Euro flops

Well, the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 (“Achtelfinale”) is in, and the Bundesliga has got soem egg on their faces.

On the plus side, defending champion Bayern München looked reasonably good as they brushed aside Arsenal in London 2-0. Pretty much means they are going to advance.

Borussia Dortmund was solid for the first half, a bit sloppy in the second. But they too are fine with an easy 4-2 win at Zenit St.Petersburg. Obviously this was the easiest paring, but BVB got the job done and are likely to advance.

Now to the bad news.

Of course, Bayer Leverkusen went down sang -und klanglos 0-4 at home to Paris St.Germain. Pretty disgraceful, but we’re used to the Aspirins sucking in Europe, at least recently.

Then of course yesterday Schalke absolutely got crapped on and beaten up at home by Real Madrid 1-6. We’re used to Luserkusen acting like a limp noodle, but this one takes the cake. All players and management should be whipped for this. Now obviously Real is a better team, but this much better?

The first thought that comes to mind is that the Bundesliga isn’t nearly as strong top-bottom as we’d like to believe, a fact that has been pointed out by various readers. That was my first reaction too, but upon reflection I think it just shows the problem with all the Euro leagues. Each one really has only a couple of top teams, and the rest are largely ho-hum. PSG is clearly the class of France, as Barcelona and Real are in Spain. And with the exception of perhaps the EPL, the gaps between the top and the next is *real* big. So Schalke shows up and gets annihilated by Real. Maybe it’s not such a surprise after all, and you can’t draw much of a conclusion about league strength.

What would be interesting is that instead of worthless international friendlies, perhaps once in a while there could be a “league vs league” match, where all 18 of league play a match against the other 18. 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2 ….18 vs 18. That would settle it all about who’s stronger. Plus it would be a hell lot more interesting than the worthless Euroliga, that nobody cares about. Look at the matches below and say it wouldn’t be more interesting:

     BUNDESLIGA      vs      EPL       or      La Liga

 1  Bayern München          Chelsea           Real Madrid
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	    Arsenal           Barcelona
 3  Borussia Dortmund	    Man City          Atl. madrid
 4  FC Schalke 04	    Liverpool         Bilbao
 5  VfL Wolfsburg	    Tottenham         Villareal
 6  Bor. Mönchengladbach    Man United        Real Sociedad
 7  Hertha BSC Berlin (N)   Everton           Valencia
 8  FC Augsburg	  	    Newcastle         Sevilla
 9  1. FSV Mainz 05	    Southampton       Levante
10  1899 Hoffenheim	    West Ham          Espanyol
11  Hannover 96	  	    Hull              Celta Vigo
12  1. FC Nürnberg	    Swansea           Osasuna
13  Eintracht Frankfurt	    Aston Villa       Granada
14  Werder Bremen	    Norwich           Elche
15  VfB Stuttgart	    Stoke             Getafe
16  Hamburger SV	    Crystal Palace    Almeria
17  SC Freiburg	  	    West Brom         Malaga
18  Eintracht Braunschweig  Sunderland        Valladolid


“Mirko Slomka Fussballgott!!” In German football culture, there often is a player who gets the term “Fussballgott”, which bares little relation to their skill. Usually it’s because at some critical point, they rose to the occasion and got a critical goal, and eventually became a fan favorite. Often they would be eulogized by fans for the rest of their career, which would in general would be passable, but hardly impressive – they would almost never be anywhere near the best player on the squad. Just a decent, reliable squad player, but for that shining moment…

Anyway, Slomka is well on his way to becoming such for Hamburg, albeit as a coach. In his first game in charge as crisis ridden HSV leader, the Hamburgers were unrecognizable, and stepped out and kicked Dortmund’s ass. If HSV survives, he automatically will become a legend. (And should probably immediately resign to not tarnish that legend). I lean towards St.Pauli, so I wouldn’t have been unhappy if HSV hadn’t taken another one in the shorts. But I suppose it is somewhat comforting that there is one club that has always been there, and if they ever go down, they’d have to take down the famed Bundesliga-clock, that counts off how HSV has been in the Bundesliga forever. HSV has a lot of work to do, but if this one match is any indication, Slomka has them turned around already. In the match itself, the horrible HSV defense looked rock solid, the players fought for every ball instead of going through the motions, and the counterattacks were speedy and dangerous. Dortmund probably had more of the play, but in coach Jürgen Klopp’s words “we played crap.”

