It's that time again. Enjoy this classic to the tune of "Do they know it's Christmas?" by BandAid. Look it up on Spotify/iTunes/YouTube and sing-a-long to our lyrics. Do what I do and donate to charity this Christmas as well, all people aren't as well-fed or lucky as we are.
It's Christmas Time, there's no need to hate..
At Christmas Time, we don't get together and relegate.
And in our world of Fussball we can spread a smile of joy,
Throw your flares in the bin at Christmastime.
But say a prayer for those at HSV,
It's hard, but I'll show you how!
You know there's a world outside your window,
and it's a world of Vestergaard and fear.
Where the only water flowing is the sting of Bremertears.
And the relegation bells that ring there,
Are the clanging chimes of doom.
Eintracht, now I'm glad it's them instead of you.
And there won't be joy in Ingolstadt this Christmastime.
The greatest gift they'll get is Walpurgis
Oh, when no one ever knows, no goals or points flow.
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
Here's to you, I raise the glass of mine,
Here's to them, underneath the relegation line.
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
Let Geld loose this Christmastime again,
let Geld loose this Christmastime again.
Lyrics: Axel Falk, Bob Geldof, Midge Ure.
It's been a long time since I did a player analysis and how about doing one now, as a part of this week's Trequartista. Now, what will this week's feature be about? Well, it will simply be about our site, the international break and its boredom and about a certain very interesting player who has caught the eye of our editors during this season so far. So grab your electronic device of choice and your most comfortable furniture and enjoy yourself by enlightening yourself by reading this week's Trequartista.
The dire international break. What can we do when we're bored? It's a hard question to answer, but we've been active at the site. By bringing in a couple of new regular writers and by recording yet another interesting podcast we've been more active than most teams in Bundesliga have been. Add editor Ali's birthday to that and it's been a week full of joy and prosperous work. However, before we can begin to count ourselves as an established site, we still need at least one writer at the Serie A-section and at the Ligue 1-section to complete our setup. It's what is needed, but it's hard to find. Now, I specialize in German football and can't allow myself to shift focus as I find my own knowledge and views on Fussball too valuable to the site, the same goes for every writer we have. They shouldn't shift focus as they write about the things they're good at. Therefore, we need new writers for Serie A and Ligue 1. If you know someone or if you yourself would like to join our marvellous team, contact us at @freshgegenpress or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll sort something out.
So, the international break. This dire part of the season that is so full of boredom for most football fans. To make this part a bit more fun, here are a few tips:
1. Injury bingo.
This sounds bad and cringe, but could be fun. Sure, it's not ethically correct to joke about injuries, but to lighten your week up, you can afford some time in the ethical grey areas of football. Do like this: Choose a few teams and then make a bingo chart out of the players of that team. Then if a player gets injured you cross his box and when you get five in a row, you win. What happens then? .....you scream "BINGO"... come on people, keep up. (This game could and should hopefully go on for a few international breaks)
2. You could get extremely engaged.
If you're really bored and your own national team plays horribly (like mine always does), then become a hipster for a week and choose a national team and become extremely engaged. Try to figure out tactics, find new exciting players etc. It could be fun for a while, at least it should make the week entertaining enough.
Preferably for us, but there are many sites looking for new talent and writing really does make time move a bit quicker, especially if you write about something interesting or that really interests you.
The player I was talking about is Berkay Özcan of VFB Stuttgart, the turkish playmaker who has started six games in Zweite Bundesliga so far and has amassed three assists from his role as a number 10. His age? 18. Yep, this lad is a proper talent, an uncoveted star. Even though he is still unpolished and rash, his talent makes him a key player for the promotion candidates Stuttgart. Born in 1998 and with a history at Karlsruhe, this young talent has lots of potential and experience. He came through the ranks at Karlsruhe and was signed by Stuttgart in 2013 when they spotted his natural ability on the field. Since he has advanced through the ranks at the Swabian club and is now one of the biggest talents in 2. Bundesliga. To his three assists in six games for Stuttgart you can add his goal and assist in VFB's first cup game of the season, in which he starred. Have you heard of him? Probably not. Had I heard of him before my Stuttgart-supporting father mentioned him? Nah.
Berkay Özcan was born in Karlsruhe and, much like Mesut Özil and Yunus Malli, has dual citizenship. Him being born in Germany with Turkish parents makes him eligible to play for both national teams, even though he has chosen the Turkish youth teams so far. This means that the German youth set-ups will look to include him in their next qualifier to try to lure him to play for Germany.
Enjoy the games of the weekend, enjoy the Bundesligas and most importantly, enjoy the Kovac-inspired crash of Bayern München at Waldstadion, Frankfurt this Saturday at 3.30 CET.
editor, fussball fanatic and avid believer that Angela Merkel is the saviour of Europe.
