Fair play: Bremen’s Aaron Hunt rejects penalty

In a game where diving to win penalties is as commonplace a practice as it is obnoxious and disgraceful, Werder Bremen’s Aaron Hunt offered a refreshing alternative: telling the truth!

With Bremen up 2-0 over Nurnberg on Saturday, Hunt was awarded a penalty when the referee thought Javier Pinola had tripped the Bremen winger. Pinola turned away steaming, but before any of his teammates could plead their case to the referee, Hunt came clean. After admitting he wasn’t fouled, the official reversed his decision, Hunt got a couple pats on the back, and Bremen, perhaps aided by the good karma, saw out the win.

By the way, what is it with Germans being so nice all the time now? Just a year ago, Miroslav Klose similarly corrected a referee decision and had a Lazio goal called back because he used his hand in the process:


Say hello to Nurnberg, the unluckiest team in the world

image"Why?! Why, coach, why??"

A German proverb, well-known around soccer circles, goes, “When you don’t have any luck, you get some bad luck, too.”

This defeatist adage could certainly be used to describe 1. FC Nurnberg’s season so far in the Bundesliga. “Der Klub” has not registered a single win in the first 16 games of the season. No wins in 16 games; that’s never happened in the league’s 50-year existence. At a professional level, you almost have to try to go that long without a win.

Even when Nurnberg have played well — incredibly, they’ve drawn ten times so far while staying out of last place — they find new ways to throw away a win every weekend. It doesn’t help that Nurnberg also lead the league in shots against the post, with 14.

But this last Saturday, even the most cynical of supporters would have thought the streak would finally be snapped. Dominating most of the match, Nurnberg were up 3-0 at halftime and 3-1 in the 87th minute. They looked sure to get it done against Hannover.

It was all downhill from there.

In a bizarre sequence (7:40 in the video) with three minutes to go, Nurnberg missed the clinching goal by inches and Hannover profited from a missed call by the linesman to reduce the deficit to 3-2. Hannover’s Marcelo stumbled and almost nicked the ball into his own net, but only hit the post. Hannover’s Mame Diouf then scored on the following counterattack, though he was clearly offside by several steps. Nurnberg were incensed at the linesman, but Hannover got back in the game. Naturally, deep into stoppage time, Diouf scored another to grab an unlikely draw and send Nurnberg into utter shock and disbelief. Another win gone begging.

There’s bad luck, and then there’s Nurnberg’s luck.

Watch Nurnberg’s fate unfold below (second half starts at the 5-minute mark)