Schalke and Mainz battled in a tense, but ultimately unsatisfying draw. Mainz packed the defense, but in reality both teams battled furiously in midfield, so not much else was going on. However since the Aspirins and Neons got owned, the Blues manage to sneak closer. Mainz really didn’t help themselves, but it was pretty clear from the outset that they only were looking for a point.

2014 hasn’t been kind to Gladbach, but they were looking to break out of their funk against Hoffenheim. Indeed, with an early two goal lead, things seemed promising. But in fact they looked nervous and confused for most of the match. Hoffenheim actually had most of the play and pushed the hosts back, and eventually were able to square the match late. Overall, a just division of the points, but Gladbach can’t be too happy.

Is Stuttgart the new Hamburg? VfB is sucking wind, and just sets a club-record 7th straight loss, beating their previous futile effort from 18 years ago. Now to some extent, VfB has simply choked when the prize was available, whereas HSV was truly drab. But teh results are the same, and morale must be zero. This time they battled back after falling behind early, only to lose it at the end. An excellent effort for visitors Hertha, still hoping to sneak into Europe. VfB’s loss means their only ahead of HSV on a single goal, so by next week, they could replace them in the relegation spot.

This is the kind of effort that saves the season. Nürnberg was certainly hoping for a win in a critical relagtion battle against Braunschweig, but things didn’t go their way. First, after only 30 minutes, Per Nilsson got his ass tossed. (Nilsson fouled Nielsen…). And then the guests took the lead by in form Kumbela. Down a man, down a goal. Five minutes later, penalty! Kumbela takes it… Rafael Schäfer makes the save! FCN regrouped and blasted out of the half-time and stunned Braunschweig with two quick goals to grab a lead. Braunscwheig got another penalty, and this time…Schäfer saves again! Despite furious Braunschweig assaults (FCN was out shot 22-6 at home!), der Club managed to hold on and get the critical points.

Augsburg showed that they are perhaps the fittest team in the league. Both FCA and host Freiburg are known for all out fight, and in this one the Fuggers showed they had more gas in their tank. Down the final stretch they turned a Breisgau lead into a a Fugger win. Things have never been better for Augsburg, but SCF needs some quick results now, since HSV has apparently woken up.

In the battle of the corporate stooges, Volkswagen spanked Bayer Chemicals in an interesting match that moves the Euro spots ever closer. Leverkusen had a slight edge through most of the match, but although technically superior, they remind you of times of dilettantes that get spanked when it matters (Witness their disgraceful midweek roll over against PSG). Wolfsburg waited patiently for their chances, and then seized them. Overall, they deserve the win. Luserkusen should perhaps consider voluntarily accepting 7th place and not qualifying for Europe, as recently they have been embarrassing German football, with results like 1-7 in Barcelona, 0-5 to Man Utd, 0-4 to PSG…)

Bayern München had an easy time in Hannover, coasting to victory. The champions mixed things up, leaving out a few starters, not that it mattered.

Eintracht Frankfurt dominated against Bremen, but couldn’t get the win, despite havin a man advantage for almost an hour, when Werder’s Felix Kroos (Toni’s little brother) got his ass tossed. Alex Meier hit the post twice, but Frankfurt couldn’t find a way to win.

