3.Liga, Round 25

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

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

Meanwhile, things are still brutal in the relegation zone.

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

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

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

Total attendance 62,572 (avg 6,257)

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

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


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


A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

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

No Magath for you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

DFB Pokal Viertelfinale

The quarterfinals of the German Cup.

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

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

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

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

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

                    0:1  Aubameyang (83., Kehl)

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

                    0:1  Jenssen (114., Idrissou)

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

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

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

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

FIFA bullies small German club

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

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

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

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

Favorite team?

Here’s one everyone can participate in. What is your German football connection, in terms of clubs? Just reply to this post, could be somewhat interesting. (BTW, it’s OK not to put Bayern on the list)

1. THE TEAM I BLEED FOR
2. I like as long as no.1 isn’t involved

German teams only!!

I was thinking about about “3. Team I hate”, but decided to leave that off. Let’s keep it positive, at least for now :)

For me:

1. WUPPERTALER SV
2. Schalke

2.Liga, Round 20

(Details to follow)

 	
Energie Cottbus	      -   SV Sandhausen	        0:1 (0:0)   10,896

                     0:1  Jovanovic (86., Stiefler)

VfR Aalen	      -   Erzgebirge Aue	2:2 (1:1)    5,521

                     0:1  Könnecke (29., Sylvestr)
                     1:1  Pohjanpalo (33., Klauß)
                     1:2  Sylvestr (58., Könnecke)
                     2:2  Klauß (62., Hainault)

VfL Bochum	      -   FSV Frankfurt	        1:2 (0:0)   12,811

                     0:1  Rukavytsya (52., Leckie)
                     1:1  Aydin (67., Tiffert)
                     1:2  Wooten (70.)

1. FC Kaiserslautern  -   SpVgg Greuther Fürth	2:1 (1:0)   32,966

                     1:0  Jenssen (38.)
                     2:0  Dick (58., Matmour)
                     2:1  Mudrinski (78.)

1. FC Union Berlin    -   Dynamo Dresden	0:0 (0:0)   21,717 *

 	
1. FC Köln	      -   SC Paderborn 07	0:1 (0:0)   48,100

                     0:1  Meha (47., direct free kick)

Karlsruher SC	      -   FC Ingolstadt 04	1:1 (1:1)   14,010

                     1:0  van der Biezen (19., Hennings)
                     1:1  Mo. Hartmann (43., Roger)

Arminia Bielefeld     -   FC St. Pauli	        2:2 (0:1)   23,828

                     0:1  Thy (30., Trybull)
                     0:2  Nöthe (61., Buchtmann)
                     1:2  K. Przybylko (69., Appiah)
                     2:2  K. Przybylko (90. + 2, Appiah)

Monday:	
1860 München	      -   Fortuna Düsseldorf	1:1 (0:0)   20,100

                     1:0  Osako (63., Stoppelkamp)
                     1:1  Halloran (70., Liendl)
 	


 1  1. FC Köln	  	        20   11  6  3 	  32:11  +21 	  39 
 2  SpVgg Greuther Fürth (A)	20   11  2  7 	  36:24  +12 	  35
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  1. FC Kaiserslautern	20   10  4  6 	  34:21  +13 	  34
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  Karlsruher SC (N)	  	20    8  8  4 	  27:18  +9 	  32 
 5  1. FC Union Berlin	  	20    9  5  6 	  31:26  +5 	  32 
 6  FC St. Pauli	  	20    9  5  6 	  28:25  +3 	  32 
 7  SC Paderborn 07	  	20    9  5  6 	  33:32  +1 	  32 
 8  SV Sandhausen	  	20    8  6  6 	  18:17  +1 	  30 
 9  1860 München	  	20    8  5  7 	  19:22  -3 	  29 
10  Fortuna Düsseldorf (A)	20    7  5  8 	  22:30  -8 	  26 
11  FSV Frankfurt	  	20    6  6  8 	  29:30  -1 	  24 
12  VfR Aalen	  	        20    6  6  8 	  20:23  -3 	  24 
13  VfL Bochum	  	        20    6  5  9 	  19:22  -3 	  23 
14  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	20    6  4  10 	  19:27  -8 	  22 
15  Arminia Bielefeld (N)	20    6  4  10 	  29:38  -9 	  22
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  Erzgebirge Aue	  	20    6  4  10 	  23:32  -9 	  22
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  Dynamo Dresden	  	20    4  10  6 	  20:29  -9 	  22 
18  Energie Cottbus	  	20    3  4  13 	  21:33  -12 	  13


