Schalke find something beautiful in being second best

Hard-working Schalke have no style and even less money but they deserve to be the Bundesliga's runners-up this season

Kevin Kuranyi and team-mates applaud the fans after Schalke's defeat to Werder Bremen
Kevin Kuranyi, left, and team-mates applaud the fans after Schalke's defeat to Werder Bremen. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/AFP/Getty Images

The festivities erupted shortly after Werder Bremen notched up a second goal against Schalke 04 to confirm Bayern Munich as this year's designated Meister, almost 30 minutes before the final whistle. "Oh, wie ist das schön," ("How beautiful is this?") the crowd sang well into the night. Nobody wanted to leave the ground. One or two players had their kids in tow and tears in their eyes when the supporters bode them an emotional farewell after a season that has exceeded all expectations: never before in the history of the Bundesliga can a widely unfancied and frankly mediocre side have achieved so much.

Only the architect of this remarkable feat, Felix Magath, was on his own in the changing room, grumpily wondering what could have been. Chants of "Wir wollen den Trainer sehen" ("We want to see the manager") got him back out in the end. He was moved to embark on a personal lap of honour; the outpouring of collective gratitude made the league's most inscrutable, enigmatic manager eventually crack a satisfied smile.

"No champion can celebrate as beautifully," wrote WAZ, and they were right of course, for Schalke are no champions. The defeat by third-placed Werder on Saturday, when the former S04 midfielder Mesut Özil and Hugo Almeida destroyed the Royal Blues' title dreams, was exactly the sort of crunch-time disappointment the town of Gelsenkirchen has become depressingly used to in their 52-year-old wait for another championship. Shalke were outplayed by the visitors, a more talented and skilful team. But instead of self-pity, the Veltins-Arena was awash with defiance and justified pride: "Schalke ist the greatest club in the world," and "Forever Royal Blue" they were singing in the stands.

Kevin Kuranyi was crying. "There aren't many clubs who can make the hair on your back of your neck stand up," said the out-of-contract striker, who received more applause than any other player. Clapping him off so enthusiastically was the crowds' way of apologising, for many years of sometimes vicious abuse. The 28-year-old only became a favourite in his fifth, and probably last season, in the Ruhr area. "He's likely to go abroad next season," his agent, Roger Wittmann, said.

Dynamo Moscow and Juventus are possible destinations for the former Germany international who won't feature in South Africa. "He doesn't fit into our concept tactically and personnel-wise," Bundestrainer Joachim Löw insisted this morning, which must be a fancy way of saying the squad's quota for tall, technically challenged target-men has already been exceeded.

The Brazilian defender Marcelo Bordon could also move on. The 34-year-old wasn't best pleased to hear that Magath has signed the Bernabéu's Christoph Metzelder for next season, and will have to consider his options as Magath's retuning of the squad continues. With 37 professionals on the club's payroll, it's hard to see the (few) trees from all the dead wood.

"I have never experienced something like that before, in any stadium," the 56-year-old Magath said about the fans' refusal to feel the pain. "Maybe Schalke have become desensitised to suffering," wondered Süddeutsche Zeitung's Philipp Selldorf. "Or they have become philosophical, and realised that you need a goal in life but best never reach it."

The players saw it a little differently, however. "Unfortunately, [the supporter's applause] is no consolation," a dejected Heiko Westermann said. Magath, too, was at first too angry about the referee Knut Kircher's failure to award his team a penalty – Per Mertesacker had clumsily brought down Benedikt Höwedes before the break – to see the positives. "I need to digest that the championship was decided by a refereeing mistake," Magath said slightly overdramatically.

Later, however, he did implicitly acknowledge the difference in class between his side of honest, hard-working journeymen and the Champions League finalists from down south: "I didn't say that we can catch up with Bayern or reach their level. That's simply not possible, considering the advantage they've secured over the last decades." But the championship will remain his aim, he added.

Schalke's brand of dead-ball, overtly negative 1-0-football wasn't to everybody's taste this season; at its worst, it was reminiscent of Hertha's crimes from last year. Few neutrals will have rooted for them purely on aesthetic grounds but even Dortmund supporters must reluctantly doff their black and yellow caps to their debt-laden neighbours. Magath has led an ensemble fit for 40 seasons in the mid-table desert to the promised land of Champions League milk and honey at the first attempt. Greece is the word, in both the 2004 and 2010 sense: they had no style and even less money but they made it. And unlike Otto Rehhagel's European champions, they also had the good grace to make do with the runners-up spot.

