., own goal, Wendt)
                      2:0  Herrmann (14., L. de Jong)
                      2:1  Schahin (50., penalty)
Hannover 96	       -   VfL Wolfsburg	  2:1 (2:0)   38,800

                      1:0  Abdellaoue (3., Chahed)
                      2:0  M. Diouf (38., Chahed)
                      2:1  Madlung (46., Polak)

FC Augsburg	       -   FC Schalke 04	  0:0 (0:0)   28,553

SpVgg Greuther Fürth   -   1. FSV Mainz 05	  0:3 (0:0)   14,425

                      0:1  Szalai (53., Ivanschitz)
                      0:2  Malli (65., Szalai)
                      0:3  Szalai (84., Risse)

Eintracht Frankfurt    -   1899 Hoffenheim	  2:1 (1:0)   38,100

                      1:0  Lanig (35., Inui)
                      1:1  Volland (65., Beck)
                      2:1  Aigner (67.)

SC Freiburg	       -   Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  0:0 (0:0)   22,500


Hamburger SV	       -   Werder Bremen	  3:2 (1:1)   55,000

                      0:1  Lukimya (9., Ignjovski)
                      1:1  Son (22., Badelj)
                      2:1  Aogo (46., Son)
                      3:1  Rudnevs (52., Aogo)
                      3:2  Sokratis (54., Gebre Selassie)

VfB Stuttgart	       -   Bayern München	  0:2 (0:0)   60,441 * 	

                      0:1  Mandzukic (50.)
                      0:2  T. Müller (72., Mandzukic)

 1  Bayern München	  	19   15   3   1     48:7   +41 	  48 
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	19   11   4   4     36:23  +13 	  37 
 3  Borussia Dortmund (M, P)	19   10   6   3     43:20  +23 	  36
 4  Eintracht Frankfurt (N)	19   10   3   6     36:31  +5 	  33
 5  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	19    9   3   7     27:21  +6 	  30 
 6  FC Schalke 04	  	19    8   5   6     32:29  +3 	  29
 7  Borussia M'gladbach	  	19    7   8   4     27:27   0 	  29 
 8  SC Freiburg	  	        19    7   7   5     24:18  +6 	  28 
 9  Hamburger SV	  	19    8   4   7     22:24  -2 	  28 
10  Hannover 96	  	        19    8   2   9     38:37  +1 	  26 
11  VfB Stuttgart	  	19    7   4   8     21:32  -11 	  25 
12  Werder Bremen	  	19    6   4   9     30:37  -7 	  22 
13  VfL Wolfsburg	  	19    6   4   9     20:29  -9 	  22 
14  Fortuna Düsseldorf (N)	19    5   6   8     23:27  -4 	  21 
15  1. FC Nürnberg	  	19    5   6   8     18:26  -8 	  21
16  FC Augsburg	  	        19    2   7   10    15:31  -16 	  13
17  1899 Hoffenheim	  	19    3   4   12    24:43  -19 	  13 
18  SpVgg Greuther Fürth (N)	19    1   6   12    11:33  -22 	   9

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

3.Liga, Round 23

Restart in the 3.Liga, and despite the cold, things heated up immediately. The top match featured leaders Osnabrück facing off against streaking Karlsruhe. KSC remains the hottest club, but Osnabrück did themselves no favors, as they quickly fell behind and GK Marcus Rickert got his ass tossed early for a foul outside the box. A contraversial penalty a few minutes later and another goal gave KSC the commanding lead. VfL fans started bombarding the field with snowballs, which led to a 10 minute interruption. To the home side credit, in the 2nd half they tried mightily to get back into the game, and despite coming close, were unable to get a draw.

Bielefeld actually started things off on Friday night, and Arminia reaffirmed their promotion ambition with a solid win over Offenbach. Despite playing the last half hour a man down, the hosts controlled the match against the Kickers, who once again disappointed in league – Offenbach has made it to the Quarterfinals of the Cup, and I guess that’s all they’re worried about.

