Archive | July, 2011

The Bundesliga and Me #1 – Andy James

21 Jul

With just over a week to go before Borussia Dortmund kick off the new season at home to Hamburg, it’s time for another new feature on DieBundesligaUK.  Put simply, we put five questions to some prominent, English-speaking Bundesliga figures to find out a bit more about them and how they became involved in German football.

First up is editor of Bundesliga.com, Andy James. Andy studied in Nuremberg as part of his degree and took a chance by moving to Munich permanently after graduating. The move seems to have paid off as he now writes for FIFA.com on all things Germany, reports on German clubs and their progress in both European competitions for uefa.com and commentates for various international broadcasters…. I think that covers most of it, Andy? Anyway, you can follow Andy at @andybundi on Twitter. Let’s get started!

My earliest Bundesliga memory is…

Although I knew a fair bit about the Bundesliga from the Champions League and Championship Manager (obviously!) beforehand, I’d have to say that my first visual memory of it is when it used to be on Sky Sports in the early 2000s. I have a distinct memory of watching Claudio Pizarro and Roque Santa Cruz playing up front for Bayern. And Alan McInally was the pundit!

Andy has clearly had more success in Germany than Mr McInally did

 My favourite Bundesliga moment is…

I’m going to go for a recent one here: Nuri Sahin’s strike in Dortmund’s 3-1 victory over Bayern at the Allianz Arena last term. I think everyone was behind BVB owing to the fantastic football they’d been playing, but still there was a feeling that defeat in Munich would see their title charge disintegrate. Thankfully they were brilliant on the day and it was a victory all round for exciting football!

My favourite Bundesliga player of all time is….

It’s hard to look past the big stars of today, more of which are arriving all the time. Ribery and Robben are a class above, and I’m a big fan of Shinji Kagawa based on the six months of him we had last season. Going back to my childhood, I always liked Jürgen Klinsmann, Mehmet Scholl and Oliver Kahn – mainly from watching Champions League.

 My favourite Bundesliga ground is…

I would love to say the Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion) but unfortunately I’ve never been there, yet. Stadium-wise Bayern is streets ahead with the Allianz – it’s modern, massive and, despite what some people say, that atmosphere isn’t too bad when FCB are playing well. The Champions League semi-final against Lyon in 2010 was particularly loud…

 I love the Bundesliga because…

The unpredictability factor. Who could have guessed that Dortmund would storm to the title last season with such a young side? Or that Hannover and Mainz would make it into Europe? It was one of the best seasons ever and a great one to be involved in. Furthermore, the quality is improving all the time – as evidenced by the Bundesliga overtaking Serie A in the UEFA coefficients recently. For fear of sounding boring, I also like how well-organised the league is and the way it is marketed, not to mention the emphasis on youth development. Even the Premier League could learn a thing or two on the latter, as well as the 50+1 rule which I think should become compulsory throughout Europe.

'I'm not listening': Not sure Herr Kind would agree with you there, Andy!

 

Many thanks again to a top man in Andy for his time and effort as he’s clearly a very busy bloke!

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Bundesliga Bibliography

15 Jul

 

This new feature is designed to bring some of the best Bundesliga related chat to your, and our, attention. Over the course of the season and beyond we’ll be listing and linking our favourite articles from a whole range of authors – from Uli Hesse to Raphael Honigstein – in order to ultimately create a detailed bibliography of pieces that may otherwise get lost in time.

We’re hoping authors’ll be able to use it as a point of reference, readers’ll be able to use it to further their perusing pleasure and Bundesliga newcomers’ll be able to extend their knowledge.

What we’d like is for our readers to contribute too – by commenting below with a link. We’ll whack it straight up to the main post. So if you’ve read – or written – a stunner, get in touch here! I’ll start with a couple of my favourites from July so far:

July 2011

Kit Holden – The Oddities of East Berlin: A Football Culture Like No Other

Writing for the fantastic ‘Fanatic’, the undeniably talented Kit Holden gets to grips with the cultural and political peculiarities that plagued ‘Ossi’ football and specifically that of East Berlin.

Uli Hesse – Fifty plus one of a Kind

Author or Tor! – a book I’d recommend a million times over – Uli Hesse goes about dispelling common myths and misconceptions of the 50+1 rule whilst detailing Martin Kind’s (MD of Hannover 96) changing crusade against the ownership rule of the Bundesliga.

The Second Tier: Season Preview

13 Jul

Hi everyone, it’s been a while. Thanks to all for being so patient for the last month whilst I’ve been away but as promised, I’m back and ready for the start of the 2.Bundesliga season on Friday. Here we go…

It’s the 13th July. In just two days time, before the extremely successful Women’s World Cup has drawn to a close, Germany’s unified second division will kick off for a 20th time. It seems a bizarre time to be starting a season – in the height of summer – but when voted on, only tiny FSV Frankfurt opposed the motion. (Although Bochum gaffer Friedhelm Funkel didn’t mince his words when more recently slating the ‘shit’ decision.)

Of course then, FSV would be one of the four teams to get the ball rolling. The other three – East German outfits.

Last season was something of a renaissance for former DDR-Oberliga sides. Although 2011/12 will be the third year running that all eighteen sides in the top tier are from the former West, both Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden were promoted from the 3.Liga. With Union Berlin, Energie Cottbus and Erzgebirge Aue also there, the 2.Bundesliga will have five representatives from the former East – the most since the league was unified in 1992/1993.

Eintracht have required well since relegation

So what can we expect from this season, save for some feisty games between these Eastern sides and culture-club St. Pauli? It could be the most competitive promotion race in years. Assuming Eintracht live up to their billing – you can only get around 2/1 on them ending up champions – the fight for second and third could involve any two from around 10 teams.

The relegation battle could be equally as tense. The promoted clubs will be looking to get to around 37 points as quick as possible, and the teams that narrowly avoided the drop last season – Ingolstadt, Paderborn, Karlsruhe and the likes – are all likely to struggle again whilst teams like Union, FSV and even a side like Aachen could be dragged in.

So what do we think will happen? I’ll start with my expectations but please feel free to add to the debate below! It’s always a good laugh come May when we’ve accurately predicted nothing but our own idiocy.

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