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Wishful thinking: This is what could stop Bayern from winning the salad bowl

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Bayern Munich are everybody’s favorite to win the German title this season. But, Bayern have been beaten in the championship race in the past. Here is what is important when battling against Bayern Munich for the championship.

This "lovely" trophy is up for grabs again in the 11/12 season of the Bundesliga.

All evidence is pointing towards a championship winning campaign for Bayern Munich. The team from Bavaria have usually taken the salad bowl home after the German national team have had the entire summer off in the recent past. Furthermore, the Bavarians are the biggest spenders in this transfer window, and have strengthened their side considerably with quality signings like Manuel Neuer, Nils Petersen and Rafinha. Some fans have even begun to embrace some of the silliest stats that are out there to convince themselves that Bayern won’t win the championship. Did you know that Heynckes is too old to win the championship somebody asked on Twitter. True, he’d be the oldest coach to win this title, but Heynckes isn’t a befuddled senior who pours red wine in his coffee cup while sitting half-naked on the bus. I’ll try to give you some decent stats and trends that could indicate that Bayern can be beaten to the championship. Read the rest of this entry

Elsewheres: “Zsolt Korcsmár: A defender reaching for the stars?”

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I have in the past often been asked to contribute to other blogs and most of the time I declined the offer politely. With work, studying, and other social commitments there isn’t enough time in the day to say yes to every offer I get.

However, when Tomasz Mortimer of hungarianfootball.com asked me to contribute an article to his side I couldn’t decline. His side has kept me up to date on Hungarian football, and also taught me a lot about the football culture and history I knew so little about. Please check out my article on his side, “Zsolt Korcsmár: A defender reaching for the stars?”.

And while you are at it, take a good long look at some of the other content on hungarianfootball.com, and add it to your bookmarks. It is one of the finest football sites out there!

He isn’t Nemo! It’s “Puff the magic dragon”…

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Mesut Özil having a cigarette and a glass of wine on a yacht just outside Ibiza had the internet forums, Twitter and Facebook go mad a while ago(While the German media were surprisingly rather silent about the matter). ”A bad role model” and ”The reason for Özil’s bad stamina” were amongst the most uttered phrases.

Mesut Özil having a glass of wine and a smoke.

To give some perspective to the matter: Smoking and playing professional football is not an entirely new combination. Johan Cruyff smoked two packs a day, Brazil captain Socrates one pack a day. Sure, the days of smoking during training sessions have come to an end, but even after Cruyff and Socrates there have been smoking football pros. Amongst them also a number of German professional. No Schalke fan would doubt that Yves Eigenrauch gave his all for the club, despite his habit of lighting up the place in the nastiest way possible(he rolled his cigarettes himself). Read the rest of this entry

Who do we think we are?

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TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the search of their identity.

It is the 16th match day of the 08/09 season, and the newly promoted TSG Hoffenheim are taking on Germany’s record champions Bayern Munich. The new kids on the block, Hoffenheim, are sensationally storming towards ”Die Herbstmeisterschaft”, and are now looking to show that their new, exciting way of playing modern football is superior to the old fashioned style of Bayern Munich. Well, that is how this match is build up in the media before kick off. The game is hyped throughout the world as the battle of two competing football philosophys, broadcasted in 54 countries. In the end Bayern manage to pull off a 2-1 victory. Luca Toni grabs the all important winning goal two minutes into extra time in the second half. Read the rest of this entry

Musings from the garden

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A gentle breeze, blue skies, and the sun shining. The summer has hit Norway’s west-cost, and it there to be enjoyed.

Girls in skirts, lovely pints during hot summer evenings, reading in the garden while having a huge cup of tea. Life couldn’t be more lovely. I’m enjoying the evening sun from my garden as I’m typing this. And the Pinot Gris I’m drinking is excellent. A tad too acidic maybe, but still excellent(wine ponce-dom soon to come).

However, there is this tiny voice at the back of my head:

Something could have happened, something will eventually happen, you know how fast lived football is these days…

Sometimes I manage to block it out, go back to my book, or a lovely girl passing by takes my mind of things.

Eventually though, this voice gets the better of me, and since the internet and all those lovely papers reporting on transfers, and transfer rumors are now available on my smart phone I’ll give in.