A = Absteiger just Relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

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

3.Liga , Round 24

Heidenheim was finally slowed down, by Darmstadt. FCH wanted revenge for one of their two losses (0-1 at Darmstadt) and pressed hard, but in the end had to settle for a draw, a good result for the visitors.

Leipzig got a huge win at Erfurt, allowing them to strengthen their hold on 2nd. For Erfurt, they needed a win here, so this is a major setback. A large crowd was on hand to boost RWE, but in reality, the RedBulls looked the better team.

Rostock had a horrible start, conceding a penalty within seconds at Unterhaching. But somewhat surprisingly, Hansa got their act together and played superior football, getting a crucial away win to keep in the hunt.

Osnabrück’s Andriano Grimaldi nailed a hat-trick against hapless Saarbrücken, and Wehen mananged to squeeze by Burghausen. For the victors, the battle for 3rd remains open. For the losers, the relegation mire just gets deeper. I can’t see any way back for Saarbrücken, and Burghausen is gonig to need some points quick before it gets hopeless.

The other huge result was Kiel’s thumping win over Münster. The Hosteiners (actually the “Storks”) had been sinking and desperately needed a result, which lifted them from the relegation zone. Their spot was taken by Chemnitz, who were unable to achieve anything against Duisburg. The 3rd relegation spot is a dogfight…

Sunday was the Stuttgart mini-derby, and the Kickers continued their improved play, getting the win.

Total attendance was 49,281 (avg 4,928)

Chemnitzer FC	    -  	 MSV Duisburg	        0:0 (0:0)    4,146
SV Elversberg	    -  	 Hallescher FC	        2:2 (1:1)    1,236
VfL Osnabrück	    -  	 1. FC Saarbrücken	4:1 (1:0)    7,095
SpVgg Unterhaching  -  	 Hansa Rostock	        1:3 (1:2)    2,450
1. FC Heidenheim    -  	 SV Darmstadt 98	1:1 (1:0)    9,100
Jahn Regensburg	    -  	 Borussia Dortmund II	2:1 (0:1)    3,661
Rot Weiß Erfurt	    -  	 RB Leipzig	        0:2 (0:1)   11,240 
SV Wehen Wiesbaden  -  	 Wacker Burghausen	2:1 (1:0)    1,949
Holstein Kiel	    -  	 Preußen Münster	3:0 (2:0)    4,504
VfB Stuttgart II    -  	 Stuttgarter Kickers	0:1 (0:0)    3,900


 1  1. FC Heidenheim	  	24   16  6  2 	  42:14  +28 	  54 
 2  RasenBallsport Leipzig (N)	24   13  4  7 	  37:26  +11 	  43
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  SV Darmstadt 98	  	24   11  7  6 	  38:21  +17 	  40
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  Hansa Rostock	  	24   11  6  7 	  32:34  -2 	  39 
 5  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	24   10  7  7 	  29:30  -1 	  37 
 6  VfL Osnabrück	  	24   10  6  8 	  33:27  +6 	  36 
 7  Rot Weiß Erfurt	  	24   10  4  10 	  34:27  +7 	  34 
 8  Jahn Regensburg (A)	  	24    9  7  8 	  35:32  +3 	  34 
 9  MSV Duisburg (A)	  	24    8  9  7 	  30:29  +1 	  33 
10  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	24    9  5  10 	  28:28  +1 	  32 
11  VfB Stuttgart II	  	24    9  5  10 	  31:31   0 	  32 
12  Hallescher FC	  	24    9  4  11 	  26:28  -2 	  31 
13  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	24    8  7  9 	  32:41  -9 	  31 
14  SV Elversberg (N)	  	24    8  5  11 	  23:33  -10 	  29 
15  Holstein Kiel (N)	  	24    6  10  8 	  27:24  +3 	  28 
16  Preußen Münster	  	24    6  10  8 	  34:35  -1 	  28 
17  Borussia Dortmund II	24    8  4  12 	  31:39  -8 	  28
--------------------------------------------------------------------
18  Chemnitzer FC	  	24    6  9  9 	  24:32  -8 	  27
19  Wacker Burghausen	  	24    5  6  13 	  25:44  -19 	  21 
20  1. FC Saarbrücken	  	24    4  7  13 	  26:43  -17 	  19