Preußen Münster remained on track with a tough win in Rostock. Despite going down a man on a questionable call, the Preussen were generally able to run rings around Hansa on the frozen field – they even missed a penalty. Rostock tried hard to pressure in the 2nd half, but were basically running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and a Münster counter near the end delivered the coup-de-grace. A horrible season continues for the frsutrated Hansa fans, but good win for Preussen.

A critical relegation battle in Halle, but the hosts remain 9 straight without a win at home. Good point for Stuttgarter Kickers. Wehen also got a rare win, important points in a relegation tussle with Babelsberg.

Despite the weather, only two matches canceled, attendance was total 53,227 (avg 6,653), not too bad.

Arminia Bielefeld    -   Kickers Offenbach	3:1 (1:1)    7,560
SV Wehen Wiesbaden   -   SV Babelsberg 03	1:0 (1:0)    2,217
1. FC Heidenheim     -   SpVgg Unterhaching	2:1 (2:0)    7,500
Hallescher FC	     -   Stuttgarter Kickers	1:1 (1:1)    5,211  
VfL Osnabrück	     -   Karlsruher SC	        2:3 (0:2)   11,200
Alemannia Aachen     -   1. FC Saarbrücken      2:0 (1:0)    8,389
Wacker Burghausen    -   Borussia Dortmund II	2:2 (1:2)    2,150
Hansa Rostock	     -   Preußen Münster	0:2 (0:1)    9,000
SV Darmstadt 98	     -   Chemnitzer FC	        canceled
VfB Stuttgart II     -   Rot-Weiß Erfurt	canceled

 1  VfL Osnabrück	  	23   14    5   4     38:17  +21    47 
 2  Karlsruher SC (A)	  	23   13    7   3     42:16  +26    46
 3  Preußen Münster	  	23   13    7   3     40:17  +23    46
 4  Arminia Bielefeld	  	22   12    6   4     36:22  +14    42 
 5  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	22   11    6   5     37:28  +9 	   39 
 6  1. FC Heidenheim	  	22   11    4   7     38:32  +6 	   37 
 7  Chemnitzer FC	  	22    8    6   8     32:29  +3 	   30 
 8  Wacker Burghausen	  	22    9    3   10    29:32  -3 	   30 
 9  VfB Stuttgart II	  	21    8    5   8     27:25  +2 	   29 
10  Hansa Rostock (A)	  	22    8    5   9     22:29  -7 	   29 
11  Kickers Offenbach	  	22    7    5   10    31:32  -1 	   26 
12  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	21    4   13   4     27:29  -2 	   25 
13  1. FC Saarbrücken	  	22    7    4   11    28:37  -9 	   25 
14  SV Babelsberg 03	  	21    6    5   10    17:27  -10    23 
15  Alemannia Aachen (A)	21    5    7   9     22:30  -8 	   22 
16  Rot-Weiß Erfurt	  	21    5    7   9     25:37  -12    22 
17  Hallescher FC (N)	  	23    5    7   11    19:33  -14    22
18  Stuttgarter Kickers (N)	22    5    6   11    22:26  -4 	   21 
19  Borussia Dortmund II (N)	22    4    7   11    21:40  -19    19 
20  SV Darmstadt 98	  	21    3    7   11    18:33  -15    16

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

Alemannia Aachen basically relegated due to pending insolvency.

WSV Blog: Runge raus!

Haven’t really said much about Wuppertal recently, since the news almost always sucks. That’s what happens when you are bound at the hip by a crap club like I am…

Another miserable performance and expectations of another worthless winterbreak. But this time, it really happened: Runge ist raus!

Friedhelm Runge has been president of WSV for about 20 years, and has been the patron of the club. While he obviously is no Dietmar Hopp, Runge has invested a lot of his personal fortune into the club (I think he owns some industrial locks company). In fact, a few years ago the club was bankrupt, so he covered the debts from his personal account. You can’t accuse him of not being loyal to the club.

