Sensation Made in Germany

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Magdeburg avenges Flensburg-Handewitt in the Handball German Cup, FC Bayern Munich wins another title, German Invasion in American Football?

The weekend of May 1 will go down as sensation made in Germany. A heavily favored team goes down in handball, the ladies soccer team beats the men at the title and lastly, a German is coming to Minnesota to play for his favorite professional football team. How did this happen? Let’s have a look at the highlights.

 

MAGDEBURG WINS FIRST GERMAN CUP IN 20 YEARS

Last year, the Fighting Albatrosses of SG Flensburg Handewitt stole not only one but two titles, including a stunning come-from behind victory against SC Magdeburg in the German Cup. This year, the team, with its aspirations of going for the triple crown, including the regular season title, may end up finishing the 2015/16 handball season empty handed. After being eliminated in the Champions League by Kielce (Poland) last week, the team had its last chance of redemption spoiled by SC Magdeburg. The team, currently in 10th place, not only beat the current second place team 32-30 today in Hamburg, taking revenge of last year’s defeat in the German Cup. Magdeburg’s German Cup championship is the first in 20 years. The team took advantage of early misques early by Flensburg and lead for much of the Finals game. Despite beating the Rhine-Neckar Lions 24 hours earlier, FH will need to win out and the Lions lose half of the remaining six games in order to win the regular season title. While Magdeburg is celebrating its first title in ages, this may serve as momentum going into the next season, as their place in the premere league is secured. 20 years was worth the wait. ūüôā

 

FC BAYERN MUNICH WINS ANOTHER TITLE 

The record is getting old and tattered and the songs are being played over again. But another soccer title is coming to Munich…..

in Women’s Soccer!

The ladies of FC Bayern Munich knocked off Bayer Leverkusen today by a score of 5-0. With only two games left in the season in the Bundesliga, the team coached by Thomas W√∂rle won its second regular season title in a row, dousing all hopes of second place finisher Wolfsburg of winning its second title in four ¬†years. The men’s soccer team has yet to clinch their 26th Bundesliga title. While they failed to do that in a 1-1 draw against M√∂nchengladbach yesterday, the team can still clinch the title in the next game against Ingolstadt on May 7th.

 

GERMAN AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYER COMES TO MINNESOTA

America has long since been the place where people go from rags to riches, even in professional sports. While the Baltimore Colts picked up a jem off the streets in Johnny Unitas and made him a champion quarterback (read about his history here), there is another person that is following his footsteps. The catch: he has played American football for only five years but never at an American college. And he’s from Germany! Moritz Boehringer, who played only one season in the Bundesliga version of American Football for the Unicorns of Schwabish-Hall, is heading to the Minnesota Vikings after the team drafted him on Saturday. He plays wide-receiver, has speed and can outsmart the defensive secondary. The question is with only a handful of years experience, can he pull it off in the big leagues? Growing up watching fellow Viking Adrian Peterson (who is running back) play, he will have his wish come true by meeting him and perhaps work together to get him acquainted with life in Minnesota, which is not only laden with American football on all levels in the fall, but also anything pertaining to the culture of snow and cold, which is typical of the professional sport. But for the German, who is entering a different culture, he will feel right at home as not only the team, but also the people in the state are keen of having a chat over hot chocolate, going ice fishing, displaying their prized animals at the state fair, golfing, travelling to the lakes area for a swim, watching baseball,….. ¬†In other words, herzliche Wilkommen in Minnesota von einem aus diesem Bundestaat gestammten Amerikaner, der seit fast 20 Jahren dein Land und seine Kultur als Kolumnist und Englischlehrer genossen hat. Viel Spass und viel Gl√ľck! ūüôā ¬†More on the German football player in Minnesota here.

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Lights Out for Hamburg Handball Team

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Hamburg SV leaves German Handball Bundesliga because of Concourse and License Revocation. Legal Action expected.