Faced with such miraculous overachievement, the supporters knew that it was time to celebrate. After all, the imaginary title of Vizemeister (vice champions) is not all they won on Saturday. By securing at least €20m (£17.3m), Magath has significantly reduced the financial problems at the club. Some say he has effectively saved its life. It's certainly a feat on par with winning the Meisterschaft with Wolfsburg last season, perhaps even greater still.

Talking points

• A Thomas Müller hat-trick against hapless Bochum kept the crowd in Munich happy as well. The Bayern manager, Louis van Gaal, a self-declared "party animal," decreed that his players should enjoy the (virtual) championship after the comfortable 3-1 win on Saturday, not wait for a possible treble in three week's time. Bayern will rest players for next week's meaningless game at relegated Hertha who drew 1-1 at Leverkusen. Van Gaal, doused with champagne by his captain, Mark van Bommel, after the final whistle, was at his modest best, naturally: "I don't think many managers have won championships in three different countries," he said, adding that he was proud to be the first Dutch coach to win the Bundesliga title. Arjen Robben was later seen dancing on the table in a Munich "in-restaurant" but surprisingly managed to leave with hamstring and calf-muscles intact.

• Gladbach didn't have any Lazio or Liverpool-style conflicts of interests to endure on Saturday, but they rolled over even more enthusiastically, still: Hannover 96 beat Michael Frontzeck's shamelessly uninterested team 6-1 to keep their survival hopes alive. The Lower-Saxons (15th, 30pts) travel to 17th-placed Bochum (28pts) next week while Nürnberg (16th, 28pts) can at least secure a play-off against Ausgburg, Bundesliga 2's third-placed team, with a win at home to Köln. Another heavy Gladbach defeat by Leverkusen next week could open the door to the Champions League for Bayer, provided Bremen don't beat Hamburg, that is. HSV recovered from Thursday night's defeat at Fulham with a 4-0 romp against Nürnberg. Their rivals Wolfsburg seem to have won the race for Steve McClaren's signature.

Results Bayern 3-1 Bochum, Schalke 0-2 Bremen, Hannover 6-1 Gladbach, Hamburg 4-0 Nürnberg, Dortmund 1-1 Wolfsburg, Leverkusen 1-1 Hertha, Köln 2-2 Freiburg, Stuttgart 2-2 Mainz, Frankfurt 1-2 Hoffenheim.

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  • alterschotte alterschotte

    3 May 2010, 3:58PM

    The fact that I think 1-1 against the reigning champions is a let down is proably a tribute to how well Dortmund have performed this season.
    By the way, I wouldnt swap Weidenfeller for any other Keeper in the Bundesliga! and Im glad that idiot Löw isnt taking him to the big footballer bazaar in South Africa.

  • igotrafaelsentoff igotrafaelsentoff

    3 May 2010, 4:51PM

    Im glad that idiot Löw isnt taking him to the big footballer bazaar in South Africa.

    Why would he, too? The squad place for the beefy narcissistic Gerry Ehrmann-educated Tarzan is already filled.

  • fcums04 fcums04

    3 May 2010, 4:55PM

    Rafa, it's nice that you've finally dedicated a blog to Schalke but unfortunately you've gone over the top somewhat. A mediocre side? Mediocre sides don't finish second in any league. Typical Bayern arrogance..

  • DEDEDE DEDEDE

    3 May 2010, 5:02PM

    <Mediocre sides don't finish second in any league.>

    They do when they're coached by Magath.

    If they hadn't lost to Bayern a couple of weeks ago, they probably would have won it. It was their bad luck to play Bayern when they were finally starting to come together.

  • fcums04 fcums04

    3 May 2010, 5:08PM

    I think the 4-2 defeat in Hannover finally did for us. If I'm honest, though, I never thought we would win it. Finishing second was a major achievement after last year, and the fans understand that. Pity Rafa doesn't. I've enjoyed every minute of it.

  • bobeto bobeto

    3 May 2010, 5:14PM

    If, as seems likely, Stuttgart claim 6th spot and European fooball next season, can we have something on the amazing work of Christian Gross? Unbelievable turnaround he affected there, by way of a raucous Champions League tie against Barca.

