5
Oct

Wolfsburg’s De Bruyne has boot kicked at his crotch

In Sunday’s Bundesliga bout against Wolfsburg, Augsburg’s Tobias Werner was  upset that his boot came off after a 1-on-1 with Kevin De Bruyne.

So he did what anybody would do in that situation — kick his loose shoe at De Bruyne’s privates:

That’s one way to stop the throw-in, we suppose.

Werner got a yellow card for his efforts to make all of us laugh.

4
Oct

Lewandowski scores superb goal to get on track in Bundesliga

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Bad news, Bundesliga. Robert Lewandowski is starting to find his scoring touch again.

After netting just twice in his first eight games as a Bayern Munich player, the 26-year-old bagged his first brace for his new club in a 4-0 win over Hannover.

His second goal was of particularly high quality. Lewandowski took down a perfect Xherdan Shaqiri cross with a wonderful first touch in stride, then slotted home coolly past goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler. It’s the kind of goal that will give Bayern fans hope Lewandowski is finally about to break out.

The rest of the league will be less enthusiastic.

29
Sep

Christoph Kramer’s yellow card rescinded after opponent admits to slip

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In a sport where diving and playacting is, sadly, very much old hat by now, Paderborn’s Stefan Kutschke provided a breath of fresh air this weekend.

During Saturday’s Bundesliga match vs Borussia Moenchengladbach, Kutschke drew a yellow card on Christoph Kramer after seemingly getting tripped up by the World Cup star on a counter-attack.

Only it wasn’t a foul. Not even close, actually:

To Kutschke’s credit, even though it certainly looks like he was diving here, the Paderborn forward immediately went over to the referee and explained that he “slipped” rather than gotten fouled. As such, the referee wiped the yellow card off the books and restarted play with a drop ball.

Score one for fair play!

H/T WAATP

Image provided by Getty

20
Sep

This 80-yard goal is one you definitely don’t see every day

Paderborn were just promoted to the Bundesliga last season, and already they’re catching everyone’s attention. Case in point: This audacious goal from Moritz Stoppelkamp on Saturday.

Not only are they adding to highlight reels, but the first-time Bundesliga team are undefeated so far, and currently leading the league:

imageIt’s probably not going to last, but they’re certainly enjoying themselves so far.

(H/T SB Nation)

10
Sep

Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are bickering again and it’s fantastic

imageLittle did we know Mourinho was showing off Guardiola’s bald head. (Getty)

Jose and Pep are our favorite “frenemies” in the world of soccer, and their feud added a new chapter this week at a UEFA coaches summit in Switzerland. 

It turns out that even being in the land of neutrality couldn’t stop the two from bickering. The fight reportedly started over the length of the grass on the pitch. Guardiola thought the length of 3 cm was too long, and wanted it reduced to 1.5 cm, and be watered before every game. This would, according to Pep, make the play faster and more beautiful.

From TZ, the rest of the exchange went as follows:

"Everyone has his style of play, which should be respected," Mourinho responded. "Football can be spectacular in several ways."

"The beauty of football depends on the coach," Guardiola replied. "It seems to me that Mourinho prefers the result to the spectacle. I know to him that’s all that matters."

And it doesn’t end there. El Confidencial reports that Mourinho hit back at Guardiola with a cheap shot about his lack of hair.

"When you enjoy what you do, you don’t lose your hair, and Guardiola is balding. He doesn’t enjoy football."

This is just classic Mourinho. It’s not entirely clear if he actually said this, but we’re really, really hoping he did. 

31
Aug

Junior Malanda is having a rough start to the Bundesliga season

It was just last Friday that Wolfsburg’s Junior Malanda had this horrendous miss against Bayern Munich.

As if he wasn’t already embarrassed enough, this happened on Saturday:

The poor guy just cannot catch a break. Maybe it’s a good thing the international break is coming up. He could probably use some time to reflect (and practice finishing).

30
Aug

Schalke tip cap to miners with awesome new stadium tunnel

Schalke have paid homage to the mining community that supports their side by revamping a tunnel in the Veltins-Arena stadium to look like a coal mine.

The club is nicknamed “the Miners” because of the area’s history of mining, and it’s pretty awesome to see Schalke embracing it.

With clubs like Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich lining up in the dark, imposing tunnel alongside Schalke’s squad, we’d say the pregame intimidation factor gets a bump in Schalke’s favor.

Let’s just take one more look at that:

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Awesome stuff.

(h/t Metro)

23
Aug

Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi scores fastest goal in Bundesliga history

imageBayer Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi scored the fastest goal in the Bundesliga’s 52-year history, needing just nine seconds to bury one past Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller in the match of the day:

Bellarabi silenced the sold-out Signal Iduna crowd, slotting home after taking Sebastian Boenisch’s pass and dancing past new Dortmund signing Mathias Ginter.

Nine seconds. Simply amazing.

Image: Getty Images

22
Aug

This is probably the worst miss to happen in soccer ever

It is not an exaggeration to say that Junior Malanda will never, ever live this miss down. It has to be one of the worst — if not the worst of the worst — miss to ever happen in a soccer match. There aren’t words to do it justice, so just watch in awe.

Just…how? The ball was practically on the line already, he just had to push it over. A puppy could score that.

