In Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it in many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month, Axel looks at a club that values the stability of being "OK", SpVgg Fürth.
FEBRUARY: SpVgg Greuther Fürth
"A club from Nüremberg", I answered when a friend of mine a few years back asked me what ”Greuther” Fürth was. Little did I know that the fans of the very same club would have lynched me had they known my answer. It’s not a club from Nüremberg, it’s a club from Fürth, a city in the direct vicinity of Nüremberg, and that’s very important to know, because not only is it factually wrong to say that they’re from Nüremberg, it’s also to deny them of an identity. They are not 1. FC Nürembergs little brother, but they are SpVgg Fürth, a proud little club from Franconia that has had its fair share of success in the 21th century.
Identity and pride seem to be two of the main pillars of this club from Fürth, die Kleeblättern, who have had a turbulent, but fun decade. They’ve lost many great players, but they have always managed to gain momentum in the new season by developing new youngsters and players from their youth setup and through their very decent scouting network. Grünweiss from Fürth seem to be one of the minnows in 2. Bundesliga, but they really are not- 2. Bundesliga is exactly where they belong.
Founded as early as 1903, they won the German title in 1914, 1926 and 1929 as SpVgg Fürth, the callsign ”Greuther” was added much later. They played in the first division of German football until Bundesliga was formed, but have since then only had one season in the top flight, 2012/2013, but were relegated instantly. The club’s name derives from their merger with TSV Vestenbergsgreuth in 1996 and they got promoted instantly and have played Zweiteliga since then, apart from 2012/2013 when they played Bundesliga football for the first time in their history.
This season has been one of many for the guys in Grün und weiss from Fürth, they're placed in the middle, in no danger of relegation but they aren't close to promotion or even challenging for promotion either. They look stable and good right where they are right now, in the middle. Some might say they have settled for mediocrity, but they seem to have understood that a challenge for promotion craves a summoning of quality and money that just doesn't exist anymore for Fürth, therefore their place in the middle of the table seems to be perfect for them. Stability is a virtue at Fürth, as well as tradition and pride is for their fans. They have though been underwhelming at timed during this campaaign and have looked lacklustre in both defence and attack. Former Schalke-player Mike Büskens was the one to bring them to Bundesliga in 2012, but left the club after they got relegated. However, he returned for a short spell in 2015 and stabilized the then rather turbulent club. Stefan Ruthenbeck became the new manager, but after a spell of bad discipline and horrible showings on the pitch, he was relieved of his duties in November last year and Janos Radoki replaced him. Radoki has done wel, so far and they even beat the promotion candidates Hannover 96 with 4-0 last week, a result even the slumbering Zweite Liga-fan was woken up by. Now their placed eleventh in ". Bundesliga, but are far from being in danger of relegation.
Why Hipster's Choice?
Fürth is a very uncoveted club with a bit of interesting history. It's a respectable club with respectable fans in a very unconventional stadium in one of the most beautiful areas in Europe. Add to that their short spell in Bundesliga and their recent win against Hannover 96 and you have more or less the perfect outfit for Hipster's Choice.
Turkish winger-slash-striker Serdar Dursun seems to be one of the better at the club and has impressed massively this season by scoring frequently (7 goals), goalkeeper Sascha Bürchert has also been one of the key performers this campaign as well as winger-slash-wingback Khaled Narey whoose crosses always create opportunities for the tall strikers of Fürth. What they miss is perhaps a proper goalscorer, one who can bang goals in on a weekly basis instead of having to wait for Dursun or other winger Sararer to hit form. As long as their key performers keep on performing as they have done so far, Fürth's stability will not falter. In general the team does seem to have problems going forward. With only 22 goals scored in 20 games, things could easily turn ugly for them if their key players drop in form.
editor, hipster and not a resident of Saarland
In Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it in many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month, Axel looks at the less known club from Eastern Berlin, the very relevant Union Berlin.
