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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

German Bundesliga Week 18 Tipping

Bundesliga is coming back in action! After the 6-week winter break all teams now in the combat mode to fight for what they want. Generally the matchup is quite clear cut so there will not be any surprises this week. Here's the tipping of week 18:

Hamburger SV (4th) vs Bayern München (2nd) - Friday: What a restart! It is a close matchup as both teams are back in match form so quickly. Hamburger had sold Nigel de Jong to Manchester City recently so I think their midfield power is weakened a bit. However, the team is focusing on the team work and team chemistry so that I do not think there will a huge impact. The suspension of Ivica Olic is a huge impact indeed as he is the best form striker in the team. So it is quite hard for them to win. On the other hand, Bayern come back to action in style as they beated Stuttgart 5-1 in the Cup match 2 days ago. Franck Ribery, Luca Toni, and Bastian Schweinsteiger are all back in excellent form so they are the real threat to Hamburger and the real key of the match. Bayern only has Massimo Oddo suspended and I do not think it will bring too many impact to the team. Another piece of news that Willy Sagnol is officially retired but it also will not bring impact to the team. As Bayern has more good available players, I believe they will win even away from home.
Last round: Match draw 2-2
My tipping: Bayern win 2-1

Hannover 96 (13th) vs Schalke 04 (7th) - Saturday: Hannover seemed very quiet in the winter break so I think their recent form is a bit in doubt. As they have been eliminated from the DFB Porkal, this is their first formal competition after the winter break. It is doubtful that the regular starters like Jan Schlaudraff, Mikael Forssell, and Szabolcs Huszti are in form to play against Schalke. On the other hand, Schalke seems are back in form as they won in DFB Porkal 2 days ago. Kevin Kuranyi had a good start of 2009 by scoring one goal but I am still in doubt that he is back in top form or not. He has to prove himself again in this match. Same as Jefferson Farfan, he needs to prove himself that he is worth more than 10 million Euro, which Schalke paid PSV Eindhoven last season. I do not think Schalke will win easily, but base on better quality, I think Schalke still have better chance to win.
Last round: Schalke win 3-0
My tipping: Schalke win 1-0

1. FC Köln (11th) vs VfL Wolfsburg (9th) - Saturday: Köln is the other team which is quiet in the winter break, they only had signed 2 new midfielders so far. The warmup match is also tend to be under the raider, so I doubt about their form back to the formal competition. Novakovic will be the only reliable striker again as Lukas Podolski will not join the team until the coming summer. The midfield will be their key to win the match. On the other hand, Wolfsburg is in the top form as they won DFB Porkal against Hansa Rostock 5-1. Grafite is back in top match form as he scored 3 goals in the match. New defender Peter Pekarik may start the match as the original Wolfsburg defense is not trustable. The other new signing Yoshito Okubo maybe at the bench first as the attacking is good enough. I believe the match form will drive this match, and Wolfsburg will have the upper hand.
Last round: Wolfsburg win 2-1
My tipping: Wolfsburg win 2-1

Borussia Dortmund (6th) vs Bayer Leverkusen (5th) - Saturday: This is the blockbuster in the Saturday action. Both teams had played the DFB Porkal last night but the fate was different. Leverkusen had reached the Quarter Final in 6 years but Dortmund had failed to go further. Both teams have not changed too much in the transfer market so the original lineup will continue to be the key. Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels from Dortmund will be the most important players in the game as it will be the real test for them to stop the top form strikers such as Patrick Helmes and Stefan Kießling. On the other hand, Leverkusen's Tranquillo Barnetta will be the most important player in the match as his stamina and dribbling skills can relieve the striking pressure a lot. It will be very even match so I tend to predict a draw for both teams.
Last round: Dortmund win 3-2
My tipping: Match draw 2-2

Hertha Berlin (3rd) vs Eintract Frankfurt (12th) - Saturday: The latest transfer from Hertha Berlin is they signed Marko Babic from Real Betis. He can relieve some pressure from the midfield and helps to improve the midfield creativeness. I believe they continue to be solid in defense so that Frankfurt will find a hard time to attack. As they did not have the DFB Porkal to play, I believe they are in the top level of stamina, but, they also are in doubt of the match form. On the other hand, Frankfurt is also their first formal compeition since the 2009 so I also think that their match form is not good enough. Plus their midfield and the attacks are still not trustable so that I think they find very hard to beat Hertha Berlin. New signed striker Leonard Kweuke may become the crucial player in the match, if he can relieve the pressure from Fenin, who is in low form all around in the first half of the season. As Hertha Berlin has the tougher defense, I believe they will win this one.
Last round: Hertha Berlin win 2-0
My tipping: Hertha Berlin win 3-0