  • BHurd BHurd

    3 May 2010, 5:26PM

    Would anyone care to offer an opinion on Gladbach midfielder Michael Bradley? Rafa, have you seen him play? I haven't had a chance to see him this season, and I was wondering how he's faring in the Bundesliga. Thanks!

  • alterschotte alterschotte

    3 May 2010, 5:28PM

    If I was a Nuremberg fan I 'd be seriously pissed off at the "fohlen", time for the glue factory methinks.
    It wasnt quite as bad as Hamburg 's refusal to work last week but starting the summer holidays two weeks early just ain 't fair........

  • Anschlusstreffer Anschlusstreffer

    3 May 2010, 5:52PM

    Can someone explain the Schalke debt problem to me? We read a lot about the debt levels in English football and how the German model is one to follow, so what made Schalke the black sheep? I'm not saying Schalke's debts are of English proportions, but how did they get into this financial mess? Is it mostly down to that fancy stadium of theirs? I'm not sure about wages, but I don't ever remember them spending big on transfers (Farfan at about ?10m the most expensive?), plus they've got great fan support both locally and nationally, 61,000 fans at every home game, probably shifting a fair few replica shirts and scarves as they go. Added to that they have had a few Champions League runs in recent years (quarter-finals 2 years ago?) and that massive sponsorship deal with Gazprom. OK they're not Bayern Munich, but it doesn't strike me that they've been trying to match Bayern in terms of spending either. What is there to make Schalke's financial situation so much worse than, say, Hamburg?

    While we're at it, what did for Dortmund earlier in the decade?

  • oalexander oalexander

    3 May 2010, 5:57PM

    1. @ Rafa:

    10/10 for your garb this week. amused me no end. A virtual Weissbier to you, or whatever your poison is.

    Also, full points to Felix M. from Aschaffenburg, notably a Bavarian town, for his ginormous achievement with the no-hopers in royal blue. When he took the job in Gelsenkirchen I thought it was for the sake of a seriously well paid suicide mission, one for the bank account strictly. Interestingly enough, Schalke, albeit vice-champion, end up without representation in the Africa Corps. However note: from a French perspective, the strong religious adherent
    Franck R., currently resident of Munich, is the real vice-champion.

    Anyway, here some trivia. Bundesliga Table / second half of the season only (18-33):
    Rank / Points / Club
    1. 38 Stuttgart
    2. 34 Bayern
    3. 32 Bremen
    4. 30 Schalke
    5. 27 Dortmund
    6. 23 Leverkusen
    ...
    12. 18 Hertha BSC
    ...
    15. 16 Hoffenheim
    16. 14 Freiburg
    17. 13 Hannover
    18. 12 Bochum

  • marktheisen marktheisen

    3 May 2010, 6:01PM

    Ein leben lang - keine Schale in der Hand!

    Phew - what a relief. Despite donning my hat to Magath, Schalke winning the title is a complete no-no, Bayern can win another 50 as far as I am concerned..

    Heading to Gladbach next weekend though without much enthusiasm - tickets were acquired in the hope that Leverkusen would have something to play for. Ventspils and Liberec are just not that awe-inspiring destinations. Ah well, thats Leverkusen for you.

    @ Rafa - are you going to pen a column about the Nationalmannschaft?

  • aliasboy aliasboy

    3 May 2010, 6:06PM

    Magath has certainly showed what he can do since his days as a Feuerwehrmann. He used to specialise in picking up teams in a relegation fight, get them fit, keep them up and then struggle to build on that. Maybe he's just perfected the art at jumping ship from Stuttgart to Bayern to Wolfsburg to Schalke at a higher level.

    If Wolfsburg do get McLaren, good luck to them. I hope HSV get Huub Stevens back or von Heesen or Horst Hrubesch - anyone as long as it's not ex-Hertha coach Favre.

    Finally, congraulations to FC St Pauli. After the pumped-up and trumped -up promotions of Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim etc, it's nice to see some genuine hard work rewarded.

  • marktheisen marktheisen

    3 May 2010, 6:13PM

    Ein leben lang - keine Schale in der Hand!

    Phew - what a relief. Despite donning my hat to Magath, Schalke winning the title is a complete no-no, Bayern can win another 50 as far as I am concerned..

    Heading to Gladbach next weekend though without much enthusiasm - tickets were acquired in the hope that Leverkusen would have something to play for. Ventspils and Liberec are just not that awe-inspiring destinations. Ah well, thats Leverkusen for you.

