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Winter madness

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Cologne and Mönchengladbach are trying to get out of the ditch they are in by buying new players. Will the clubs shopping spree make a difference for the second half of this year’s Bundesliga?

This winter has seen few exciting signings so far. Bremen sold Hugo Almeide and replaced him with a young, Swedish striker nobody has heard of, while Bayern managed to snatch Luiz Gustavo from Hoffenheim.

The clubs that have been the most active so far are 1. Fc Cologne av Borussia Mönchengladbach. Both clubs are obviously trying to get out from the bottom of the table, but will their new signings be able to deliver the goods and bring relieve to the fans?

Will the madness ever stop?
As I mentioned before on this blog, the Fc is always creating controversies. It is almost a law of nature that one controversy happens in Cologne every few month. This time around the coach Frank Schaefer managed to piss of his captain Mohamed, by giving the captain’s armband to Lukas Podolski.

Furthermore Cologne decided to buy a total of four new players in this transfer window. It seems to be the action of a team in panic, trying to see what is working. Let’s take a look at the players the team from the Rhine-city of Cologne has decided to buy.

Michael Rensing has a point to proove.

Replacing Faryed Mondragon in the goal is former Bayern goalie Michael Rensing. (Mondragon managed to create a controversy of his own this season when he said he was as badly treated as Jesus.) Rensing is a solid buy. He is a capable shot saver, and has a decent area control. Having left Bayern has certainly left a bitter taste in Rensing’s mouth. Rensing is a keeper who wants to proove a point. If he prooves his point, he might turn out to be one of the best signings of this transfer window.

The next siging is a unknown man for most football fans in Europe: Tomoaki Makino. The Japanees defender is said to be a solid center back, and has impressed new sporting director Volker Finke. Finke knows Makino himself from his time in Japan.

Polish winger Sławomir Peszko is the Fc’s third signing. Having seen Peszko a few times playing for the national team, I must say that he certainly brings the speed and a goalscoring ability that Cologne has been lacking on the wings. However, one cannot be sure that Peszko will adjust to the Bundesliga imediatly.

Last, but not least, Christian Eichner: the defender from Hoffenheim is already a known quantity in the league, and has been a solid player for a number of years.

While Eichner is a solid signing, there is certain risk factor over the other three signings. I am afraid that restructuring the team in mid-season isn’t the best moves. Not selling some of the weaker players besides Mondragon will probably create some tension in the team. Cologne might have shot itself in the leg. As so many times before.

A defender, a kingdom for a defender
Gladbach have certainly had trouble of their own. Raúl Bobadilla seems to have fallen out of favor, and the strain of bad lack concerning injuries has followed the club throughout the season. However, the club is now trying to lift the club from the bottom and into mid-table.

Håvard Nordtveit makes a return to the Bundesliga.

Signing two defenders, while letting one go is a sound investment. Martin Stranzl was a good defender while he played for Stuttgart, I am sure that the Austrian international will make an imediate impact at Gladbach. Håvard Nordtveit has for a long time been regarded to be one of the most talented Norwegian defenders. Arsene Wenger remarked that he has never met a more mature 16 years old when he signed the west-Norwegian. Having had a loan spell at Nürnberg last season, Nordtveit is used to the Bundesliga.

However, the signing of Mike Hanke might not be a wise choice of the management. Hanke is known to be an unpleasent character when he is sitting on the bench. He is certainly talanted, but his form has varried through the years. It will be exciting to see if he makes an impact at Borussia.

However, I am still convinced that Borussia will be playing at the second highest level next season. Having had bad luck all season long. Furthermore, most people would agree, their underlying problem seems to be in midfield. Nothing has been done to strengthen the midfield, and the club’s unwillingness to part ways with Micheal Frontzeck has already caused a huge amount of damage.

Update on the Bundesliga for newcomers segment of this blog: I will not be able to finnish the segment before friday’s match due to me leaving Norway for a few days. However, I will return next week and I am optimistic that the segment will be finnished before the 19th round of Bundesliga action.

Do you think that these winter signings will make an impact? Leave a comment below.


Go north for a bargain

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On January 1st the transfer window will be open and struggling clubs are looking to strengthen their side. Here are 5 Norwegian players that might be ready to move from dreary Tippeliga football and into the big leagues.

Hannover 96 in particular know that the Tippeliga includes many bargains. Having spent just over 1.5 million euros has bought them their attackers Didier Konan Ya(former Rosenborg player) and Moa(ex Våleranga). Money well spent according to most experts.

It is already rumored that talented youngster Håvard Nordtveit is on his way to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Making him the second Norwegian after Moa Abdellaoue to make the move into the Bundesliga this season. Here is a list of the five most promising Norwegian players that might make the move to the Bundesliga or another European league in the near future.


May return: Håvard Nordtveit has already gathered some Bundesliga experience when he was on a loan spell at Nürnberg.


Erik Huseklepp

Has for a long time been regarded as one of the most talented players in the Norwegian Tippeliga. Mainz have already tried to sign the speedy and technically well versed winger, but dropped him when they felt ill-treated by Huseklepp’s club SK Brann Bergen.

Having found his place in the national side under Egil «Drillo» Olsen, it is high time for the 26 year old to make his move from the rainy city of Bergen and into one of Europe’s top-league’s. The boyish looking winger’s contract is running for another three years, and it is unclear how high Brann’s asking prize is. Moa Abdellaoue was in similar position before moving to Hannover, and had to be bought free for around 1 million euros.


Highlights: Erik Huseklepp has set the Norwegian Tippeliga on fire during his last few seasons at SK Brann.

Markus Henriksen
The talented youngster has already drawn the attention of Bundesliga club Werder Bremen. Hard working, the 18 year old is already able to read the game of football as if he has been playing at the top level for a long time. Being described as one of the greatest talents Norwegian football has ever produced, he certainly has a lot to prove.

Playing 26 of 30 matches in this years season(2010 season), he managed to get his name on the scoring sheet 7 times and 2 assists to his name. Having a long time contract he will certainly be a pricey man, but probably a lot cheaper then a player of his caliber who plays in one of Europe’s top-leagues.

Rune Almenning Jarstein
The hot tempered keeper has been among bottom-side Viking most stable players in his first season in Norway’s oil-capital. Jarstein has been capped 30 times at the youth level and 8 times at the senior level for his national side, and has had trials during his teens at European top clubs.

Jarstein has often been described as a good shot saver with a good areal control. The east-Norwegian seems certainly ready to move out of Norwegian and onto greater things. Having two years left of his contract, it is likely that Jarstein might move in one of the next two transfer windows.

Per Ciljan Skjelbred
Having already been linked with Schalke 04 last summer, the 23 year old Norwegian midfielder has already drawn the interest of several European sides. The young Norwegian has constantly been described as one of Europe’s most talented players, and will most likely move in the near future. Former Rosenborg manager Per Mathias Høgmo has been quoted saying: The sky is the limit for Per Ciljan.

Having scored 8 times in 136 Tippeliga matches, Skjelbred certainly has shown a lack of killer instinct in front of the goal.


The sky is the limit: Per Ciljan Skjelbred has been regarded as one of the most talented Norwegian players(Photo by Vegard Holen).

Mohammed Fellah
The 21 year old former team mate of Moa Abdellaoue is packing a hell of punch in front of goal, and is usually among the most committed players on the pitch when his team his in a tight fight.

Fellah has definitely shown that he might be ready for greater things, but might have to wait a season before he gets his big chance abroad.


Hammer blow: Mohammed Fellah proved that he packs a hell of punch in this year’s game against Viking F.K.

Should any names be added to this list? Leave your comment.