Thursday, May 31, 2012

A football recovery called Euro 2012


The typical end of season feeling: another year of club football is gone. And along with it loads of blood, sweat and tears. On the contrary, World Cups and European Championships have always been kind of footballing recreational holidays for me.

I don't have to root for anybody and therefore I'm able to simply enjoy the beautiful game in the true sense of the word. Having a barbecue and chilled drinks while watching Europe's finest footballers doin' their job in HD - as good as it gets.

At every international tournament since World Cup 94 I participated in a private betting game run by some of my mates. This time I furthermore decided to try out some Euro fantasy football at fanxt.com. Should be a lot of fun to build my own team of European superstars.

There are two variations of the game. The totally free to use version addresses the more casual users amongst us but you can also register as a premium user and compete for prizes amounting to 17,600 US Dollars.

All I have to do now is to figure out which players are worth my $100 million budget. Still haven't found Messi, yet...
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

23 Tons of 96

Hannover 96 may be the most boring club from the most boring town in the world... but then again they have something "not to mess with":



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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Germany UEFA Euro 2012 Squad

Eastern bloc party
Well, Uber Football do not support any national teams. Nevertheless here are the final votes of the Jogian jury:

Goalkeepers:
Manuel Neuer (Bayern München), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96)


Defenders:
Holger Badstuber (Bayern München), Jerome Boateng (Bayern München), Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern München), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal FC)

Midfielders:
Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Mario Götze (Borussia Dortmund), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern München), Thomas Müller (Bayern München), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern München), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid), Marco Reus (Borussia Mönchengladbach), André Schürrle (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Ilkay Gündogan (Borussia Dortmund)

Forwards:
Mario Gomez (Bayern München), Miroslav Klose (SS Lazio), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)


No big surprises really but I'm not totally convinced that Löw chose the better one of the two Benders. Maybe someone should tell him that identical twins are the spitting image of each other. Anyway, we are very much relieved that Draxler didn't make it.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Free, funny, Franco Foda

Close, but no banana!
1. FC Kaiserslautern admittedly had to perceive their bitter descent to 2nd division, but they also seem starting to do their homework. Yesterday, Franco Foda officially was presented as new manager. As a distinctive ex-player, he can be considered a supporters' favorite and for that reason alone probably is not the worst of choices.

The 46-year-old furthermore had a long and successful spell as manager of Austrian side Sturm Graz. His most remarkable achievement however was more of an unintentional nature. Coming off the bench, Foda prepared himself to replace teammate Michael Frontzeck in the 82nd minute of an international friendly in Brazil's capital Brasília in 1987.

He certainly had imagined his very first international cap slightly different, but the whole stadium went nuts right after the announcer called his name - "Franco Foda" can be translated as "having sexual intercourse for free" in Brazilian Portuguese.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Rest of Leipzig

Leipzig's not only the setting for a soda producer's plan of world conquest, it's also home of the country's most noteworthy football statue. Or eleven noteworthy statues, to be precise.

Summer of 1963. Despite being GDR's 2nd city and having two teams in the top flight, Leipzig hardly noted any success as far as football is concerned. Therefore mass sports organization DTSB decided to unify the two sides to a central Leipzig's sports club - Lokomotive and Rotation turned into SC Leipzig.

The newly formed club's first team was compound from the supposedly best players of its two forerunners. The remaining players, who could not put themselves forward for Leipzig's new footballing flagship, were transferred to BSG Chemie Leipzig.

Chemie were given the vacant Oberliga place and during the run-up to the season the team gained the nickname "Rest von Leipzig" - "Rest of Leipzig". Legendary manager Alfred Kunze shaped a committed gang, solid in defence and good on the break. The team sensationally won the league eventually, probably the biggest upset in the history of the GDR Oberliga.

The championship team of Klaus Günther, Dieter Sommer, Manfred Walter, Bernd Bauchspieß, Heinz Herrmann, Horst Slaby, Wolfgang Behla, Lothar Pacholski, Dieter Scherbarth, Bernd Herzog, Wolfgang Krause, Klaus Lisiewicz and Hans-Georg Sannert was life-sizedly poured in concrete a few years later:

The Rest of Leipzig comic style statues
Over the years Chemie Leipzig became an "elevator side" and were not left untouched by German reunification. The club changed its name to FC Sachsen Leipzig and in 1992, their ground, former Georg-Schwarz-Sportpark, was renamed to Alfred-Kunze-Sportpark.