    @ Rafa - are you going to pen a column about the Nationalmannschaft?

  • Manxmaninstuttgart Manxmaninstuttgart

    3 May 2010, 6:29PM

    Christian Gross, Manager of the Season!! Was at Stuttgart-Mainz on Saturday, incredible atmosphere before the kick-off and the huge banner at the Cannstatter Kurve end was fantastic. Goodbye to the diehard fans in A-Block as the Cannstatter Kurve is being demolished. Am really looking forward to the staidum when it is finally rebuilt. The game against Mainz was nothing special - Mainz were the better team, but Stuttgart's drive and spirit won them a point. Off to Hoffenheim vs. Stuttgart with the wife (who hates football!) on Saturday. Looking forward to seeing Hoffenheim's stadium from the inside instead of just when driving past on the motorway. I expect VfB to get at least a draw, which will be enough for the Europa League. Could perhaps even afford to lose as I can't see Hamburg winning in Bremen who want to finish 3rd and quality for the CL.

  • oalexander oalexander

    3 May 2010, 6:38PM

    @ Anschlusstreffer / 3 May 2010, 5:52PM

    The Sueddeutsche Zeitung has a journalist which can easily explain this in a lengthy article. Rafa may please remind me of this hero of the genre of sports-economic writing who once denuded the olden finance schemes of Borussia Dortmund which by comparison give Goldman Sachs a good name.

    Essentially, yes, like Dortmund they maxed themselves out on their stadium, which has a roof that can be closed and the lawn can be carted ourside of the arena as if on a drawer so that the cheerful rays of the sun can reach it with more ease. (as soon as I have a spare 80 m I will also install such a thing for my backyard in the hope of being rewarded with a greener kind of green).

    Like Dortmund, they believed they forthwith had a god-given right to qualify quasi automatically for the Champions League, which pays a guaranteed line-up sum of 20m. If you get it, it you get by. If you don't get it you find out, quite suddenly, 20m is a motza money. If it happens more than once, you start seriously scratching your had, and after the third time the ground for mere small change.

    Schalke was also not that well behaved on the transfer market, as it might seem. They withstood the temptation of hiring former Real Madrid spare hero Fernando Morientes, but they got themselves a number of free transfers, especially from then leading club Werder Bremen. Then current Bundesliga top scorer and player of the year Ailton, eg., and a few others that I have long since forgotten. But free transfers cost extra in signing fees, etc., as we all know in as much as we know that there is no such thing like a free lunch. Also Kevin Kuranyi from Stuttgart was not cheap - 7m Euros - which is a lot in Bundesliga terms, even more so as he is ... ( ... see RH's statement in the article).

    Essentially, Schalke was probably even factually bankrupt and ineligible for a new Bundesliga licence just a year or two ago. Some shifty accounting tricks, and some money from the municipally owned electricity company - a de-facto donation from the city of Gelsenkirchen and its noble citizens - saved the club's balls thus far by a pretty tight margin. Maybe only the width of a curly hair, for all we know.

  • SchwarzGelbRedWhite SchwarzGelbRedWhite

    3 May 2010, 6:43PM

    I'm with alterschotte, kudos to Schalke for a brave season.

    To continue a recent theme though - typical bloody Germans. Bayern are Meister, Schalke are up to their eyeballs in debt and second, Bochum bouncing around the relegation zone.

    I could just about drop that last paragraph into my clipboard and paste every other year.

    Does this mean that South Africa will produce internal ructions and a quarter-final demise?

  • oalexander oalexander

    3 May 2010, 6:54PM

    Does this mean that South Africa will produce internal ructions and a quarter-final demise?

    Quite honestly, I am not sure if I want to know what SA will produce - some rumors say the new Hamburg manager ;). On the other hand, have national squad managers ever done great jobs with clubs, or vice versa for this sake?

    The club record of this coach is probably well termed as "miscellaneous".

  • miroljub miroljub

    3 May 2010, 6:59PM

    Schalke find something beautiful in being second best

    Take your cigarette from its holder,
    And burn your initials in my shoulder.
    Fracture my spine,
    And swear that youre mine,
    As we dance to the masochism tango.

  • Hirndobler Hirndobler

    3 May 2010, 7:00PM

    Oaxelander, you're thinking of Freddie Röckenhaus, much maligned correspondent of the black-and-yellow shipwreck, one of the few people who actually cared to read the financial statements of the BvB KgaA.