1899 Hoffenheim (1st) vs Energie Cottbus (16th) - Saturday: The latest news is Hoffenheim had loan Boubacar Sanogo from Werder Bremen. It is very doubtful for me if he can replace Vedad Ibisevic, who scored 18 goals in Bundesliga but has the season ending injury. This is because Sanogo is very poor in finishing so that he may bring more harm to Hoffenheim. However, as Timo Hildebrand had joined the club, I believe the team is becoming solid in defense. Even Ibisevic is injured, I believe Demba Ba and Carlos Eduardo are too much for Cottbus. On the other hand, Cottbus had signed so many players in order to improve the overall strength, but I do not believe the effect will come to the team in this match. The key of Cottbus is still the attacks. If they cannot give any pressure to Hoffenheim in attacks, they will go back home with empty handed.
Last round: Hoffenheim win 3-0
My tipping: Hoffenheim win 2-0

VfB Stuttgart (10th) vs Borussia Möchengladbach (18th) - Saturday: Stuttgart had a very slow restart after the winter break as they were beaten 5-1 against Bayern 2 days ago. It is humiliating for them and it also proves that they are not ready. They must pick up the pace soon so that they will bring surprise for us in this match. Mario Gomez is the only player who is ready for the restart and he will be the most important player in this match. The defense must wake up now and concentrate to the game play. So this is the other factor they must watch out for. Gladbach is the other team right now. They made so many changes in the winter break showed they made the last ditch effort to save themselves from relegation. I seriously doubt their team chemistry so that I predict to see there are only 11 individual players on the field, not an one team. The new goalkeeper Logan Bailly will be the most important player in the team, and let's see how long he can hold.
Last round: Stuttgart win 3-1
My tipping: Stuttgart win 3-0

Werder Bremen (8th) vs Arminia Bielefeld (14th) - Sunday: Werder Bremen showed that they are ready for the season restart with a hard fought win against Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the DFB Porkal match. Hugo Almeida, Claudio Pizarro, and Diego are back in form so that they will be the main factor to drive the team to win the match. The only concern is the defense. New signed defense midfielder Alexandros Tziolis needs to be further proven his ability and the influence in the team. Also, Per Mertesacker is still the only player who can trust in the entired defensive line. On the other hand, Bielefeld needs to rely on Vlad Munteanu to create goals against Werder Bremen, but I concern if the other players can match him to finish his creativeness. I believe Munteanu will have a busy time in this match as he is the only player who can trust in attack. So this match Werder Bremen can effectively control the midfield and keep pressure on the opponent.
Last round: Match draw 2-2
My tipping: Werder Bremen win 3-0

VfL Bochum (17th) vs Karlsruher SC (15th) - Sunday: This is the critical relegation avoiding match. Bochum is very desperate to seek for their second win of the season and now here comes a chance. New signed striker Diego Klimowicz will be very important for Bochum and the whole team are looking for his scoring ability to lead them to win. However, the departure of Tomasz Zdebel will hurt the team a lot, so that it is very crucial for the team to control the midfield. On the other hand, Karlsruher had loan Dino Drpic for fortifying the defense, but Maik Franz will have a long injury as he needs to undergo the surgery. More bad news is, they lost to Wehen in the DFB Porkal at home, it shows they still cannot pull out of the trouble from the first half of the season. However, it is lucky that they should not care about this match too much, as they have more important match to come, that is this match. The key of this match is the midfield. The winner of this match is because they can control the midfield.
Last round: Karlsruher win 1-0
My tipping: Match draw 1-1

So that's it for my tips. Have a good week!

Friday, January 23, 2009

German Bundesliga second half season team by team preview (Part 3)

Last time I have already previewed the 7th to 12th teams in the table. This time I will preview the bottom 6 teams, which they are in trouble in fighting for relegation survival.