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

BUNDESLIGA, Round 20

(More details after Sunday matches)

Nürnberg was hoping that their recent good form would carry them to an upset over Bayern in a Bavarian derby, and they started out brightly. However things turned into a nightmare quickly, as within 20 minutes starters Chandler and Ginczek had to subbed out and hauled to the hospital with injuries. This lack of concentration allowed Bayern to grab the lead, and despite a good fighting effort by FCN, the champions were just too clever and were not about to let the points disappear.

Dortmund may be back on track, despite their injuries. But it’s somewhat hard to tell, as they faced a stuttering Werder squad. Bremen ran arounda lot, but had no clue on offense. The Neons on the other hand were deadly and they ripped their hosts to shreds.

Gladbach is coming back to earth as they were stopped at home by Leverkusen in a tight match. They ran around a lot, but the visitors made better use of their possesion and ended up with a somewhat deserved victory.

Wolfsburg got back on track as they spanked Mainz. Kevin de Bruyne, the major winter signing to replace Diego looked pretty decent. It wasn’t an easy match, and the sole highlight of the 1st half was when Luiz Gustavo kicked Moritz in head with a Bruce Lee-esque flying leap. The Mainzer was sent to the hospital in blood soaked bandages (and somehow Luiz Gustavo avoided red). The VWs got things going in the 2nd half, including a rare goal by heretofore invisible Bas Dost. Kinda shows how Wolfsburg lost their thread. They used to have as forwards Grafite, Edin Dzeko, Mandzukic and even Helmes. Now they’ve got nobodies like Dost. But at least he did get a goal and the VWs hold a Euro spot. Mainz might as well forget this one…

Hamburg looks like they’re done. Another horrible outing as they got their balls kicked by Hertha at home. A desolate performance that leaves them firmly in a relegation spot. After the match, enraged fans attacked the HSV players, throwing anything they could find. Forward Jacques Zoua was hit in the head with something and had to be carted off to the hospital. Fans blocked the club house and demanded to “speak” to the players. Actually, Captain Rafael van der Vaart and German international Heiko Westermann actually came out and tried to reason. Basically Westermann admitted that “we suck” and I imagine van der Vaart pleaded that he isn’t the same since Sophie dumped him. GK Rene Adler was out there too, but don’t know what he could do, since he even stopped a penalty to prevent things from being even worse. After vandalizing some of the players cars, the fans were dispersed by security. With “fans” like these, certainly the squad doesn’t need enemies. HSV’s sorry-ass performance overshadows a confident Hertha effort, Berlin remaining in challenge for a Euro spot.

Frankfurt was a big winner this weekend, as they thumped Braunschweig in a relegation battle and gave themselves some breathing room. They were pretty much in control from start to finish in this “battle of the Eintrachts”.

Freiburg was largely outplayed at home by Hoffenheim, another relegation battle. Neither side was very good though, and a draw is a fair result.

On Sunday, Augsburg continued their fine season with a stunning away rout at Stuttgart. The Fuggers continue their best season in club history, setting a new Bundesliga record with 9 wins. They were in control for most of the game, and turned things into a rout when VfB’s Vedad Ibisevic got his ass tossed early in the 2nd half. Stuttgart is a disaster, sounds like they need to fire their coach again (which they do on a regular basis. Maybe the problem isn’t their coach, it’s their “talent”, which is considerable on paper.) On the other hand, Augsburg may be short on the techincal skills, but they have great team spirit and fight for every ball.

Schalke continued their good form as they dominated Hannover, pretty much doing whatever they want. The Blues need to be more efficient in front of goal, but this one was never in doubt, as the 96ers couldn’t even mount counterattacks.

