On August 24th, 1963, 17 minutes into the first matchday of the inaugural Bundesliga season, 1860 Munich striker Rudolf Brunnenmeier nutmegged Eintracht Braunschweig keeper Hans Jäcker to give his side a 1-0 lead. It was 1860 Munich’s first ever Bundesliga goal. It was the first Bundesliga goal that was caught on camera. But it was only the second goal in Bundesliga history.
That historic first goal was scored by Borussia Dortmund striker Friedhelm “Timo” Konietzka, just 58 seconds into his side’s game against Werder Bremen. But as Konietzka recalled, it wasn’t recorded on film:
“You didn’t have cameras in all the stadiums back then, and as we were at Bremen all the photographers had positioned themselves behind our goal.”
Which isn’t 100% accurate. There were film cameras, but they weren’t ready in time for Konietzka’s early goal. Just some second half footage of that game was recorded for the highlights show in the evening. Nitpicky detail, though.
Timo Konietzka, aged 73, passed away this Tuesday, following a lengthy batte with incurable cancer of the gallbladder. So we’ll have to make do remembering his contribution to Bundesliga history without grainy b/w footage and instant replay.
Markus Babbel is a welcome guest in Munich. Markus Babbel is a young promising Bundesliga coach, who has done reasonably well at his clubs so far. That is, as long as he doesn’t have to pay a visit to his former club. His Hertha side conceded three goals in 13 minutes earlier this season. Now with Hoffenheim, he slightly modified his naive tactics, resulting in Bayern needing a full 18 minutes to score the third goal. Progress. This small victory was eventually undone by the rather unflattering final scoreline. Bayern were in no mood to take it easy. With a tricky Champions League game against Basel coming up, they gladly took any confidence boost they could get. Hopefully for the Bundesliga’s chances in Europe, that did the trick. Otherwise, this game will reflect even worse on Hoffenheim, than it already does. Oh, and while at it. Borussia Dortmund’s unbeaten run continued, but their winning streak ended. Five points. Not yet a race, but looking slightly more interesting than last week.
In Cologne sparks fly on and off the pitch. On the pitch we could witness all the thrills of a proper relegation battle between Cologne and Berlin. Intense football. Intense atmosphere. Some controversial refereeing. Just about the right result for the billy goats. Lukas Podolski got his first red card in the Bundesliga, unjustly so, meaning there’s not much left to check off on his Bundesliga to-do list, before joining Arsenal. A move, that will hand Cologne a bit of money to build a new, less one-sided team. A move, that eventually escalated brewing conflicts between sporting director Volker Finke and coach Stale Solbakken, and possibly Lukas Podolski and quite a few other Cologne personnel. Whether that makes Finke the easy to pinpoint bad guy in the story is hard to say. He wasn’t quite the team player for sure though, as the questionable signing of Chong Tese, without consulting Solbakken, demonstrated. And if I had to choose between Finke and Solbakken, I’d always side with the Norwegian. A coach that deserves a professional management structure and a cooperative and competent sporting director. Whether he can really get that at a carnival club like Cologne, remains to be seen. (more…)
The title race has turned into a title procession. Just a couple of weeks ago, we could gloat over the most fascinating Bundesliga title race in recent years. Now we have to conclude that Borussia Dortmund are simply far too consistent and everybody else, well, is not. Dortmund went seven points clear at the top, with a confident win over Mainz, that only briefly – like two minutes – looked to be in doubt. Based on current form, there is little hope, we can enjoy a thrilling conclusion to the 49th Bundesliga season. What little hope is left? Statistics maybe? Dortmund are on a club record 18 match unbeaten run. Their winning streak now extends to eight matches. With every passing week it becomes more probable one of those runs will end. Or maybe we just have to wait until April? With games against Bayern, Schalke and Gladbach looming, there is at least a theoretical chance of Dortmund dropping a full nine points. Not that Dortmund wouldn’t be worthy champions of course. It could just all be a little bit more exciting.
Gladbach lost, Bayern kept and Schalke still look for their rhythm. For the title race to become a bit more exciting, Dortmund’s rivals will need to fix their problems first though. Without an adequate replacement for Patrick Herrmann, Lucien Favre opted to rearrange his front line and bring in Igor de Camargo. Something that has completely taken the bite out of Gladbach’s attack and cost the club points for the past two weeks. Bayern basically play the same way, they do all year. But since that is utterly predictable, particularly away from home, it won’t win them any trophies this season. Schalke, it seems, never really found a rhythm to begin with, and keep alternating between confident thrashings by and for them.
The relegation zone is open to new applicants. Performances and results have been promising for all bottom teams except Kaiserslautern. Augsburg and Freiburg in particular are ready to do all they can to defy the odds. Hertha, aka the Ottoman Empire, have stopped their downward trend too. At least potentially this could yet drag another mid table team into the relegation mix. Given the somewhat predetermined situation at the top, that’s good news for the suspense driven Bundesliga fan. (more…)