RB Leipzig Atop of the German Bundesliga in Soccer

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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

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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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Soccer team banned from League for Nazism- Upheld

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NAUMBURG (SAALE)- The days of the soccer team the FC Ostelbein Dornburg, located in the Jerichow District in the state of Saxony-Anhalt are numbered. The Regional Court of Apeals in Naumburg has rejected the appeal of the soccer team to reverse the decision made in September to ban the team from league plan in the Kreisliga, the district league that is part of the Soccer Federation of Saxony-Anhalt. The last straw remaining is the hearing scheduled in November in Magdeburg regarding the future of the soccer team. Teh reason behind the team’s ban from league play is the following: 15 out of 18 players are Neo-nazis with a criminal record, 59 out of 65 officials and many teams in the league have refused to play against the team due to history of violence and racist behavior. Already the team has lost its soccer field in Leitzkau, meaning they have no place to practice or even host games. If the decision in November is upheld, it is most likely that the team will be disbanded.

Yet this leads to a very important question to think and even discuss at the dinner table- let alone comment about:

Is banning a team from league play because of racial tensions an effective way to show solidarity to those wishing to live in a country, like Germany, which prides itself on multicultural issues?

And

What would be the basis for banning a team from a professional sports league? Are the actions of FC Ostelbein Dornburg justified for being banned from league play? Why or why not?

There are numerous arguments for and against such a measure that is being undertaken, but the question is, can your country imagine banning a team like this one because of right-wing tendencies. From an American’s point of view, sanctions and other financial penalties are imaginable, but banning a team from league play has not been attempted because of a different, but rather fixed  structure where the leagues are owned locally and there are no elevator approaches where teams can promote itself to a higher tier. However attempts have been made to ban team mascot names on the basis of racial segregation, including California, which became the first team to ban mascots bearing Native American names, such as Redskins, and the University of North Dakota, which banned the Fighting Sioux name and is looking for a new mascot.  Still, none of these measures have to do with the issue of real discrimmination, involving racial slurs and attacks on other teams, as Germany has witnessed in soccer, and in this case with the soccer team in Leitzkau. As presented in the Frage für das Forum, it is more unimaginable to take on a team with a history of racial slurs than to take on a team that carries a mascot that is considered racially motivated because of the behavior of the players towards one another.  Yet despite this attempt to forcefully disband FC Ostelbein Dornburg, the question is whether other teams with a record of such violence will be next on the list, and if the team is reorganized and presented under a different name? If so, then it would be as ineffective as banning the NPD Nationalist Party in Germany, as attempts have been made over the years to do just that, despite having other smaller right-wing parties.  In either case, we must find ways of showing these radicals that such slurs and violence are not to be tolerated in anyway, shape or form.

The question is, despite having such measures like this, what other alternatives do we have to draw the line?  Think about it……

 

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Soccer Team in Saxony Anhalt Banned from League Play

Stadium woes

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MAGDEBURG- It is rare in Germany that a soccer club is forced to disband by a league for violating regulations and/or unlawful conduct. The FC Ostelbein Dornburg soccer team, located in Jerichow District near Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt, became the first team in a decade to be suspended by a soccer league. According to information by German public radio station MDR, the State Soccer League of Saxony-Anhalt voted unanimously to remove the team from league play, effective immediately. The reason behind that is the team’s history of violence again other teams and the soccer officials. In addition, the majority of the team consists of right-wing extremists.  In addition to its suspension, the team has also been evicted from their soccer field in Leitzkau. The town council voted unanimously to terminate the lease effective immediately.  The last attempt to save the team will come with an appeal to the State Sports Association of Saxony-Anhalt. The committee will decide in November whether the suspension of the team is justified for the above-mentioned reasons. If the ruling is upheld, then the team will become the first to be disbanded by order of law but the second in three years to be disbanded in general. In 2012, FC Saxony Leipzig was disbanded due to liquidation for not having enough financial support to keep the team operating.  It is hoped that the possible forced disbanding of FC Ostelbein Dornburg will serve as a signal that, especially during the time of the refugee crisis in Germany, that extremism is not to be tolerated anywhere, even on the soccer field.

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Soccer Update: Leipzig Advances via Disqualification

German Football Federation rules in favor of RB Leipzig after Lighter Incident. VfL Osnabrück disqualified from German Cup- Further Sanctions Pending

FRANKFURT(MAIN)/LEIPZIG/OSNABRÜCK- Four days after the infamous lighter incident during the first round of the German Cup (DFB Pokal) and three days after both teams requested that the game be replayed, the German Football Federation made its decision on Friday. Despite the growing demand for the game to be repeated after a fan from Osnabrück threw a lighter at the referee in the 71st minute of the game, effectively taking him to the hospital and cancelling the rest of the game, played in Leipzig with Osnabrück in the lead 1-0, the Federation ruled against the notion and awarded the game to Leipzig. Reason for the decision was according to the handbook, the teams are responsible for controlling the fans and their actions, which the Federation claimed that Osnabrück did not do. The end result was Osnabrück being disqualified from the Cup with further sanctions pending. The team already has a 5000 Euro reward available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who instigated the crime. Leipzig, which won 2-0 via ruling, advances to the second round, where they face Regionalliga team Unterhaching in October. A list of other teams advancing to the second round and their opponents can be found here. Among the opponents include a galactic battle between FC Bayern Munich (2015 Bundesliga champion) and VFL Wolfsburg (2015 German Cup champions), but also another David-vs-Goliath match-up between Regionalliga team FC Carl Zeiss Jena and Premere League team VFB Stuttgart. Jena, which knocked Hamburg SV out of the first round 3-2, last played Stuttgart in the 2008 German Cup, which the team won 5-4 in overtime, advancing to the Final Four Round, where they lost to Borussa Dortmund 3-0. Stuttgart has struggled to avoid being demoted to the Second League, finishing between 14th and 15th place the past 4 seasons. Also included in the match-ups are (L denotes league): Bayer Leverkusen (1L) vs Viktoria Cologne (4L), SSV Reutlingen (5L) vs. Brunswick (2L), and another Premere League match-up between FC Cologne and SV Werder Bremen.