Football, a German religion!

We all are stunned about Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich’s performance to reach the UEFA Champions’ League final. The first 100 percent German final in this competition and the second clash between two clubs from this country in a dispute with a European trophy on the table! The first one consumed in the UEFA Cup, in 1980, between Frankfurt and Monchengladbach… Quite a while passed from then, huh? But what might be the secret of these two German clubs which became continental giants in an era dominated by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, exactly the victims from these two weeks? Well, physical preparation, lots of money and perfect tactic might be the full answer, but definitely something’s missing. The piece of puzzle which isn’t as perceptible as the others, but without which surely none of this achievements could have been as sweet they are.

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Borussia fans in Madrid, 30.04.2013…

Some reports say that at Madrid, for the second leg of the UEFA Champion’s League semi-final came around 40.000 fans from Borussia Dortmund!!! It’s not a mistake! They went to celebrate with their favorites even though only quarter of them had entrance tickets! Stunning, right? Well, I might say yes, even for a club which so good performance in recent years, but the story should move now in some other cities from Germany which never had in the past decades a team in the first tier but still, their fans continue to come in big numbers especially at the home matches.

RotWeissEssen+379pxLogo_RotWeiss_Essensvg For the start, let’s speak about Rot-Weiss Essen. The former German champions from 1955 struggle now in the lower divisions, in the fourth tier in present days, to be more accurate! No promotion chances but unfortunately also no relegation fears. In other words, the club founded in 1907 meets mediocrity for a while, but their supporters don’t care about this. They only want to come at the stadium to see their favorites playing. So, at some home encounters in the stands more than 8.000 people came! OK, the stadium has a capacity over than 20.000 places – and by the way, it is the first pitch with floodlights from the former RFG, event which took place in 1956 -, but can you imagine more than a few teams from the top division in Romania which can gather these numbers at home games during the season? Ensure you not! But in the end how can this be surprisingly for an Essen inhabitant, if we consider that the same team had an average of 6.355 fans per game in the 2010-2011 says it all! Were where they playing then? In the fifth division!!! Yes, this is an outstanding performance, because at same level other, in the fourth tier, are also playing Magdeburg, Lokomotive Leipzig and Carl Zeiss Jena, well known German clubs, but which don’t benefit of such support. Still, a few thousand people also come to see them playing!

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logo_adler Now, the story should be moved to higher leagues, but I’ll keep the essence around the same tier. It’s Preussen Munster’s turn now. A squad which in 2011 promoted to the third league and now has big chances in advancing in the Zweite Bundesliga! But Munster has a touching story. A founding member of the Bundesliga, they only played once in the top flight, in that first 1963 – 1964. So, already a half of century nearly passed, but their fans are still thirsty to see their boys’ home matches. Now, in the third league, around maximum 10.000 supporters come on home soil, but a unbelievable happening took place in May 2011, when the club founded in 1906 was celebrating promotion in the third division in a game against Borussia Monchengladbach II. They won 3-0 and the victory was accompanied by almost 20.000 fans!!! So, a double number of fans that Essen had. OK, it was a celebration then but still, to play with so many fans in the fourth league looks incredible to me and I guess to any football lover. But how could it be different when we find out that on the first ever day of Bundesliga play on 24 August 1963, Preussen Munster’s game against Hamburg was the only complete sell out. The team earned another broadcasting first as this was also the first recorded Bundesliga match. The contest ended in a 1-1 draw!

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Dynamo-Dresden Now wait a minute because this isn’t all! Dynamo Dresden was eight time football champion in the former RFD, but from the unification they didn’t quite keep up in the top flight so, for nearly 20 years, they didn’t played once in Budesliga. Do you thing fans care about this?! If yes, you are very wrong. With a stadium of little more than 32.000 seats, Dynamo has at each home game somewhere around 30.000 people in the stands!!! It is important to know that despite they are in the second tier at the moment, they will fight not to fall lower, because, most likely, they’ll play a relegation play-off! So, weak chances for this team to get a Bundesliga promotion in the following years, but this is not a problem! And if we think that Dynamo doesn’t at least have the same tradition of the other two squads, mentioned above, as their birth date is registered in 1950… In fact this is all the beauty and one of the main factors which increased spectacular the level in German football. In fact, the loyalty of the fans contributed in saving Borussia Dortmund from financial collapse a couple of years ago, right? So what a reward they are getting now! Maybe, someday, football lovers from Essen, Munster and Dresden would have the chance of saying the same thing… Even though not necessary because two national titles won in a row or a Champions’ League final.

