RB Leipzig Atop of the German Bundesliga in Soccer

Stadium woes

FC Bayern Munich dethroned of top spot for the first time in almost one and a half years.

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DORTMUND/LEIPZIG- Before this weekend, two questions were burning in the hearts and minds of soccer fans in Leipzig, Munich, Dortmund and Leverkusen. The first one is how long the team of FC Bayern Munich can stay on top, having conquered the top spot for 39 soccer matches and 425 days. The second one is whether the team’s closest competitor, RB Leipzig would overtake Munich, given its record-breaking debut in the German Bundesliga. After all, the team had previously set a record for winning the first six matches and being undefeated after ten matches (the three ties included) as a newcomer from the second league.

Both questions have been answered thanks to Leipzig’s victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Friday and Borussia Dortmund’s victory over FC Bayern Munich a day later. Leipzig became not only the first team since Dortmund to take over first place, but also the first East German team to reach the top since Hansa Rostock did that in 1991.

The highlights of the game in short:

Leipzig   3:2    Bayer Leverkusen

Leipzig and Leverkusen were deadlocked during much of the game, with the latter taking the lead twice until the 67th minute, when Emil Forsberg tied it up. 14 minutes later, Willi Orban sealed the deal with a shot of his own. It was then the defense and the team’s goalie that made sure the lead was never relinquished. Leverkusen had the ball for most of the game, but it shear luck and strategie that has now kept Leipzig the lone undefeated team left in the Bundesliga. Details here.

Bayern Munich    0:1     Borussia Dortmund

As expected, Bayern Munich came out aggressive and played the black and gold team as if they owned the game. However it was Dortmund that figured them out and came out attacking during the game. While the game ended in a 1:0 victory in favor of Dortmund, it was a relief for many, including coach Thomas Tuchel who explained that it was a narrow-escape. After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the lone goal in the 11th minute, it was up to the rest to keep the red-white-blue team in check, as it could not find any answers. Details here.

With Leipzig now holding the top spot in the Bundesliga, the question now is will they be there to stay or will Munich take revenge and reclaim the top spot? There’s still a month left until they meet for the first time on 21 December. In the meantime, there is still a lot of soccer left in this season.

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This latest development in German soccer has led to a pair of questions for you to think about before 21 December:

The last time Leipzig won a national league soccer title was in 1903. But this record may fall after this season. Therefore…..

 

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Moving On Up in the East in German Soccer

Stadium woes

 

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RB Leipzig, Dynamo Dresden and Erzgebirge Aue, all in Saxony, are going up one league in the coming soccer season.

The German state of Saxony is celebrating this week, for despite having a week left in the regular soccer season, three teams are being promoted to the national level, one of which will make its debut in the German Premere League (1st Bundesliga). The automatic promotion only applies to the top two teams in each flight of the soccer league, with a relegation playoff match taking place between the third place finisher in the lower league and the third to last place finisher in the upper league. Dresden and Aue finished in the top two respectively in the third league, thus automatically qualifying for the second league or what Germans call the Unterhaus der Bundesliga. Würzburg can join them if the team defeats the third place finisher in the playoff match once the regular season concludes. Despite its placing in second behind SC Freiburg, RB Leipzig will enter the top tier of the German soccer league next season after its victory today. How they got there? Here is a brief summary:

SG Dynamo Dresden-  The team carrying the colors of Germany will make its debut in the second tier of the German league for the first time since 2014. After finishing sixth in the standings in the third league last season, the team under head coach Uwe Neuhaus and assistant coach Peter Nemeth started the season strong and on top and never looked back for despite having 20 wins, 15 ties and two losses, the team advanced to the second league two weeks ago after tying Magdeburg 2-2. The team set the mark for being the earliest promoter with four games left in the season. Another reason to celebrate is the team being debt free for the first time since 1995. Acquiring players and coaches, combined with the construction of a new soccer stadium in 2009 contributed to the team’s financial woes. However, despite this, the team utilized a variety of players from many parts of Germany and eastern Europe to pull it off. The question is how to advance in the next stage, for the team had struggled mightily in the second league before being demoted to third league play in 2014. But with a clean slate and high quality players, it is possible that the team might achieve its next goal: the return to the Oberhaus for the first time since 1995. Whether it is in the next season or the 2017/18 season depends on the team’s developments but things are looking really good for Dresden at this point…..