HAMBURG- There is an old saying that describes the mentality of the European sports leagues: “Money makes the world go round.” If there is no money to operate a team, the team folds. Teams go up and down the elevator model, where promotion to higher tiered leagues and demotion lower tiered leagues are not only based on the performance of the players, but also the financial health of the club. If one puts the American basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers in the equation, that team would have folded by now. The fortunate part is in case of hard times like the basketball team is going through, the league steps in to take ownership, reshape the club and look for a new owner to replace the one ousted for the inability to operate the team properly, especially in financial terms.

For the German professional handball team, Hamburger SV, the management is probably wishing that the American model was in place right now. The HSV has shut down operations this evening after receiving word on Wednesday that the team has lost its license to compete in the Premere League for the rest of the season. Furthermore, they will not be allowed to apply for the first or second tiers of the Bundesliga, thus putting them in the local league. The reason behind this was a snowball effect which has been in the making for well over a year. It started with a deficit, followed by the withdrawl of the main sponsor Andreas Rudolph, who had promised to invest 2.5 million Euros ($3.3 million) into the team, according to information from German public radio station NDR. The team was unable to come up with 2 million Euros at the end of the first half of the season. As a consequence, HSV filed for bankruptcy in December due to not enough liquidity to finance the remaining games of the season and the players. The German Handball Bundesliga revoked its license on Wednesday as a consequence, and the reaction was enormous. While almost all of the players have left the team, the revocation and as a result, the decision to shut down the Premere League team today will have negative repercussions on the league, as many teams hosting HSV in the second half of the season will have to recall the tickets, resulting in massive losses. Some of the teams, including Berlin, Minden and even Flensburg are considering legal actions against the now defunct team, demanding compensation for damages.

Hamburg’s demise is not the first in German or even American sports. Its exit from the top league is the first in handball since 1990. Yet its fall from grace is the first in German sports since the soccer teams of Kickers Offenbach and Dynamo Dresden. Offenbach was delegated to the regional league from the 3rd tier of the Bundesliga after the 2013/14 season for insufficient funding to continue in the upcoming season. Yet the last fall from the top came in 1995, when the German Soccer Federation denied the request of Dynamo Dresden to play in the 1st and 2nd league, thus forcing the eastern Saxony team to play in the regional league. That team is currently in first place in the 3rd League and is knocking on the door to its return to the 2nd League for the first time since 2014. On the American front, most of the teams folding due to financial issues came in the women’s basketball league, WNBA. The last casualty was the Sacramento Monarchs in California, where despite winning the WNBA championship in 2005, the team disbanded in 2009.

However, like this team as well as the Cleveland Browns in American football¬†(which went on hiatus from 1996-99), handball in Hamburg will eventually return to national stage. While the Premere League team, which won the Bundesliga championship in 2011 and the Champions League in 2013, is officially disbanded, despite its current 4th place finish, HSV’s junior team is making its way to the third tier in the handball food chain with its lead in the state league standings. Because the HSV sports organization will not be affected by the sudden destruction of the Premere League handball ¬†team, the junior team will have a chance to fill in the footsteps of the fallen dinosaur. If successful and if management can build a fan base and good sponsorship from companies in the free city, chances are that handball will return to national stage before 2020. It is highly unlikely that despite the potential legal actions, HSV will disappear and not return, like it happened to Saxony Leipzig in 2012. It would be too cruel to the city of nearly 2 million that has a popular Bundesliga soccer team. It will just be a few years before handball returns to national stage, and with that, a bigger fan base that will stay loyal until the very end. Just ask the fans of the Cleveland Browns, let alone the people in Sacramento, who are working to bring back the Monarchs to women’s basketball. ūüôā

 

For more on the latest with HSV, please follow NDR whose link is here.

 

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Germany Quiz Nr. 4: The Answers to the Questions about Lower Saxony

Can you guess what this building is? It's located in Brunswick in Lower Saxony. Photo taken in February 2015

There was a request by one of the readers asking for just some interesting facts about Germany and some of the states instead of the Q & A that has been posted to date. My response is by taking the Q & A away, it will take the art out of finding out the most interesting facts about states, like this one: Lower Saxony. ¬† ūüėȬ†¬† Admittedly there is so much to write about that even some questions had to be left out of this Quiz on Germany. But admittedly, the questions are a challenge and for those wanting the answers to the facts about this rather populous northern German state and their people, here they are below. Please note, the highlighted names contains links with additional information for you to click on and look at:

ūüôā

Variety Pack Questions:

  1. Eight German States and the Baltic Sea border Lower Saxony, making it the most bordered state in Germany. True of False?