Total attendance was 381,899 (avg 42,433) ,sellouts in Gladbach, Bremen, Nürnberg

Bor. Mönchengladbach  -   Bayer 04 Leverkusen	0:1 (0:0)   53,379 *

                     0:1  Son (62., Sam)

VfL Wolfsburg	      -   1. FSV Mainz 05	3:0 (0:0)   23,520

                     1:0  Rodriguez (59., penalty, Dost)
                     2:0  Dost (66., Olic)
                     3:0  Luiz Gustavo (75., Knoche)

Werder Bremen	      -   Borussia Dortmund	1:5 (0:2)   42,100 *

                     0:1  Lewandowski (26., Schmelzer)
                     0:2  H. Mkhitaryan (41., Lewandowski)
                     0:3  M. Friedrich (48., Reus)
                     0:4  H. Mkhitaryan (62., Reus)
                     0:5  Lewandowski (85., Hofmann)
                     1:5  Aycicek (89.)

1. FC Nürnberg	      -   Bayern München	0:2 (0:1)   50,000 *

                     0:1  Mandzukic (18., Alaba)
                     0:2  Lahm (49., Mandzukic)

SC Freiburg	      -   1899 Hoffenheim	1:1 (0:0)   22,300

                     1:0  Schmid (68., Mehmedi)
                     1:1  Modeste (85., Schipplock)

Eintracht Frankfurt   -   Eintr. Braunschweig	3:0 (3:0)   40,500

                     1:0  Flum (7., S. Jung)
                     2:0  Meier (43., Flum)
                     3:0  Aigner (44., S. Jung)

Hamburger SV	      -   Hertha BSC	        0:3 (0:3)   48,593

                     0:1  Allagui (15., Ramos)
                     0:2  Ramos (23., Cigerci)
                     0:3  Ramos (38., J. van den Bergh)

Sunday:
VfB Stuttgart	      -   FC Augsburg	        1:4 (0:2)   40,200

                     0:1  Milik (35., To. Werner)
                     0:2  Hahn (43., Halil Altintop)
                     0:3  Hahn (56., Ostrzolek)
                     1:3  Rausch (62., Leitner)
                     1:4  To. Werner (64., Ostrzolek)

FC Schalke 04	      -   Hannover 96	        2:0 (2:0)   61,307

                     1:0  Farfan (39., Kolasinac)
                     2:0  M. Meyer (44., Uchida)

 1  Bayern München (M, P)	20   18  2  0 	  53:9 	 +44 	  56 
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	20   14  1  5 	  37:20  +17 	  43 
 3  Borussia Dortmund	  	20   12  3  5 	  47:24  +23 	  39
 4  FC Schalke 04	  	20   11  4  5 	  39:29  +10 	  37
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 5  Bor. Mönchengladbach	20   10  3  7 	  36:25  +11 	  33 
 6  VfL Wolfsburg	  	20   10  3  7 	  33:24  +9 	  33
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 7  Hertha BSC Berlin (N) 	20    9  4  7 	  31:24  +7 	  31
 8  FC Augsburg	  	        20    9  4  7 	  30:29  +1 	  31  
 9  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	20    9  3  8 	  29:35  -6 	  30 
10  Hannover 96	  	        20    7  3  10 	  29:35  -6 	  24 
11  1899 Hoffenheim	  	20    5  7  8 	  40:43  -3 	  22 
12  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	20    5  6  9 	  24:34  -10 	  21 
13  Werder Bremen	  	20    5  5  10 	  24:45  -21 	  20 
14  VfB Stuttgart	  	20    5  4  11 	  33:41  -8 	  19 
15  SC Freiburg	  	        20    4  6  10 	  20:36  -16 	  18
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  1. FC Nürnberg	  	20    2  11  7 	  24:36  -12 	  17
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  Hamburger SV	  	20    4  4  12 	  33:47  -14 	  16 
18  Eintracht Braunschweig (N)	20    3  3  14 	  11:37  -26 	  12

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

Is Bayern dominance a good sign?

OK, calm down, obviously not the way they are dominating things right now, although even the current situation does have some silver linings.