Kitchen sink drama
Given the content that is published on the football pages throughout the summer, one has to say that it all seems like a strange kitchen sink drama. A version of “Coronation Street” for balding, aging fat men. And me.

Player A has left club C and plays for X next season, and C’s deal with F has fallen through, because of club Y giving F a better offer at the last minute. The only thing missing is actors from South-England imitating a Yorkshire accent.

Lars Aabjerg Pedersen of Pondering Calcio wrote this excellent piece regarding the media frenzy during the summer. If you follow those guidelines you will 1. remain sane, and 2. you are more likely to see through the fog of all those transfer rumors.

I will add a couple of Bundesliga specific rules to that list, and hopefully you’ll be good to go.

1. The two leading(most read) German football sites are Kicker and Bild these days. Their reporting on transfer rumors is often based on their own sources. Both of them appear to have excellent sources when it comes to the dealings of the giants of German football. Bild is most of the time spot on about what will happen at Bayern Munich. Kicker do often quote reliable sources in their stories. If the story you are reading meets those criteria, there might be something to it.

However, many stories Bild and Kicker publish throughout the summer aren’t their own stories! Watch out for the sources these papers quote. If Bild or Kicker are quoting other local papers from around Germany you have to ask yourself:

Is the paper Bild/Kicker is/are quoting usually a reliable source? Do they have the access that could give them the opportunity to report accurately about the dealings of the club they are covering?

If the answer is “yes” there might be some truth to the story. However, if the local paper that is quoted gets a lot of things wrong, don’t get too excited about what you are reading. Case in point: Last night a small local paper from the Hannover area wrote that Christian Pander had signed for 96, and some bigger German papers jumped on that story. Turned out Pander didn’t sign, at least according to himself.

2. If a Bundesliga transfer rumor is first reported outside of Germany there is most likely nothing to it.

Case in point: News of the World reported that Nasri would sign for Bayern, because Ribbery was about to leave Bayern Munich. Another one from this week: Italian media outlets reported that Bastian Schweinsteiger was on his way to AC Milan.

If a rumor involving such an enormous transfer were to be true, it would first or simultaneously appear in a German publication. Remember: Bild, Kicker and local publications are always monitoring the situation around those players, and they wouldn’t miss such a move! This sort of thing is their bread and butter.

3. If a player is linked to Bayern Munich, and the player himself confirms that he wants to play for them, he’ll usually end up in Bavaria. Don’t take sporting directors saying “we’ll never sell that player to Bayern” at face value. They are trying to negotiate a better deal for their club. Case in point: Manuel Neuer and his transfer to Bayern Munich.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Take a look at Pondering Calcio, and follow Lars on Twitter as well. You won’t be disappointed, I promise! 

Season 10/11 reviewed.

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I wanted to write a season review of this year’s crazy Bundesliga season for my tiny little, and pokey, blog. Come to think of it, now that several people refer to my blog as NM, which is short for “never mind” and “nothing much” amongst the youths of the interwebs, I could even claim that my blog is beyond pokey. But, “NM”.

However, when Rio from “The Elastico” kindly asked me to write a season review for his glorious, well written, and much bigger blog I simply couldn’t say no. So, instead of writing another season review for NM, I told myself never mind, I am simply going to give you the link to my season review on Rio’s blog! I hope you’ll enjoy it, and let me know what you think! Without any further ado, here it is: http://www.theelastico.com/?p=128

The Norwegian connections: How have they fared?

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On the 17th of May 1814 the Norwegian constitution was enacted, and we mark this occasion by feeding children far too much ice-cream, sausages and lemonade. Furthermore, people march in the streets, wave Norwegian flags, the national anthem is sung, and Norway is celebrated for all its glory.

Yes, once more it is time for children to consume a lot of unhealthy stuff, and for the balancing act that parents have to do on this most glorious of all national holidays: How much crap can little Olav Håkon eat and drink before things go terribly wrong in the car, or even worse, when he sits on auntie Tora Therese’s lap? I have decided to mark this ocassion in my own, very special way. Well, it is the Norwegian national day “Bundesliga edition”. I am going to give a run down of how the Norwegian players, and players who have formerly played in the Tippeliga have fared in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. Read the rest of this entry