Previous
Arsenal
Southampton
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Arsenal
Southampton
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cardiff City
AFC Bournemouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derby County
Reading
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Sheffield United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Norwich City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sunderland
Stoke City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Swansea City
Everton
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Fulham
Doncaster Rovers
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Celta Vigo
Deportivo La Coruña
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Eintracht Frankfurt
Mainz
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
TSG Hoffenheim
SC Freiburg
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Werder Bremen
Schalke 04
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade de Reims
Marseille
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade Rennes
Toulouse
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Newport County
Swindon Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Livingston
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Falkirk
Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kilmarnock
St Johnstone
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
St Mirren
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Ross County
Hibernian
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Clyde
Montrose
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Brescia
Lanciano
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Cittadella
Pro Vercelli
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Crotone
Catania
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Frosinone
US Avellino
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Livorno
Varese
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Modena
Perugia
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Ternana
Bologna
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Trapani
Virtus Entella
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
US Pescara
Latina
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Vicenza
Bari
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Ingolstadt 04
FC Erzgebirge Aue
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
VfR Aalen
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
St Pauli
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Sandhausen
TSV 1860 Munich
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AC Ajaccio
Le Havre AC
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
Angers
AJ Auxerre
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
Arles
Stade Laval
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
Tours
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
Dijon FCO
Créteil
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
Nimes
Chateauroux
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
Orléans
Ajaccio GFCO
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
Sochaux
Brest
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
Troyes
Niort
6:55 PM GMT
Game Details
Capelle
FC Volendam
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rijnsburgse Boys
Sparta Rotterdam
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Scheveningen
Lisse
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
VVSB
Vitesse Arnhem
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Spakenburg
NAC Breda
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Twente Enschede
Postp
Game Details
Ajax Amateurs
NEC Nijmegen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Almere City
ADO Den Haag
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Deltasport
Willem II Tilburg
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Exelsior Maassluis
FC Emmen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Flevo Boys
DOS '37
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
HHC Hardenberg
RKC Waalwijk
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Kozakken Boys
Sportlust '46
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
ONS Sneek
Dordrecht '90
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
FC Utrecht
Postp
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Eindhoven
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Heerenveen
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Real Estelí
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Alpha United
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
César Vallejo
Universitario de Sucre
10:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Independiente del Valle
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
San Martín de San Juan
Argentinos Juniors
11:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
Mérida
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Correcaminos
At. San Luis
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Lobos BUAP
Oaxaca
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Dorados de Sinaloa
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Monterrey
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Queretaro
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
UNAM
Toluca
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Veracruz
Chiapas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
ABC
Goianiense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Boa MG
Luverdense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Bragantino
Icasa
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Joinville
América Mineiro
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Avaí
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
AA Ponte Preta
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Ceará
América RN
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Náutico
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
CR Vasco da Gama
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Oeste
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Vissel Kobe
9:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cerezo Osaka
Nagoya Grampus Eight
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Kashiwa Reysol
Sagan Tosu
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Rangers de Talca
Palestino
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de Concepción
Colo Colo
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Canales: Liga MX Best XI

Liga MX 12 hours ago
Read
Aug 21, 2006

The new Gladbach?

When I started following Bundesliga football more or less consciously, in the early 1970s, almost all of my friends supported two clubs. Their first love was, with very few exceptions, one of the Ruhr teams surrounding us - mostly Dortmund or Schalke, maybe Bochum or even Essen. The second club, however, was always the same, Borussia Mönchengladbach.

There were many reasons why Gladbach were so well-liked, and more than a few of them had to do with the fact they weren't Bayern. Yes, even over thirty years ago, most football fans instinctively rooted for the team that was competing with Bayern.

I have no conclusive explanation for this, given that Bayern were still relative newcomers to the elite, hadn't yet become a silverware-devouring juggernaut and boasted many of the players who carried the country during the successful international tournaments of that era.

Still, the fact Gladbach regularly challenged the Munich team for the league title (and more often than not came out on top!) certainly bolstered their popularity.

Then there was the fact that the team, despite being a winning one, had a charming underdog aura, especially when coming up against a big gun in Europe; misfortune seemed to haunt them on that particular stage, in contrast to Bayern.

A good deal of that was down to the club's lack of funds, which time and again forced Borussia to replace outgoing stars with unknowns from places where few others bothered to look for talent.

Finally, watching Gladbach was often more fun than following Bayern.

The stats don't really bear out the popular myth that Borussia were the recklessly attacking team while the Munich stars only did what needed to be done. But that's what it felt like.