Recently the DFL announced record turnover for the Bundesliga clubs, I think it was something like 2 billion euros. Virtually all the clubs were in good shape, making profits. The stadiums in Germany have the highest average attendance in the world. Even the weaker clubs in the Bundesliga play close to capacity. So far, so good.

However in terms of growing as a financial power, the Bundesliga still has a way to go. They’re probably about 3 billion euros behind the English Premier League, and well behind Spain and even Italy as well.

The *international* market is where the future massive growth will come, and it is here that Germany has work to do. If you just look at international TV contracts, the Bundesliga is dwarfed not only by the EPL, but also the Serie A and Spanish La Liga. They might even be behind the French Ligue Un. Take the USA for example, the Bundesliga rights are held by GolTV, which was dropped by DirectTV, one of the major satellite providers. It’s also often not available on many cable carriers. Any of the other leagues are readily available just about everywhere. Hell, even MLS is more readily available. Hopefully, when the current contract is up, the rights will be sold to someone who broadcasts everywhere. Of course it’s not just the USA, it’s other countries as well. The EPL contracts in small places like Singapore are perhaps larger than he total value of the Bundesliga international contract.

Aside from accessibility (i.e. English language), the superior production values of the EPL matches is an advantage. But these are areas that can perhaps be overcome, since Spain and Italy are in a similar situation.

One of the key areas to understand in international marketing however is that it is all about star-power. It’s the big massive clubs that attract the international fan. Whereas for locals, it’s about where you live, were born, family tradition etc., in the international market nobody really cares. Fans are picking the clubs for the most part on success and stars. So in the EPL, outside of England, it’s all about Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool. The latter hasn’t won much recently, but they have a long tradition of star players and success at a time when football was becoming more internationalized. Nobody cares about Stoke or Sunderland, and nobody cared about Man City either until they started spending billions. (OK, some Americans “support” worthless teams like Fulham because they happen to have had some lousy American player, but what happens after he gets dumped? Goodbye.) In Spain, it’s Real Madrid or Barcelona. Italy, Juventus, the two Milans. So unless you were born or live there, it’s all about winners. (I used to like Spurs in the Klinsmann/Ginola era when they played all out attack and didn’t know how to play defense because I liked their players and style. But largely they sucked, and I would say most folks would have passed on them…)

In Germany, it’s all about Bayern München. Bayern is what will draw the international fan. With Bayern dominating the world right now, there are legions of new fans getting interested in attaching to the winner. The more Bayern wins and crushes the opposition, the more their stock rises. Of course, these are the type of fans that “real” fans like to denigrate, but their dollar/euro is every bit as valuable. And besides, interest in Bayern also can mean greater familiarization with the rest of German football, which is a good thing.

When I was young, I hated Bayern. That’s because it was what we did in our region. My loyalty was to home town Wuppertal, which actually got promoted to the Bundesliga. (And as some of you know, I still stick with them, although 5th division football is a bit tough to swallow…) Some of the more established regional clubs, like Schalke, were my second choice, except when they played WSV of course. Grudgingly we would OK Gladbach, since having them win would be preferably to the Bavarians, but that was about it. However now I have respect for Bayern, since they’re the ones really putting the Bundesliga back on the map.

Now in the future, there is some hope for some competition. Borussia Dortmund is the most logical. Their campaign fell apart this season as Bayern bought their best player(s), but mostly because of injury. If BVB can continue to improve and maybe win a Champions League title, they could rise. For other clubs, potentially Schalke, which has a huge domestic following but usually chokes when it counts. Leverkusen plays good football and is solid, but nobody wants to root for a corporation, so they’re out.

The future growth of German football will need to happen on an international level. The local market is pretty much full – thankfully, since it’s the best in the world. But the German clubs need to increase their financial strength in order to keep their stars and attract others. The only source of this income will be international marketing, since Germany has wisely resisted the English method of allowing oli-sheiks and corrupt swindler robber barons to buy clubs as toys. And Germany hasn’t followed the Spanish method of under the table government subsidies.