So you would think that the fans would be grateful, but for from it. Runge’s “Reign of Error” has seen WSV basically collapse as a viable contender, and the attendance has plummeted. He seems to have antagonized other potential sponsors – or at least his detractors say. In any case, as the club has continued to sink, he’s come under continued massive criticism, and after threatening over the years, finally decided to step down. Now the club is in chaotic financial state, so we’ll have to see what happens. If the club survives, it will probably be a good thing, at least if it establishes itself as a true fan/member run club again.

The club owes Runge some 2.5 million euros in loans, but the terms require repayment only when the club is in the black. So no crisis there. The new leadership estimates that the club is covered through March 31st, and appears confident that additional funds will allow WSV to avoid bankruptcy.

The whole story illustrates that although German football clubs don’t have individual owners, so you can’t have some wanker buy the club as a personal toy like in the EPL, money still has a way of influencing the club and giving these guys too much power.

As far as winter training is concerned, WSV has been playing “test” matches against a variety of clubs. 1-1 at Elversberg (Regionalliga Sud leader), 0-1 against Stuttgarter Kickers (3.Liga) and a few others. Ho hum…

BUNDESLIGA, Round 18: Restart

The Bundesliga is back! The top flight restarts earlier than the other leagues, since the stadiums usually have good undersoil heating. No real surprises, although Dortmund’s rout of Bremen could perhaps raise some eyebrows. The title is firmly in Bayern’s pocket, but there are lots of interesting races going on.

And things started off with a crazy match in Gelsenkirchen, as Schalke and Hannover forgot how to even spell the word “defense” (Well, to be fair, I suppose “Verteidigung” is a bit more difficult). Jens Keller made his debut as Schalke boss, and he can’t be too happy about his back line, which was known to be suspect as the Blues have fallen off the rails. But he should be encouraged by his attack, especially since Huntelaar was suspended and they still lit it up. After a somewhat normal first half, both clubs looked like they were playing a training match and goals began falling like rain. Interesting that Hannover, which was known as a tight defensive club now has the 2nd worst defense (only Hopp-en-heim is worse). On the other hand, with 36 goals, they’ve got the 3rd offense after Bayern and Dortmund.

Leaders Bayern had no trouble with Greuther Fürth, who basically hunkered down and tried to avoid a massacre. Bayern pressured, but without much urgency, since they knew that they would get the goals sooner or later. Somewhat of a surprise that it was only a double from Mandzukic, who continues to hold down the starter role over Mario Gomez. Obviously the Greithers were going to get nothing from this match, and are probably just happy they didn’t get slaughtered.

Leverkusen put in a good performance, but it wasn’t easy against Frankfurt. The guests missed a good chance to take the lead, but the Aspirins weren’t as wasteful and had the lead. The main thing this game will be remembered for is that the ref stopped the match and sent the players into the lockerroom, as Frankfurt fans fired rockets onto the pitch. Overall, probably a fair result, as although the guests tried hard to fight back, it was actually some good saves by their GK Kevin Trapp that prevented more Bayer goals.

Dortmund looks ready for a strong second half. The Neons were brilliant as they ripped Bremen’s ass. Werder actually didn’t play horribly, and tried pretty hard, but were clearly missing Arnautovic up front. Meanwhile BVB was ruthlessly efficient and seized control from the start. They’re too far behind from Bayern to realistically challenge, but they look to cut the gap significantly. Nuri Sahin came on late to applause from the visiting Dortmunders.

Wolfsburg and Stuttgart didn’t offer much, as they were bottled up in the cold weather. New VW coach Dieter Hecking had to happy though with a decent defensive effort, since the Wolfies usually are more like a sieve. Playmaker Diego was the difference, deciding the match with a long shot and an assist.

Marco Kurz was probably one of the few satisfied customers in the Rhein-Neckar. Hoffenheim had dropped six in a row, so a null sheet is an improvement for the Hoppers new coach. Gladbach showed little, apparently the players wanted a longer vacation.

Mainz and Freiburg are surprises from the first round, but showed little to justify their standings. Both teams did run around a lot, and in the end created some decent chances. Overall Mainz probably felt they should have won, and complained about the ref denying them a late penalty.


