Posts Tagged ‘Bundesliga’

Bayer plays Wolfsburg tomorrow. Statistically, Wolfsburg is a good team to play as the results traditionally favour Bayer. However Wolfsburg are on a good run themselves, with a sound 3 – 0 win over Mönchengladbach last Tuesday and they’ll want to keep it up. The boss meanwhile, thinks the Wolves will make life difficult for the Werkself and is not quite sure of who to place on the left side of midfield as Pirmin Schwegler has deputised ably for Tranquillo Barnetta the last few matches.

I’m not going to make any predictions  because I’ve not managed to watch a Wolfsburg game yet this season. Obviously, I’m plumping for a win as it is a home game but two of our losses this season have been at the BayArena so the team needs to be wary. One factor definitely in Bayer’s advantage is the fact that Wolfsburg have been poor travellers thus far this season. Bayer has now gone 14 games without a draw (the longest run of any team in the Bundesliga thus far) and the last draw we had was indeed against Wolfsburg when they squandered a 2-0 nil to draw 2-2 at the BayArena in the 07/08 season.

In other news, Karim Haggui will be out after the weekend for an unspecified period when he undergoes operations on both groins. As stated in the report, he declined to undergo treatment earlier so as to help the team during this busy week. That’s greatly appreciated indeed. All the best for the operation and get better soon, Karim.

To end things for the day, here’s a picture slideshow of Patrick Helmes from the official Bundesliga site. It’s been quiet lately, can’t you tell?


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[ credit: Reuters Pictures ]

I adore having to eat humble pie when it comes to wrong predictions that go the right way for my team. Bayer marked their 1000th Bundesliga game in style; triumphing over Werder Bremen in their home ground and scoring two goals in the process. Vidal (71′) was the first to break the deadlock and he celebrated by stuffing the ball under his jersey. The explanation for that is obvious, as he’s due to be become a father next year. At least, that’s what I’m gathering from the Bild website if I’m not getting my (very bad) German mixed up.

Friedrich (81′) scored his second goal in two games to assure the win for Bayer and condemn his former club to defeat. Incidentally, Werder saw it fit to grant him only one senior game before he moved on to 1. FSV Mainz 05 and from thence to Bayer. I can’t comment further on the match as I didn’t watch it in full (and it was a repeat at that) but what I saw was very entertaining, with Bayer putting on a better performance despite early periods of good play by Werder. Further details of the match can be found at the game report from the official website.

Critics will point out that this is a weakened Werder playing without Claudio Pizarro, Diego and Clemens Fritz and without Tim Wiese in goal. But as the old saying goes, you can only play what’s in front of you and Bayer deserved this win. So Bayer is back on top, albeit temporarily but what the heck, I’ll enjoy the view for the moment.

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It’s rather early for a pre-match post (so early even the official site has not had time to put one up yet) but to keep things short, the next Bundesliga match is away to Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

I’m not looking forward to this match, in all honesty. Why? Because Werder positively spanked us last year, both home and away. In fact, the 0- 2 loss to Werder was the last home game of 07/08 and it marked Bayer’s miserable season ending. Michael Skibbe was sacked soon after that. But that’s another story.

The good part is that for this season so far, on form alone, Bayer is doing better on all fronts that matter. Bayer has won more matches (doh), and scored just slightly less goals but also has a healthier goal difference. Werder have drawn more matches however, with Bayer and Karlsuher SC as the only two teams remaining not to have drawn a match for the 08/09 season thus far. But there are lies, damned lies and statistics and a five point cushion this early in the season means nothing. A win will keep Bayer in the CL spot, a loss will close the gap between the teams to just two points.

Aside from wanting a win for obvious reasons, it’s also important, IMO, that  Bayer develops the ability to beat the likes of Werder and Schalke 04. Bayer is a team with expectations of participating in at least the UEFA Cup competition each year – that’s precisely why Skibbe lost his job – so it’s important that they match title contenders within the same league at the very least. But on the other hand, I can’t say their recent record in the UEFA Cup  has been stellar either. There’s no point harping on about playing in Europe when you’re easily dominated by other teams within the Bundesliga.

My prediction? A draw. Bayer and Bremen are both high-scoring teams so it won’t be goalless, that’s for sure. I say 2-2. But there’s no harm in praying for Werder’s defence to do Bayer a few favours.

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[ credit: Bundesliga Official Website ]

Based on the picture above, it’s pretty obvious that today was a good day for Bayer fans, with the Werkself winning 2 – 0 thanks to a Manuel Friedrich header (67′) and a Theofanis Gekas penalty (84′). I managed to watch the game in fits and starts on a stream. It was therefore also a bad day for Christoph Daum, the former Bayer manager who was celebrating (well, maybe not anymore) his birthday today. But at least the fans serenaded him with a song.

The first half was poorly played by Bayer, with Köln having the upper hand for long periods, though Bayer were dangerous on the break. Köln tested the Bayer defence and goal repeatedly and they stifled the Bayer attack well. There was a small fuss when fireworks were set off near Michal Kadlec, forcing the referee to stop the game for a short period but fortunately, there were no other incidents.

Bayer played better in the second half, and to borrow a cliche, the home side’s patience paid off when Friedrich headed home the first goal. I still didn’t feel comfortable with that one-nil goal margin though, seeing Bayer’s defence thus far for the season, but the penalty taken by Gekas pretty much sealed the deal. It would be fair to say that Köln has a right to feel aggrieved seeing how well they played and the score flatters Bayer somewhat but it’s the result that matters. For a more complete report, go to the official website or Goal.com.

It wasn’t a great game of football – some parts were downright dire – but derbies are wont to be like that, so  let’s focus on the positives. Three points are in the bag and the team has a short time window with which they can stare down at the rest from the lofty but definitely temporary position of first place in the table. Don’t grudge us our 48 hours or so of being top dog.

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[ credit for picture goes to Promikatur, more caricatures of footballers here.]

I thought I’d open the blog with a picture of our missing maestro, due back in November. Or thereabouts, if his rehab works out but I’m not banking on it just yet. Plus, it’s the Rhine derby this weekend, with Bayer facing (insert pejorative of choice) 1. FC Köln.

The statistics favour Bayer, with 1. FC Köln last winning the derby 11 years ago. Bayer have won six out of the last seven games against Köln (the other ended in a draw). Other amusing trivia include Bruno Labbadia (yes, the boss himself) having been sent off in both games against Köln in his last season as a professional player with Karlsruhe SC. More juicy details available at the weekly pre-match review at the offical website. Seeing how Bayer has managed to lose two games at home thus far, and with a defence as porous as a sieve, I’ll take anything other than a loss. Obviously.

In other news, a report on Germany’s win over Russia in the World Cup Qualifier in the recent international break by the ever-reliable and entertaining Raphael Honigstein. Unremarkable in and of itself, but that match also marked the international debut for Bayer’s very own René Adler as the German #1. Alas for Herr Adler, that event became a non-event in the wake of Podolski’s tragicomedy and Kuranyi’s snit fit and as such, he warranted not even a sentence in said report. I swear there’s a jinx on Bayer as anytime the club (or its players) do anything worth mentioning, some other player or team will outscore and out-drama us. Such is Bayer’s lot in life.

While we’re still on the subject of Adler, the official Bundesliga site has two nice write-ups on him, to be found in the Bayer section. I found the latter one discussing his formative years spent in Rüdiger Vollborn’s household especially interesting.

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