Devang Desai, Richard Whittall and James Bigg sit down to talk about this week’s Champions League action, including red card misery for a pair of Premier League clubs, PSG’s chances of winning it all and Adel Taarabt’s rejuvenation.
Archive for the ‘Bayern Munich’ Category
Posted by Devang Desai under AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Counter Attack Podcast, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Uefa Champions League on Feb 20, 2014
Posted by James Horncastle under AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund on Jul 16, 2013
Just call them The Unpronounceables.
Asked for his reaction to Borussia Dortmund’s new signings, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed that he didn’t know them very well and that he found their names difficult to say. Better to exercise some restraint than go the whole Joe Kinnear. To help Kalle learn, Bild kindly published audio files of the correct pronunciation.
Of course, you’d have to be quite naive to believe Rummenigge is ignorant of who Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papasthathopoulos really are. He didn’t say he’d never heard of them, as claimed by some. Nor was he bitter at Dortmund announcing Robert Lewandowski would be staying for another year. He probably already knew that anyway.
No, this was probably nothing more than posturing. His intention was presumably to project the image that Bayern aren’t at all bothered by Dortmund even though for the first time since their emergence from the brink of bankruptcy just short of a decade ago, they have spent with real power.
An estimated 49.5m euros have been invested in the acquisitions of the aforementioned players. You have to go back to 2001 when Dortmund bought Marcio Amoroso from Parma and Jan Koller from Anderlecht to find a spree of similar proportions. That splurge was most definitely a reckless one. This, by contrast, isn’t.
Although more than double last year’s expenditure, three-quarters of this summer’s outlay is financed by the 37m euro they received from Bayern for Mario Götze. As for the rest, well, some of the revenue from their run to the Champions League final could pay for that. Rather than overreaching, their strategy has been sustainable and responsible. What else would you expect from a club for whom memories of 2004, when they were 120m euro in the red, are still fresh. But let’s get back to what Rummenigge said.
Bayern and Dortmund have found other things to argue about rather than Rummenigge’s apparent disregard for Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and Sokratis. Not for the first time, Jürgen Klopp got under Bayern’s skin with his characterisation of Dortmund’s rivalry with them as like that between someone armed with a Bazooka and a Robin Hood figure holding just a bow and arrow.
“Dortmund have to be careful they don’t preach water and drink wine instead,” Rummenigge said. “They have a contract with Opel. But I have seen a picture in Bild showing that someone [Aubameyang] drives a Ferrari. It looks like they should put that bow and arrow down.”
Rummenigge wasn’t alone in not knowing Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and Sokratis all that well. Dortmund’s Marco Reus admitted as much to Kicker. On Aubameyang, he said: “I don’t really follow the French league. That’s why I didn’t have him on my radar. I have now seen a couple of his goals. He is certainly very, very fast and dangerous.”
Rather interestingly, this affair hasn’t escaped the attention of the papers in Italy. Is it because the Bundesliga is being covered more closely after last year’s all-German Champions League final and the presence of Pep Guardiola on the Bayern bench? Partly yes. But it’s also because while Rummenigge didn’t know Dortmund’s signings well, Milan were very familiar with two of them. Aubameyang and his brothers were in their academy. Sokratis was a member of the squad that won the Scudetto two years ago.
“They’re Milan rejects,” wrote Alessandro de Calò in an editorial for La Gazzetta dello Sport. This wasn’t to say Dortmund have gone and bought a couple of duds. Far from it. They’re too shrewd for that, as the signings of Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski have shown in the past. No. This was a criticism of Milan for disregarding and undervaluing the talent they had under their noses. “It’s no laughing matter,” de Calò added.
Aubameyang admits he wasn’t ready to break into the first team at Milan. He trained with them a few times but never made a competitive senior appearance. A change in policy, whereby youth players like Mattia De Sciglio and now Bryan Cristante and Andrea Petagna are given a chance, came too late for Aubameyang.
He was loaned out to Dijon, Lille, Monaco and then Saint-Etienne who signed him for just 1.8m euro in the winter of 2011. Eighteen months later, the French club have made a nice profit, selling him to Dortmund for 13m euro. If Milan had kept Aubameyang and given him a chance, maybe they wouldn’t have had to spend 15.5m euro on Stephan El Shaarawy, 3m euro on M’Baye Niang or 21m euro on Mario Balotelli.