Hannover 96 (13th):

Transfer In: Nil
Transfer Out: Nil
Preview: They are the only 2 teams which did not take any actions in the winter transfer (the otehr is Hertha Berlin). I believe they are confident about the team squad and do not want to affect any team chemistry. Jan Schlaudraff and Mikael Forrsell are performing very well so far so that I am not too worried about the attacking. However, they are facing the injury crisis in the defense line, so I personally am very concerned about the squad depth in the defensive line. I believe they are going to have a huge test in the defense in the second half of the season and even I believe they will not be relegated, I believe they find a very hard time to fight for survival.

Arminia Bielefeid (14th):

Transfer In: Vlad Munteanu (MF - VfL Wolfsburg - on loan); Kevin Kerr (MF - Arminia Bielefeld II)
Transfer Out: Siyabonga Nkosi (MF - Maccabi Netanya); Stefan Aigner (MF - 1860 München); Nils Fischer (DF - Wuppertaler SV Borussia - on loan); Bernd Korzynietz (DF - MSV Duisburg - on loan)
Preview: I believe Bielefeld had identified the problem so that they loan Munteanu in order to improve the creativity in the midfield for creating more goals, as they only managed to score 15 times in the first 17 games. Kerr is still doubtful if he can create anything practical in the team or maybe the team just fancy him that he can do anything special. The attacking will be very crucial for them as this is their weakest point in the whole team. Meanwhile, I believe Munteanu will be the crucial player as he maybe the leader in the attacking force. There is still some hope for them to avoid relegation, if the attacking is significantly improved.

Karlsruher SC (15th):

Transfer In: Marco Engelhardt (MF - 1. FC Nürnberg); Giovanni Federico (FW - Borussia Dortmund - on loan)
Transfer Out: Nil
Preview: In these 6 teams mentioned in this article, I believe Karlsruher did the best job in the transfer market. They pinpointed the problem and solved it well. Engelhardt is an effective midfielder and he can help the team to control the midfield well, as they never did it right in the first half of the season. Ferderico on the other hand, is very effective striker and he can convert the chances into goal effectively. However, the only concern of Ferderico is the match fitness. If he can keep himself fit on the field, I believe he can help the striking force and relieve Josh Kennedy. So even they had a long sreak without winning, I believe they are the first team who can pick up the pace and avoid the relegation.

Energie Cottbus (16th):

Transfer In: Jan Rajnoch (DF - FK Mlada Boleslav); Nils Petersen (FW - Carl Zeiss Jena); Ovidiu Burca (DF - Beijing Guoan - loan return); Adi (FW - SK Austria Kärnten)
Transfer Out: Igor Mitreski (MF - Germinal Beerschot - on loan)
Preview: Cottbus is the other team who can point out the problem, but it is very doubtful that those new players can solve the problem. Only scoring 12 goals in 17 games is the primarily problem they must think about, so they sign Adi, who is reported that he can bring the scoring ability from Austria to Germany. Petersen, the other new striker, is still doubtful for improving the scoring problem as he played for the lower division team as well. However, their morale and the attitude are one of the best within all 18 teams in the Bundesliga, so I believe it is their biggest advantage to bring the team out of trouble again, just like in 2007-2008 season. So, Cottbus is the other team I feel optimistic in the relegation fight.

VfL Bochum (17th):

Transfer In: Diego Klimowicz (FW - Borussia Dortmund)
Transfer Out: Tomasz Zdebel (MF - Bayer Leverkusen); Danny Fuchs (MF - 1. FC Kaiserslautern - on loan); Marc Sand (FW - SK Austria Kärnten - on loan)
Preview: I believe Bochum should have done more in the winter transfer market. Only Klimowicz is not enough to fix the problem in the team. They only managed 1 win in 17 games because they do not have efficient midfield attack and the effective striking force. Even Zdebel is only an ordinary player in the Bundesliga, he is very important in the team and now he is gone, I do doubt their leadership in the field. So I do believe Bochum is very hard to avoid the relegation without the leadership, or I can say relegation is inevitable for them.