JANUARY: 1. FC Union Berlin
I've been to Berlin more times than I can count and I'm planning two further trips this spring to the capital of Europe (I wish). However, I have only watched one game of Bundesliga whenever I've visited and that was this autumn, Hertha vs Köln. But every time I have visited, I've seen more Union Berlin fans than Herthans, more Union flags than Hertha flags, more Union scarves than Hertha ones, more Union posters than Herthan. It does seem like Union Berlin truly is the city's team, Berlin's pride. But are they, though? Not really, Hertha has more fans, but one could argue that Union's fans are more devout.
This image epitomizes Union Berlin, who, since they were founded, have been the financial underdogs in Berlin. They seem to enjoy that image, they even flourish in it. It's been the case for a long time and it doesn't seem like they will overshadow their western neighbours for some time, considering Hertha's rise on the hands of Preetz and Dardai. This being said, Union berlin has had one of their best seasons in quite some time and they are one of the teams pushing for promotion in 2. Liga. If we are very lucky, we might just be able to watch a Berlin derby come next season.
Union's strength since a few seasons back has been the use of strong and agile strikers to accommodate Kreilach in midfield. Players like Bobby Wood and, most recently, Collin Quaner and Steven Skrzybski has made it possible for Union's very potent midfield to flourish. Another true strength is their patience. They believe in their players. Players like Collin Quaner and Steven Skrzybski, who have been at the club since they were embryos, and some others like Christopher Quiring, who a few days ago left the club for more playing time at resurgent Hansa Rostock. This belief and patience makes it possible for their players to keep on developing until they are fit enough to start for the club. It's admirable and humbling to see.
Clever signings and good youth development has been key for them. They acquired Toni Kroos' brother Felix from Werder Bremen for 500 000 € this summer, which is very cheap for a player of that quality. Kroos has since scored one and assisted three. Another proper key player is centre back Toni Leistner who joined from Dynamo Dresden for 400 000€ in 2014. Damir Kreilach, probably their best player, came from croatian club HNK Rijeka in 2013 for 450 000€, which now seems like a real bargain. Kreilach has scored four goals this season and has contributed with two assists.
Union's stadium is a real footballing icon in Berlin. Stadion an der alten Försterei has a cult status in Berlin, albeit in Germany, and without such a classic, but terrifying home ground, Union wouldn't be near where they are right now. With this stadium, their patience and belief and their actual quality in all parts of the team, rest assured you'll see much more of Union Berlin and we might possibly even see them in Bundesliga next season.
Why Hipster's Choice:
Union is a club fro Eastern Berlin who've been overshadow by Hertha since Berlin became one city again. It's a cool club with great fans and a very nice stadium. It's also a real working class club that attracts the lower classes of Berlin inhabitants and gives them something to cheer for, which is what makes football so very fantastic.
As mentioned above, Damir Kreilach is the key player. His workrate and ability to drift inside the area makes him both veery good defensively and in attack. He has developed throughout the last few seasons and he's now grown into the talisman the Union fans have been looking for. Toni Leistner is probably, together with Saulo Decarli at Braunschweig, the best centre back in 2. Liga and with him in defence, goals conceded have been minimized. Steven Skrzybski is, through his workraten passion and luck, one of their most dangerous players in attack and should be counted as one of the better strikers in 2. Liga.
editor and sadly not an owner of a restaurant in the Guide Michelin.
In Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it in many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month, Axel analyzes SV Sandhausen, the miniclub from Neckar.
DECEMBER: SV 1916 Sandhausen.
Sandhausen is a very uncoveted team in 2. Bundesliga, a club we rarely discuss or even mention. Nevertheless, it's a cool club and a beatiful area of Germany. The Neckar-valley includes teams like Hoffenheim, Waldhof Mannheim, Heidenheim and a few other "Heims". It's not the richest area of Germany, but the natural riches of the area and the wine from Neckar really does make up for that.