They missed a trick. True, there was great competition at the time. Sokratis experienced that too. Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva were ahead of him in the pecking order and rightly so. But if Milan had taken the long view on a player who has only just turned 25, and not sold him back to Genoa who then let him go to Werder Bremen maybe they’d have more options in defence now.
Of course no one can predict the future and Milan had their reasons. But these two cases offer a reminder that you should think twice before giving up on a player. The Dortmund side that won the Champions League in 1997 was full of Serie A cast-offs from Jürgen Kohler, Andi Möller and Paulo Sousa to Stefan Reuter and Mathias Sammer, four of whom had played for opponents Juventus. Other players adjudged to be flops like Dennis Bergkamp at Inter, Patrick Vieira at Milan and Thierry Henry at Juventus all went on to become legends at Arsenal and were players who defined their generation.
Let’s not get carried away. Aubameyang and Sokratis aren’t in that class and probably never will be. Even so, there are some Milan fans out there who are wondering how both apparently are good enough for last year’s Champions League runners’ up, but weren’t considered worthy of their attention.
Posted by Richard Whittall under Bayern Munich, Football Finance, Mario Goetze on Jul 03, 2013
A confession: I know nothing about advertising, except perhaps from what I’ve picked up watching Mad Men over the last few years.
I, probably like a lot of people, still don’t quite get the ultimate point of this multi-billion (trillion? who knows?) dollar industry. In my pre-Baudrillardian head, advertising is still a means for companies to make a pitch to consumers as to why their particular product is better than all the other similar products offered by their competitors.
But since most consumers are in on the idea that advertisements are inherently biased (duh), they can’t really be trusted to fairly sell themselves (why would State Farm lie to grandma?). Companies know this, for the most part. So today, instead, advertisements are meant to generate or maintain “brand awareness.”
From a practical point of view, this means advertisers now speak in fairly intimate terms about their craft. Here’s Kraft for example on their strategy in promoting a ‘Hockeyville’ contest which “award[ed] a small community $100,000 in hockey arena upgrades,” according to this Globe and Mail article from 2011:
Kraft’s results suggest there’s a bottomless reserve of goodwill among Canadians for marketers who know how to play the hockey card smartly. The company measures 10 so-called “core values,” which they claim have all seen increases since the beginning of Hockeyville. The number of respondents who agree with the statement, “Kraft has great community spirit,” is up 93 per cent over the past two years; those who believe Kraft “actively cares and supports my community,” increased 152 per cent; and those who agree that Kraft “shares similar values with me,” was up 36 per cent.
Most importantly, Kraft claims its baseline sales during the eight-week Hockeyville promotion are up 6 per cent.
This 6% figure isn’t the greatest analytic to go on just on face value. There are all sorts of questions I have about it, like: how strong are the indicators that Kraft’s boost in sales are directly related to the fact that consumers believe the company “actively cares and supports [their] community”, or because Kraft “has great community spirit?” Does this effect carry over at the subliminal level when people are deciding whether to feed their children processed cheese meals? Do consumers make an unconscious decision in a nameless grocery store based on a cozy association fueled by a community-based campaign?
It’s the lack of a clear answer here that makes this business a bit…murky, and magical. Anyway, here we are. Ads are meant to make you aware that a brand exists, that a brand shares your values, that a brand will make you better person.
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Posted by Richard Whittall under Bayern Munich, Brighton & Hove Albion, Bundesliga, EPL, Newcastle, The Story So Far on Jun 24, 2013
When is it practically impossible to bungle a managerial press conference?
When you’re Bayern Munich, and you’re unveiling Pep Guardiola at a time when the club has won a historic treble which included the league and European Cup. That’s when the press will lob you obvious questions and you can lob back charming patter. The future is a blank slate. The world is Pep’s oyster.
Elsewhere, the picture is not so rosy. The Joe Kinnear debacle rages on, with the director of football possibly planning to attend a fan-friendly forum: Newcastle’s answer to the Airing of Grievances. He claims his beef is with the media and not the fans; historical revision aside, it’s not always certain the two can be so easily divided in the era of Twitter. Nor is it certain that Geordies can be so easily placated this time around with a bit of sycophancy mixed with Kinnear’s rags-to-riches tale which supposedly only Tyneside’s halt and lame will understand as a reason to claim achievements that were not his own.