Total attendance 391,401 (avg 43,489), sell outs in Hannover and Hamburg

FC Schalke 04	      -   1. FSV Mainz 05	0:0 (0:0)   60,952

Bor. Mönchengladbach  -   1899 Hoffenheim	2:2 (2:0)   49,088

                     1:0  Herrmann (4.)
                     2:0  Jantschke (18., Raffael)
                     2:1  Roberto Firmino (57., Volland)
                     2:2  Salihovic (82., penalty, F. Johnson)

VfB Stuttgart	      -   Hertha BSC	        1:2 (1:1)   45,700

                     0:1  Kobiashvili (5., Ramos)
                     1:1  Boka (45.)
                     1:2  Wagner (87., Cigerci)

1. FC Nürnberg	      -   Eintr. Braunschweig	2:1 (0:1)   36,000

                     0:1  Kumbela (34., Theuerkauf)
                     1:1  Kiyotake (46., Drmic)
                     2:1  Pekhart (47., Drmic)

SC Freiburg	      -   FC Augsburg	        2:4 (1:1)   22,000

                     0:1  To. Werner (7., Hahn)
                     1:1  Schmid (17., direct freekick)
                     2:1  Mehmedi (73.)
                     2:2  Verhaegh (78., Esswein)
                     2:3  Halil Altintop (84., Verhaegh)
                     2:4  Hahn (90. + 4)

Hamburger SV	      -   Borussia Dortmund	3:0 (1:0)   57,000 *

                     1:0  Jiracek (42., Lasogga)
                     2:0  Lasogga (58., Arslan)
                     3:0  Calhanoglu (90. + 1, direct free kick)

VfL Wolfsburg	      -   Bayer 04 Leverkusen	3:1 (1:1)   27,721

                     1:0  Dost (13., Perisic)
                     1:1  Sam (45., Hegeler)
                     2:1  Luiz Gustavo (58., Olic)
                     3:1  Rodriguez (73.)

Eintracht Frankfurt   -   Werder Bremen	        0:0 (0:0)   44,300 

Hannover 96	      -   Bayern München	0:4 (0:2)   49,000 * 

                     0:1  T. Müller (25., Rafinha)
                     0:2  Thiago (34., Schweinsteiger)
                     0:3  T. Müller (59., Mandzukic)
                     0:4  Mandzukic (66., Rafinha)

 1  Bayern München (M, P)	22   20  2  0 	  61:9 	 +52 	  62 
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	22   14  1  7 	  39:25  +14 	  43 
 3  Borussia Dortmund	  	22   13  3  6 	  51:27  +24 	  42
 4  FC Schalke 04	  	22   12  5  5 	  41:30  +11 	  41
 5  VfL Wolfsburg	  	22   12  3  7 	  38:26  +12 	  39 
 6  Bor. Mönchengladbach	22   10  5  7 	  39:28  +11 	  35
 7  Hertha BSC Berlin (N)	22   10  4  8 	  34:27  +7 	  34 
 8  FC Augsburg	  	        22   10  4  8 	  34:32  +2 	  34 
 9  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	22   10  4  8 	  31:35  -4 	  34 
10  1899 Hoffenheim	  	22    6  8  8 	  46:46   0 	  26 
11  Hannover 96	  	        22    7  3  12 	  29:41  -12 	  24 
12  1. FC Nürnberg	  	22    4  11 7 	  27:37  -10 	  23 
13  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	22    5  7  10 	  24:38  -14 	  22 
14  Werder Bremen	  	22    5  7  10 	  25:46  -21 	  22 
15  VfB Stuttgart	  	22    5  4  13 	  35:47  -12 	  19
16  Hamburger SV	  	22    5  4  13 	  38:51  -13 	  19
17  SC Freiburg	  	        22    4  6  12 	  22:44  -22 	  18 
18  Eintracht Braunschweig (N)	22    4  3  15 	  16:41  -25 	  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 22

The battle for promotion is really heating up. Köln has a slight hold on 1st, but 2nd is potentially up for grabs. 3rd place may only be a playoff spot, but several teams want to seize it. Paderborn was the surprise hold last week, and they were playing excellent football in München and looked to have a win wrapped up. Instead they choked and 1860 scored twice at the end to salvage a point.