There aren't many clubs left with the same famiiiliary feeling as SVS have. The minnows of Zweite Liga are without a doubt one of the smallest clubs, if not the smallest, in the two Bundesligas and their stadium and town shows that. Sandhausen is not only the smallest town to have a team in the Bundesligas, they also have the smallest stadium, Hardtwaldstadion, with a total capacity of 15 000. Recent calculations also show that SVS have membership total of about 770, which is much smaller than for example Sportfreunde Lotte, another mini-club, or even Unterhaching. While it's hard to understand how such a team have climbed into die Zweite Liga, their success is nothing short of miraculous. Nobody expects anything from them , they are more or less expected to get relegated every season, but they do often stay up comfortably, which is a remarkable achievement considering their size and budget.
Last season they even started the season with a -3 points deficit, due to financial instability, but through a fantastic start to the season, they still finished mid-table. Through goal machine Aziz Bouhaddouz they beat Paderborn with 6-1 and showed the world that they would not lie down. Even though Bouhaddouz left for St. Pauli, Sandhausen look stabile. They've lost quite a few key players during the last few years. Central defender Florian Hübner left for H96, Goalkeeper Riemann left for Bochum and Bouhaddouz for STP. However, their resilience and clever policy in the maket has kept them afloat and through loan deals and deal for lower league players, they've managed to both do well financially and on the pitch. Sandhausen's current squad looks to be the thinnest in the league, but their key players are resilient enough to encourage the rest of the team. For example, american striker Andrew Wooten, winger Pledl and striker Lucas Höler as well as their reliable pairing in defence Gordon-Kister seems to be working out with the austrian hard-working defensive midfielder Stefan Kulovits in front of them. Kulovits has been at the club for a while now and is a real fan favourite. before this season, things looked dire. Their squad was even thinner tha last season and their hope for survival looked quite gone. However,, through newly appointed coach Kenan Kocak they've performed brilliantly and now will look to continue this great form.
Next weekend I will be in the stands for their game against Würzburger Kickers, another club I do really like. I trust they'll win. Otherwise, I won't be glad.
Why Hipster's Choice:
Sandhausen's prolific minority-like attitude apppeals me and I like their club. It's a miracle and every season they stay up is a miracle in itself. Without these teams in club football, the sport would be all too predictable, something I trust we all dread. While SVS' history might not be as long and exciting as November's Choice Offenboher Kickers', their current success appeals us all and makes for a great, but different story.
Stefan Kulovits is a key player in midfield. Without his workrate, their pressing would not be as effective. While Wooten is the franchise player, newly acquired Lucas Höler seems to be quite the catch. He came on the cheap fro Mainz' second team and the 22-year old has already scored four goals and three assits in 13 games, which is remarkable for aplayer who has just moved up a division or two. Daniel Gordon in defence is another key player who, with Tim Kister, looks reliable. A reliable defence is needed if Sandhausen are going to continue their form.
In Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it in many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month, Axel analyzes his rivals.
NOVEMBER: Kickers Offenbach FC.
Okay, so I'm in uncharted territory. This piece will prove to be more hipster than I have ever been before. I have written about a newly promoted succesful side in 3. Liga, I have written about Hansa Rostock and I thought that was überhipster. When I started "Hipster's Choice" and wrote about Arminia Bielefeld, that felt very hip, but this piece is certainly uncharted territory for more than one reason.
Welcome to this month's Hipster's Piece and this month I am going to tell the story of a team you've most probably not heard of before; Kickers Offenbach. This is though a sensitive area for me. As a Eintracht Frankfurt-fan, Offenbacher Kickers are the only fierce rivals and this Hipster's Choice will be about that rivalry and about some other fantastic stuff, I assure you.
Not far east from the metropole of Frankfurt am Main, the warmth of gentle merchant city Mainhattan, lies an industrial city that the Frankfurters call a suburb to the metropole. However, the people from this industrial suburb certainly think otherwise; they do NOT want to be associated with the lazy bankers from Bankfurt. Offenbach has a long story, as well as Frankfurt, and city's football team has a certainly interesting story to tell as well. Founded in 1901, just two years after Eintracht Frankfurt, the club was forged through a merger of teams in the city. Offenbach's footballing tradition has since lived on and the club found themselves in Bundesliga not too long ago. But, they've fallen from grace and are now placed in the fourth (!) division of German football, which makes them the joint most unknown team I've ever written about (KFC Uerdingen might just clinch it though).
