Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Schalke’s Jones Opts To Play For The USA

June 13, 2009

Looks like we’ll need to hit the pause button on my hiatus…

FC Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones, once seen as a future hopeful for the German national team has announced he’d rather play for the USA. The 27 year-old dual German-American citizen is the son of an American service member who was stationed in Germany.

“I think that I never really got the chance in the German team, although I always did well in my club performances,” Jones told Kicker. “I’ve long had it in mind to play for the U.S. “For me, a new life now begins.”

The six-foot, one inch defensive midfielder rose through the ranks of his hometown Frankfurt youth system before landing a contract with Eintracht Frankfurt where he worked his way into the first team in 2001 before being sold to Bayer Leverkusen. There, he languished in the reserves (so he and Landon Donovan will have something in common already) and in 2005, was loaned back to Frankfurt where he excelled before being acquired by Schalke in 2007. He has made 84 appearances for Schalke, scoring six goals.

More importantly, the speedy enforcer has Champions League experience, a level of experience sorely lacking in the current edition of the US squad. I think this development will ensure that Michael Bradley’s role will be more offensive, not a bad development. Where and how he could fit into Bob Bradley’s scheme (and what its means for rising d-mids Maurice Edu and Sacha Kljestan) remains to be seen but these are just the kind of problems the US team could use right now – what role to give a player of Jones’ caliber.

Advertisements

Berhalter Leaving 1860 Munich For MLS

April 1, 2009

1860 Munich has announced that American defender Gregg Berhalter will be leaving the club immediately to continue his career back home on Major League Soccer (MLS). Berhalter’s contract with the Second Bundesliga club was set to expire in June 2009 but the club has agreed to release him early.

This marks an end to Berhalter’s long career in Europe after playing in the Netherlands, England, and for the past seven years – in Germany. Reflecting on his European career, Berhalter remarked that: “I had a very good and successful 15 years in Europe but the time has come to say goodbye and go home.” He thanked the club for their understanding to release him early and in a parting statement to the fans said: “I had a super time here in Munich and I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life playing in MLS.”

What remains unclear is which MLS team he will be playing for in the coming weeks as he starts a new 2-year deal with the league.

Berhalter made 23 appearances in the Bundesliga and 88 in the Second Bundesliga. During his stint at 1860 Munich, he made 73 appearances, scoring eight goals.

Donovan, Bayern Win In Bamberg Snowball Match

January 17, 2009

After all those years in sunny southern California, Landon Donovan may have forgotten just how cold and snowy it can be when German football enters orange ball season. If practicing all week in the cold and blowing snow wasn’t enough top remind him, playing the second half of a friendly today at Regionalliga side Eintracht Bamberg should have done the trick.

Playing in front of 15,000 hearty Franconian fans in a snow-filled Waldstadion von Weismain, Bayern showed up missing six key players due to illness injuries including Mark van Bommel, Franck Ribéry, Lukas Podolski, José Sosa, Lucio, und Toni Kroos.

The match started 30 minutes late after the Bayern team bus got caught in a traffic jam caused by the heavy snowfall but that did not stop Luca Toni from tossing a few snowballs at teammates during warmup.

The poor field conditions made it difficult for either team to put together any fluid passing. Nonetheless, Bayern did get some good chances early while Bamberg barely threatened FCB’s goal. After 27 minutes Tim Borowski finished a good combination with Miroslav Klose to open up a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later Bayern’s Phillip Lahm slalomed the defense well and finished well to stretch the margin to 2-0.

Donovan came on as one of five subs in the second half paired up front with Luca Toni. Donovan helped to set up a 50th minute chance which Toni could not convert and the two combined well on the sloppy field throughout the half. Bayern’s third goal came when a clearance from Bamberg keeper Stephan Kurz’ clearance found the feet of Klose, who hammered it home for a 3-0 lead. Bamberg managed one more scoring chance in the 71st minute which was well saved by Joerg Butt to preserve the win.

After the match, Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann remarked to the German media that “Above all, it was a big adjustment for Landon Donovan and Luca Toni to play on the snow.”

Game Stats:

1. FC Eintracht Bamberg 0 FC Bayern 3 (0:2)

1. FC Eintracht Bamberg: Essig (83rd Horcher) – Pickel, Bechmann, Grasser, Stumpf – Dennerlein, Kaiser, Dotterweich, Zang, Deptalla – Heyer

FC Bayern Munich: Rensing (46th Butt) – Oddo, Van Buyten (46th Donovan), Demichelis (46th Breno), Lahm (46th Lell) – Altintop , Ottl, Zé Roberto (46th Schweinsteiger), Borowski – Toni, Klose

Official: Georg Schalk (Augsburg)
Attendance: 15,000
Scoring: Borowski (27th), Lahm (35th), Klose (54th)

Podolski To Cologne: New Chance For Donovan?