Borussia Möchengladbach (18th):

Transfer In: Tomas Galasek (MF - Banik Ostrava); Logan Bailly (GK - K.R.C. Genk); Dante (DF - Standard Liege); Christian Dorda (DF - Borussia Möchengladbach II); Tony Jantschke (MF - Borussia Möchengladbach II); Paul Stalteri (DF - Tottenham Hotspur)
Transfer Out: Soumaila Coulibaly (MF - released); Sebastian Svärd (MF - Hansa Rostock - on loan); Sascha Rösler (MF - 1860 München); Alexander Voigt (DF - SpVgg Greuther Fürth); Sharbel Touma (FW - released); Uwe Gospodarek (GK - released); Marcel Ndjeng (MF - released)
Preview: From this long list I can see Gladbach are really panic in the relegation fight. It seems they have placed their last chip in the gambling table. This is not a good moment to change so drastically in the winter transfer market as the team needs to rebuild the chemistry. Those new players are quite good on quality so their experience can improve the team in certain extent. However, it is really doubtful that they can get along to each other in a such a short period of time. Now time is the biggest enemy of Gladbach and they do not have time to test the new tactics and the players anymore. In some extent they can fight back in the game but generally they cannot avoid relegation.

So that's it in my team by team preview. As the season is getting closer to start, I will make the matchday prediction weekly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

German Bundesliga second half season team by team preview (Part 2)

Last time I had previewed the teams from 1st to 6th in the second half of the season. In this second part, I will preview the teams from 7th to 12th:

FC Schalke 04 (7th):

Transfer In: Danny Latza (MF - Schalke 04 II); Marvin Pourie (FW - Liverpool Reserves and Academy)
Transfer Out: Albert Streit (MF - Schalke 04 II); Gustavo Valera (MF - released); Peter Lovenkrands (FW - released); Ze Roberto (MF - Flamengo - on loan); Markus Heppke (MF - Rot-Weiß Oberhausen); Marvin Pourie (FW - 1860 München - on loan)
Preview: I do not believe they did change anything at all in the winter transfer in order to improve their poor performance in the first half of the season. From their transfer moves, I believe they are reforming the team for the 2009-2010 season as they released a lot of unused players. They only signed 2 young players and I do not believe they will have any chance to start the match. So the attacking problem of the team will still remain as Kevin Kuranyi and Jefferson Farfan will be still on the field and they do not perform so well at all. However, there is a good news that they do not need to get distracted for the European matches so that their fitness is their biggest advantage. So, I believe they will stay in this position at the end of the season.

Werder Bremen (8th):

Transfer In: Alexandros Tziolis (MF - Panathinaikos - on loan)
Transfer Out: Carlos Alberto (MF - Vasco da Gama - on loan); Said Husejinovic (1. FC Kaiserslautern)
Preview: Werder Bremen only fine tune their squad in the winter transfer market. They made the correct move to loan the defensive midfield, Tziolis from Greece. However, is it enough? The problem of the defense is not really solved yet as I predict the new comer will be the reliever of Torsten Frings, who is the starting defensive midfielder. On the other hand, the centre defender does not change so that Per Mertesacker is still the key of success. Claudio Pizarro, Aaron Hunt, and Markus Rosenberg will be the important factor of attacking because Diego need the target for his excellent through balls. As their defense is not improve too much, I believe they will keep focus on the "scoring one more goal than you" tactics in the remaining of the season.

VfL Wolfsburg (9th):

Transfer In: Yoshito Okubo (FW - Vissel Kobe); Peter Pekarik (DF - MSK Zilina)
Transfer Out: Vlad Munteanu (FW - Arminia Bielefeld - on loan); Bernd Korzynietz (DF - Arminia Bielefeld - loan return); Mame Niang (FW - Viking FK)
Preview: "Japan policy" is becoming the major transfer tactics from Wolfsburg side. This may because they are easy to purchase in terms of transfer fee and the competition of the transfer. Okubo is definitely has the ability to relieve Eden Dzeko and Grafite. However, it is all about the trust from Felix Magath if Okubo can play or not. So I guess Okubo will not have too many chance to perform himself in the football field. On the other side, Wolfsburg had made the correct decision on purchasing the young defender Pekarik. As the defense is the weakest link of Wolfsburg, they do need the central defender to relieve the pressure. I believe the defense will get improved at the certain extent, so that their position can be improved and they are the main top 5 challenger.

VfB Stuttgart (10th):

Transfer In: Timo Gebhert (MF - 1860 München)
Transfer Out: Pavel Pardo (MF - Club America); Manuel Fischer (FW - TuS Koblenz - on loan)
Preview: Report said Timo Gebhert is one of the most talented players in Germany, now it is time for him to prove himself how good he is. Generally Stuttgart feels satisfied about their performance and the lineup after Markus Babbel took control 3 months ago, so that they do not purchase so many players. Gebhert in a certain extent can relieve the pressure of the starter such as Sami Khedira and Thomas Hitzlsperger. However, I believe it is quite hard for him to get into the first team so I believe the effect of the change is very limited. On the other hand, the players who left the club are the unused players of Stuttgart, so I cannot see any huge impact to the team. I predict that Stuttgart will remain safe in the mid table but it is very hard to climb up the table to the top position.