In 1959, Kickers Offenbach were the only thing between Eintracht Frankfurt and die Deutsche Meisterschaft, a thing the Main city (obviously pun intended) along the river truly needed considering them being snubbed of becoming the capital and having just rebuilt the Römer Square in the city. Frankfurt's first Meisterschaft was close, but Kickers made things hard for them and Frankfurt had to get and score a very doubtful penalty to win the game and the Meisterschaft. This was Eintracht's first and still only Meisterschaft. This game made the already infected rivalry between Eintracht and Kickers even worse and they've since then been fierce rivals due to the location and Frankfurt's merchant spirit in contrast to the industrial Offenbach. Kickers kept on losing to Eintracht though. In 1963 when teams would be chosen for Bundesliga, Kickers should have been given a place, but instead 1860 München got it and snubbed Kickers of some Erstklassig glory. SInce then Offenbacher Kickers have been looking with jealous eyes at big brother from big town- Frankfurt.
Kickers Offenbach have been involved in a few scandals as well. The most remarkable one was the bribery scandal of 1971 where Horst-Gregorio Canellas (what. a. name.), the sporting director of Kickers Offenbach FC, accused a few players from Kickers' relegation rivals of bribing referees. The team accused, Arminia Bielefeld, was convicted, but by then Kickers were already relegated to 2. Bundesliga. They were part of the founding of 3. Liga, in which they played a few seasons after getting relegated to the Regionalliga Südwest, which they won two seasons ago, but couldn't beat the qualifiers to 3. Liga. They finished slightly lower last term, only managing a 4th placed finish. However, it is a team on the rise and for me as an avid Adler, that's good to see. It would be good to have some real regular derbies again so people can stop associating Mainz or Darmstadt with some kind of a fierce rivalry.
Why Hipster's Choice:
Kickers Offenbach is a club with a long and interesting history, it's a club that's rarely been a bystander, but have been involved with the most odd things. Even though they're placed in the fourth division, the Offenbachers still turn up to their games at the Sparda-Bank Hesse-Stadion and the club is on the surge and in search for revenge.
Midfielder Serkan Firat has this season celebrated one of his best. The Offenbacher no. 11 has scored six goals in 19 games for the club this season and has been one of their star performers. In midfield the hard-working Marco Rapp is also crucial when playing, his work-rate and stamina makes his colleagues on the pitch better. 22 year-old Dren Hodja has also been one of the best and most important this season. Technically astute and a good finisher is what makes him the stand-out performer in attacking midfield.
editor, co-founder and megaüberhipster.
sIn Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it in many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month, Axel looks at aclub he doesn't exactly love...
OCTOBER: FC Hansa Rostock
Hansa Rostock is a classical club, a club I will probably dislike for the rmainder of my life. Why, you ask? Glad you asked. In 1991, when Stuttgart won Bundesliga, my beloved Frankfurt were placed top of the table with one game to go. We had to beat Hansa Rostock to secure the title, our first Schale. However, they beat us and Stuttgart went on to win the title. While walking in Riederwald in Frankfurt you can still hear the collective sigh and cries from the supporters. Horrible. Even though I wasn't even born, I have this feeling of disgust towards Hansa Rostock, which was why I almost decided against choosing them as the Hipster's Choice of October. i was going with Jahn Regensburg in the beginning. However, Hansa are placed at the top of the 3. Liga table and have looked great so here's my analysis of their club and mediocre city. (not really, have only seen the harbour, I hear it's great =))
Founded in 1965, it's not an old club by any means, but they do have a real cultural status as one of the most successful teams from former East Germany. They also won the last ever East German Pokal, which can be counted as a real feat for a club of their rather small stature. When Germany was reunited, the club was directly introduced to Bundesliga and played their first season ever in a united football league in 1990-91. They did this together with fellow East German club Dynamo Dresden, who are now placed in 2. Bundesliga and have grown famous for their amazing fans. Rostock have great fans as well, but they are not as famous due to their reputation being smaller. Rostock actually played in Bundesliga for ten years between 1995 and 2005 but have since fallen from grace and have been playing third tier football for four years now. Last season they came tenth and it looked quite bad for a while. Until this year.