False. Counting the enclavement of Bremen, Lower Saxony is bordered by NINE states (Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Pommerania, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse, Bremen, and North-Rhine Westphalia), plus the NORTH Sea. It also shares a border with The Netherlands to the west. Now that’s a LOT of states.¬†

2a. Lower Saxony was officially established after World War II in 1946 and consisted of the mergers of four former kingdoms. Name two of the four kingdoms.  Hanover, Schaumburg-Lippe, Brunswick and Oldenburg

2b. Of the four kingdoms, which one was the largest? Hanover  

Note: It was suggested that a state of Hanover was created through the British Zone, but inspite of debates and protests, all four of the former kingdoms merged to become the state and was subsequentially renamed Lower Saxony. Today the names exists but as part of the 38 districts that exist in the state.

  1. Put the following cities in order based on population from largest to smallest:

Oldenburg ¬† ¬†Brunswick (Braunschweig) ¬† Stade ¬† ¬†Wolfsburg ¬† ¬†Hannover ¬† L√ľneburg ¬† Uelzen ¬† Emden ¬†Osnabr√ľck

ANS: ¬†1. Hanover (518,386); 2. Brunswick (247,227); 3. Oldenburg (159,610); 4. Osnabr√ľck (156,315); 5. Wolfsburg (122,457); 6. L√ľneburg (73,581) 7. Emden (49,790); 8. Stade (45,317); 9. Uelzen (33,269)

  1. Lower Saxony is ranked SECOND in size behind Bavaria and FOURTH in population behind Bavaria, North Rhine Westphalia and Hesse, but is the state that is the most dense population of Germany.  True or False (just the points in cursive and bold print)

Lower Saxony is ranked fourth in population behind Bavaria, NRW and BADEN-WURTTEMBERG (ans. for 1st part is false)

But the state is the most densely populated in all of Germany. (True)

  1. Which rivers flow through and/or in Lower Saxony? Name three of them.

ANS: Elbe, Oker, Ems, Weser, Aller, Seeve, Aue, and others. 

  1. Braunkohl is a German vegetable that is well known in Lower Saxony and can be served with a local sausage. True or false?

TRUE: Never mistake this term with Braunkohle (brown coal) that you can find in the Ruhr River region and near Zittau in the Black Triangle Region. Both this rare cabbage type and the local (curry) sausage are a tasty combination.

  1. At Steinhuder Lake,located west of Osnabr√ľck, you will find eels. True or false?

FALSE: True there is a Steinhuder Lake and the eels are easy to find (and delicious when eating them), BUT the lake is northwest of Hanover. 

  1. Das Alte Land, located in the vicinity of the Elbe River north and west of Hamburg is Germany’s fruit garden. Name three fruits that grow there annually. ¬†Apples, Pears, Cherries, Berries, and other fruits.¬†

Multiple Choice:  Choose the correct city to answer the questions.

  1. Which city is home of one of the three automobile manufacturers in Germany. Choose the city and fill in the blank regarding the car brand. (Hint: Fahrvergn√ľgend is still the most popular car brand in the world.)

a. Wilhelmshaven ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†b. Wolfsburg ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† c. Celle ¬† ¬† ¬† d. L√ľneburg ¬† ¬† ¬†e. Hannover

The car brand? ¬†If you don’t know the car brand VOLKSWAGEN, Das Auto, then there’s something seriously wrong with you. ūüėȬ†

  1. Which city in Lower Saxony does not have a college or university?  How many colleges and universities does the state have?  ANS HERE: 26; six of them are in Hanover.