    He'll tell you that the stadium redevelopment was only part of the puzzle, with Dortmund's last-throw-of-the-dice IPO in 2000 averting a preliminary catastrophe, when huge wage bills and transfer expenditure lead to a massive debt mountain only partly compensated by the sale of marketing rights and upfront payment from sponsoring deals.
    Schalke is more of the same, again stadium construction acting as a scapegoat to divert attention from the perpetual lousy management of day-to-day operations (mostly under Assauer). Toennies is trying to turn things around, but it's a big ship and inertia doesn't help.

  • oalexander oalexander

    3 May 2010, 7:34PM

    @ Hirndobler

    Yep, Freddie R. it was. A real hero!

    One of the great features of BVB Dortmund was, they also to spend overtly generous on players, paying them as generously in way that would make even Real president Florentino Perez cringe, as long as this could be maintained. Once, this was no longer the case things were hidden, by players loaned out leased back and loaned out - or something to that extent. Thus, Amoroso, a good player, but surely not that good, effectively cost them way back ca. in 2000 (!), about 25m Euros or any other fantasy amount to that extent. Incredible story, but the costs were hidden for a long enough time and the balance sheets looked still like a dog's breakfast, but a nice dog's breakfast.

    Incredible. They should have been force relegated the same way as Schalke should have been recently - if the Bundesliga finance code is supposed to be worth the paper it's printed on.

    What Toennies is concerned, didn't he even store private funds on Schalke sub-accounts - and withdraw them as quickly - to pretend cash-flow and such stuff? I suppose will have to google the Röckenhaus stories for a good reminiscing read with a good bottle of red wine at some stage.

  • honigstein honigstein

    3 May 2010, 7:47PM

    Contributor Contributor

    fcums04:

    I totally agree it's been a fantastic achievement to finish second, because this team is nowhere near the second-best team in the league in terms of squad quality. I believe the supporters have sensed that, too. You can't have it both ways, of course. Either it's a fantastic achievement or simply the natural outcome because the squad really is very good. For me, it's the former.

    Maybe "mediocre" is too strong a word but in my view - and it is only my honest opinion - finishing fifth would have been a minor miracle as well with these players. I think you'll find that even Magath sees it this way.

    Were Hertha the fourth-best team in the league last year? Exactly.

    All the best,

    R

  • JamesWormold JamesWormold

    3 May 2010, 8:17PM

    Can anybody shed any light on the rumour that McClaren choose Wolfsburg over HSV?

    Do HSV not have a bigger budget, better squad and a larger fanbase- ie. would they not be considered the more likely of the two to challenge for CL places next year?

    I know Wolfsburg managed to hold onto Dzeko, Grafite and Misimovic last year but given their final league position is it not likely that at least the first will be off this summer?

  • keithn keithn

    3 May 2010, 8:37PM

    Well done to S..... Calm down, deap breath.
    Well done to S.... No sorry I just can't do it.
    fcums04 does have a point. The S****e team is more or less the same team as the vize team of three years ago. IMHO they normally just underachieve.
    Oalexander,
    You missed the best bit of the Amoroso deal: Having to buy back Evanilson for 15M two years after he was sold and loaned back. Counting two season loan payments it came out to about 18M (!). Dr Niebaum had the same mentality as a banker buying subprime Mortgage packages.
    Saturdays game was flat many things that had worked for most of the season did not work. The Sahin/Hajnal as the midfield pair will not go down as a stroke of Genius by Jürgen Klopp. Had to feel sorry for Nuri. His interviews post hame he was so down after missing the pen but he still has my vote as player of the season.
    Rafa,
    Can you ask Sid if S****e have bought Metzelder or Verletzelder? All the reports that I have read say he followed on from his last three years in Dortmund where he always got an invitation to the Orthomed christmas party.
    Gladback didn't finish the season two weeks early. They are saving their energy to give Leverkusen a good kicking on Saturday.
    England and Spain might have to take chances on injured players, but Löw is taking almost 7 or 8 of the first team who are hopelessly out of form. Maybe we have a chance when we meet in the Q final. Provided it doesn't go to penalties that is.

  • oommph oommph

    3 May 2010, 8:54PM

    "but Löw is taking almost 7 or 8 of the first team who are hopelessly out of form"

    As was the case in Euro 2008 of course. You could say it's a bit better this time because (1) a few will have recently played is a CL final and (2) they have a potential young star in the making.