The newly signed Timo Gebhart has changed things and at Rostock there seems to be something going on again. It is a very interesting team to watch nowadays, hence the article. Yes, Gebhart's move has really spiced things up for them and this season could very well be the season they are promoted again. We'll just have to hope they don't do a Duisburg or Paderborn and crash even harder afterwards. Buuuuut, we're getting ahead of ourselves. The point is, Hansa Rostock is a cool club, one of the bigger in old East Germany and their support in Rostock is as good as it gets. For me as a Swede it would be easy to hop on the ferry to Rostock and watch a game, but I won't because I would be betraying myself and my team. but if you're in Berlin or the area around Vorpommern, do not hesitate if you happpen to have time to spare, Rostock's fans and city centre won't let you down and for a change, this season the team won't either.
Why Hipster's Choice: The role of me as chief hipster here at Fresh off the Gegenpress is to find players and teams nobody has heard of and to find the new surprise. here is the next surprise, Hansa Rostock. Their start to this season has warranted this article and if they keep on playing as they've been playing, I can see a few more articles about them in the future. As long as they don't kill Frankfurt's dreams in any kind of way. Pretty pleasy Hansa?
Key players: It's already obvious that Timo Gebhart is another class than the others as he is already banging in goals for the club. The lad signed from 1. FC Nürnberg in the summer and has brought both skill and experience to the sleeping giant from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, skills that might just be enough to keep them afloat and promote them, which would be a huge success.
editor, co-founder and chief hipster at Fresh off the Gegenpress.
In Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it in many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month editor Axel takes a look at a wonderous team managed by a passionate manager: FC Heidenheim.
SEPTEMBER: 1. FC Heidenheim.
After a friend of mine recommended the Netflix film "Trainer" I was really amazed by the prospect of FC Heidenheim transforming into a big club in a few year's time and I was even more amazed by their manager and his legacy at the club. The manager Frank Schmidt has been at the club for nine years and started to coach the team when his time as a player at the very same club came to an end. While he had promised his family he would leave that life behind, the prospect of managing his favourite club was too hard to say no to and thus began the journey of FC Heidenheim. The club as we know it was founded the same year, in 2007, when the old club from Heidenheim, Heidenheimer SB, formed the new fresh-looking FC Heidenheim in the town an der Brenz.
The Brenzstadt had never had a proper football team to feel proud of and Heidenheimer SB were placed in the fifth tier of German football when Frank Schmidt took charge. In only a few seasons he took them to 3. Liga where they stayed for a few years until finally, after lots of pressure, they actually got promoted to 2. Bundesliga where they are now. This was in 2014. Since then Heidenheim have really impressed in the new league and Frank Schmidt looks more motivated than ever to take them even higher.
Then a few days ago I saw a video on Twitter. It was a music video about Heidenheim and how deep the love for them was and still is. The tune that they used was that of "Sweet Caroline" and after having watched that, I felt convinced, this was a special club. Then, the weekend after, Heidenheim managed to beat VFB Stuttgart, which in itself lead to Stuttgart's coach Luhukay getting sacked. Now, this made me see that this team has potential and that I better jump on the bandwagon before it even starts, so here I am, writing a piece about them. What a sell-out I am.