a. Hildesheim     b. Göttingen     c. Hannover    d. Cuxhaven     e. Emden

f. Vechta      g. Bremervörde

  1. In this town (A), you can try a drink with a spoon (B), but don’t forget to say your blessings first. ūüėČ

A:

a. Bad Zwischenahn          b. Bad Brahmburg      c. Leer        d. Norden

e. Bad Oldesloe     f. Brunswick

B:

a. Braunschweiger Mumme      b. Löffeltee      c. Ammerländer Löffeltrunk

d. Angler Muck     e. Toter Bruder

LINK: AMMERL√ĄNDER L√ĖFFELTRUNK

  1. Which city in Lower Saxony is not located in the Harz Mountains? (!: There are two different answers)

a. Goslar           b. Clausthal        c. Wenigerode        d. Osterode      e. Salzgitter       f. Braunlage

  1. Which city does not have a premier league sports team?

a. Buxtehude     b. Hannover      c. Brunswick      d. Emden       e. Oldenburg

  1. The New York Lions in the German American Football League is actually located in which city?

a. Hannover     b. Bremen        c. Brunswick       d. Göttingen     e. Celle

  1. Germany has the only true transporter bridge in left the country. It is located in Lower Saxony in which community?

a. Ostende      b. Hannover     c. Wilhelmshaven     d. Stade     e. Brunswick

LINK: TRANSPORTER BRIDGE AT OSTENDE

  1. The only combination cantilever-suspension-swing bridge left in Germany (and perhaps on European soil) is located in Lower Saxony. Where exactly is this bridge?

a. Göttingen    b. Wilhelmshaven    c. Lauenburg    d. Stadland   e. Hannover         f. Wattenscheid

LINK: WILHELMSHAVEN SWING BRIDGE

  1. Which town in Lower Saxony will you most likely find in the US?

a. Emden    b. Bergen     c. Hanover     d. Oldenburg    e. Berne    f. Uelzen

FACT: There are 19 towns in the US that carry the name Hanover, as well as 23 townships. The largest of them is Hanover, New Hampshire, where the state university is located. That one has 11,800 inhabitants.

Celebrities and Birth Places: Determine whether these statements are true or false. If false, correct the statements

  1. Maria Furtwängler, an actress who plays Charlotte Lindholm in the Tatort-Hannover series originates from Hanover.

ANS: False. She was born in Munich and belongs to one of the most powerful dynasties that still exist in Germany today. 

  1. Heiner Brand, head coach of the German National Handball Team, was born and raised in Brunswick.

ANS: False. Brand was born in Gummersbach in North Rhine Westphalia. He is the only German handball player and coach to have won the World Championship both as a player (1978) and a coach (2007). He was coach of the German National Handball Team from 1997 until his resignation in 2011, taking the team all the way to the World Cup Championship in 2007.

  1. In the film the Inglorious Bastards by Quentin Tarrantino, there were no German actors/actresses.

ANS: It would not be typical of the well-cultured producer and director to not have native-born German actors/actresses in a film, whose setting was in Nazi Germany. At least 25 people, including Daniel Br√ľhl and Til Schweiger were casted alongside Brad Pitt in this film. This included Diane Kruger, who was born in Hildesheim (near Hanover) and played Bridget von Hammersmark in the film. A well-thought film produced by a well-known name, but the answer to this question is clearly FALSE!

  1. Gerhard Schröder, the successor of Chancellor Angela Merkel, was born in Mecklenburg-Pommerania but grew up in Lower Saxony.

ANS: False. He was born and raised in Lower Saxony and even started his career in politics during his university days in G√∂ttingen, thus paving a path to chancellorship, which he ruled Germany from 1998 until his landslide defeat in early elections in 2005, into the hands of the country’s current chancellor, Angela Merkel.

  1. Herbert Grönemeyer calls Göttingen home. No wonder because he was born there.

ANS: True. Yet he was born there because his mother brought him into the world through a specialist in a very unusual way (read more here). He however was raised in Bochum in North Rhine Westphalia.