Right now it’s Bayern that is attracting the new fan, as they rampage and pillage through the Bundesliga. (Of course what is different than a similar situation in a worthless league like Scotland is that Bayern also rampages and pillages through Europe and smacks down the other giants.) These fans will buy Bayern kits, declare their ever-lasting Bayern loyalty etc. Maybe even make a pilgramage to the Allianz. Not unlike world-wide ManU, Madrid or Barsa fans. But as more money trickles into the league coffers, hopefully this will allow some of the others like Dortmund, Schalke to start building up followings too.

BUNDESLIGA, Round 19

More of the same as Bayern München keeps rolling along. Having got a last minute win midweek in a 2-1 make-up win at Stuttgart, the champs destroyed Frankfurt at home. Nothing to see here, move along…

Schalke is one of the big winners so far. The Blues won their second in row and have climbed into the top 4. This was a win against direct rivals Wolfsburg, so it was important. The team also got better by dumping Jermaine Jones off to Besiktas in Turkey just before the transfer window closed. Jones was a promising player, but often played too much like a thug, thus missing his chance to rise. And obviously his career was going nowhere, as evidenced by the fact he decided to play for the US national team since he wasn’t good enough for Germany. Oh well, the number of fouls that Schalke commits should go way down. Wolfsburg also made a bold move, as they dealt playmaker Diego to Atletico Madrid. He’s been excellent ever since the VWs had dumped Felix Magath as coach, but perhaps it’s an indication that Wolfsburg intends to rebuild. As for the match itself, Schalke was the better team, but Wolfsburg made them struggle for the win.

Dortmund was clearly technically superior in Braunschweig, but they had a hard time as the hosts were imposing their physical play on the match. BVB did end up with a deserved win, but Braunschweig did a good job. The Neons are obviously going nowhere, not only since Bayern has run away, but alos their injury list almost has them half-strength. They are just concentrating on holding a Champions League spot. It’s pretty hopeless for Braunschweig, but I think everybody – including their fans – knew they weren’t strong enough. Nevertheless, they give 100% every match, and are likely to return the the top-flight soon.

Leverkusen had a difficult match with Stuttgart, but were able to get the win. Stefan Kießling has had “Ladehemmung” (sort of Constipation, hehehehe), having not scored in months. But he finally let it go, and eventually the Aspirins came out on top.

Hannover has also gotten on track inn the restart, as under new coach Tayfun Korkut, they got another win, this time over Gladbach.

Mainz had little trouble with a lame Freiburg squad that was taking the afternoon off. The Mainzers didn’t do much, but it was enough. Their Korean imports got the goals as the get closer to challenging for a Euro spot. Freiburg slumps into the relegation playoff.

In a critical relegation battle, Hoffenehim kicked Hamburg’s ass. HSV was horrifyingly inept, and the Hoppers did whatever they wanted. You’d think with the worst defense in the league that the hosts would have given up something, but their defense was barely threatened, and HSV took over the title as the worst. After the match HSV star Rafael van der Vaart tried to protect the coach (Bert Marwijk), saying it was all on the players, and they lacked “class”. Nice of him to say, but although yes the players sucked, certainly when they look like disorganized “Lumpen”, the coach bears some responsibility? And Marwijk’s record so far is worse than he predecessor, Torsten Frings. Obviously HSV, somewhat affectionally called the “Dino” (dinosaur) by the press and fans is in trouble of breaking their record: They are the only club that has played every Bundesliga season since the start in 1963 – never relegated. (Bayern’s never been relegated either, but they were a 2nd division club when the Bundesliga started).

Der Club can’t stop winning! FCN has perhaps decided that streaks are better if you win rather than not win. They ddn’t win for a record 17 straight, but now have bounced back for back-to-back threes. Visiting Berlin, Nürnberg was usually on their back foot, as Hertha controlled the match and pressed. But unlike in 2013, the 2014 edition of der Club kept their head in the game, defended well and patiently waited their opportunities. A huge win that actually lifts them out of relegation spots. Hertha was perhaps a bit unlucky, but they’ve had a hard time against Nürnberg recently – no wins in last 6 tries.

Augsburg is a team that is on the verge of establishing themselves. The Fuggers were everybody’s first pick for relegation when they came up two seasons ago, but miraculously survived. Same for last year. Now this season is so far the best in club history and their latest win even allows them to dream of a Euro challenge. FCA has been doing it with blood and seat, fighting for every ball. The difference was pretty clear as they faced the somewhat diletante laden Werder Bremen side. They even spotted them a goal before delivering the beat-down.