The story of Heidenheim is, as I said, really remarkable. This club isn't one of those who got fiscal help from a giant company like Hoffenheim or RB, no, this team got to where they are now solely due to the manager and his trust in his coach Frank Schmidt. While they aren't as good as Hoffenheim or RB are, they've got the potential to become as good and with continued support for the coach from both the fans and the manager, I can't see why that isn't possible.
Why Hipster's Choice?
FC Heidenheim is new and fresh, they are something special and it's a quite small club compared to many of the giants who have been left stranded in 2. Bundesliga. In spite of them having toi face these giants, they still oiften prevail and manage to finish every season a bit better than the last one, which in itself is a remarkable feat.
The captain Marc Schnatterer is very important to them and he has been with the team a very long time and has experienced the fantastic journey together with Frank Schmidt. Marcel Titsch-Rivero is an important hard-working central midfielder who often chips in with a goal or two. Mathias Wittek and Bård Finne are also very good players who contribute both in defence and attack.
Sin seveser, fa plaschair.
editor, hipster and possibly Alexander the Great's reincarnation.
In Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it in many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month our editor Axel goes überhipster and analyzes 3. Liga's newly promoted club Sportfreunde Lotte.
AUGUST: Sportfreunde Lotte.
Normally Hipster's Choice would be about a club you would have heard of in some way or another, but August isn't a normal month (well, it is) so why should Hipster's Choice of the month be any different? I find it amusing and exciting to stroll through the 3. Liga website and check tables and teams. What am I looking for though? I genuinely have no clue whatsoever, but this casual strolling of mine has given me some decent insight in a very underrated and unknown league in Germany. While the two highest leagues in Germany seem to consider themselves special with 18 teams competing for the title, mid-table and relegation, 3. Liga actually has 20 teams and most seasons these 20 teams are very equal in regards of quality. Yes, last season was most certainly a fluke when Dresden won the League in early April as it's normally the tightest of all professional leagues in Germany and therefore probably the most underrated of them all. Every year there are a few new teams, as in every league in Europe, and these teams are always certainly interesting to read about. FSV Zwickau was one of those who got promoted from their Regional league, while Westphalian mini-club Sportfreunde Lotte was another. Aber, what is this club all about? Why have I chosen them as my 'Hipster's Choice' of August? It's time to find out.
Did I mention that Sportfreunde Lotte is a mini-club by all standards? I don't think I did, but it is. One of the smallest clubs to ever have played in 3. Liga and now they are where they are due to a magical season in their NRW-Liga. The club's income is smaller than anyone would imagine and this recent success could mean two things; bankrupcy or cake for all. Let's hope for the latter, I don't like the sound of another small club crashing. Sportfreunde Lotte only had 1330 members in 2012, a number which probably is a bit higher after last season's mad success. this insanely small number of members means that they've got a small, but certainly loyal fanbase with Ultras, as all German teams have, who stand and sing at their small, but cute stadium. Judging from this, Sportfreunde is basically just the normal local German team, the one you'd have half-assed (please excuse the lame profanity) feelings about. However, this is a bit different. Considering the insanely small stature of the club itself and their current status as a team in the league rankings and add to that a bunch of "half-assed" fans. It just doesn't work out. Ergo, to actually work financially and as a team on the pitch, the team desperately needs passionate fans who would do anything for their local club, who would travel the world with them and who would cross seas and climb mountains if it only meant that they could watch them one more time. This is what Sportfreunde Lotte is about. It's a club that epitomizes the very pillars of German football, the one we so deeply adore and cherish. Lotte represent the little guy in today's football, much like Darmstadt still will do in Bundesliga and much like Würzburger Kickers will do in 2. Bundesliga. These are the teams we need in today's football.
Now, their stadium is fun. The name is just long enough to stop you from caring in the mittle, much like Darmstadt's. Stadion am Lotter Kreuz lies inside the city and has a capacity of 7474 (give or take five, you never know when or where the Bratwurst-wagon is going to turn up) which makes it one of the smaller stadiums in all German professional football leagues. However, this small stadium and this concept of being placed inside the city makes the club even more locally endeared. To give you an idea of how small the club is: The stadium has a cafeteria which the club is apparently very proud of. This is not a team with a Bitburger beergarden outside the stadium, this is not a club with a grand museum attached to its pitch. This is a small club, with a small stadium with a cute cafeteria. You would just hope that they haven't given up on their chance on having fun with their name, a lottery in Lotte would be something fortunous I could imagine.
