Thursday, 16 February 2012

Race for the title - German Bundesliga

It's been 21 game days in the 2011/2012 season in old country's league (Germany that is), and I don't think I made one post about what is going on at this point and time. Well, the wait is over.

The race for the title seems like it will be decided between four teams (!!!). Something I haven't seen before. Over the course of me following the Bundesliga, it's either been Bayern Munich dominating the league and winning the title (boooooooring), or two big contenders fighting head to head.

As you might have guessed, Bayern is indeed one of those teams, but so is Dortmund, last year's champions. Bayern vs. Dortmund is an awesome rivalry, which you can compare to other great ones, like Chelsea vs. Manchester United and Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. Having traditional clubs fighting for the title is eye candy for every German soccer fan. So far, Dortmund has the upper hand with 46 points and taking first place, two points ahead of Bayern, who are second. A tight race indeed. I think they will go head to head until the final game day, and that's what a lot of fans would love to see.

But let's not forget the teams behind the two front-runners. One point behind Bayern is Moenchengladbach.

"Wait, what?? Didn't they fight against relegation last year?" Why yes they did. But my goodness, have they turned themselves over. Coach Lucien Favre has turned "The Foals" from harmless little colts into true war horses. Sounds like a very emotional feature film, right? *cough* Ok, bad reference.

I'm very happy to see Gladbach back on the top, like the dynasty they used to be in the 1970's, during the time of Guenter Netzer and Jupp Heynckes. Maybe they'll push for a last-minute comeback?

Further behind Gladbach is an old, familiar, and previously unlucky companion: Schalke. After 2001 and 2007, I never thought they would win the title, because of how much bad luck they have had in the title race over the many years. And even right now, their chances are slim, but nothing is impossible, right?

My prediction? I can't tell, but out of the four teams, I'd say: Anyone but Bayern! I don't care if either Dortmund or Schalke win it, just don't let Bayern's title collection shelf collapse.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Green of Hope - Germany's new away shirts

Ain't they beautiful?

This week, the German national team completed their kits by unveiling the new away jersey which will be used for the EURO 2012. The Green color makes a return with a simple and classic design, after being gone for 12 years. Grey, Red and Black were used for the away shirts in the last decade.

Germany has a long history with the color green, going way back into the 1950's, when Germany won their first World Cup in Bern, Switzerland, beating Hungary 3-2. Green was used as the away color then, along with the all-too-familiar white for home games, and it seemed to be fitting for them.

Green is also the color of the German Soccer Association (DFB). Throughout the years, Germany's away look has been that of green, because it's traditional and it connects with the DFB. According to newspapers I read (like Sport Bild back in Germany), the team received a lot of criticism when they dumped the green and unveiled grey away shirts for the World Cup 2002. Thankfully, they were only used once, when Argentina defeated the Germans 1-0 in an exhibition match.

Afterwards, Germany switched between red and black, including red during their home World Cup in 2006 and black during the last World Cup in South Africa. The black ones were very cool, and it seemed to be a good charm, when they beat Argentina 4-0 in the Quarterfinals. Wow, what a game that was. I still have the occasional dream about it.

It was nice to see what the team could look like with other colors, especially black, but in the end, the green wins my heart. It's simple, it's traditional, and defines a lot of the history of the national team. And in today's pop culture, who doesn't like to go back to old school?

I really like Germany's look this year, and I hope this translates into a big run for the EURO title this year. Deutschland vor!!