  1. The band The Scorpions was established in Hanover with the lead singer originating from there.

ANS: True. Klause Meine originated from Hanover. Together with Rudolf Schenker (who was born in Hildesheim), the band was founded in Hanover. It is the longest running band in Germany and second longest in the world behind the Rolling Stones, having been in business for over 50 years.

  1. The Creator of English for Runaways originally came from Emden.

ANS: False. Heinz Heygen was born in Frankfurt/Main.

  1.  Chris Barrie, a Hannoverer  who starred in the Tomb Raider movie, grew up in Northern Ireland.

ANS: True

  1. Prince Ernst Augustus of Hanover was born in Hanover.

ANS: It is logical that the Prince, who is married to Princess Caroline of Monaco, and has his residence in Hanover, must be naturally-born Hannoverer. Hence, True. ūüôā

BONUS QUESTION: Can you guess what that building in Brunswick is?

The building is the site of the Tauch Center, located across the Oker River from the campus of the Technical University. When it was built and other details is unknown, but you are free to add some information in the comment section if you wish to do that.

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Newsflyer: 11 June, 2014

Unknown photographer. Used in connection with article found here: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/lightning/va-lightning.htm Public Domain

Giant Storm Causes Widespread Damage throughout Germany.  World Cup in Brazil in Full Gear.  Hamburg SV Handball Team Finished?

Getting off the train this morning at Erfurt Central Station in central Thuringia, passengers received a shock of their lives, as the sounds of thunder and lightning made the state capital sound like warfare going on. Pick any war in the last 20 years and it was reenacted by mother nature. And this in addition to heavy rains that flooded streets and brought the vehicular infrastructure to a complete standstill for a time.¬† But this was the overture to the series of storms that occurred over the course of two days, ending today, which is comparable to Hurricane Kyrill in February 2007, and caused severe damage throughout all of Germany. More on that and a pair of sports-related items in the Files’ Newsflyer.

Video of the Storm

Kyrillian-sized storm cripples Germany:

Local Flooding in Cologne, Rostock and Berlin. Downed trees in the Ruhr River area, northern Hesse and Saxony-Anhalt. Train services suspended. Power outages everywhere. This was a familiar sign when Kyrill brought all of Germany to a complete standstill in 2007. Yet with the storm system sweeping through Germany yesterday and today, it brought back memories of the event. Sweltering heat gave way to golfball-sized hail, high winds and torrential downpour that caused critical damage to many cities throughout Germany. Fallen trees and flooding caused several raillines to suspend services, including the hardest hit area, the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the German railways suspended all services statewide yesterday for the fourth time since 2007. Officials there are predicting services to return to normal by the weekend. Stations in Essen, Dusseldorf and Cologne were cut off from the rest of the rail network. Raillines between Berlin, Hamburg and places to the north and west were either closed down or rerouted. Over 100,000 travelers were stranded or had to find alternatives, which didn’t fare better with motorways being blocked due to downed trees and other objects.¬† Damage is estimated to be more than $135 million. News sources are predicting a clean-up effort taking up to more than a week to complete; this includes restoring the infrastructure affected by the storm. More information and photos can be found here.

Hamburger SV Handball Team to Fold?

Once deemed as the one of the powerhouses of German handball, especially after winning the Champions League Title last year, the handball team from Hamburg’s days as a Premere League team may be numbered. Faced with a 2.7 million Euro deficit (ca. $4.4 million), no president since the resignation of Andreas Rudolph in May and with that, the team’s main sponsor withdrawing its financial support, the team was denied entrance to the first and second leagues. Its last attempt to save face and be allowed to play next season in the Premere League is to overturn the decision by the German Handball League through the arbitration panel. The decision should take place on Wednesday. Should the panel uphold the decision or Hamburg withdraw its appeal, the team will be forced to play in the Regional League (3rd League) in the next season. In addition, the team will not be allowed to participate in the European Cup in the next season, despite finishing fourth in the standings. Melsungen would replace the spot left vacant. And lastly, the team will most likely file for bankruptcy, which could lead to the club being liquidated, should no one step in with money to help them. Such a free fall would be catastrophic, as Hamburg has competed well against the likes of the 2014 Season and German Cup champions, THW Kiel, as well as Berlin, Rhine-Neckar Lions, and the 2014 Champions League winners, SG Flensburg-Handewitt. More information can be found here.