 	
Eintracht Braunschweig  -   Borussia Dortmund	1:2 (0:1)   23,325 *

                       0:1  Aubameyang (31., Lewandowski)
                       1:1  Kessel (54., Hochscheidt)
                       1:2  Aubameyang (65., Reus)

FC Schalke 04	        -   VfL Wolfsburg	2:1 (1:0)   61,142

                       1:0  Felipe Santana (9., K.P. Boateng)
                       1:1  Arnold (65., Perisic)
                       2:1  K.-P. Boateng (81., Neustädter)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen     -   VfB Stuttgart	2:1 (1:1)   28,714

                       0:1  Leitner (12.)
                       1:1  Kießling (26., Rolfes)
                       2:1  Derdiyok (84., Sam)

1899 Hoffenheim	        -   Hamburger SV	3:0 (2:0)   25,603

                       1:0 Roberto Firmino (4., Volland)
                       2:0 Süle (44., Salihovic)
                       3:0 Beck (60., Roberto Firmino)

1. FSV Mainz 05	        -   SC Freiburg	        2:0 (1:0)   27,247

                       1:0  Park (24., Moritz)
                       2:0  Koo (86., Geis)

FC Augsburg	        -   Werder Bremen	3:1 (1:1)   28,313

                       0:1  Callsen-Bracker (3., own goal, Junuzovic)
                       1:1  To. Werner (11.)
                       2:1  Halil Altintop (49., Hahn)
                       3:1  Hahn (55.)

Hannover 96	        -   Bor. Möncheng'bach	3:1 (0:0)   47,000

                       1:0  Rudnevs (57., Huszti)
                       2:0  M. Diouf (82., Huszti)
                       2:1  Mlapa (84., Younes)
                       3:1  M. Diouf (90., Schlaudraff)

Sunday:
Hertha BSC	        -   1. FC Nürnberg	1:3 (1:1)   37,438

                       1:0  Ramos (4., Ronny)
                       1:1  Feulner (20.)
                       1:2  Drmic (68., Ginczek)
                       1:3  Drmic (90. + 4, penalty, Ginczek)

Bayern München	        -   Eintracht Frankfurt	5:0 (2:0)   71,000 *

                       1:0  M. Götze (12., Mandzukic)
                       2:0  Ribery (44., Mandzukic)
                       3:0  Robben (67., M. Götze)
                       4:0  Dante (69., Ribery)
                       5:0  Mandzukic (89., Robben)



 1  Bayern München (M, P)	19   17  2  0 	  51:9 	 +42 	  53 
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	19   13  1  5 	  36:20  +16 	  40 
 3  Borussia Dortmund	  	19   11  3  5 	  42:23  +19 	  36
 4  FC Schalke 04	  	19   10  4  5 	  37:29  +8 	  34
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 5  Bor. Mönchengladbach	19   10  3  6 	  36:24  +12 	  33 
 6  VfL Wolfsburg	  	19    9  3  7 	  30:24  +6 	  30
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 7  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	19    9  3  7 	  29:32  -3 	  30 
 8  Hertha BSC Berlin (N)	19    8  4  7 	  28:24  +4 	  28 
 9  FC Augsburg	  	        19    8  4  7 	  26:28  -2 	  28 
10  Hannover 96	  	        19    7  3  9 	  29:33  -4 	  24 
11  1899 Hoffenheim	  	19    5  6  8 	  39:42  -3 	  21 
12  Werder Bremen	  	19    5  5  9 	  23:40  -17 	  20 
13  VfB Stuttgart	  	19    5  4  10 	  32:37  -5 	  19 
14  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	19    4  6  9 	  21:34  -13 	  18 
15  1. FC Nürnberg	  	19    2  11  6 	  24:34  -10 	  17 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  SC Freiburg	  	        19    4  5  10 	  19:35  -16 	  17
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  Hamburger SV	  	19    4  4  11 	  33:44  -11 	  16
18  Eintracht Braunschweig (N)	19    3  3  13 	  11:34  -23 	  12

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