    The thing about Germany is they may have few of the top stars but they have enough good players (notably midfield or de facto midfielders in other positions) that it only needs one or two to dig them out.

    In Euro 2008 they were really ropey (apart from Portugal, the one big match they knew from the draw they'd have to win to make the final and so could plan perfectly for) . Terrible defence, flaky keeper, one effective striker. But individual performances and / or match-changing moment from Poldi, Ballack (that free kick), Schweinsteiger, Klose and Lahm bailed them out at important times.

  • oommph oommph

    3 May 2010, 9:02PM

    @JamesWormold

    "Can anybody shed any light on the rumour that McClaren choose Wolfsburg over HSV? Do HSV not have a bigger budget,"

    No. There is a stat something like - in the 2008/9 season that Wolfsburg they won the league, they were actually the biggest spenders. It was not quite the "valiant small town done good against the big guys" fairytale but more of a Blackburn.

    Also, it could perhaps be the case that that Wolfsburg (medium-sized industrial town not near the bright lights) is a more natural fit for McClaren's track record? It's more of an Enschede or Boro than Hamburg (Germany's second city, just about its richest and certainly its glitziest).

    Personally, I think he'd be mad to pick Wolfsburg before Hamburg in terms of place to work but there you go.

  • WirSindFinke WirSindFinke

    3 May 2010, 9:04PM

    @baerchen

    I agree, Freiburg have done really well to pull themselves out of the relegation mire. I was at the home defeat to Hannover and I thought they looked 2. Bundesliga bound without question.

    Dutt has to take a lot of credit for overcoming the odds, although greatly helped by a number of very poor sides beneath them. A lot of the young players will have gained invaluable experience though, and I'm sure they will be stronger for it next season.

  • Blason Blason

    3 May 2010, 9:27PM

    On Dutch television tonight, a journalist told of his interview with Steve McClaren earlier today. It seems clear that he will leave Twente this summer, he has no interest in another rebuilding project, which is what Twente will face if all rumours are true (in this context: Douglas to Bayern,Theo Janssen to Dortmund).

    Interestingly he was specifically asked about Wolfsburg, but denied having received an offer from them. He then proceeded to ask the journalist all sorts of questions about Wolfsburg since he doesn't know German football well.

    It would appear not be quite a done deal then. I am with oommph, I can't understand why he would choose Wolfsburg over HSV if he really has the pick of the two.

  • igotrafaelsentoff igotrafaelsentoff

    3 May 2010, 9:35PM

    @ oommph

    To give some credit to Wolfsburg, obviously they started courting McClaren a lot earlier and seemed to have good talks back then even though they went for Houllier as their first choice.

    And they have arguments beyond money, too. (Hamburg may not have VW behind them, but they're not poor, either, so probably it's not down to that anyway.) Two reasons Wolfsburg can boast themselves with as opposed to Hamburg are 1) relative clarity of the internal power structure (in Hamburg, Hoffmann's role is just coming under review right now) and 2) relative job security - compared to Hamburg, that is. Veh had to go quite soon after some bad results, but Magath could have had stayed for the rest of his career if he wanted and even Augenthaler was given very much time considering his achievements.

  • igotrafaelsentoff igotrafaelsentoff

    3 May 2010, 10:00PM

    @ keithn

    If by 'we' you mean England, I can assure you there will not be a quarterfinal penalty shoot out exit against Germany this year. The teams can only meet in the first knockout round or in the final. I would not put my money on either happening, though: both teams (especially England) will cruise in their respective groups and then get a quarter-/semifinal battering by a real favourite.

    -------

    No surprises in Löw skipping Kuranyi by the way. A couple of weeks ago he told that Kuranyi was too much like the other strikers in the squad, that was when I knew he was preparing a rejection, if only to justify it with tactics. Quite cowardly of him to wait until almost the last moment, but that's Löw for you.

    Doesn't make the decision wrong, though. Why would you take three or four centre-forwards for a single spot? I think Klose and Gomez are rightfully ahead of Kuranyi. Klose has always been better at doing what Kuranyi does, at least at international level. Gomez, on the other hand, has much more talent and, while mediocre this year, has been better than Kuranyi has ever been for three years before.

    The good question is, how do you drop 'headless chicken' Kiessling in favour of a variable Cacau without being considered as a Swabian nepotist?

