As this is the first of what I hope to be many Bundesliga columns here on The Boot Room, I have decided to write a short introduction. Firstly, I would like to thank Chris Linnell and the rest of the editorial team for giving me the chance to have a weekly column on the website focusing primarily on the Bundesliga.
My name is Ryan McCue, I’m from Glasgow and I’m 16 years old. Although my first love is for Celtic FC, I am fascinated by all things concerned with German football, whether it’s the Bundesliga, the German national team or even the country’s world famous fan culture.
I hope you all enjoy, Danke!
Labbadia out, Schneider in at Stuttgart
The big news this week was VfB Stuttgart sacking manager Bruno Labbadia after only three games into the new campaign. The former Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen striker was relieved of his duties after a meeting with the club on Monday after a series of disappointing results. Following Labbadia out of the Mercedes-Benz Arena is his assistant Erdinc Sözer.
Die Schwaben have hired Thomas Schneider on a two year deal to in his replacement. It is the first senior managerial role in the 40 year old’s career, having previously worked with Stuttgart’s under-19 team.
Schneider takes over the club who are currently second from last in the Bundesliga, having played three and lost three, including the weekend’s defeat at the hands of Augsburg. His first duty as manager will be to carry the team into the Europa League group stages on Thursday evening. This will mean overcoming last week’s 2-1 defeat away from home to Croatian minnows HNK Rijeka. In the previous round VfB dumped Bulgarians Botev Plovdiv – but only on the away goals rule after the tie finished one each, poor considering the level of the opposition.
VfB sporting director Fredi Bobic had this to say in Tuesday’s press conference : “In six competitive games this season, we have only secured one win. Those performances…made it clear to me that the team wasn’t being gotten through to”.
Indeed the only victory Bobic was referring to was a first round cup win over Berliner FC Dynamo – the successor of a club in the former East, playing their league football in the third tier.
Thomas Schneider’s primary objective over the season will probably be to finish higher than last season, when Die Schwaben ended 12th in the table. A place in the top half of the league perhaps isn’t too unreasonable either, when it is still so early in the season.
It does look like a long year ahead of VfB Stuttgart, but maybe the managerial change so early in the season could be more beneficial to the squad rather than trying to readjust under a new manager mid-way through the footballing year when players have already found their form and the league table has already taken shape.
Schalke win nail-biter to claim group stage berth
Schalke 04 reached the group stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night after a tense affair in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, defeating PAOK 3-2 behind closed doors.
It was all to play for heading into the second leg after a 1-1 draw in Gelsenkirchen, meaning that a goal was of great importance to Die Könnigsblauen as a result of Miroslav Stoch’s goal in the first leg.
It took Schalke thirty-seven minutes to score the all-important away goal, which was scored by summer signing Adam Szalaí. The Greeks appealed to the referee as they felt that Japanese full-back Atsuto Uchida handled the ball in the run up to the goal, however all claims were ignored by Dutch official Björn Kuipers.
Szalaí’s goal effort was cancelled out early in the second half thanks to a strike from Stefanos Athanasiadis after some questionable defending from both centre-halves Benedikt Höwedes and Felipe Santana.
American internationalist Jermaine Jones was then dismissed after his second bookable offence on the 64th minute and just minutes later Schalke regained the lead after a goal from Julian Draxler.
At this point, with a one goal lead and two away goals in the bag, Schalke appeared to be on the brink of qualification. The hosts – managed by Huub Stevens, who was sacked by Schalke last season – then made it 2-2 on the night courtesy of Kostas Katsouranis – just eleven minutes from the end.
It was backs against the wall from then on out from the 10-men of Schalke as POAK still needed one more goal, otherwise the away side would go on through on the away goals rule. As the match entered stoppage time though, on a counter-attack spearheaded by Julian Draxler, Adam Szalaí scored his second of the night to seal the club’s fate.
It has been a tough few weeks for Die Könnigsblauen – who only have one point to show for their three Bundesliga games so far. But perhaps Jens Keller’s squad can gain a new-found confidence, not only in Europe but also in domestic competition.
Matchday 3 –
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Werder Bremen
Bayern Munich 2-0 FC Nürnberg
Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Hanover 96 2-1 Schalke
Hoffenheim 3-3 SC Freiburg
Mainz 2-0 VfL Wolfsburg
Hertha Berlin 1-0 Hamburger SV
Eintracht Braunschweig 0-2 Eintracht Frankurt
FC Augsburg 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
Matchday 4 –
SC Freiburg 1-1 Bayern Munich