When researching the club and the team beforehand I noticed something quite funny on their website, something that once again proves how small and special this club is. There's a list of players, mostly German, and if you click on one of them it tells you their information. This is apparently very important information for most people: "Name, Date of Birth, nationality, social status, what they like to do on their sparetime, Joined the club in..." I liked reading about the striker who had a wife and two kids, a third on the way, always fun to get to know the players. However, this is another way the club has "forced" itself on the inhapitants of the town Lotte in northern Northrhine-Westphalia. Through personal exposure, the fans get to know the players and can connect with them on different levels. But it can breed lunatics so it's a real Lotte(ry). Sorry.
Why Hipster's Choice?: Sportfreunde Lotte is an intriguingly small, newly promoted side and that is triuly great hipster material, but while scanning through the 3. Liga site I found their name appealing and certainly amusing as "Sportfreunde" means "Sporting friends". There's a very decent German band called Sportfreunde Stiller, but I don't think they're related. However, the size of the club and it's appealing name was what made me interested and thus began the hipster interest of SF Lotte here at Fresh off the Gegenpress.
Key Players: Having lost key defender Jeron Al-Hazaimeh to Preussen Münster, a few new players have to step forward to fill his shoes. Polish midfielder André Dej is one of the most prominent players of this thin, but talented squad, but the biggest and most important players of next season will most certainly be goalkeeper Benedikt Fernandez and striker Kevin Freiberger, with the latter scoring 15 goals last campaign they will have to rely on him to do the scoring.
editor, überhipster and not even a bit amused by the prospect of whales in the Baltic Sea.
image credit: Christof Koepsel, Getty Images (gettyimages.com)
Hipster's Choice. This is where we express our hip views on European football and we invite you to share them with us.
JUNE: Euro 2016
This month's Hipster's Choice will be about no club, nor will it be about a certain player that I find interesting in any way. No, this month's edition of the very Fresh off the Gegenpress-ish feature will feature quite afew players. Players to look out for during the Euros. However, as this has been done before by many others and by many other sites, none of them as amazing as ours of course, I will do it in latin to show you that we are different and we care about being different.
Axelus pulchrus est. Proelia Europam magnus sit et sumus laetus ut videamus proeliam magnam et... Okay, fine, never mind. Here is our top 5-list of players to watch in the Euros 2016.
5. Julian Baumgartlinger.
Whether he's teaming up with Danny Latza or David Alaba, this man does his job expertly and it doesn't matter who he's playing with or which team he is playing for. His passionate tackles and vision can make a team tick and the opponents squirm with fright, while the Austrian himself laughs and leans back until another tackle is possible. The man is a machine and should be watched closely, both due to his amazing style and his fantastic hair. Oh, and if you don't know how to spot him; it's the big man with funny hair right behind Alaba. Look out for him, he's a killer and a really tough guy so if a player messes with Alaba, he messes with Baumgartlinger and that's no good.
4. Arkadiusz Milik.
How's that for a spelling? It's easier to spell than Jakub Blaszczykowski though. Milik is a polish striker who together with Lewandowski will spearhead Poland's attack. Even though he isn't exactly the quickest or the most technical, his strength and workrate will prove as valuable to Poland as it has been to Ajax this season where he scored goals for fun during large parts of the season. It seems like Milik and Lewandowski make a great partnership as well, exciting stuff for the poles.
3. Emil Forsberg.
This Swede will amaze you, blow your mind and score a goal while he's at it. The man from Leipzig scored eight goals this term and has impressed massively since moving to the German club from Malmö FF in 2015. His workrate and space is his best attributes, but his finishing and vision is almost as good and valuable. Expect a few goals and some hard work from the man who shares a surname with one of the biggest sporting icons of Swedish history.