A somewhat ho-match in Nürnberg, as coach Michael Wiesinger makes his debut for der Club. HSV was content to let the hosts control the 1st half, and indeed Nürnberg probably should have had the lead, but they blew a couple of good chances. In the 2nd period, Hamburg switched up and seized control, and eventually took the lead. But they quickly fell apart and conceded a quick equalizer. Despite continued pressure down the end stretch, FCN was unable to get the winner, so overall they might be a bit disappointed.

Augsburg got their first away win, but was made to suffer. FCA was in control for the whole match against Düsseldorf. Fortuna was completely lame, and when the guests went up 3-0 with less than 20 minutes, it was all over. But the Fuggers apparently don’t like riches. Instead, Riesinger led a desperate charge for Düsseldorf, scoring twice to make it a wild scramble at the death. In fact, Reisinger scored a third right at the whistle, but the ref called it off for an alleged foul. However, in all fairness, it would have been hard on Augsburg to surrender the victory. This at least gives them some hope of wrestling the relegation playoff spot from Hoffenheim, as it appears direct salvation is too tall an order. Fortuna can only blame themselves for 70+ minutes of sloppy play.

FC Schalke 04	      -   Hannover 96	          5:4 (1:0)   60,811

                     1:0  Farfan (44.)
                     2:0  Draxler (49., Holtby)
                     2:1  da Silva Pinto (55.)
                     2:2  Huszti (59., Chahed)
                     3:2  Höger (64., Holtby)
                     4:2  Marica (67., Neustädter)
                     4:3  Huszti (68., M. Diouf)
                     5:3  Holtby (88., Farfan)
                     5:4  M. Diouf (90. + 2, Eggimann)

Bayern München	      -   SpVgg Greuther Fürth	  2:0 (1:0)   71,000 *

                     1:0  Mandzukic (26., T. Müller)
                     2:0  Mandzukic (61., Kroos)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen   -   Eintracht Frankfurt	  3:1 (2:0)   28,767

                     1:0  Boenisch (31.)
                     2:0  Kießling (33., Castro)
                     3:0  Schürrle (58., Kießling)
                     3:1  Meier (78.)

VfL Wolfsburg	      -   VfB Stuttgart	          2:0 (0:0)   24,125

                     1:0  Diego (51. )
                     2:0  Madlung (67., Diego)

1899 Hoffenheim	      -   Borussia M'gladbach	  0:0 (0:0)   26,750

1. FSV Mainz 05	      -   SC Freiburg	          0:0 (0:0)   28,000

Werder Bremen	      -   Borussia Dortmund	  0:5 (0:2)   42,100 *

                     0:1  Reus (9.)
                     0:2  M. Götze (19., Großkreutz)
                     0:3  Felipe Santana (48., Reus)
                     0:4  Lewandowski (81., Piszczek)
                     0:5  Blaszczykowski (85., Piszczek)


1. FC Nürnberg	      -   Hamburger SV	          1:1 (0:0)   42,601

                     0:1  Rudnevs (70., Aogo)
                     1:1  Pekhart (75., Gebhart)

Fortuna Düsseldorf    -   FC Augsburg             2:3 (0:2)   40,623

                     0:1  Mölders (40., Baier)
                     0:2  Koo (45., Werner)
                     0:3  Mölders (71., Gesäß)
                     1:3  Reisinger (73., Kruse)
                     2:3  Reisinger (90. + 1, O. Fink)