January 9, 2009


Reports out of Germany this morning indicate that Bayern Munich is close to sending Lukas Podolski back to his old club, 1st FC Cologne. The five-million euro deal will open the fourth striker space on the Bayern lineup, a space which Donovan will be filling during his loan period.

This long-expected development could open a new opportunity for Donovan to stay in Munich longer, perhaps until the end of the Bundesliga season (if not longer). Bayern had their eyes on Stuttgart’s Mario Gomez but then opted for Hamburg’s Croat Ivica Olic who will arrive this summer.

Given the constantly clashing personalities at FC Hollywood, there always seems to be a top player asking to transfer out. So, if Donovan fits in and performs well during his loan spell, Bayern may need to make MLS an offer they’ll have a hard time refusing.

Donovan is expected to make his debut in the Bayern jersey tomorrow in a friendly against Al Jazeera in Dubai, where the club is conducting its winter training.

In other news from the Bayern training camp, coach Juergen Klinsmann has quelled the rumors that French ace Franck Ribery may be moving by stating to DPA that “he will stay with the club until at least 2011.”

Bayern To Take Donovan On Loan

November 20, 2008

Bayern Munich has announced they will take the LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan on loan until the middle of March. Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann told the Munich press that “Landon made a good impression in the last ten days and we’ve agreed a deal with MLS for a loan starting on January 1st until the middle of March.” Klinsmann did add however that the club is interested in hanging onto the California born forward until the end of the season since they need a fourth striker to fit into the scheme with Miroslav Klose, Luca Toni and Lukas Podolski.

“For me its a perfect setup. I can go into the second half of the season with four strikers.” said Klinsmann. He went on to say; “With Landon. I have another top man in my back pocket and he’ll travel with is to out training camp in Dubai on January 2nd.”

Despite taking Donovan on loan, it looks like Bayern will keep the unhappy Podolski, at least until the end of the season. Remarking on the decision, Klinsmann stated that Podolski will “need to deal with it.”

According to Klinsmann, what sold Bayern on Donovan was his speed (which he called “unbelievable”)and strength in one-on-one situations. In the coach’s words “He is completely different from our other strikers so this will make our attack harder to deal with.”

What do you think? Will Donovan get meaningful playing time, ride the pine, or become a breakout star? Have your say here by leaving a comment or vote in the poll (to the left of this article).

*Special thanks to Germany based Vagabond Keith Richardson for contributing to this report.

Bundesliga: Pearce Suspended For Two Matches

November 18, 2008

Hansa Rostock’s American defender Heath Pearce has been suspended for two matches for a vicious 64th minute foul he committed against Sidney Sam during his team’s 6:0 debacle against 1FC Kaiserslautern on Monday night.

Rostock came into the season with big plans to climb back to the First Bundesliga but now they’ll be fighting to prevent relegation to the third division. The club fired coach Frank Pagelsdorf after a slow start and has not fared much better under caretaker Juri Schlünz. There was talk of Thomas Doll or Lothar Matthäus being hired but now it seems no one wants the job. Meanwhile, the Hansa board announced last week that they “have a clear profile of what type of coach we want.”

Let’s hope for Pearce’s sake that they don’t take too long in their profiling efforts, otherwise, they’ll have a hard time living up to the club’s current motto: “Unsinkable since 1965.”

Pearce will miss the match against Greg Berhalter’s 1860 Munich and the following week against FC Augusburg. His next chance to play in Second Bundesliga action will be December 8th against 1FC Nuernberg, the former team of Joe-Max Moore and Tony Sanneh.

During the same match, Kaiserslautern’s American keeper Luis Robles kept a clean sheet in a solid 90 minute performance.

Pearce’s Rostock Coach Fired

November 10, 2008

Like a few other American players this past weekend, Hansa Rostock defender Heath Pearce had to watch from the bench as his team drew a home match with VFL Osnabruck 2-2 in Second Bundesliga play. The Hansa board and fans, after years spent in the First Bundesliga expected to be further along by now in their quest for promotion back to the top flight, not languishing in 12th place with only three wins in 12 matches.

So, this morning Hansa fired coach rank Pagelsdorf and will look to start anew. The 50 year-old former HSV coach was let go at a press conference this morning in Rostock and according to Kicker, Thomas Doll is ready to step in and take over. Doll, a longtime Hansa player back in the 1980s, is seen as a caretaker rather than a long-term solution given his spotty coaching record.

Pagelsdorf is the third coach to be fired in the Second Bundesliga so far this year, following Thomas von Heesen at 1. FC Nürnberg and Rudi Bommer at MSV Duisburg.

So, what does this mean for Pearce? Pagelsdorf was the coach who brought him on so he’ll need to work even more to prove himself to Doll. That said, recent national team call ups have left Pearce out of the side and he appears to be having a tougher time getting reintegrated. Thus, a fresh start may give Pearce a chance to step up and reclaim his starting position at left back.