  • igotrafaelsentoff igotrafaelsentoff

    3 May 2010, 10:05PM

    If Wolfsburg do get McLaren, good luck to them. I hope HSV get Huub Stevens back or von Heesen or Horst Hrubesch - anyone as long as it's not ex-Hertha coach Favre.

    By the way, they're about too sign Marcel Koller. They really belong together, you know, a relegation dogfight-proven manager and a squad so imbalanced it will spend the next years fighting for survival. Ruud van Nistelrooy will wonder where the exit is.

  • keithn keithn

    3 May 2010, 10:57PM

    Blason,
    What is the source for Theo Janssen to Dortmund?
    I have seen nothing of him so I can't judge him so any info would be interesting.
    igotrafaelsentoff,
    It doesn't matter what the draw is we (england) always have to play Germany before the final and if it goes to penalties we have to loose.

  • Sentenza Sentenza

    3 May 2010, 11:01PM

    freddie roeckenhaus - top bloke. did some work experience with him back in my youth and he even took me to a dortmund game, a proper fanatic and a decent journalist to boot.

  • hojo hojo

    4 May 2010, 6:35AM

    Hats oiff to Magath. He delivered much more in his first season that he promised. It should not be forgotten that he said he needed 4 seasons to turn S04 round and win the title and he damned near did it in the first! My neighbour (a Werder fan) was at the game and said the post-match atmosphere was phenominal.

    Yes, Schalke were at times not pretty to watch and workmanlike really summed them up. However, they did bring a bit of pfiff into the title race. Van Gaal is now being touted as the be-all-and-end-all of managers and the best at Bayern since the last one who brought them the double - Felix Magath!

    So Löw thinks that Klose, with his 6 goals this season, and Podolski, with his 2, are a better bet in South Africa than Kuranyi, with his 18? Mmmmm.

  • elmarinho elmarinho

    4 May 2010, 7:43AM

    Like IgotRafaelsentoff, I do get Löw's decision against Kuranyi, but I don't think that this revelation came to our beloved Bundestrainer just now. In fact, Kuranyi was even (a more often than not bench-warming) part of the national team, although his style of play had been effectively the same. The troubles for Löw started as soon as his favourites did not score/play at all, while the reject was netting goal after goal. What followed was a rather boring and predictable limbo, in which Löw tried to please everyone: the media talking Kuranyi to the World Cup, many fans jumping on the same bandwagon, and those who believe that playing well in the league does indeed help your chances for South Africa.

    As far as labelling Schalke "mediocre" is concerned, the (bloated) squad does not look very promising on paper; but then again, neither do parts of the Bayern Munich team in a Champions League context. Granted, the football they play is nice to watch and Schalke's mostly wasn't, but if it were down to aesthetically pleasing football, there should have been a few different Meisters over the past years.

    On a side note: this whole Inter-bashing business after their knocking out Beautiful Barca was pretty much along the same lines: the Bad Guys won. Boo, hiss! Truly, their performance must have benn one of the most negative ones ever, but it paid off (admittedly, they were lucky in the end, had that Bojan goal not been disallowed). And who cares, if they lift the trophy?

  • DinGex DinGex

    4 May 2010, 8:36AM

    +1 for hailing Freiburg's dramatic escape from the relegation zone. A couple of months ago I was dreading looking for their result each weekend, but they got their heads down and got the results when it mattered.

  • Nuremberger Nuremberger

    4 May 2010, 10:31AM

    @ alterschotte

    I was very seriously pissed off at Gladbach's performance - flashbacks of Kaiserslautern rolling over to save Frankfurt from relegation in 1999 - however that was on the last day of the season and the 'Club' has the opportunity to put things right against Cologne on Saturday.

    All of this cannot take away from some pretty hopeless Nuremberg performances over the past four weeks, so we only have ourselves to blame in the end if we don't survive.

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Sportblog weekly archives

May 2010
M T W T F S S

Bundesliga

Pos Team Pld W D L Pts
1 Borussia Dortmund 0 0 0 0 0
2 Bayer Leverkusen 0 0 0 0 0
3 Borussia Moenchengladbach 0 0 0 0 0
4 Bayern Munich 0 0 0 0 0
5 Eintracht Frankfurt 0 0 0 0 0
6 Freiburg 0 0 0 0 0
7 Hamburg 0 0 0 0 0