 1  Bayern München	  	18   14   3   1     46:7   +39 	  45 
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	18   11   3   4     36:23  +13 	  36 
 3  Borussia Dortmund (M, P)	18    9   6   3     40:20  +20 	  33
 4  Eintracht Frankfurt (N)	18    9   3   6     34:30  +4 	  30
 5  FC Schalke 04	  	18    8   4   6     32:29  +3 	  28 
 6  SC Freiburg	  	        18    7   6   5     24:18  +6 	  27
 7  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	18    8   3   7     24:21  +3 	  27 
 8  Borussia M'gladbach	  	18    6   8   4     25:26  -1 	  26 
 9  Hamburger SV	  	18    7   4   7     19:22  -3 	  25 
10  VfB Stuttgart	  	18    7   4   7     21:30  -9 	  25 
11  Hannover 96	  	        18    7   2   9     36:36   0 	  23 
12  Werder Bremen	  	18    6   4   8     28:34  -6 	  22 
13  VfL Wolfsburg	  	18    6   4   8     19:27  -8 	  22 
14  Fortuna Düsseldorf (N)	18    5   6   7     22:25  -3 	  21 
15  1. FC Nürnberg	  	18    5   6   7     18:23  -5 	  21
16  1899 Hoffenheim	  	18    3   4  11     23:41  -18 	  13
17  FC Augsburg	  	        18    2   6  10     15:31  -16 	  12 
18  SpVgg Greuther Fürth (N)	18    1   6  11     11:30  -19 	  9

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

Guardiola to Bayern!

In a somewhat surprise move, Pep Guardiola has decided that when he comes out of his sabbatical, he’ll join Bayern München. Certainly the press has been mostly speculating that he’d end up in the EPL or Italy, but that’s because they’re all EPL fan boys. Guardiola apparently has signed on through 2016.

Jupp Heynckes had announced that he was retiring at the end of this season, so Bayern was definitely going to need someone new. But most of the other clubs in the running (with the exception of Ferguson at Man Utd) would have undoubtedly kicked their incumbent in the ass out the door if the Spaniard had indicated he wanted to join.

This is certainly somewhat of a coup for the Bundesliga, since they don’t get the respect they deserve. But perhaps Bayern is closest to Barcelona in philosophy, plus the added advantage that they don’t have a bunch of nut cases running the club. Bayern used to be known as “FC Hollywood” for all the mostly off-field drama, but those prima donnas are now largely gone. It would be nice to think that Guardiola looked at some of the unmatched aspects of the Bundesliga – reasonable admission prices, packed stadiums for *all* teams and the fan’s sense of ownership in the club – all things lacking in England, Spain, France or Italy.

Where ever he ended up, of course there would be immediate pressure, and Bayern is no exception. He’ll be expected to win everything in sight, but Bayern is truly all business, and perhaps less subject to the lunatic fringes that run some of the other contenders. But unlike some of the other clubs, at least at Bayern you can clearly say that all the pieces are in place to accomplish just that.

One good thing at least for Dortmund fans is that there’s now no chance that Jürgen Klopp leaves BVB for München.

Winterbreak tests

All German clubs are in their winter preparation, which for the most part means that they’re in training camps in 4 places. (I actually had the complete list of all Bundesliga squads, but I misplaced it, sorry.) For the most part, the main locations are Turkey, southern Spain, southern Portugal and more recently, Qatar or Emirates. All Bundesliga and 2.Liga clubs take a trip, but in lower divisions, it really depends. Sometimes the smaller clubs just stick around and train indoors.

In general the teams just run a regular training camp, with a lot of friendlies all over the place against various clubs. The results usually get reported in the press, but with little fanfare, unless it’s something extraordinary. The biggest news so far was the crisis for Schalke, as they where bitch-slapped 0-5 by Bayern München. Since this was a totally disgraceful result, it was played up as causing an immediate crisis for Jens Keller, the interim boss of the Blues. As far as I can tell, Bayern seems to be rolling along, beating the crap out of most clubs they’ve faced in “test matches.”

Obviously, clubs are experimenting and testing youngsters, so they don’t have their strongest lineups all the time. But they are tests, and often give a decent indication of the form of the club. One result that caught my eye was that overgrown village club VfR Aalen defeated Turkey’s top club Galatasary 1-0 in a match over on the Turkish coast. I imagine the Turks weren’t taking it too seriously, but it would be hilarious if Wesley Sneijder saw this result and decided not to sign with them. Perhaps he would be better off at some more powerful club, like Energie Cottbus.