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Winning and scoring goals isn’t everything!

storiedisport-it3 Continuing the story of Jupp Heynckes – the player – we must talk about two incredible episodes in which Borussia Monchengladbach was involved in the ’70s, with the attacker in the starting line. Two games in which the Germans scored 19 goals (!!!!) which proved to don’t count in the end! Chronologically, the first event took place on 20th of October 1971. After winning their second league title in 1971, Borussia got the chance to appear in the Champions Cup. There, they wanted so bad to make a good impression and after putting out Cork Hibernians in the first round, they awake with Inter Milan in the second round, a giant in European football, which had already won two titles in this competition. But that 20th of October seemed like the best moment in the history of the Germans. A 7-1 crushing victory for the hosts, match in which including Heynckes scored two goals, look to secure by far a well-deserved and in the same time shocking qualification.

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So big was the celebration, that an apparently insignificant detail was neglected. A Coca-Cola can hit Roberto Bonisegna, in the 29th minute, when the table showed only 2-1 for the hosts. The match continued, but at the end, desperate because of the result, the Italians made a complain. That idea proved decisive in the end, because the judges decide: the 7-1 victory would be canceled and the match must be played again! A shocker for all Borussias’ lovers! The only consolation was that the game should be replayed after the one from Milan, which was to originally supposed to be the decisive leg. But how can you concentrate when such a thing happens?! Surely not to well… The proof stays in the way they lost, 2-4 and despite qualification chances were still considerable, at home the former 7-1 transformed into a pale 0-0. A big drama for the coach, the players and the fans… And the impression that a small detail can turn upside down happiness and transform it into tears. This time, that detail took the shape of a Coca-Cola can

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FUSSBALL Europapokal der Landesmeister Borussia Moenchengladbach-Inter...

Almost seven years forward from that black date, on 29th of April 1978, Borussia Monchengladbach was trying to win its sixth champion title. They were head to head with FC Koln and about to play home against Borussia Dortmund. A win is mandatory but the big problem is that, if Koln also beats FC Saint Pauli, all that counts is the goal difference and at the moment, Monchengladbach has a gap with ten goals less than Koln. So, it looks like an impossible mission as they have to beat Dortmund at more than ten goals difference!!! Especially because we talk about Germany, one of those nations known for the correctitude of its people! Still, the encounter ended with a devastating 12-0 win which is until now the biggest win of Monchengladbach, the worst loose for Dortmund and the highest goal difference between two teams in the history of Bundesliga!!! A match in which nearly half of the goals was scored by the same Jupp Heynckes! Five, to be more precise, including one in the first minute!

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But can you imagine that this wasn’t enough for the trophy? Well it wasn’t, because Koln also took care to win their match with a sufficient 5-0 so that way they could achieve their third and last title until now! So, this way, two crushing victories proved to be useless in the end because of different causes. Still, from the total of 19 goals, Jupp Heynckes scored seven. The same Jupp Heynckes which now created, as a coach, maybe one of the most powerful team from Bayern Munich’s history!

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The other Jupp Heynckes

21-Jupp Heynckes - Borussia M`gladbach 1974 Bayern Munich crushed FC Barcelona, 4-0, in the first leg of this year UEFA Champions’ League semi-final and one man stands behind this success, the coach Jupp Heynckes. Of course, he has brilliant players like Gomez, Mandzukic, Muller, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Robben or Ribery, but he owns the key of making the mechanism working. Why? Well, because this man trained with great results in the ’80s, ’90s and also in our days. Two league titles with Bayern Munich, before the unification of RDG and RFG and a Champions’ League with Real Madrid in 1998, says everything. Now, he embarrassed a team which many think that is the best in the history. What’s next? Well, couldn’t tell, but I can say something about his player career which was also tremendous!