Karlsruhe has come out of no where. They faced off against Sandhausen in a Baden derby, although I’m sure KSC fans would bristle at the thought that SVS could be a rival. Afterall, we’re talking Bundesliga pedigree against country bumpkin villagers. But Sandhausen has proven extremely difficult to play against this season, and this one was no exception. Neverthless Karlsruhe kept up the pressure and were rewarded with a victory that at least momentarily puts a foot back in the Bundesliga.

Union Berlin dominated Frankfurt from start to finish, so the result is logical. FSV really showed nothing, so it’s not clear why they even bothered showing up. Union needed this to keep on track and challenging for promotion. Mission accomplished.

Things are grim in Cottbus. OK, you probably already figured that out, a collapsed, non-competitive industrial town tucked into the extreme southeast corner of the former GDR. But we’re talking about football, and unfortunately Energie is going the way of the town. After 17 years of competing in the top-two flights of German football, it looks like they’re dead and buried.
A critical eastern derby with Aue, and they came out flat. Erzgebirge ran all over them and jumped to an insurmountable lead. Energie came out in the 2nd half like a new team and pulled a couple of goals back, but despite frantic efforts, it wasn’t enough. Another miserable loss and it looks like it’s over.

A solid defensive performance and opportunism on counters gave Ingolstadt a deserved victory at troubled Bielefeld. Arminia isn’t quite in the hole like Cottbus, but the alarm bells should be deafening at The Alm. Ingolstadt however is steering towards calmer waters, after staring the season on the wrong foot and looking like a relegation candidate.

Kaiserslautern was stunned at home by Aalen, whose victory allowed them to get breathing room in the relegation battle. FCK was not in form, and couldn’t punch Aalen’s tight defense. The shocking win allowed Aalen to jump all the way to 10th, as several teams are bunched up.

Bochum and Düsseldorf played a generally boring match. The hosts had a slight advantage, as Fortuna did nothing. But despite controlling most of the game, Bochum could do nothing. Both clubs remain anxiously glancing over their shoulder, but results did go their way.

Dresden needed a win to get closer, and instead were knocked off at home by an engaged St.Pauli. In general, the visitors looked better, and Dynamo was somewhat fortunate to be equal at half. Afterwards, St.Pauli deservedly took the lead and were pretty much in control.

On Monday night, the top clash between Köln and Greuther Fürth looked like a win for the home side. Köln was dominating and had the lead, but wasted many chances to finish off the match. As a result, near the end a Greuther counterattack caught the hosts with their pants down, and they dropped points.

Total attendance 189,596 (avg 21,066)

1. FC Union Berlin    -   FSV Frankfurt	        2:0 (1:0)   17,082

                     1:0  Mattuschka (39., penalty, Terodde)
                     2:0  Schönheim (76., Mattuschka)

Energie Cottbus	      -   Erzgebirge Aue        2:3 (0:3)    9,495

                     0:1  Löning (15., Könnecke)
                     0:2  Löning (18., Könnecke)
                     0:3  Sylvestr (36., Luksik)
                     1:3  Stiepermann (48., Michel)
                     2:3  Stiepermann (72., Michel)

Arminia Bielefeld     -   FC Ingolstadt 04      0:2 (0:0)  12,200

                     0:1  P. Hofmann (51.)
                     0:2  Lappe (83., Quaner)

1860 München	      -   SC Paderborn 07	2:2 (0:2)   13,800

                     0:1  Vrancic (5., Kachunga)
                     0:2  Meha (18., direct freekick)
                     1:2  Bierofka (81., Stoppelkamp)
                     2:2  Osako (86., Stoppelkamp)

Karlsruher SC	      -   SV Sandhausen	        2:1 (0:0)   13,322

                     1:0  Peitz (51., Torres)
                     2:0  Hennings (79., penalty, Torres)
                     2:1  Adler (86., Ulm)