Transfer updates

Not many blockbusters, mostly quiet moves of nobodies to/from the B squads. But there have been some interesting events.

Borussia Dortmund has brought home Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid on loan. Apparently this is for the remainder of the season and then a full year loan for next year. Sahin of course was brilliant a couple of seasons ago and then moved to Real for 10 million. That turned out real crap, as he promptly got injured and then never played. He was banished to Liverpool and couldn’t even play there. I’d also argue choosing Turkey over Germany was pretty dumb, but consistent with his decision process. So he limps back to Dortmund, and will face stiff competition from Gündogan, Kehl and Bender. Still, as the youngest ever Bundesliga player (16), he could still get his old form back – and Jürgen Klopp might be just the man to bring that out.

Dortmund also made a move selling disgruntled Ivan Perisic to Wolfsburg for 7.5 million, a good bit of business. Could be a good move for the Croatian as well, since Diego is back in form for the VWs, which should mean lots of scoring opportunities.

Bayern has been largely quiet, although they have signed FSV Mainz defender Jan Kirchoff for *next* season. Germans have apparently never gotten through their thick skulls that their might be conflict of interest. Kirchoff is a highly rated young defender…

Schalke will lose their talented midifielder Lewis Holtby, who is pissing off to England, also next season, but at least the fans can berate him as a traitor now :)
Schalke also gets weaker immediately by having to accept the return from loan of striker Edu from Greuther Fürth, hehehehe…

One of the last holdouts of Stuttgart’s relatively successful Mexican experiment is leaving, as Francisco Rodriguez goes home to Club America for 2 million.

Bayer Leverkusen let popular Renato Augusto return to Brazil (Corinthians) for some 3.5 million, and picked another 230,000 by selling Zvonko Pamic to Dinao Zagreb. They also paid 2.6 million to Poland’s Gornik Zabre for Arkadiusz Milik.

Hannover 96 got Johann Djorou on loan from Arsenal, and paid 800,000 to MSV Duisburg for Andre Hoffmann, not sure if either move will help them now.

The only other interesting trade was Marco Russ leaving Wolfsburg, to Eintracht Frankfurt for 500,000. Russ never panned out at the VWs, who lost some 2.5 million on this Felix Magath inspired move. The winner? Well, Russ came from Frankfurt in the first palce.

Germans abroad ratings

For Germans “abroad”, the ratings seem quite reasonable. Miro Klose has continued to produce for the national team and is one of the best forwards in Serie A. Podolski seems to be getting by on reputation, but still has a decent strike rate internationally, and would have better numbers if Arsenal had better striking options that could tap passes into the net. Khedira had a great Euro2012 and is a fixture at Madrid, and Özil is usually world class one game, then sucks another. But generally he’s pretty good.

Notice that Per Mertesacker has fallen off the planet, although at least he’s recovering somewhat from his disastrous first season at Arse. Huth is basically a thug, so he’s with the right club. Probably rated too high. Kevin Kuranyi needs to move back to the Bundesliga, but I can’t see him moving much higher.

World Class


International Class:


     Miroslav Klose       (Lazio Rom)
     Lukas Podolski       (FC Arsenal)
   Offensive Midfield

     Mesut Özil           (Real Madrid)
   Defensive Midfield

     Sami Khedira         (Real Madrid)

In wider circle:

   Outside defender
      Patrick Ebert       (Real Valladolid)
      Roberto Hilbert     (Besiktas Istanbul)
   Inside defender

      Robert Huth         (Stoke City)


      Kevin Kuranyi       (Dynamo Moscow)

Striker Ratings

Again, like with midfielders, “kicker” editors were smoking something real good evidently when they picked forwards. No real argument with Lewandowski – he’s a pretty hot property that most big clubs in Europe would want to get their hands on. Kiessling is a bit of a stretch, as although he’s been fantastic in the Bundesliga, he doesn’t even merit a spot on the national team. The other guys are also hardly coveted in Europe, let alone around the world. Great to have no doubt, but they need to establish a reputation first. The most interesting is that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has fallen completely off the list due to his crap campaign. (He was certainly a legit “international” last rating)