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HEYNCKES_JOSEPH_JUPP_jpg Born on 9th of May 1945, in Monchengladbach, Heynckes wrote history at the local club from 1963 to 1978, with a break of three seasons (1967-1970), when he experienced a spell at Hannover. During his time at Borussia, Jupp experience fame and glory as he took part in the greatest team that the town had in its entire history which started on the 1st of August 1900. From five league titles, Monchengladbach won four (1971, 1975, 1976, 1977) with Heynckes as a striker. As well as a German Cup (1973), a UEFA Cup (1974) and the only Champions Cup final, in 1977. And what a striker Jupp was! In an era dominated by Gerd Mueller, Heynckes got two top scorer titles, in 1974 and 1975! In fact, in ten top flight seasons for Borussia, the attacker played 369 official games and 263 official goals!!! Impressive or what?!

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After, from 1979 until 1987, Jupp coached the squad and even though did not win any trophy, he ended his job there with a brilliant balance: 340 games, 167 wins, 77 draws and 96 losses. A total of 731 goals scored by his lads and 509 conceded… So, in his career, Heynckes appeared for Monchengladbach, on the pith or on the bench, in a total of 709 matches! All for the team from his native town! How many football stories more beautiful than this can be? Not too many, for sure! But if you think that this is all you’re terrible mistaking again! I will expose two strange stories in which Heynckes was actively involved when playing, but in the next article because it is too much to tell here in order for you to have patience to read it all so, use your mouse and go above!

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Before them there was Lars

Football. UEFA Champions League Final. Munich, Germany. 28th May 1997. Borussia Dortmund 3 v Juventus 1. Borussia Dortmund substitute Lars Ricken, who scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, holds the trophy aloft as he celebrates wit Borussia Dortmund made an impressive first league Champions’ League semifinal against Real Madrid by winning 4-1 with four goals from Lewandovski. They will probably qualify for the final, like they did before in 1997, when they played against Juventus Turin, winning 3-1. But what I want for people to remember is that Lewandowski, Hummels, Goetze, Sahin, Kagawa, Reus or Schmelzer, all the youngsters that contributed more or less to the teams’ continuous performance since the summer of 2010 aren’t the only footballers with fresh blood that brought trophies and fame on Westfallenstadion. In 1997, 16 years ago a boy wrote history as he scored in the last act of the UEFA Champions’ League final a stunning goal after only 16 seconds passed from the moment he was ‘thrown’ on the pitch. His name?! Lars Ricken! A blonde young boy with an earring – which at that time was something quite unusual – secured his teams’ 3-1 victory for the first ever and only until now European supreme crown.

Die 100 wichtigesten Tore der Welt

dfb-de But for the 21 year old midfielder, born in Dortmund, the road begun much more early, as he was used into an official game, for the first time, in 1994, when he wasn’t already 18 years old. Born in Dortmund, he was breed in Dortmund, meet all the success he could get in Dortmund and retired in Dortmund, after ending his career at the second team. A career dedicated only to Borussia from a very talented young player about whom specialists always said that he could have played at a much higher level. 301 league games and 49 league goals are decent numbers for a guy who played 13 years in Bundesliga, but, unfortunately, the injures forbid his possibilities to achieve much more in his career both at Borussia and at the German national team. He did won three league titles, in 1995, 1996 and 2002 and gathered 16 caps and one goal for his country, alongside which he became World vice champion in 2002, even though only as an unused substitute, but the perspectives seemed wider.