1. FC Köln (11th):

Transfer In: Derek Boateng (MF - Beitar Jerusalem); Andre (MF - Nautico - loan return)
Transfer Out: Tobias Nickenig (DF - FC Vaduz)
Preview: Even the team had a very poor run before the end of the season's first half, I believe that the board are still happy with the performance and the table position. The purchase of Boateng and return of Andre is believed that the team would like to strengthen the midfield power, as this is the main reason why the team had a very poor run in first half of the season. I believe that Boateng can impact the team as Armando Petit cannot hold on the midfield in all 90 minutes as his fitness is not good enough. The departing player does not affect the team at all so that the team chemistry generally is affected by a bit in the beginning of second half of the season because the arrival of Boateng. So I predict the team will remain the position in the end of the season.

Eintract Frankfurt (12th):

Transfer In: Leonard Kweuke (FW - DAC Dunajska Streda - on loan)
Transfer Out: Aaron Galindo (FW -Club Deportivo Guadalajara)

Preview: Generally the team did not change at all. The main problem in the attack is Martin Fenin cannot find back his excellent form in 2007-2008 season, so that they have trouble in attacking. So that Frankfurt had loaned Kweuke to relieve the pressure from Fenin. However, it is doubtful for me that if he really does his job. Ioannis Amanitidis is the most important player in the team still, but I cannot see there is any players who can relieve him when he is not available to play, or he cannot perform well in the field. So this problem will still remain at the team and I think Frankurt will avoid the relegation as their first priority.

So this is the second part of the preview. The last part I will preview the bottom table team.

German Bundesliga second half season team by team preview (Part 1)

As the winter break coming to an end, all teams are geared up to fight to improve the result, like chasing for the title, improving the result, or avoiding relegation. Now I will divide into 3 parts to preview each team in the second half of the season:

1899 Hoffenheim (1st):

Transfer In: Timo Hildebrand (GK - Valencia)
Transfer Out: Jochen Seitz (MF - Alemmania Aachen); Francisco Copado (FW - SpVgg Unterhaching); Thorsten Kirschbaum (GK - FC Vaduz)
Preview: Generally Hoffenheim is very quiet in teh transfer market, they only signed a new goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand. This is a good move for them as Hoffenheim does not have any good goalkeeper at all. Plus the inexperienced defensive line, their defense is very vulnerable. So I believe Hildebrand can lead this defense line so that they can become solid in the defense. The attacking line did not change too much. However, there was a major setback that the leading scorer, Vedad Ibisevic, had been seriously injured and was confirmed that he will be out for the remaining of the season. The attacking line of Hoffenheim had lost the leadership and the other players such as Demba Ba, and Carlos Eduardo will be the critical point to lead to the team to continue the miraculous display.

FC Bayern München (2nd):

Transfer In: Landon Donovan (FW - LA Galaxy - on loan)
Transfer Out: Nil
Preview: Not surprising, Bayern is not the team which change too much in the winter transfer window. They only loaned Landon Donovan from LA Galaxy until 15 March. It is believed that Bayern would like to extend the loan deal if his performance is not too bad. They are in the formidable form before the end of 2008 and I believe their performance will continue to get better and better. The only concern is the defense is the major problem they need to think about. They lost too many careless goals in the first half of the season, so it is very crucial if they defend well. Moreover, the Champions League is coming into the climax and they will be distracted for sure. So the critical points for them are, they have to keep winning before the Champion League restarts, and, Landon Donovan can be the reliever of the attacking force.

Hertha Berlin (3rd):

Transfer In: Nil
Transfer Out: Nil
Preview: Well, I guess they are very happy with their display, they really deserved it to be frank. Their defense is very solid that the other teams cannot break them through easily. So they decided to do nothing in the winter transfer market in order to keep the team chemistry. The other factor that favoring them is, they have been eliminated from the European competition so they can focus into the league wholeheartedly. This is an obvious advantage for sure because when the league is getting into the climax, the team fitness is the most important factor. So I believe their excellent performance will continue to carry on so that every team should be careful.