1. FC Kaiserslautern  -   VfR Aalen	        1:2 (0:1)   25,430

                     0:1  B. Hübner (24., Lechleiter)
                     0:2  Pohjanpalo (54., Leandro)
                     1:2  Matmour (68., Lakic)

VfL Bochum	      -   Fortuna Düsseldorf	0:0 (0:0)   23,145

Dynamo Dresden	      -   FC St. Pauli	        1:2 (1:1)   29,622

                     0:1  Kringe (35., Trybull)
                     1:1  M. Hartmann (44.)
                     1:2  Halstenberg (48., direct freekick)

1. FC Köln	      -   SpVgg Greuther Fürth	 1:1 (1:0)  45,500

                     1:0  Wimmer (36., Ujah)
                     1:1  Azemi (86.)

 1  1. FC Köln	  	        22   12  7  3 	  34:12  +22 	  43 
 2  SpVgg Greuther Fürth (A)	22   11  4  7 	  38:26  +12 	  37
 3  Karlsruher SC (N)	  	22    9  9  4 	  30:20  +10 	  36
 4  1. FC Union Berlin	  	22   10  6  6 	  34:27  +7 	  36 
 5  SC Paderborn 07	  	22   10  6  6 	  39:34  +5 	  36 
 6  FC St. Pauli	  	22   10  5  7 	  30:27  +3 	  35 
 7  1. FC Kaiserslautern	22   10  4  8 	  35:24  +11 	  34 
 8  SV Sandhausen	  	22    8  6  8 	  19:20  -1 	  30 
 9  1860 München	  	22    8  6  8 	  21:26  -5 	  30 
10  VfR Aalen	  	        22    7  7  8 	  24:26  -2 	  28
11  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	22    8  4  10 	  23:27  -4 	  28 
12  Erzgebirge Aue	  	22    8  4  10 	  27:34  -7 	  28 
13  Fortuna Düsseldorf (A)	22    7  7  8 	  23:31  -8 	  28
14  FSV Frankfurt	  	22    7  6  9 	  32:34  -2 	  27  
15  VfL Bochum	  	        22    7  6  9 	  20:22  -2 	  27 
16  Dynamo Dresden	  	22    4  10 8 	  23:34  -11 	  22
17  Arminia Bielefeld (N)	22    6  4  12 	  29:44  -15 	  22 
18  Energie Cottbus	  	22    3  5  14 	  25:38  -13 	  14

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 26

The winner this week is probably Leipzig, as they got an away win at Kiel, whereas Darmstadt could only get a point at troubled Chemnitz. This means that the RedBulls/Rasenballsportler have opened up a gap on 2nd place.

However the Leipziger hardly covered themselves with glory in getting the points. It was more like Kiel had no clue and ran around aimlessly. The Rasenballsportler did only the minimum necessary, and only really created two chances – but got two goals. Aside from that, Leipzig was taking it easy The players had probably gone clubbing the night before, and had some generous supplies of Red Bull and Vodka. So they were clearly on the downside of the hangover, but their hosts wer quite gracious in not pushing them at all.

Darmstadt had a rough time at Chemnitz. The relegation threatened home side are desperate, an of course the 98ers need points for promotion. So it started pretty scrappy, with seven (!) yellow cards in the first seven minutes. CFC gave the favored visitors all sorts of problems, and eventually grabbed a lead. SV98 came back as the league leader Domink Stroh-Engel notched another goal (his 19th league), but that was all they could muster. For CFC, they are now equal on points with Kiel, but with an inferior goal difference, they still need to make up ground.

Last place Saarbrücken put up a good fight at leaders Heidenheim, but were eventually overpowered. No surprise there, but if FCS had been playing like that all season, they wouldn’t be in their current predicament. *If* they take this as a moral victory and translate it into a last gasp stretch run, they might have a chance to escape. That’s a tall order, and doesn’t seem too likely, but a couple wins in the next couple of games could do that. FCH on the other hand is just marching to the 2.Liga in a relaxed manner.