World Cup begins tomorrow

Germany and the US are two of 32 teams that will go head-to head with the competitors beginning tomorrow. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will take place in Brazil at 12 several locations, with the Championship to take place on July 13th in Rio de Janeiro. For the first time since 1930, all the teams winning a World Cup will participate in the competition (Argentina, England, France, Italy, Spain, Uruguay, and Germany).  Spain is the returning champion, having edged the Netherlands in the 2010 Cup. This is the fifth time the Cup is taking place in South America, which has been won by teams from that continent the last four times. That means Brazil is the heavy favorites to take the Cup. More interesting is the pool play, in particular, Group G, where the US and Germany are in. They are scheduled to meet on 26 June in Recife. The stakes are high for the head coaches of both teams, who are both looking for their first World Cup title. Jurgen Klinnsmann is being criticized for the American team being Europeanized, which could be his downfall if his team does not make it. Joachim Loewe is hoping that winning the title will improve his chances of a contract extension before 2016. With both teams hobbling with players banged up from regular season competition, it will be interesting to see how the match will turn out, let alone, who will go far in the Cup. More on the Cup to come in the Files. If you want to know more about the tournament, click here for details.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt upends rival to win Champions League Title

You can imagine what a usually quiet Roterstrasse in Flensburg’s city center looked like after the upset last night!

The German handball team of SG Flensburg-Handewitt had been, more or less, owned by its archrival to the east, THW Kiel in the last seven years, with the zebras taking the crown on the national and international fronts. This includes winning the triple crown (the German Super Cup, the German Regular Season Title and the Champions League Title) in 2012 with an unprecedented 36-0 record- the first team ever in Germany to achieve that feat. There would be a time when the albatrosses from the Hölle Nord (also known as the Flens Arena) would finally get their revenge.

That time came yesterday, and in a big way!

Despite finishing third in the regular season standings and losing in the German Super Cup championship to them pesky foes,SG Flensburg-Handewitt (FH) finally took down Kiel in Cologne for the Champions League title, by a score of 30-28! Not only was the payback bitter sweet for the team lead by scorers Anders Eggert and Lasse Svan, but the victory brought home the team’s first ever Champions League title.

After upsetting Barcelona in the semi-finals, the team found itself behind early, as Kiel, fresh from knocking off MKB Veszprem, had built a six-point lead and was bound to run away with its fourth Champions League title in the team’s history. Despite being down 11-5, FH mounted a comeback of Herculean portions, thanks to aggressive offense and goalie Mattias Andersson denying one goal after another coming from the zebras, led by Aron Palmarsson. After trailing 16-14 at halftime, FH took its first lead in the 39th minute and never looked back.  Despite a frenzy comeback in the last minute after being down 25-21, Kiel finally ran out of steam as time expired, and the crowd of 20,000 celebrated FH’s first ever Champions League title in the team’s 24-year history.

Sensational is the word to describe FH’s heroic deeds, as the comeback was the second in a row, after it upset Barcelona in overtime of the semifinals,  despite being down by six goals with eight minutes left in the game.  This time SG Flensburg-Handewitt was the team outscoring everybody, giving THW Kiel something to digest in the offseason while their archrivals celebrate their first ever title on the international scale.  After a welcome-home celebration which will fill the streets of Roter Strasse (Flensburg’s city center), the next item on their to do list is the German championship and defending the Champions League title, a goal that was once unrealistic two years ago but is now within their grasp after the team’s successful run for the Champions League title and ending the 2013/14 season with a loud bang.

The Flensburg Files would like to congratulate the SG Flensburg-Handewitt team for its sensational run for the Champions League title and for giving the fans the best game of the season. You guys definitely won a lot of hearts with your run and gave the author another incentive to bring more expatriates to Flensburg to watch some handball games at the Flensarena! Revenge is sweet, but something like this is the most memorable and will set the stage for more successes to come.