In March 2009, the club had to declare insolvency for a second time in its history and finally folded on 30 June 2011. As today, SG Leipzig-Leutzsch and BSG Chemie Leipzig both consider themselves as legal successors of the dissolved FC Sachsen. Both clubs face each other in the "Sachsenliga" on level six of the league system.

Confusing stuff, I know. But in all these trials and tribulations, however one constant remains - the "Rest of Leipzig" right next to the main stand of Kunze-Sportpark:

Main stand with the Rest of Leipzig on its right

All photos by courtesy of our friends from German Football Grounds, where you'll find more photos of Alfred-Kunze-Sportpark.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

1. Bundesliga All-Star Team 2011-12 Season

Someone Still Loves You Lewis Holtby
Quick and painless, 100% subjective:

Klaas-Jan  Huntelaar (S04)

Raúl (S04)

Franck Ribery (FCB) - Marco Reus (BMG) - Shinji Kagawa (BVB)

Sebastian Kehl (BVB)

Filip Daems (BMG) - Holger Badstuber (FCB) - Mats Hummels (BVB) - Łukasz Piszczek (BVB)

Marc-André ter Stegen (BMG)

Manager/Coach: Jos Luhukay (FC Augsburg)


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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Relegation does not necessarily mean Relegation

Hertha's last lifeline
One of the local specialities of German football: the relegation play-offs. It's simply called "Relegation" in this part of the world, which might sound strange to foreign ears. Indroduced in the 1981-82 season, the 1. Bundesliga relegation playoffs were played until 1991 and then again since 2009 following a 18-year hiatus.

Easy formula: Third team from bottom of 1. Bundesliga plays a two-legged playoff with the third-place team of 2. Bundesliga, with the winner playing 1. Bundesliga the next season. Away goals rule applies. The same format is used since 2008-09 between 2. Bundesliga and 3. Liga.

This year's fixtures:

1. Bundesliga Relegation Playoffs
10th May 2012, 20:30 CET: Hertha BSC v Fortuna Düsseldorf
15th May 2012, 20:30 CET: Fortuna Düsseldorf v Hertha BSC

2. Bundesliga Relegation Playoffs
11th May 2012, 20:30 CET:  Jahn Regensburg v Karlsruher SC
16th May 2012, 20:30 CET:  Karlsruher SC v Jahn Regensburg

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Die Toten Hosen playing at Jens Jeremies' home

Cheeky Jens Jeremies
Celebrating their 30-year anniversary, German punk rocker "Die Toten Hosen" (DTH) did what they call a Magical-Mystery-Tour across the country. Fans were given the chance to apply for the band performing in their living rooms - for beer, sandwiches and "a place to crash".

One very special application among 4,500 others arrived from a small town in the vicinity of Munich. None other than six-time German champion and Champions League winner Jens Jeremies wanted the band to play at his party basement. Which btw looks like every football maniac's wet dream (except the Bayern posters of course).

He justified his application with the disrespect he received by teammates when he kept listening DTH after they released their famous anti Bayern song, ehm, "Bayern". It is therefore about time for a compensation. Frontman Campino "considered this to be a coherent argument", he said.

So here are Die Toten Hosen performing live at Jens Jeremies' (the stout guy with the Dynamo Dresden shirt) basemant on April 28 2012:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mailand oder Madrid? Tim to say good buy

It's not pink, it's salmon-coloured
Once asked for which side he will play next season, Andreas "Andy" Möller responded with his very own unintentional sense of humor:
Mailand oder Madrid, Hauptsache Italien.
Milan or Madrid, as long as it is in Italy.
A legendary bloomer that has already advanced to become a classic of the genre. Furthermore it could have served as a motto for Tim Wiese's career management. Currently attached to Werder Bremen, Germany's No. Two goalkeeper was linked with a move to either Real Madrid or one of the two Milan based giants.

Yesterday however, it was announced that the 30-year-old will work for village club 1899 Hoffenheim in the near future. A news story very well received by local hairdressers and tanning salons at least.
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