Freitag! Relax, settle down, grab your comfortable furniture of choice and enjoy. Trequartista is back and this week our free-roaming writer Axel takes a look at an unnerving trend in German football.
How about this for a pattern: Dortmund in 14/15, Borussia Mönchengladbach in 15/16 and Schalke 04 in 16/17. All these clubs from more or less the same area of Germany have all swallowed a bit too much of the self-produced coal at the beginning of respective seasons and have coincidentally found themselves at the bottom of civilization. Err... Bundesliga. Sorry about that. Not at all shots fired at charcoal miners, an honest kind of people. They're the exact same in Ruhr. Anyway, it's really a shame to see these teams fall so far from grace and I geuinely have no idea why. However, it's a pattern and a rather clear one. All of these teams (well, the Borussias) have though after their initial downfall recovered and finished in the top 7 of the league.
Is it down to material, their quality or down to the managers? I can assure you it's not about the latter. Klopp, Favre and Weinzierl are too good to be blamed for this. The quality of the players isn't it either. All of these teams have had player material enough to reach top four of Bundesliga. So is it about depth? Possibly, but one could argue these teams have got the funds to build a good squad, a squad good enough to compete at the very highest level even. So why? Why the downfall of these giants?
There is one very simple solution and it's a mixture of lots of things:
1. The Manager.
While Klopp, Favre and Weinzierl are great managers, maybe their style of play is limited to a certain kind of players. Maybe all these teams missed one or two of the players needed to play well. This is one of the most popular opinions regarding this. This practically means that the downfall wasn't the coach's fault, but his squad's and the board's for selling important players. Even though it might be down to the manager to find a good replacement, when a team is fixated to one special playter and that player leaves... Chaos.
While this goes hand in hand with the former point, it deserves its own. The player material of a squad is evidently vital for the team's success. If an important player is missing, everything just falls apart. In Klopp's system, a reliable striker was needed. While they created lots of chances they just couldn't score and that became a bit of a curse. Sure, the defenders didn't do their jobs too well, but their support from midfield was lacking. Basically, Klopp's last year at BVB was a complete mess. No building defensive midfielder, no box-to-box-ish midfielder and no reliable attacking threat either. Plus, Weidenfeller just wasn't as good. At 'Gladbach, Favre missed a midfielder to play alongside Granit Xhaka, With the Swiss international being the baller in midfield as well as a defensive midfielder, he needed someone who could transport the ball from defence to attack. Now he had to do that all by himself and left a gap in defence when he attacked. When Dahoud came along, the team just fixed itself and Xhaka could play defensive playmaker again. At Schalke, the very same thing is missing. Geis has to do everything and Weinzierl has given both Goretzka and Meyer the wrong roles as well as putting faith in Naldo. They need to scrap Bentaleb and play Goretzka-Geis or else things will fall apart even more.
3. The board.
Selling key players is never a good choice and even if a choice wasn't there, a good replacement would have been decent. Both BVB and Borussia have great boards, Schalke as well (well, at least now), but they might need to consult the coaches before buying someone for a change.
editor, teutophiliac, but first and foremost the duke of Bavaria*
*Axel calls his own house "Bavaria". Just allow it.
Freitag! Relax, it's weekend and a new edition of our friday special Trequartista is up. Editor Axel embraces the role of the Trequartista and roams free through the blooming world of football.
"There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?" Before you fall off your chair or stool or other comfortable piece of convenient furniture, please allow me to explain why I decided to copy Supreme Leader Snoke's catchphrase for this article. Please allow me, I would hate it if you would combust because of anger or excitement. Calmate hijo, or well, hija.
There's a new important breed of midfielders in Europe, and especially in Bundesliga, that has emerged during the last few seasons. While the defensive playmaker has caught the eye of the hipster, I have found another role in midfield which light hasn't yet reached even the hipster's eyes. However, I am a self-proclaimed self-proclaimer and I proclaimed myself an überhipster some time ago. Nobody seemed to argue. The new breed of midfielders makes every team tick. It isn't necessarily the defensive playmaker, regista or whatever it's called, that makes teams tick, but perhaps even more this new breed that has emerged recently. For now, forget about players like Julian Weigl, Toni Kroos, Granit Xhaka and Claudio Marchisio and concentrate on the other player in midfield, his stalwart and everlasting companion.