World Class:

International class:

   1. Robert Lewandowski    (Borussia Dortmund)
   2. Stefan Kießling       (Bayer Leverkusen)
   3. Vedad Ibisevic        (VfB Stuttgart)
   4. Adam Szalai           (FSV Mainz 05)
   5. Mario Mandzukic       (Bayern München)

In wider circle:

   6. Mame Diouf            (Hannover 96)
   7. Max Kruse             (SC Freiburg)
   8. Nils Petersen         (Werder Bremen)

Midfielder Ratings

Whereas the goalkeeper and defender ratings seemed rather conservative, “kicker” choices in midfield seem a bit extravagent. There is no question that Mario Götze is a rising superstar, but it’s premature to put him among the best 2-3 players in the world. He’s been great in the Bundesliga and now in Europe, but at only 20, he hasn’t made an impact in the national squad yet. Having Toni Kroos in the international class seems too high as well, and although Alex Meier is finally getting some deserved recognition, I wouldn’t say he’s international class either.

As far as wingers, Franck Ribery probably is World Class. It’s hard to think of someone better. He’s the top graded player player in the Bundesliga (which is almost always a GK, so that alone is pretty impressive), and he’s a major impact on the French national squad. It might be a bit generous putting the others in international class, but they might be borderline, especially Thomas Müller.

On the defensive side, while Schweinsteiger is a given (at least when he’s not injured), the inclusion of Rode and Schwegler is ridiculous. No one has even heard of these guys, and while they’ve been brilliant with Frankfurt, they’ve got a way to go to establish themselves. On the other hand, Javi Martinez, who might qualify, is marked down – rightly so – due to injury and his late transfer.


World Class

   1. Mario Götze           (Borussia Dortmund)

International Class

   2. Toni Kroos            (Bayern München)
   3. Alexander Meier       (Eintracht Frankfurt)

In  wider circle

   4. Aaron Hunt            (Werder Bremen)
   5. Diego                 (VfL Wolfsburg)
   6. Andreas Ivanschitz    (FSV Mainz)
   7. Kevin de Bruyne       (Werder Bremen)


World Class

   1. Franck Ribery             (Bayern München)

International Class

   2. Thomas Müller             (Bayern München)
   3. Marco Reus                (Borussia Dortmund)
   4. Jakub Blaszczykowski      (Borussia Dortmund)
   5. Gonzalo Castro            (Bayer Leverkusen)
   6. Juan Arango               (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
   7. Szabolcs Huszti           (Hannover 96)

In wider circle

   8. André Schürrle            (Bayer Leverkusen)
   9. Takashi Inui              (Eintracht Frankfurt)
  10. Jefferson Farfan          (Schalke) 
  11. Marko Arnautovic          (Werder Bremen)
  12. Stefan Aigner             (Eintracht Frankfurt)
  13. Julian Draxler            (Schalke 04)


World Class

International class:

   1. Bastian Schweinsteiger     (Bayern München) 
   2. Sebastian Rode             (Eintracht Frankfurt)
   3. Pirmin Schwegler           (Eintracht Frankfurt)

In wider circle:

   4. Ilkay Gündogan             (Borussia Dortmund)
   5. Sebastian Kehl             (Borussia Dortmund)
   6. Stefan Reinartz            (Bayer Leverkusen)
   7. Lars Bender                (Bayer Leverkusen)
   8. Javi Martinez              (Bayern München)
   9. Julian Baumgartlinger      (FSV Mainz 05)
  10. Zlatko Junuzovic           (Werder Bremen)
  11. Simon Rolfes               (Bayer Leverkusen)
  12. Jermaine Jones             (Schalke 04)
  13. Cedrick Makiadi            (SC Freiburg)
  14. Roman Neustädter           (Schalke 04)
  15. Elkin Soto                 (FSV Mainz 05)
  16. Julian Schuster            (SC Freiburg)