Hamburger SV (4th):

Transfer In: Nil
Transfer Out: Vadis Odjidia-Ofoe (DF - Club Brugge); Anton Pusila (MF - Dinamo Minsk - loan return)
Preview: Not much change on Hamburger side, they only cleared out the unused players so I believe it did not affect the team chemistry. The Croatian duo, Ivica Olic, and Mlaten Petric will be the most important players in the attack, just like the first half of the season. With the aid of Pitor Trochowski, I believe their attacking is very threatening still. However, they did not get any new defenders and it will be the major setback for them. This is because the defense is not solid at all, so that it will affect their performance in the second half of the season. Furthermore, after the restart of the UEFA Cup, I believe their team fitness will be tested significantly so I believe they are very likely to lose points and then to be out of the title race.

Bayer Leverkusen (5th):

Transfer In: Tomasz Zdebel (MF - VfL Bochum)
Transfer Out: Marcel Risse (MF - 1.FC Nürnberg - on loan); Stefan Reinartz (MF - 1. FC Nürnberg - on loan); Atanas Kurdov (MF - FC Winterthur - on loan); Jens Hegeler (DF - FC Augusburg - on loan)
Preview: Generally Leverkusen did not change too much at all. They only purchase the substitute player, Tomasz Zdebel from Bochum. I believe it will not affect the starting lineup too much so it means Leverkusen still trust the young guns in the team. So their consistency will be the main factor to decide if they can go further. The players who are sent out are all for the loan, so that Leverkusen are keen on sending out the potential players in order to let them gain more match experiences. As they are all unused at the moment, I believe even there are lots of players are sent out, it will not affect their performance comparing to the first half of the season.

Borussia Dortmund (6th):

Transfer In: Kevin-Prince Boateng (MF - Tottenham Hotspur - on loan)
Transfer Out: Giovanni Ferderico (FW - Karlsruher SC - on loan); Diego Klimowicz (FW - VfL Bochum); Marc-Andre Kruska (MF - Club Brugge)
Preview: Change has been made in the defensive midfielder side. Maybe Kruska is not happy with lacking of first team football so he decided to leave. Therefore Dortmund to loan the unused Tottenham Hotspur player Boateng. Even though the player roster has changed, I do not believe there is any change in terms of the team strength. It is predicted that Boateng will be still the substitute, just like Kruska. Again young gun performance will be the main key to lead them to achieve further success. I believe their performance can challenge all the teams in the league. However, their lack of experience will also make them down.

So that's it for the first part. The second part I will preview the team from 7th to 12th in the table.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bayern München 2008 Review (Part 2)

Last time I had reviewed the first half of 2008 of Bayern München. This part I will review the later half of 2008, that is the first half of 2008-2009 Season. Bayern was on the track to become the European elite again, but they were facing the new challenger in the Bundesliga at the same time.

New coach, new style

Since the beginning of 2008 it was confirmed that former Germany national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann would take over Bayern in the start of 2008-2009 Season. Everyone knew he would bring a lot of new style to the team, and he did. Apart of the change outside the football field, such as reforming training system and re-innovating the training facilities, he did try a lot of new tactics. The most obvious change was the formation of 3-5-2, as well as forming the fast attacking team. The change came the rough start of the season, especially having a heavy 5-2 loss against Werder Bremen at home. However, after the players had adepted the change as well as the return of Franck Ribery, the team improved a lot and recorded an 11 unbeaten streak, and 8 of them were a win. Klinsmann's passionate personally also influenced the team, which now had the best form of the season.

The worst Oktoberfest

Traditionally the period of Oktoberfest is the best period of Bayern, but not for this season. During the period of Oktoberfest, the team recroded 2 losses, which were the only 2 losses in 2008-2009 Season. One of them was the humiliating 5-2 loss against Werder Bremen. Voices from some fans had been heard about asking sacking Klinsmann, as they felt sick about the worst start of the season. However, after the worst Oktoberfest, the team had been improving, and Klinsmann was secured to his job. Maybe the reason of the worst Oktoberfest, Bayern only managed to be at the 2nd place in the table after the first half of 2008-2009 season. Furthermore, Bayern never reached at the top of the table so far in the same season mentioned.