Erzgebirge Aue- Located in the Ore Mountain region in southern Saxony, the 72-year old club is no stranger to the second league as it had been competing in that league for 10 out of the last 13 seasons since 2003. After being relegated in the third league last season, the team and its head coach, Pavel Dotchev made it clear that it wanted to go back. The team’s wish came true yesterday, after Aue defeated Fortuna Cologne 2-0, solidifying its second place finish and forcing third place finisher Würzburg to play in the relegation playoff game at the end of the season. This with one game left in the regular season.

RasenBallsport Leipzig- People in the city of Leipzig are celebrating its return to the big times for the first time since 1994. That was the last time a soccer team had competed with the likes of Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin. VfB Leipzig was the last team to compete in the Unterhaus before being demoted after the 1993/4 season and subsequentially beginning its gradual demise, which ended in the team being dissolved through bankruptcy in 2004. Other teams in Leipzig have made attempts to climb back to the national stage, such as the (now defunct) Saxony Leipzig and Loc Leipzig but with no success. However Leipzig is returning to its glory days this fall with RB Leipzig making it to the first league! After defeating Karlsruhe 2-0 today, the team under Ralf Ranick has placed the city back on the map again. The team, which is owned by Red Bull Beverages in Austria, has been the darling of German soccer, as it has marched its way through the ranks since its inception in the fifth league (Oberliga) in 2009, having advanced every season except last year, where it finished sixth in the second league. However this season, the team upgraded its talent and finished in second place with 20 wins, six losses and seven ties, two wins less than SC Freiburg but two more than FC Nurnemberg, which awaits its opponent from the 16th place finisher in the Oberhaus. Leipzig will receive new faces come this fall as Ralph Hasenhuttl will take over as head coach of RB Leipzig, while Ranick, whose storied career included creating a winner in Premere league team 1899 Hoffenheim, will continue operations as manager. In either case, after being the first of 90 German soccer teams that formed the Bundesliga in 1900 but being absent from the top league for 22 years, Leipzig is back, and with that, tens of thousands of fans will storm the stadium this fall to watch them annoy the well-established Bundesliga teams! 🙂

 

With these three teams already going up, we may have another one after this month if FSV Zwickau in the Oberliga North East Division maintains its course. With three games left, the team in first place has more or less locked up its regular season championship. It must participate in the relegation playoff game with the first place finisher in the western division of the Oberliga after the regular season ends. The team with the highest goal ratio in their favor after two games will advance. The team failed to achieve this last season with Magdeburg advancing to the third league. However, this team has a greater chance of achieving this goal this time around. If so, there will be four teams from Saxony moving on up, thus making the eastern German state an attractive place for people to go for soccer. More on this development to follow.

In the meantime, the Flensburg Files would like to congratulate Dresden, Leipzig and Aue for making it to the big times. Best of luck in the coming season! 😀

 

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Glamorous German Cup Highlights?

Stadium woes

 

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The 2015/16 soccer season in Germany is not more than a couple weeks in its infancy, yet there has been a lot of action going on off the field, which has kept the German Soccer Federation really busy, and the fans slapping their hands across their foreheads in disbelief. Despite some tougher sanctions put in place to control the rowdiness after four soccer matches in the German Bundesliga resulted in the use of brute force by the police, even tougher measures are being considered after some cheap shots from fans that are making soccer a not so fun game to watch. It also leads to some questions of what measures that exist, had such unsportsmanship by fans existed in other sports, such as American football, basketball, baseball, etc. Naturally, it is clear that thou shall not forget the infamous NBA basketball brawl from 2004 and the consequences that happened to both players and fans in the form of fines, lifetime bans and other sanctions.

So I came up with some highlights from three soccer events with some questions for you to discuss, in hopes that some solutions are found in these cases. As for one of the cases, the idea of earning an important necessity through a victory went to extremes but as one person pointed in a discussion recently, the women’s professional soccer team could do better than the men’s team. So here are the highlights:

RB Leipzig vs. VFL Osnabrück: Game called because of official getting hit by a lighter.

The first controversial event in this Newsflyer article comes from Leipzig during the first round of the German Cup (D: DFB Pokal). Second League team and host RB Leipzig was trailing third League visiting team VfL Osnabrück (in Lower Saxony) 1-0 in the second half of the game. In the 71st minute, the game had to be called off because of this incident (note the main official or referee of the game is dressed in red):

 

After getting hit with a lighter from one of the fans, the game had to be called off, and the official had to leave to be treated for head injuries. While sanctions and fines in the tens of thousands of Euros are pending, both teams are filing a petition to the German Soccer Federation, calling for the score to be nullified and the game to be repeated, this despite a possible consideration of having the game be forfeited in favor of Leipzig. They both have apologized for this unfortunate incident that was beyond their control.