Osnabrück got back on track with a domination win over Halle. Whether they can get back in the promotion race seems dubious.
Certainly a touch of nostalgia as you could imagine a Bundesliga oldie Ruhr Derby: Dortmund vs. Duisburg at the Rote Erde! Unfortunately, it is BVB II that now plays at the legendary stadium, as the A squad has long moved to the gigantic Westfalen/Signal-Iduna. And of course the Zebras have collapsed down into the 3rd division.

Nobody was paying attention, but Elversberg got a huge relegation battle win over Burghausen, gaining a tiny bit of breathing space.

VfB Stuttgart II      -   Preußen Münster      0:0 (0:0)     650
Borussia Dortmund II  -   MSV Duisburg	       2:0 (1:0)   4,580
VfL Osnabrück	      -   Hallescher FC	       3:0 (3:0)   7,940
SpVgg Unterhaching    -   Stuttgarter Kickers  2:2 (0:1)   1,700
1. FC Heidenheim      -   1. FC Saarbrücken    2:1 (1:0)   8,300
Chemnitzer FC	      -   SV Darmstadt 98      1:1 (1:0)   4,215
SV Wehen Wiesbaden    -   Rot Weiß Erfurt      1:1 (1:1)   2,597
Holstein Kiel	      -   RB Leipzig	       0:2 (0:1)   4,946
SV Elversberg	      -   Wacker Burghausen    1:0 (0:0)     870

Jahn Regensburg	 -  	Hansa Rostock	       1:1 (0:1)   5,169 	

 1  1. FC Heidenheim	  	26   18  6   2 	  45:15  +30 	  60 
 2  RasenBallsport Leipzig (N)	26   15  4   7 	  40:26  +14 	  49
 3  SV Darmstadt 98	  	26   12  8   6 	  41:23  +18 	  44
 4  Hansa Rostock	  	26   12  6   8 	  33:36  -3 	  40 
 5  VfL Osnabrück	  	26   11  6   9 	  36:28  +8 	  39 
 6  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	26   10  8   8 	  30:32  -2 	  38 
 7  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	26   10  6  10 	  32:30  +2 	  36 
 8  MSV Duisburg (A)	  	26    9  9   8 	  33:33   0 	  36 
 9  Rot Weiß Erfurt	  	26   10  5  11 	  37:31  +6 	  35 
10  Jahn Regensburg (A)	  	26    9  8   9 	  37:35  +2 	  35 
11  Borussia Dortmund II	26   10  4  12 	  36:39  -3 	  34 
12  Hallescher FC	  	26   10  4  12 	  29:33  -4 	  34 
13  VfB Stuttgart II	  	26    9  6  11 	  33:34  -1 	  33 
14  Preußen Münster	  	26    7  11  8 	  36:36   0 	  32 
15  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	26    8  8  10 	  34:44  -10 	  32 
16  SV Elversberg (N)	  	26    9  5  12 	  25:35  -10 	  32 
17  Holstein Kiel (N)	  	26    6  10 10    27:27   0 	  28
18  Chemnitzer FC	  	26    6  10 10 	  25:36  -11 	  28 
19  Wacker Burghausen	  	26    6  6  14 	  26:45  -19 	  24 
20  1. FC Saarbrücken	  	26    5  7  14 	  28:45  -17 	  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

Who’s the smartest?

The German media likes to pick up stories of rather dubious merit, although I suppose thats not a uniquely German trait. One headliner in the respected newspaper “Die Zeit” indicated that “You don’t have to be smart to be a Bayern fan!”. What this was based on of course was some silly non-statistically significant study. A German website,, which looks to be a Linked-in copycat, apparently also hosts Bundesliga discussion groups (OK, that makes it better than linkedin!). And based on some results from this, they announced some “interesting” results. Now of course, a statistician can see the holes big enough to drive a truck through, but there is some amusing content…

First they merely counted the number of fans (presumably you register as such, so it’s biased on that account already). But anyway, here are the most popular teams:

1. FC Bayern München
2. Borussia Dortmund
3. Werder Bremen

OK, no surprise for the top two, and Bremen, well, they are popular (A similar recent poll in sport-bild had Schalke slightly edging Bremen)

But then things get more interesting. The next category was

“Who has the most university student and graduate fans?

