Five Conclusions from Matchday 33

Lukas Podolski joins Arsenal, Marko Marin joins Chelsea, Shinji Kagawa doesn’t yet join Manchester United and Lucas Barrios ends up in China. There’s quite a bit more movement on the transfer market already, than in the Bundesliga table. But here is what happened anyway.

There are many ways to say Auf Wiedersehen.
With half of the league playing the last home match of the season, it was time to bid farewell to a couple of by now familiar Bundesliga faces. You could do it like Schalke, who turned Raul’s farewell into a big event complete with retiring his number and parading his kids through the stadium. A bit much for two years of service perhaps. Then again, a player of Raul’s calibre is not just a rare sight in the Bundesliga, but unprecedented in Schalke’s history, so one can excuse the slight overreaction. You could bid farewell to players, somewhat against their will, as Hamburg did, who weren’t willing to give Mladen Petric and David Jarolim a new contract. You can bid farewell to some of your best players, like Mönchengladbach did, and say hello to the Champions League. You can bid farewell to the other superstar, that joined the Bundesliga alongside Raul, who goes by the name Michael Ballack, and actually be happy, that this chapter in club history is over.

Markus Babbel makes the relegation battle a bit more exciting.
Cologne and Berlin were simply so incapable of anything again this weekend, that you can’t really expect much from their games against Bayern and Hoffenheim respectively otherwise. We still don’t know what really happened between Babbel and Preetz earlier this season. But we do know that Markus Babbel is still angry at Preetz. Based on recent interviews, Babbel must relish the chance to send his former employer back to the second division. How that will be reflected by the crowd in the Olympiastadion and how the two teams on the pitch will react remains to be seen. But it’s potentially the game to watch before switching over to Dortmund’s title celebration.

The oldest Bundesliga member escapes to safety.
A boring 0-0 draw with Mainz was enough for Hamburg. In fact a miserable defeat against Mainz would have been enough, because Cologne and Berlin were always going to be even more miserable. And that caps off a year that was always meant to be a season in transition. Although an unduly long relegation fight wasn’t part of that plan. Then again, whoever thinks a rejuvenated, reshuffled squad would benefit from Michael Oenning’s managerial magic, can’t complain about the latter. Looming in the summer: more rejuvenation and reshuffling, but a slightly more capable coach on the sideline.

The youngest Bundesliga member escapes to safety.
Augsburg confirmed that their first Bundesliga season wouldn’t be their last with a boring 0-0 draw with Gladbach. Different to Hamburg, that was spectacular news. The lowest budget alongside Freiburg. Just sprinkles of Bundesliga experience here and there in the squad and on the bench. A Hinrunde that appeared to confirm the general consensus: Augsburg were going to finish dead last. Halfway through the campaign though, Augsburg seemed to realise that other established Bundesliga clubs aren’t so far ahead – in fact, sometimes simply even worse. Some spirited performances and clever tactics got them some encouraging results towards the winter break. A couple of smart transfers then gave them the necessary quality. Congratulations!

Bayern’s reserve players find their groove.
There are positives to the fact, that Bayern no longer need to worry about the Bundesliga – either looking up or down. It afforded them the luxury to rest key players ahead of the clash at the Bernabeu. Now it gives Bayern the chance to experiment with formations and give bench players valuable playing time ahead of the big final between Bayern II and the Chelsea Reserves. Stuttgart possibly didn’t have enough to play for, to give Bayern’s makeshift eleven a true test, but a comfortable 2-0 victory and a clean sheet is a good result looking forward nonetheless.

Got any other insights and thoughts to share? Feel free to leave a comment.

Posted on May 2nd, 2012 by Jan | 2 Comments | Share on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter
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2 comments on “Five Conclusions from Matchday 33

  1. Karl on said:

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