If hirings can be such a delicate matter, what then of firings? It’s certainly possible that Gus Poyet lied on air when he claimed on the BBC while on Confed Cup punditry duty he wasn’t informed earlier in the day of Brighton and Hove Albion’s decision to sack him for an on-going breach-of-contract dispute. Yet even so, his club might have better foreseen the fallout that came with releasing the statement while the manager in question was live on air, ready to give his immediate response. The inevitable sacking (Poyet has been involved in a drawn out dispute with the board over a number of matters) suddenly provides a headline story where one need not have existed.
It’s all an important reminder that there is often no actual brain in parts of football’s brain trust. As if you needed another one.
Posted by Devang Desai under Bayern Munich, Edinson Cavani, Napoli on Jun 02, 2013
With the Neymar saga complete the transfer mongers have shifted their sights to Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez. Bild is reporting the German striker is on his way to Napoli, which means Edinson Cavani is most probably leaving. In terms of dominoes this is a big one, with Cavani looking to get some of that Falcao money.
According to Bild, Mario Gomez is gonna join Napoli
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) June 2, 2013
In all competitions this season Gomez recorded 23 goals on 33 shots on target in 18 starts. Croatian Mario Mandzukic ate into his playing time, making the man with the best button in the whole world an expendable piece for the treble winners.
More to come as news develops. Bild’s reputation, while dicey, was bolstered after breaking the Goetze news.
Posted by Richard Whittall under Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, The Story So Far on May 27, 2013
Even if you haven’t seen the game, or the highlights, this pretty much captures it. Also, apparently Lego is an easy medium to work with to do 24-hour animations.
Bayern Munich’s win over Borussia Dortmund had nothing to do with Financial Fair Play, and everything to do with football
Posted by Richard Whittall under Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Financial Fair Play, Football Finance, Uefa Champions League on May 26, 2013
Last night, immediately after the final whistle which saw Bayern Munich lift their fifth European Cup on the back of Arjen Robben’s goal in the 89th minute, I made the mistake of tuning into a popular British sports talk (hint hint) radio station. Mere minutes after play had ended at Wembley stadium, one of the commentators grimly declared that Bayern’s win over Dortmund, a team with half the Bavarian club’s wage bill, was the result of financial fair play forever cementing the dominance of historical footballing giants. It’s over. Kloppo’s BvB had lost. The little guy will never win.
It was such an absurd claim I actually rewound the tape as it were (you can do this on certain radio apps) and listened to it again. Sure enough, that’s exactly what he’d said: Bayern beating Dortmund was a sign the minnows were forever shut out of the European party, thanks to FFP.
I wondered where this line of reasoning had come from, and then I recalled Martin Samuel’s interview with Michel Platini published the day before, in which the Daily Mail writer bombarded the UEFA president with questions about the supposed side effects of FFP, that the rule which forbid spending in excess of turnover (within certain limits) would forever seal the dominance of a handful of clubs and shut out the rest. The idea here is that the only way to muscle into top spots was to spend a whack of money, which invariably means excessive financial losses. Without the ability to do that, smaller teams are screwed.
This is a bold claim. At the very least, it suggests that money spent on wage bills and transfer payments has a very strong causal relationship with winning trophies, whether at the domestic level or in Europe. Samuel’s been making this argument for years now, and, alarmingly, Platini had a woeful time defending FFP from these accusations. Perhaps this was a case of Platini rarely answering his critics, I don’t know.
It shouldn’t be that difficult to defend FFP from these claims, really. The 2012-2013 Champions League provides an excellent case study, in fact.
At nil-nil in the Champions League final, Dortmund had created several great chances with shots on goal to boot. Both Roman Weidenfeller and Manuel Neuer had to be completely on their game to keep the game scoreless in the first half. Both sides had seven shots, with Dortmund edging them out on shots on target (5-3). Even with the score at 1-1, it was a close contest almost to the very end. The winning goal came in the 89th minute from a sumptuous back-heeled pass from Frank Ribery into the path of Arjen Robben, who feinted and slotted home to win it.
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