1. Eintracht Braunschweig
2. SC Freiburg
3. VfB Stuttgart

What?! Apparently university is overrated. I already knew that, I’m a graduate of UC Berkeley, and I’m pretty dumb.
Now of the above three, all had over 70% of their “Xing” fans with univeristy association. Maybe study makes you lousy at picking winning teams. Anyway, Bayern apparently finished middle of the pack, hence Die Zeit pondering whether you had to be intelligent to be a Bayern fan. (Aside from the statistical nonsense, it does show German intellectual bias towards academic titles, even though their politicians apparently love to cheat on their doctorate theses, hehehe…inside joke for you Germanophiles).

Now of course the list has to have losers. Well they didn’t come out and say it, “who’s the dumbest fans”, but rather,

“Who has the *least* university grads?

16. Hamburger SV
17. Mainz
18. Augsburg

A bit unfair, as even last place Augsburg with 51% is more than half, so those Fuggers are fine. Let’s just say this shows that smart people like the Bundesliga, upon which I’m sure we could all agree…

Then it gets more interesting

“Who’s got the most board members?”

1. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (17.0%)
2. 1. FSV Mainz 05 (12.9%)
3. Eintracht Braunschweig (11.6%)

OK, apparently the only people that cheer for Hoffenheim are the SAP board. And a lot of them probably live close to Mainz, so maybe not too much of a stretch. Now I think that’s way too many board members, so they probably really meant upper management. Braunschweig makes no sense at all, but they’re probably those university graduates that cheated on their exams, so they’re used to lying.

“Who’s got the least board members?”

16. Borussia Dortmund (8.1%)
17. Bayer 04 Leverkusen (7.6%)
18. VfL Wolfsburg (7.2%)

Ah ha!! Now we know something is wrong! OK, as all fellow Schalke fans know, I guess the Neons being unwashed prols is pretty accurate. But clearly something is wrong with Leverkusen and Wolfsburg. These are in fact the only two clubs that are fully owned by corporations, so you’d think the board would be truly behind it. OK, maybe not Leverkusen, since they were really founded in 1904 and it was a clever way to hoodwink the Bayer working class. But Wolfsburg? Cmon, I think their only fans are the VW board, and they only started paying attention in the last 15 years or so.

Whose fans are self-employed?

1. FSV Mainz (12.0%)
2. Hertha BSC (11.0%)
3. Augsburg (10.0%)

Whatever. Just shows that Germans are mostly working stiffs just like the rest of us. I see those Fuggers made another list…

“Whose fans are NOT self-employed”

16. Werder Bremen (6%)
17. Bayer Leverkusen (6%)
18. VfL Wolfsburg (4%)

OK, finally one that makes sense! Obviously, unless you worked for Bayer or Volkswagen, would you even consider rooting for them ??

Then we get to the most important question:

“Where’s the best stadium to get a date?” (aka female fans)

1. FSV Mainz (24%)
2. VfL Wolfsburg (19%)
3. Werder Bremen (18%)

OK, Mainz seems like a pretty good place to visit, and you don’t even have to impress them with a “Herr Doktor” title, since most of them didn’t go to college (or maybe that means you should be a German politician, because perhaps they *would* be impressed.) Volkswagen on the list again. Good grief. Well maybe VW is progressive in their employment policies…

“No date for you!!!” (aka fewest female fans)

1. Braunschweig (10%)
2. Bayern München (9%)
3. Gladbach (9%)

So maybe there is something to the 1860 fan comment “FCB is gay”.

OK, I think this has gone far enough….only could go downhill from here…

Cheers! :)

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