To make matters worse, Wolfsburg lost to Bayern, 2-1, and had Malanda managed to tuck that one away, it would’ve been a huge draw in their Bundesliga opener, and only their second point ever in Munich. It was not to be.

14
Aug

Bundesliga lowers drawbridge to castle before German Super Cup showpiece

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DORTMUND, Germany —

A few weeks ago, the Bundesliga invited FOX Sports to a two-night stay in the heart of Germany ahead of the German Super Cup. Having already booked my vacation in Germany for August just days earlier, I “sacrificed” myself for the good of the team. “Fine, boss, I’ll extend my stay in the country of my birth for two extra weeks. You totally owe me.”

After a brisk 14-hour journey from Los Angeles to Dusseldorf, I was greeted by our soon-to-be partners from the Bundesliga at the Hyatt Regency, a fancy hotel right on the Rhine. A couple hours later, we crossed a bridge over the Rhine for a nice dinner with former Germany internationals Jens Lehmann and Christoph Metzelder. Both played for Borussia Dortmund for several years and won a championship together in 2002, and here they were chatting with us for several hours over life lessons, cuisine and football.

Naturally, Lehmann commanded most of the table’s attention. He discussed at length the performance of goalkeepers at the World Cup and what made Manuel Neuer “the only truly world-class goalie today.” “The very best keepers,” he said, “they act, instead of react.” Anyone who saw Neuer play in Brazil this summer will know what Lehmann meant by this.

When I asked him to rate Tim Howard’s performance, Lehmann lauded the United States No. 1 for his record night against Belgium, but also said he was poor against Germany, blaming him for the lone goal of the match. Howard parried the shot straight to Thomas Muller — who buried the rebound — than out and to the side, he remembered. Tough critic, that man. Unsurprisingly, he’s an analyst right now for German television

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Lehmann also gladly recounted tales of his days with Arsenal’s “The Invincibles.” He did not, mind you, care to discuss the night he received a straight red card against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Final in 2006 with me, his perfect record in penalty shootouts, or Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to drop Oliver Kahn in favor of him just weeks before the 2006 World Cup. “[Kahn] did not talk to me for four or five days after that,” Lehmann admitted with a sheepish smile.

And the fun didn’t stop there.

On Wednesday, I had an opportunity to meet, Christian Seifert, the longtime CEO of the Bundesliga, for a thorough presentation on what has made the German game so successful since the new millennium.

Seifert, as you would expect of a man in his position, was a remarkable speaker, with his heavy, amusing German accent shining through at times. Next to him on either side were the Bundesliga trophy — the “ugly salad bowl — and the FIFA World Cup. The real deals, in all their glory.

There were three main components to Seifert’s presentation; the Bundesliga’s ascendancy on the pitch, the economic stability of its clubs, and the extraordinary fan support and passion. They all combine to make the league as strong as it is today, he said.

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Several statistics jumped out at that may surprise some folks who don’t follow the league too much. For one, the Bundesliga’s recorded profit of €264 million in the 2012-13 season almost tripled that of the Premier League, which spends more than twice as much money on player salaries. A reason for this is German clubs rely much more on younger and cheaper homegrown talent — all part of the common strategy the clubs share with the German national team.

With an average attendance of over 43,500 fans per match, the Bundesliga is also the second-most attended sports league in the world, only behind the National Football League. And with 3.16 goals per game, it’s tops among the big five soccer leagues in Europe. These last two figures, specifically, explain why Seifert is so optimistic over the continued growth of his brand.  With FOX Sports securing its rights starting next season, there’s mutual excitement and an eagerness to work together to bring the Bundesliga to the mainstream American media.

After Seifert (and the trophies) posed for pictures, we were on to our next appointment. There was no time to waste as we had only several hours before the Wednesday’s German Super Cup final.

First, we stopped off at the BVB “Fan Welt,” a new, giant fan shop outside the stadium that we were told is “like the Amazon.com for Borussia Dormtund fans.” You could literally get everything there in black and yellow, including your own, personal BVB lawnmower. Yep.

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We then stopped by the BVB youth academy a couple of miles away, where club legend Lars Ricken greeted us. Ricken, who famously scored in Dortmund’s 1997 Champions League victory over Juventus on his very first touch of the bench, gave us a tour of the facilities, which included the revolutionary “Footbonaut,” a robot used to test player’s reaction time and pass accuracy.

Ricken demonstrated the amazing training tool for us. The robot itself is a cage consisting of several dozen squares and ball machines on all sides. Much like a pitching machine, balls are spit out at random and the player has only a split second to gather the ball and hit it at the square that lights up, also completely at random.

Finally, we made our way back to Signal Iduna Park to watch the German Super Cup between Dortmund and Bayern. We know how the match went by now — the hosts won the preseason fixture for a second year running by completely overpowering a Bayern Munich side that was still noticeably lacking in conditioning and pretty much every other department on the day. The Yellow Wall did it’s job, too. Chants of “Zieht den Bayern die Lederhosen aus!” (translation: Strip Bayern of their lederhosen) rang through the night, as well as the orchestra of whistles that serenaded Mario Goetze when he was substituted on in the second half.

After the match, our whole group returned back to the bus, exhausted but mostly thankful for such an incredible experience and two days of fun-filled events in the hotbed of German soccer.

Images provided by Thomas Hautmann / FOXSports.com