Five Conclusions from Matchday 30By: Jan | April 12th, 2012
Time to sift through the aftermath of that game between Dortmund and Bayern. And since the other 16 teams in the league decided to do nothing particularly unexpected, it’ll be in a bit more detail.
The title hasn’t been decided yet, but the near future.
Dortmund have apparently been handed the title already by pretty much everybody, who has anything to say about football. And both based on their performance and plain statistics – no team has ever given up a six point lead with four matches to go – it indeed is likely they’ll retain the title. But I wouldn’t quite rule out a minor miracle yet. Schalke have been inconsistent recently, but have shown on many occassions what they are capable of, and they should be extra motivated to do so at home against Dortmund this weekend. Gladbach have been out of form for the past few weeks, but remain very difficult to break down and still have the ability to kill a game with one counter attack. As long as Dortmund haven’t taken these two hurdles, I wouldn’t proclaim Bayern’s triple dream dead quite yet. But this game nonetheless was confirmation of what many already believed to be the case independent from which club will win the title this season. Dortmund won’t just be Bayern’s main challenger in the next few years. They are on equal footing. Not in economic terms. That would take at least a decade. Not in terms of overall fanbase. That would take a few years as well. But on the pitch, where it matters most. Having two big teams in the league is certainly much better, than the recent years of Bayern hegemony. But a duopoly gets boring rather quickly as well. I hope there are more teams who can follow Dortmund’s blue print for success, and thus help keep the league unpredictable – just on a higher level of football.
Arjen Robben had a particularly bad hair day.
You wouldn’t believe that to be possible. After single-handedly winning Bayern numerous big games in both the Champions League and Bundesliga, he pulled off an impressive hat-trick of misfortune. He played Lewandowski onside. He missed a penalty. And he had the chance to make amends with an absolute sitter he then hit high over the cross bar. Depending on how the title race pans out, it’ll go down as one of the most fondly remembered performances of a single player in Dortmund history. With a bit of luck, Bayern fans can look forward to him making amends with a special performance against Real Madrid.
White people throwing bananas at white people is confusing.
That is, if you are not from Germany and new to the Bundesliga. Which makes it the majority of people on this planet. After all, this action shares eerie similarities to a common form of racism at football stadiums. But there are two plausible explanations for Manuel Neuer’s banana shower. I favor the first, but find the second more interesting. Prior to Neuer, it had been an exclusive “privilege” of Oliver Kahn to be showered with Bananas during away games, due to his perceived similarities to a gorilla. In its’ own twisted way, it was an acknowledging gesture by the Dortmund fans. They now accept Manuel Neuer as heir to Oliver Kahn’s throne. Another theory would reduce this to a simple pun. The Bundesliga shield you get when winning the league is referred to as Schale (bowl). The German word for peel also happens to be Schale. A common chant by Dortmund fans towards Schalke fans goes like “No hands on the Schale in your lifetime” referring to Schalke’s inability to win the championship for over 50 years. So, a banana peel is the only Schale former Schalke man Neuer will ever get his hands on… Feel free to invent other plausible explanations and post them in the comments.
Dortmund’s energy and enthusiasm can have its’ downsides.
At this point we are still marvelling at their high energy all out football and enjoy Klopp’s all dancing, singing and fist-pumping sideline antics. Once the novelty wears off in the coming years, we’ll have to look a bit more critical at potential side effects of this way of celebrating football. Kevin Grosskreutz already got in the news with some unneccessary post match provocations against former Schalke player Gerald Asamoah in the DFB Pokal. Now, Neven Subotic had to vent his anger at a dejected Arjen Robben, as he wrongly believed Robben to have dived. If that develops from isolated cases into a habbit it’ll quickly cost them sympathy points with the neutral fans.
Sacking Stale Solbakken was long overdue.
Simply to finally complete the chaotic mess Cologne are in. No president, no sporting director, no coach, (soon) no Podolski. Hennes being pretty much the last billy goat standing. Yet another desolate performance and four more goals for the league’s worst defense against Mainz was eventually enough, to call it quits on Solbakken’s ambitious – and with the benefit of hindsight naive and unbalanced – tactical system. The man who takes charge for the last four games is Frank Schäfer, who not too long ago, resigned himself after a series of desolate performances. Sounds about right. In theory, this power vacuum is a great chance to completely revamp the club’s structure and put all the right people in charge. In reality, who in his right mind is willing to risk his reputation at such a club? Often, that would be all the wrong people.
Feel free to add you own thoughts and comments below.