2. Vladimir Darida.
What would a top 5-list be without my favourite player? It would still be a top 5-list, but not as Axel-ish and ergo not as good. No matter who he plays with, this man's workrate and technical ability will make you wonder what he's made of. The answer is dreams. He is made of dreams. Dreams of a Czech Euros where Kolar is the top scorer and Cech has the most clean sheets, a tournament where the world stops and starts to appreciate the magic that Darida produces from his deep-lying midfield position. Add to that his killer right foot and you've got yourself a winner. However these dreams come true or not is another story, but make sure to enjoy Vlad's magic on the big stage.
1. Piotr Zielinski.
Owned by Udinese, according to FIFA and not the human rights of course, but loaned out to Empoli where he continues to impress game by game with fellow exciting prospect Leandro Paredes alongside him. This Polish midfielder is brilliant, his technique and vison makes him a direct threat whenever he's on the ball and is without a doubt one of the players wanted by big clubs in Europe. He will probably form a pivot together with Krychowiak, the hard-tackling sevilla maestro and we'll be able to see this Polish machine on the big stage for the first time. What can they achieve with this team? It's hard to tell, but they will go far. Like Greece 2004? No, I wouldn't go that far, but they could reach the semifinals would they be lucky and in-form.
Have a great week and heja Sverige.
editor, co-founder and a firm believer that banana is the most overrated fruit of all time.
MAY: DSC Arminia Bielefeld.
In Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it an many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month its Arminia Bielefeld!
The once so proud top tier team have struggled massively during the last few years and have had to go through tough and unfair relegation and promotion failure, just like most teams in Bundesliga 2. Likewise, Bielefeld are different. It's a German club, more German than most, due to its location in the Teutoburgerwald, the battle where Arminius battled the Romans, won and made it perfectly clear to whatever Caesar he battled that Germania was not there for the taking, hence the name of the team. Arminius was a brave man and so is his team. Bielefeld is one of the most popular clubs in Westphalia and even though the city itself isn't much to see, the area around it with Minden, the Forest and Porta Westfalica, the team and its passionate fans are.
The recent season, they played second tier football once more after getting relegated to 3. Liga in 2013/2014 after losing the play-off against Darmstadt in sensational and heartbreaking fashion. The team has played decent football, has scored quite a few goals and have looked stable, while fellow promoted team MSV Duisburg haven't. Their shining star has been Klos, the striker who has scored 11 goals this term for a team that has been the Kings of Draws otherwise. It hasn't necessarily been boring draws, but they have certainly drawn more than they've won. Klos has been the one player that has tried to change that and them into a winning side in Bundesliga 2, a League they will most certainly be looking to escape from come next season.
Their fans truly believe that Arminia belong in the top tier and I agree, even though Arminia, together with Tasmania Berlin, has the record for worst season tally in the German top tier, a feat that they unfortunately achieved in 99/00. At the end of that long season, the fans of Arminia became self-aware and began shouting "Tasmania Bielefeld". Bielefeld were relegated and has been a jojo ever since, bouncing up and down between first and second tier.
Why Hipster's Choice?
It's a classic club that has been unfortunate, it's a well-supported club with many passionate followers who sing and shout for their team home and away. Some interesting players and German tactics (ze Gegenpress) has secured them a place in Bundesliga 2 next season and they will most probably look to kick on from there.
Key players: Hesl and Klos. Hesl is a goalkeeper who singlehandedly has kept Bielefeld in games they maybe should have lost. Fabian Klos is their main man up top, the one who scores most goals (11 this term) and without him they wouldn't be in Bundesliga 2, nor would they have stayed up.
The spectacular, albeit unfortunate play-off against SV Darmstadt in 2013/2014 which relegated Arminia and promoted the miracle that is Darmstadt can be watched via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liBvo7zBgs0
editor, teutophiliac and a football hipster