Start of the 1st bundesliga: the big soap opera

At the start of the Bundesliga season, we can expect a lot of squabbling, errant goalkeepers and soon an Austrian club. Eleven theses.

Has already caused a lot of displeasure: HSV goalkeeper Rene Adler. Image: reuters

The 1st league is not the World Cup. That’s good!

No penalty shootouts, few sensations, hardly any shooting stars. There is no highly charged knockout phase here; important decisions are made only during the final match days, nine months from now. The Bundesliga is not the World Cup, nor is it the Cup.

League means everyday soccer – and is therefore something for enthusiasts. For people who, despite all the commercial hoopla, want to watch the floodlit match between the fourteenth and fifteenth in the table on a Tuesday evening in November. Rather: have to see. Because Freiburg against Paderborn can be so nice.

2. there are no more "types".

With arch-conservatives taking to the streets, the rise of a right-wing movement began in the US. Are anti-gay protests and the AfD the first signs of a German Tea Party? A search for clues in the wochenende of August 23/24, 2014. Christine Preibmann is an autistic and psychotherapist. Her patients benefit. And: Der rote Kretschmann: A portrait of Bodo Ramelow, who may become the first minister president of the Left Party. At the kiosk, eKiosk or immediately in the practical weekend subscription.

Where have they gone, the angular and edgy characters, all the uncomfortable "Super Marios" or, to go back further in league history, the Walter Froschs? Coaches who smoke on the sidelines, players who escape from training camp and go to the disco. The "fighting pig" has become the "Schweini" – and even he has grown up in the meantime.

There are many reasons for the loss of "real guys": the professionalization of the game, the increasing pressure on players. And ultimately, soccer is also a reflection of social changes: more pop, more performance, less originality.

Third class, the BVB-Bayern spat.

The club bosses of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are bickering like two old xanthips. The yellow team scolds them to "just keep their mouths shut. The record champion doesn’t let "anyone tell him to shut up," the Reds drool.

That’s even better than the bitch-fight between Claudia Pechstein and Anni Friesinger a few years ago. The league, as the dispute between the heavyweights proves, is nothing more than a big soap opera in 34 episodes.

4 Welcome to the three-class society.

In the Bundesliga, you already know who’s going to win," Jose Mourinho recently quipped: Bayern or Dortmund. What else is known: The league is a society of states with the relegation candidates (presumably Paderborn, Mainz, Berlin or Augsburg), a somewhat broader midfield (presumably Bremen, Schalke, Stuttgart, Hoffenheim or Gladbach) and the championship candidates, which perhaps still include Leverkusen. The league seems predictable, too predictable.

5 The Bundesliga is too German.

Unlike the successful leagues in England and Spain, this country continues to insulate itself from international influences when it comes to filling the coaching position. The tried-and-tested Armin Veh and Thomas Schaaf are to create something new in Stuttgart and Frankfurt.

In Leverkusen, it seems like a bold move to sign Roger Schmidt, who has matured into a successful coach in Austria. Hiring innovative strategists like Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) is considered too big a gamble. The Mainz Kasper Hjulmand? An exception!

6. attention, the Neuer disciples are storming out!

Penalty area control – that was once upon a time. During the World Cup, Manuel Neuer was hymnally celebrated for his space-grabbing goalkeeping. The consequences are foreseeable. Neuer’s colleagues will take every opportunity to stand by their mishandled front men wherever they can.

Given the expected poorer sense of proportion and timing, the opposite effect is likely to occur. More goals will be scored. Few are made for the big leap forward.

7. right in front despite retrokick

The industry leader, of all people, is relying on retro soccer. FC Bayern thought it was ready for the future with the signing of Pep Guardiola, the mastermind of possession soccer. But since the secrets of the ball monopolists’ success have been deciphered in exemplary fashion by Real Madrid in the Champions League and by Holland at the World Cup, Pep is threatening to become a yesterday’s man. He wants to refine his system, they say.

The superior individual class that FC Bayern can afford might be enough to become champions. Otherwise, the club will once again run behind the development of international soccer.

8 World champions are trained here.

What effects do you think the German World Cup title will have on the Bundesliga? The question is popular. But it is more interesting to look at the connection from the other side. Only three German internationals in the World Cup final were not contracted to a Bundesliga club. The domestic league has become an optimal training ground for talented professional soccer players.

First, clubs were forced to invest in youth development. Meanwhile, many have realized that they can only remain competitive by integrating their own talent. The national team will also benefit from the talent that is coming through this season.

9. sheet metal for police operations – yep.

Why shouldn’t profit-oriented companies that turn over millions also pay something for stadium security, especially since they only do shoddy preventive work? The fan projects, which also contribute to the pacification of the fan scene, are alimented with ridiculous sums. The DFL usually contributes a few thousand euros, but the main burden is borne by the state and local authorities.

As long as this state of underfunding and the lack of interest in real fan issues continues, the police may well bill for fan riots.

10: The free kick spray is coming. Yippee!

The referees still have to practice for a few more days, but then there will be spraying in German stadiums that will make every barber’s heart flutter. It already foamed so beautifully in Brazil. This innovation is "important and right" (former Chancellor Schroder), it is "without alternative and inevitable" (Merkel). Soon there will also be surveillance cameras. That’s it, the zeitgeist!

Where are the women?

According to the statutes, women are not allowed to play, but there are more and more of them in the stands, and there is already a female referee, at least in league two. Why shouldn’t Bibiana Steinhaus also be allowed to referee in the top division? And what about a female coach? Preferably one who sends her husband on vacation to prepare for an important game – as the coach of Swedish club Malmo FF recently did with his wife.

A little more femininity would certainly do men’s soccer’s testosterone business good.

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