Doll has a reputation for being hard-headed coach and not much of a tactician – his substitution decisions at Dortmund last year left many observers scratching their heads. He is capable of motivating some (but not all) of his players but he always gives everyone a chance. One thing with Doll, if you get in his doghouse, there is no coming out. For Pearce, the trick will be to make sure he never gets in there in the first place.

Say It Ain’t So Stefan!

November 7, 2008


Imagine having a stadium named after one of your club and country’s greatest sporting heros, the man who led your team to winning its first World Cup? Now imagine decades later the club changing the stadium’s name of for “business reasons?” Well, that may be in store for 1FC Kaiserslautern’s Fritz Walter Stadion.

Long time Kaiserslautern great Fritz Walter survived World War II and captained Germany to winning the 1954 World Cup, its first of three. The stadium, one of Germany’s most scenic, was built in 1920 and was renamed in Walter’s honor on his 65th birthday in 1985.

American fans remember the stadium as not only the first US friendly ever hosted abroad (a 1-0 win over Poland in March 2006) but as the site of the USA’s incredible 1-1 draw with eventual champion Italy in the 2006 World Cup.

Now, 1FCK president Stefan Kuntz has told the Mannheimer Morgen that “for business reasons.” the club may need to sell the stadium name to make ends meet. The earliest this could happen, according to Kicker, is next season.

Its clear that the small market 1FCK, comparable to the Green Bay Packers NFL franchise, would not make this decision unless they had no other choice. Clubs like 1FCK, with four Bundesliga titles to its credit, are having a difficult time keeping up year-in year-out with bigger teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, let alone competing for European silverware. But with just about every Bundesliga stadium selling its name to a sponsor, a team can fall even further behind financially if they don’t.

Regardless of what the club eventually decides, Kuntz has assured Kaiserslautern fans “In any case, we’ll make sure it still honors the memory of Fritz Walter.”

Dresden Fans Show Their Discontent

November 5, 2008

This week, the players of German 3rd division club Dynamo Dresden had an unpleasant surprise waiting for them on Monday at practice. After their 3-0 loss against SC Paderborn on Sunday, some supporters apparently entered the training grounds at night and dug eleven grave-like holes into the training pitch, marking them with wooden crosses. The club reported the incident to the local police .

Sometimes its a challenge to explain to people back home just how deep the passion runs at many clubs in Europe, and as this illustrates, its not just limited to the big teams.

(Updated) Connecting The Dots: Ronaldo’s Effect on Bradley Transfer Prospects

July 30, 2008

(MUNICH, July 29th, 2008) Today Real Madrid made it clear that they are no longer interested in signing Dutch ace Rafeal Van Der Vaart from Hamburger SV as an alternative to Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo. According to Real President Ramón Calderón, its Ronaldo or no one – they think their 85 million euro bid may still be workable.

Hamburg had been considering signing Heerenveen’s American midfielder Michael Bradley in the event Van Der Vaart was sold to Real Madrid for an estimated 12 million euros. Unless another club swoops in for Van Der Vaart, Bradley’s door to Hamburg appears to be closing.

Bradley has voiced a desire to play in England where Middelsbrough and Everton are keen to sign him but little is known of any negotiations taking place with the Premiership clubs. Interest in recent weeks has also been coming from continental clubs such as Bayer Leverkusen and AS Monaco (which reportedly offered 8.5 million euros). Leverkusen appears to be cooling on Bradley as their prime target for attacking midfield is now Fluminense’s Thiago Neves (who is also being pursued by Tottenham Hotspur). So, With Bradley’s Bundesliga options appearing to narrow, it now looks like his main options are in England or on the Cote d’Azur with AS Monaco.

UPDATE: After several statements from Real Madrid (which appeared in the Spanish Marca and Financial Times Deutschland), that the club had written off Van Der Vaart as an option, it now appears the Dutch midfielder may be on his way to the Bernabeu after all. The “off the table” language used by Real President Ramon Calderon not two days ago (in their game of financial chicken with Hamburg) has been replaced by statements that indicate a deal is near. Now, papers such as Die Welt, and Focus are commenting on the 180 by Calderon asking whether it was all to get the price he wanted or a power play with a club Real does not see as their equal. Either way, you fooled us Mr. Calderon!

What this means is that Hamburger SV remains a viable option for Bradley but now another door appears to be closing. Word out of Monaco this afternoon is that they agreed on terms to acquire Bordeux’s midfielder Alejandro Alonso (believed to be their plan B if Bradley was too expensive). So, Bradley’s options remain open in England and Germany but Monaco now seems to be off the list. Still, much could change in the next few weeks as the dust starts to clear on another transfer season.