This type of midfielder isn't a box-to-box midfielder, neither is he a defensive- or an attacking midfielder of any kind. He's just something in-between. This very thing is what makes him so exhillerating. Let me explain what this player does on the pitch. He runs up and down, chases balls, presses everywhere he can on the pitch and often ends up having run the most of all players on it. Sounds like a box-to-box? Well, he has the attributes to be a box-to-box, but this player mixes that up with playmaking. He can stay back and dictate play if he likes and he often does, but after having dictated play, he often helps in attack and chips in with an assist or a goal. Moreover, he is always an alternative for the wingers and the wing backs, he is always an alternative for the other central midfielder as well as for the centre back as he is everywhere at once. While his stamina is important, it's often his technical ability that makes him shine on the pitch. It's often hidden, or lost and just recently found, but it is what makes it possible for him to dictate everything while still being extremely confident with having the ball and dribbling. His dribbling and technique is more important to this type than to the defensive playmaker, because this type might have to transport the ball between defence and attack to create a chance for his team. That's why this player is one of the most important, he can often create a chance on his own or at least create the lead-up to a chance on his own.
Often contributing pre-assists, he's rarely in the limelight, but when he scores the goals are often spectacular or down to his personal ability that sometimes shines through and makes the hipsters go wild. To explain further and to make you understand even more, here's the top three of this kind in Bundesliga.
1. Gonzalo Castro.
He can play anywhere in midfield, but is quick, technically able and runs play without us even recognizing it. His understanding for football is deep enough for him to know his role and to execute it perfectly. Castro has caught the eye of most Bundesliga fanatics this season with his astute performances and will most certainly remain an important part of Tuchel's build.
2. Vladimir Darida.
Not even Nasa could have kept my love for this player a secret as I have rambled on about him for a few years now, but without him Hertha Berlin wouldn't have been this good, nor would they have reached Europa League last season. His immense workrate and understanding makes him the complete midfielder as he can both defend really well and has a powerful right foot.
3. Charles Aranguiz.
At Leverkusen he teams up with a defensive playmaker in Julian Baumgartlinger and Aranguiz flourishes alongside that kind of a player. His workrate and technique makes him a real magiciaan in midfield as he runs up and down the pitch and helps out in all ways necessary. One of editor Ali's favourite players.
Basically, a really clever and technically able box-to-box midfielder. What shall we call it? Maybe it already has a name. If you know the name of this type of player, please send me a message on social media. Sadly, my imagination is running a bit low so can't come up with some amazing name for the type. Help.
editor, Frankfurter and probably just the most arrogant bastard you'll ever meet.
Trequartista! The most dramatic feature of Fresh off the Gegenpress is back with a bang and in this week's edition editor Axel Falk talks Leipzig and latin.
With this season kicking off in breathtaking manner, one can't stop himself to wonder what will happen come May. While this is the general consensus at this point every season, this one feels even more uncertain. Now, I won't do another preview of the Bundesliga, no, but I am going to bring up a really sensitive subject in German football, a subject that has been brought up so many times by so many other writers. However, I am going to take a rather lenient view at this sensitive subject as I think it might just be time to let it go.
Rasenballsport Leipzig, a club most fans have an opinion about. Most dislike them, but some actually see the beauty in this as they have done quite a few good things thus far in their history. While most think that their style is unethical, I was one of those and still am one of those who consider Leipzig's rise to be unethical, I can't help but feel a bit sorry for them and all the hate they've been getting. No club is worth this much hate (or, well, Tottenham...) and we shouldn't act unethical just because their rise was the very same. Nein. Every day on Twitter I've seen people throwing insults at the club, every day people seem to concentrate solely on RB instead on focussing on their own teams. Maybe it's time to let it go, maybe it's time to accept the fact that they're here to stay.
Moreover, I like the way they've improved the area. Leipzig, a grand metropole in Eastern Germany, was for long without a proper football team and in Germany, without a proper football team, a city's culture often goes missing. As was the case with Leipzig. The thing about football is that it makes people forget the errors of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow, which is more important than we could ever imagine. Why should we steal that away from the inhabitants of Leipzig? We should instead be glad that they've got a team to entertain them. What has RB done to Leipzig except that? Well, it has given the youth in the area a chance to grow as footballers at a big club with resources instead of plying their trade at Chemie Leipzig in a Regionalliga. A big club's influence should never be underestimated and this might just prove to be a match made in heaven for the young people of the East-German metropole.
There's a saying in latin: Errare humanum est sed ignoscere divinum est. This means that it's human to make an error, but to forgive that error is divine. Now, we need to grab this saying and shove it doiwn our throats. For the sake of German football we must be divine and forgive Leipzig. We can't change it, we can just accept it and when we have accepted that RB Leipzig has completed its rise, that's when we can begin to enjoy what this season has to offer. If we don't, then all this season will be about is Leipzig and the team that faces them and we can't have it that way, it goes without saying.
Este divina, ut Bundesliga salveat.
Ego sum Lord Voldemort. Non, rideo, sed sum magnificus et divinus, ut Bundesliga salveabam.
editor, co-founder and a hopeful relative of the Flavian dynasty.