Here’s the question for discussion:  Should the game be repeated and if not, what other alternatives would you consider to show that this incident is not to be tolerated?  If caught, should the fan be banned from attending soccer games for life?

 

Latest reports revealed that a fan from Osnabrück, living in Bielefeld is being investigated for the incident. But as of now, unless there is a full confession, it is unknown who stopped the game, let alone ruined it for the other fans and players…..

 

 

 

Local Soccer Team to be Expelled from League for being a Nazi-group?

Here’s a question for you soccer fans: Imagine you coach a local soccer team and you face a team like the one in the film clip below, that is notorious for cheap brutal hits on the soccer field, Hitler greetings (which are banned by German law), racial slurs and having right-wing extremists as soccer players. Would you take the field against this team, or would you forfeit the game out of protest, risking a fine for the incident?

In the Jerichow Land district, located in northern Saxony-Anhalt near Stendal, the FC Ostelbien Dornburg is the target of a possible expulsion from the state soccer league for the above-mentioned reasons. A notion has been filed to the league office in Magdeburg with the decision to be made before the start of the season on 31 August. Already the opponent teams are protesting against taking the field against this team, and 59 out of 65 referees are refusing the officiate any games that deal with this troubled club. Furthermore, civil action and other legal measures for violating civil rights laws are pending. If in favor, the team will be shut down and not be allowed to participate in the league during the season. The team plans to appeal if it comes to that.

 

Lights for Stadium are earned, not given?  How FC Carl Zeiss Jena earned its lights after a lights-out party against Hamburg SV

What does it take to have a new stadium with a new set of lighting? How about a David versus Goliath victory, as seen in this game between the Regionalliga (fourth league) host FC Carl Zeiss Jena and Premere League visitor Hamburg SV, when the host lit up the Ernst Abbe Football Stadium and Sports Complex by upending the dinosaur, 3-2 in overtime.  Hamburg, which saved itself from being demoted to the Second League for three seasons in the row, appeared to be no match against a young, feisty team that is hungry to return to the national level after a three season absence, as seen on the highlights below:

Jena, which has been fighting for a new stadium for eight years, lost its beloved stadium lights to flooding in 2013 and almost had to build a new stadium in the souther suburb of Lobeda near the motorway. Yet support for a centrally-located stadium is extremely high, which has kept the city busy. More so, the city has been hemming and hawing about the stadium lights as they should be integrated into the new stadium itself. But with a low number of fans in the last three seasons, there was no rush, with even some people commenting about its team becoming a memory, like FC Saxony Leipzig (which folded in 2012). This victory, the first in the history of the German Cup, not only takes Jena to the second round, where they will play at the end of October, but it has prompted the city to scramble for new lighting and a new stadium.  This has led to the question of the difference between a necessity and a luxury and some exercises for the readers below:

1. What constitutes a necessity for a football stadium and which ones are a luxury? Choose the words below and put them into the two categories:

bleachers      scoreboard     hotel       conference center       stadium lighting      heating for soccer field   food court     beer stand     ticket building      VIP box     press box

 

2. Should the city of Jena have pursued the stadium lighting right away or was it justified to wait until either the money was available or  the Regionalliga threatened to demote the team to the Oberliga (fifth league) and why?

 

3. Jena advanced to the Final Four of the German Cup during the 2007/08 season, when it was in the Second League. Do you think they will advance that far again?

 

4. Is the embarassing knock-out of Hamburg SV from the German Cup the beginning of the end of its tenure in the Premere League in this season, or will it rebound once the regular season begins?

 

Think about these questions and place your comments for one, two or all of the themes in the Comment section below. You can also post your comments on the Files’ facebook page and/or group page. The Files will keep you posted on the latest regarding these stories and perhaps some more interesting items coming out of this seasons soccer season in the Bundesliga.

 

Wolfsburg vs. Dortmund in the German Cup Finals

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May the spectacular season in the German Bundesliga become even more spectacular. A little more than a week after Jürgen Klopp, the face of the German soccer team Borussia Dortmund announced his resignation effective at the end  of this season, another rather interesting development happened in the German Cup semifinals (DFB Pokal), and this time, it occurred at a very unlikely place.