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At only 31 years of age, in 2007, he was sent to the second team as he didn’t meet the first squads’ coach expectations. He struggled there, fought for regaining his position but finally failed in doing so and announced his retirement from professional football in February 2009. Thinking a bit, with a bit luck he could have taken part, at least as a substitute in the second final which Borussia will play for sure in this year… So, remember this guy, because until this day he, alongside Michael Zorc, is the only player who dedicated his entire career to Borussia, to win the Champions League with the yellow and black side. Now, in this position are Goetze and Schmelzer… But Goetze already signed a contract with Bayern starting the next season. A shocking hit for his fans, but the betrayal has already happened and Mario preferred to continue at the greatest rival. Meanwhile, Lars didn’t leave Borussia for a single day – excepting a short forced trial at Columbus Crew in 2008 – so for this we have to remember that before Jurgen Klopp’s side, there was a great one from which a one club young boy stood up from the rest!

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Cătălin Cursaru, a lethal striker

auograf curs Seems like it happened yesterday! I was only a teenager, when FCM Bacău was playing a game… Guess it was a friendly one. Not so sure, but this is not important. What counts is that, when I was sitting in the stand, in my left side below I spotted someone very important for the team. Cătălin Cursaru, the top scorer of the squad was watching the game alongside the fans. I gathered my courage and went to ask him for an autograph. He smiled and signed my paper. I was shaking a bit because he really was a star in the first league and a true symbol for the local team. It was in 2004, when rumors about a transfer of his, to Queensland Roar, in the Australian League, increased with everyday passed. So, I wished him: ‘Good luck in Australia, Cătălin!’ He smiled back again… But the transfer never happened. Cursaru remained one more year at FCM and after his career decreased dramatically.

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No questions, no other ads and even no comments. I wrote about Cursaru little more than a year ago. So it’s no point of repeating all his achievements, but I want to share here, with you, his complete numbers regarding the goals he scored for FCM Bacău: the match, the date, the competition, the score at which he netted. Everything! Check them out, because it’s a pretty cool statistic! And also, I added a photo of Cătălin in the shirt of the national football team. Even tough he didn’t manage to appear in one single match for the first side, he managed to gather a couple of caps with the second team and also scored a couple of times.

2000-2001 goals
2001-2002
2002-2003
2003-2004
2004-2005

Total: 52 goals (49 in the League Championship, from which four penalty strikes, and three in the Cup competition)

Cătălin Cursaru scored his goals in the net of 18 teams: seven against Dinamo and Farul, four against FC Argeş and FC Braşov, three between the posts of Steaua, Oţelul, Petrolul and Bistriţa, two against Rapid, Ceahlăul, Naţional, Gaz Metan, Craiova, UMT, Craiova and Astra and a single one in the net of Moineşti and Bihor, the last two in the Cup. But more than number and statistics, other amazing things are revealed. FCM Bacău was a good team on home soil in that period and Cursaru contributed essential to this fact. What do I mean? Well… in all the 22 home league games in which Cursaru scored, FCM didn’t lose! In fact 19 of this encounters were victories of the hosts and also could have been the other three, because the opponents grab a point, always, in the last seconds! So, from those 49 league goals, Cătălin scored 29 in front of his fans. The rest of 20 were netted in 15 away matches. Last, but not least, I will mention that form the total of 52 competitive goals, only 19 came in the first half, the rest of 33 being netted in the last 45 minutes.

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What a shame…

skysports-com Because football became an industry as years passed and in our days the pleasure of playing and the respect for players decrease dramatically. All what’s important, money of course in this case can break even some apparently endless fairytales. It seems like the case of one between Chelsea London and Frank Lampard. The team which still holds the Champions League trophy showed the door to one of its symbols which happen to be the second top scorer of all time with exactly 200 goals in all official competitions and for a midfielder I can say that this is a lot! In fact, Lampard has the rest of the season to beat Bobby Tambling’s 202 goals. After that is impossible, because the Blues’ board decided not to offer Frank a new contract!