Bayern vs Hoffenheim - old tradition vs new power

Nobody had predicted this was the biggest rivalry match in the Bundesliga ever. New power Hoffenheim had surprised everyone and they were standing firm at the top of the table. Meanwhile, as Bayern were climbing up to the second place when they picked up the best form, this match would be the best match of the season. 5th December, 2008, this was the date of the match, Bayern hosted the match against Hoffenheim. Both teams performed very well and generally Bayern had controlled the match, but the team who took the lead first was Hoffenheim. Vedad Ibisevic scored goal first in 49th minute, but Phillip Lahm equalized at 60th minute. It seemed the match ended up with draw, Hoffenheim made the late mistake and Luca Toni converted it into the late late goal. This was the most important victory for Bayern as they could catch up the leader Hoffenheim with equal points, so they can be much easier to catch up to the top of the table in 2009.

Back to the European elite

This was their aim in the Champions League. After the great purchase in 2007-2008 season, the team players were better at the teamwork after the season long partnership. Different from the Bundesliga, Bayern performed very well in the Champions League. The team looked very solid in those 6-match performance and they had won the group to go through to the next round. When comparing to the other group winners, Bayern was also the first within them. This is because they played the solid defense football and it paid off. Their performance had proven themselves they came back stronger after the tragic season in 2006-2007. I believe they are one of the favorites to win the competition.

So I end up the review here. Next time I will make some preview of Bayern in the remaining half of the season, as well as previewing the other teams' performance in the remaining half of season.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bayern München 2008 Review (Part 1)

In 2008, Bayern München had lots of things to worth to review, such as winning the Bundesliga in 21st time, the greatest comeback against Getafe, the retirement of Oliver Kahn, and so on. Later last year Bayern had a big change since Jürgen Klinsmann had taken control of the team. In Part One I will review what happen in first half of 2008:

Easy league title victory

Bayern and Werder Bremen had a head to head title race in 2007 and Bayern only won the winter champion by goal difference. However, since the restart of the 2007-2008 Season, Bayern had shown their class again to stand firm in the top of the table and never look back. Luca Toni, Franck Ribery, and Ze Roberto were the main factor to assist Bayern to win back the title after the disappointment in 2006-2007 Season. At the same time, the solid defense was the key that Bayern could win the title so easily, they only conceded 21 goals, which broke the Bundesliga record. That was the easiest victory in around 5 seasons, as there was no real competition in the title race in 2008. Meanwhile, Bayern also won the DFB Porkal easily, and the domestic double were the easiest victory.

Superb Getafe comeback

The real competition in first half of 2008 was the UEFA Cup match. Evey fan supposed this was another easy title victory as the players were all outclassed to the other teams on paper. However, football match is not on paper. They had a very difficult time throughout the competition and Bayern always had a bumpy ride. The most memorable match should be the second leg of UEFA Cup Quarter Final against Getafe. Even Getafe lost a man during a match, they managed to score first. However, Bayern's spirit was high and their never give up attitude provided them to equalize the match in 90th minute and the match went extra time. Getafe, however, they scored 2 more goals to lead Bayern 3-1 with less than 10 minutes in the extra time. Everyone seemed Getafe would have a victory against Bayern at the moment as they had a solid lead, but except Bayern players. Their never give up attitude once again led them to go through. Luca Toni scored twice in the last 2 minutes of the match to equalized the game in 3-3 and Bayern went through in the away goal rule. This was definitely one of the most memorable matches ever in the Bayern history, and this was the greatest moment in first half of 2008.

Danke, Olli!! Danke Ottmar!!

The other memorable moment was the retirememt of Oliver Kahn and the departure of coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. Oliver Kahn had announced his retirement at the beginning of the 2007-2008 Season, so he desperately wanted to have some great achievement in his last season. It was very easy for him to win the domestic double as his great performance assisted the team a lot. He felt so emotional that the team equalized Getafe mentioned above, as he really wanted to win the European competition once again. However, Bayern had no match against the sole winner, Zenit St. Petersburg in the Semi Final of the competition. At the same time, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld had decided not to renew his contract in the beginning of 2008 in order to find some less pressure coaching job, and finally he coached Swiss national team. Hitzfeld was definitely the best coach in last 10 years of Bayern as he brought so many honors to the team and led them to reach to the top of Europe in 2001. So every fan felt thankful to these duo, as they were the best.

So here's the first part of the review. I will go on to review the second half of the season soon.