This year’s finals, scheduled for May 30th in Berlin, will not feature returning championship FC Bayern Munich, who had won the title for two straight years. Despite winning its second regular season title early last week- the second year in a row that it happened, its quest for its second straight triple crown (the Champions League Title, the German Cup and the regular season title) ended in a rather unusual manner, in the hands of Jürgen Klopp and the team in black and gold from Dortmund. Bayern, on its  own home turf, lost 3-1 in the shootout, but how it ended can be best described in the video below:

 

The rather comincal errors committed by Bayern Munich is still being talked about in the social media, as many anti-Bayern fans have used two soccer players slipping while kicking the ball as a platform for suggesting high heels and groundskeepers quitting. 😉  But on the flip side, many questions are being fired at Klopp, asking him “Are you sure you really REALLY want to step down?” In either case, Klopp can leave the scene as a winner in the German Cup finals, for his team will face VFL Wolfsburg, which made its game against Armenia Bielefeld in North-Rhine Westphalia look like a walk in a park on a Sunday afternoon, winning 4-0 against the Third League team destined for the Second League in the next season.  Highlights of the game are below:

Wolfsburg has already locked up its place in the Champions League for next season and is currently in a distant second place in the standings in the Bundesliga. While the team in green and white are heavily picked to win the German Cup, do not count out Klopp and Co., for although the regular season was not so spectacular, the team has played the role of Cinderella during this half of the season and may even have a shot of playing the spoiler.

And Jürgen Klopp leaving Dortmund a winner.  We’ll have to see how the results fan out. The Files will provide you with the results of the finals and the highlights. Stay tuned.

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Jürgen Klopp Calls It Quits

Head Coach of German Soccer Team Borussia Dortmund to step down after the end of the season

FlFiNewsflyer logoDORTMUND- The 2014/15 soccer team in the German Bundesliga has, so far, been a season full of surprises- both in terms of Cinderella teams as well as major disappointments. Of these extremes, there is one major surprise that will be talked about in the coming months. Jürgen Klopp, the man with the hairdo and the colorful personality as head coach of the Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund will step down from his post effective on 30th June, the official end of the 2014/15 season. Klopp came to Dortmund in 2008 after coaching for seven years in Mainz, the same team where he spent his career playing soccer. After taking the team to the top level of soccer, Klopp took over the black and gold team, leading them to the Seasonal Championships in 2011 and 2012, the German Cup in 2012 and the Super Cup in 2008, 2013 and 2014. He was named Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012. However, despite his successes, his popularity waned and conflicts between him and the management escalated after finishing second in the Champions League last year, for Dortmund has spent all of this season in the bottom half of the standings, at times being in last place. While the team is no longer in danger of being relegated to the second tier of the Bundesliga, Klopp felt in the press conference today that it was time to call it quits and step aside.  While there is speculation that he will join an English Premier League Team in the future, his plan after the season is taking a hiatus to spend time with his family before making the next move in his career.

Klopp will be remembered for bringing Dortmund to greatest, especially after winning the championships in 2011 and 12 on the German level, as well as taking the team to the Champions League Finals against Bayern Munich, which won the trophy 2-0. But even more so, he will be remembered for his fiery personality on the field, bringing the fans to their feet and putting the referees on their toes if they make a controversial call. The most famous blow-up came in the Champions League game against Napoli (as seen in the video) which became famous among social networks. What will make Klopp bolt for England is his usage of English during his press conferences, with many expressions producing some humor among the audience, even if his comment of “the result was so s**t,” after the loss in the Champions League Finals was deemed inappropriate among American media standards.  While many coaches in American sports are known for their emotional behavior both on the field as well as off (please see the example in a previous post), on the international level, Klopp will most likely end up in the Top 10 of the most emotional but dedicated coach both in soccer as well as in sports in general. And there is enough evidence to prove it, as you will see in the example videos below.

And while Klopp prepares his exit from the stadium stage right, and ride off in the sunset, he will leave a legacy behind in Dortmund, something that the next coach will have to match. To close the article, here’s a question for the forum: What will you miss from Klopp as head coach of Dortmund?

Leave your comments below as well as in the Files’ facebook page.

Here are the videos of Jürgen Klopp’s Greatest Hits during his days in Dortmund for you to enjoy:

 

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