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But stop, I don’t blame only the club! The main reason of the situation it seems to be one tight well to the contract value. Frank earns a lot of money at Chelsea and surely the club doesn’t want to extend the contract of a 35-years old midfielder in at least the same conditions. For me, this thinking looks fair enough, because even if you gave a lot of hard work and dedication for the squad, you can receive less than 12 million pounds, sum that Frank won in 2011, for instance… But no, no, no! I am not saying that he’s the main man to blame! Not at all! Of course, Frank should give away a consistent part of his salary for a year or two, as long as he wants to continue playing, but Chelsea must be more convincing. The club officials must insist and explain to Lampard why he should accept their conditions. They might even bag him to do so because he deserves this! All these methods are mandatory because, otherwise, the only message that they’ll transmit is that they just want to get rid of him!

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I mean, with him as a leader, Chelsea won three league titles (2005, 2006 and 2010), the UEFA Champions’ League (2012), the FA Cup (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012), the League Cup (2005, 2007) and the FA Community Shield (2005, 2009). A total of 12 major trophies from a total of 21 that the club from London won in its entire history! Well yes, such a player deserves even to fall into your knees in front of him and insist until he signs the renewal! This are only dreams! This will never happen and neither will Frank accept to reduce his salary to, let’s say, less than a half… What seemed to be the perfect marriage in football will probably end in an almost ugly way. A symbol player will leave his symbol club all because of the money… The disease that harms football more and more by years pass… But what is a symbol in our days?

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Let’s not forget that before joining Chelsea, in 2001, at 23 years of age, Lampard was a four season key player for West Ham United, the big rival from London. For the ‘Hammers’ this was a huge disappointment and could never forgot Frank for his gesture. Especially because his father, Frank Lampard Sr. has the second number of all time appearances, with 674 matches between 1967 and 1985. 18 years!!! So, is this betray or not? It looks so, but football doesn’t care anymore about this things. Money is much more important! Don’t believe me when I am talking about the Chelsea – Lampard situation, than analyze what happened when Raul left Real Madrid… What a shame!!!

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A hat-trick between the wrong posts

lierse-com When you score an own goal it’s a very unpleasant feeling. When you do it more than once, in a season, like Franck Sinclair or Jamie Carragher, it could become, very easily, something ridiculous, both for you and your team mates. Thing which can end up with you being even fired! If it happens twice in a single game it surely can become a modern tragedy, one that gives you a low morale for a consistent period of time. Still, all of these can happen in football, especially because of the increased speed of the ball circulation. But what can you see about a case when a defender puts in three own goals in a single encounter?! Well, it might happen to any footballer, from all field positions, but the case about I will talk it’s a real fact and it involves a defensive player.

It looks hard for someone to do this, but what happened in the second day of the 1995 Christmas overtakes any imagination of football lovers. In that day, Germinal Ekeren, renamed in our days as Beerschot, visited Anderlecht, at Bruxelles. The final score, 4-2 for the hosts, looks like the people from the tribunes were happy to be there and indeed, it was a true show. But not for the visitors! And all of these because one man: Stan Van den Buys. A defender about who few heard will never be forgotten! The man born on 8th of June 1957 in Wuustwezel, made a eight year career at Lierse and after short spells at Molenbeek and Mechelen he choose to end his career at Ekeren. In 1994, when he arrived there he was already 37 years of age but signed a two years contract. Without being a very offensive defender, Van den Buys scored a couple of goals for each team at which he played. Excepting… Ekeren.

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He appeared in 53 league games for this side, but surely the one I was talking about above stands out from the rest. By far! In that ‘fatidic’ night, Ekeren could have achieved much more if it hadn’t been for Stan. No, not Stan from Eminem’s song, the one in front of the visitors’ goal! One own goal could happen, as I mentioned before, two also might be scored, even though it’s tough. But not tough enough, considering the ‘performance’ of Van den Buys, who netted a hat-trick, but in his own goal! Unbelievable? It seems so, but it isn’t and the Belgian became and remained, until now, the only professional football player to have this black mark in his CV. And thinking that his team could have even won that game without his own goals! After that season he ended his career and started training as an assistant or scout. In this last position he came back at new founded Beerschot, on the root of former Ekeren. This happened in 2010 and lasted till 2012. Again, two years! But he was received with open arms, despite his bad achievement… Now, in 2013, he moved as a scout at Al Shabab, team from the United Arab Emirates league.

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