When German television introduced the now-legendary 'Goal of the Month' competition in early 1971, Gladbach players - Günter Netzer and Ulrik Le Fevre - won two of the first eight instalments and Le Fevre's stunning strike was even voted 'Goal of the Year', conclusive proof that Gladbach dished out the highlights while Bayern were content with results.

(Of course, a season later, half of the trophies went to Bayern players. But we ignored that.)

It's at this point in the column that I should perhaps inform the Soccernet headline and lead-in writer that he needn't rack his brains over how to incorporate 'Mönchengladbach' into a snappy one-liner. Because this column is not about Borussia. It's about Werder Bremen.

Werder, you see, are beginning to look more and more like a modern version of the old Mönchengladbach. They are the team who seem to be most consistently challenging Bayern over the past years, and they are doing it in great style.

When a discussion sprang up after the World Cup about whether and how the Bundesliga clubs should try to emulate Jürgen Klinsmann's high-risk game, Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf could lean back and say: 'Everyone who's seen us play these past years knows that we are already playing offensive football.'

Klinsmann's strategy of pushing far, far up field that triggered such a debate after the opening match against Costa Rica looked very familiar to those who have followed Werder's last Champions League campaign, marked by a suicidal offside trap that was regularly set up at the halfway line, with most Bremen players in the opponents' half and an empty space roughly the size of San Marino in front of their own goalkeeper.

And they are doing it domestically as well. Bremen were by far the highest-scoring team last season, delivering no less than seven matches where they found the net five or more times! And all the signs are this season won't be any different.

A fan who went to see Werder's first two matches has already been treated to 9 goals, 34 corners and, according to Kicker magazine's stats, 32 decent scoring opportunities. These are combined figures, of course, because Werder's tactics mean their opponents will get plenty of chances as well.

The most impressive aspect of Werder's entertainment mission is that the club shouldn't really be in a position to produce that kind of football.

If Gladbach's success in the 1970s was unlikely, Bremen's holding their own in the era of staggering wages and huge transfer sums is almost miraculous.

In contrast to Bayern, Schalke, Dortmund and even northern rivals Hamburg, Bremen don't have a spacious, shiny World Cup ground; they don't have a comparably large fan base; they don't have big companies supporting them. Even their new shirt sponsorship deal looks kind of shaky, because the betting company they have agreed to endorse has just been declared illegal by the courts since it's not state-owned.

And of course all that means Werder rarely have the money to keep the talent they produce or find.

Thomas Schaaf, who joined the club when he was eleven years old, has hardly had a summer at Bremen since becoming head coach in 1999 without having to watch one of his best players pack his bags.

In 2001, Claudio Pizarro joined Bayern and Raphael Wicky went to Atlético Madrid. A year later, Torsten Frings left for Dortmund. In 2003, goalkeeper Frank Rost signed for Schalke, quickly followed by defender Mladen Krstajic.

Then the German international Fabian Ernst took the same route and the Brazilian Ailton followed suit in 2004, having just scored 28 goals for Werder. Last year, Valérien Ismael decided the grass was greener in Munich, and this summer has seen striker Nelson Valdez being bought by Dortmund and playmaker Johan Micoud going back to France.

Yet Bremen somehow managed to offset all that. And they do it the time-tested Gladbach way, through a combination of making few mistakes in the transfer market and making players feel at home.

(Gladbach lost Jupp Heynckes in 1967, because the striker could earn more money in Hannover. Yet he was back after three seasons riddled with unhappiness and injuries - pretty much the story of Frings, who wasted three years in Dortmund and at Bayern before going back to Werder.)

The man Bremen found to replace Valdez, the young Portugese Hugo Almeida, has already scored two goals. And the player they hope will step into Micoud's shoes, the even younger Brazilian Diego, is currently the toast of the Bundesliga.

He's had a hand in five of Bremen's six goals so far - not to mention the back-heelers or bicycle kicks he's throwing in for good measure.

Perhaps Bremen have not yet reached the status Gladbach enjoyed in the 1970s, maybe no club ever will. (According to Der Spiegel magazine the club Germans really love to love plays in the third division - FC St Pauli.)

But it seems safe to say that mighty few fans would begrudge Werder the league title this season. Especially if they continue being so adventurous.


  • Uli's seminal history of German football, Tor!, is available online.

    Also available: Uli's new book Flutlicht und Schatten for all you German scholars to gen up on the history of the European Cup.

  • Any thoughts on this article? Email us.