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Wilkommen

I’m in Chicago now, so things are going to be a bit messy on this blog till I get back to NYC but for the moment, further updates:

– Schnix has company (finally) for the “players above the age of 30” club in Bayer as Thomas Zdebel has joined the Werkself during this transfer period. The 35-year old midfielder was formerly with VfL Bochum. I’m not too enthused but I can see the logic behind his addition – the squad is pretty young and having an experienced player who’s been through it all is very useful.

The team is currently in Belek, Turkey where temperatures are a pleasant 17C  (what I wouldn’t do for such weather) and they’re working on their tactics before they start the second half of the season in the LTU-Arena. Let’s hope the gentlemen won’t suffer from homesickness.

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Welcome back

Happy New Year! Sorry I’ve been away but school and holidays took me away from the blog. We’ll start with a quick wrap-up:

– Bernd Schneider’s started training with the team again though he didn’t join in the practice matches.

– The Werkself has just lost in the semifinals of the Rheinland Cup, part of the warm-up tournaments for the second half of the season.

Bayer will kick off the second half of the season officially against Energie Cottbus in the DFB-Pokal in late January.

It lives!

In the words of the Pet Shop Boys, I don’ t normally do this kind of thing but importantly for all Werkself fans, the Bayer Offside is back in action with a new blogger at the helm.

Go visit. I command you. *makes Jedi mind-trick hand gestures*

Post 16. Spieltag and others

I’m sorry I’ve been away but this is the height of the school season. First off, did everybody have a good Thanksgiving weekend last week? To summarise, the Werkself did not but I guess it’s just as well that they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anyway.

Bayer finally got back to winning ways this week in the second Rhine derby of the season for the team when they beat Borussia Mönchengladbach comfortably 3-1.  That win brings Bayer back up to third place. In other good news, Bayern beat Hoffenheim, and thus the top two teams are tied in points and the Werkself is now three points behind them. Which is not an insurmountable gap. The Werkself will close the year with a home game against Energie Cottbus.

In other news, the club had an official meeting with the fans earlier in November. It’s all in the report but in summary, the fans met with the some of the club bigwigs who updated them on the status of the club and their future plans.  There was a meet-the-first team session and Bruno Labbadia entertained some questions.

The most pressing matter after the last game will of course, be the move to the LTU-Arena. More on that later. The next few games have been scheduled as below:

18. Spieltag:31 Jan 2009 – Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen

19. Spieltag: 6 Jan 2009 – Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs VfB Stuttgart

20. Spieltag: 1899 Hoffenheim vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Let’s hope the Werkself won’t suffer from homesickness.

And lastly, Happy Eid Mubarak to those who celebrate it!

Bielefeld = a place for sorcery

GERMANY SOCCER BUNDESLIGA

[ credit: Reuters Pictures ]

… There is some serious voodoo going on in Bielefeld. And I mean the serious, hardcore kind. There has to be. Bayer went down 2 – 1 to die Blauen in yesterday’s match, thereby extending the hold Arminia Bielefeld has over the Werkself. I couldn’t find a working stream, so I was left making incoherent noises of despair and horror as I followed the live-ticker. To add insult to injury, Sascha Dum was red-carded towards the end of the match. Bayer has dropped back to second place, threee points behind Hoffenheim and level on points with Bayern Munich but ahead on goal difference. This is significant as the Bavarian Empire comes to the BayArena next week and they’re certainly on a roll.

But I’ll worry about that later. The lack of significant news for the senior team now permits me to look at the other teams in Bayer. There are seven Bayer youth players involved at the national level, ranging from U16 – U19.

U-19 Nationalmannschaft: Nils Texeira (Captain, defence), Richard Sukuta-Pasu (forward)

U-17 Nationalmannschaft: Gerrit Nauber (defence), Niko Opper (midfield)

U-16 Nationalmannschaft: Andre Mandt (midfield), Luca Dürholtz (midfield), Nick Bresevac (forward)

Nice numbers to look at but the ultimate measure of success is if they can make it to the first team of course.

14. Spieltag preview

So. The last international of the year went well for Helmes, not well at all for Adler, ok for Rolfes (he did get the full 90 minutes) and poorly for Germany as a whole. That also means that Helmes managed to keep his promise to score a goal as a tribute to his dead dog. I got that particular gem from the Bild, where else? I missed the match, but managed to catch highlights of Adler’s mistake (ouch). Let’s hope he won’t repeat that kind of blunder against Arminia Bielefeld tomorrow.

Bielefeld are in the exact opposite situation as Leverkusen at the moment, with the second-from-bottom-dwellers looking for better results. Which on paper is a tough job, seeing that the Werkself are the curent table-toppers – nodnod, winkwink – but closer examination shows that die Blauen might not need to worry too much. A dark force surrounds the SchücoArena, preventing penetration and accuracy by the Bayer strikeforce and the Werkself hence has yet to collect three points from five visits to Bielefeld.

2007/2008: Arminia Bielefeld 1 – 0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

2006/2007: Arminia Bielefeld  0 – 0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

2005/2006: Arminia Bielefeld 1 – 0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

2004/2005: Arminia Bielefeld 1 – 0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

2003/2004: Arminia Bielefeld was in the 2. Bundesliga

2002/2003: Arminia Bielefeld 2 – 2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

That’s an impressive record and the Werkself would do well to be wary. In other trivia, Bruno Labbadia played for Bielefeld from 1998 – 2001 and was even the 1. Bundesliga’s top scorer with 28 goals for the 1998/1999 season. I’d rather prefer our strikers doing the scoring tomorrow, thank you very much.

With regards to team selection, Gonzalo Castro is out due to suspension and it looks like Hans Sarpei will finally make his 2008/2009 debut tomorrow. Karim Haggui is still unfit for action after his operation. Stefan Reinartz, the Germany U-19 defender was also under consideration but will at most make the bench. Oh dear, that picture of Reinartz on the official website looks like something out of a bad porno movie.

Edit: I have quickly taken a look at the updated profiles and pictures. I am speechless, horrified and amused all at once.

Swagger like us

SOCCER-GERMANY/

[ credit: Reuters Pictures ]

Bummer. I was away in DC doing the geeky thing and marathoning the Smithsonian Museums so I could not watch the match. And I came home late from school and missed the repeat so you’re left with me doing the boring thing and linking to match reports about the Werkself’s 2 – 1 victory over the Royal Blues. It sounded like a great match for all intents and purposes – first half goals by Kießling and Helmes, a sending off for Castro, a late goal by Kevin Kuranyi and a disallowed one by Gerald Asamoah. Helmes now also holds a club record of sorts – he’s the only Bayer striker to have struck the net 10 times by this stage of the season since the beginning of the Bundesliga. And oh, the Werkself are still at the top of the table for now. Booyah.

However, Mark from BundesligaTalk has linked to Auswärtssieg! (away win), a Schalke 04 blog which has great pictures of the Bayer – Schalke game. I am jealous, yes I am.

I don’t follow the Swiss Super League at all but if rumours are to be believed, Eren Derdiyok, a striker  from FC Basel is poised to move to Bayer in January. Or maybe not, since Napoli are apparently eager to get ahold of him too. Which is all well and good if it’s true as I think it’s not wrong to say Bayer has a good record at sniffing out talented youngsters (who inevitably move off to richer pastures later) but can we please look at some defenders too? Half the backline aren’t ours and I rather pity Adler, he must feel like he’s running a one-man defensive show at times.