Schalke 04 – Borussia Dortmund 1:1
Bayern München – 1.FC Köln 1:2
VfL Wolfsburg – Hertha BSC Berlin 2:1
Karlsruher SC – Eintracht Frankfurt 0:1
VfB Stuttgart – 1899 Hoffenheim 3:3
Borussia Möchengladbach – Hannover 96 3:2
Energie Cottbus – Werder Bremen 2:1
Arminia Bielefeld – VfL Bochum 1:1
Bayer Leverkusen – Hamburger SV 1:2
Talk of the town should have been the upset by 1.FC Köln, who managed to grab three points away in Munich on Saturday. This match gained special attention not only because last weekend saw the wolrd famous carnival in Cologne take on the streets of the city with its parades and songs. No, only a few weeeks ago, both Cologne and Bayern agreed on the transfer of German national team player Lukas Podolski which will send him back to his hometown. Ever since “Prinz Poldi” (Prince Poldi), as he is known to his loyal Cologne supporters, moved to Munich after the 2006 World Cup the whole city has been anxiously awaiting his return. The perception was that someone like Podolski can only be happy here, in the Rhineland area of Germany. There were tons of articles wishing for his return to the club which enabled him to play top league football. The buzz around him got so weird people were writing songs about how much they wanted him back in the city. They even staged a demonstration rally (which was attended by only a handful supporters. Crazy, absolutely crazy.
But, to everyone’s surprise, the prince will return to his kingdom after this season and the whole city is happy as can be. 1.FC Köln have been floating between the first and second division during the course of the past 10 years so the club is absolutely no match for the likes of Bayern München, who just seem to win the championship every year. So why would someone like Podolski trade this high class club with the average achievers of professional football? Well, seems like he needs a lot comfort and he will surely get it here. Things will be very interesting come next season.
But snatching “Poldi” away from the claws of the “evil empire of German football” wasn’t the only story surrounding this game. The other one is about the coach of Cologne and the manager of Bayern. Christoph Daum rose to stardom in the late 1980s managing the 1.FC Köln club from a slightly above average team to two runner-up places and a third place. He did this by constantly attacking his opponents verbally, calling them cowards, losers and other names. All of this culminated in a highly entertaining performance (if you are able to understand German) in a German sports program, where Daum and Uli Hoeness, Bayern’s manager, met for a heated debate. This footage is from a documentary about German professional football, the interesting part starts at 1:25…
With all this historical background and keeping in mind that Daum wasn’t able to win at Bayern before, the victory becomes even more special. That said, it should have been the big story over the weekend…
…it wasn’t. On Friday a German newspaper published an article about two players from Hoffenheim missing a doping test after the game at Mönchengladbach, they arrived 10 minutes late. This started a huge debate about performance enhancing drugs in football in general and especially in German football. Football coaches and players always stated that there is no sense in using those drugs in football. “If a player cannot use his left foot, a hundred pills won’t help him”, Otto Rehagel, now coach of the Greek national team, once said. What those people forget – and what this article (German) recalls in brilliant fashion – is that there has always been doping in football. The 1954 World Cup winning team of Germany used strange substances which the team’s doctor excused as glucose injections. The German national team goalkeeper Harald “Toni” Schumacher was suspended because of an autobiography he wrote in 1987 in which he stated that drug use was common in German football. There was a detailed doping program at Juventus Turin in the late 1990s, a period which happens to coincide with a very successful period for the club. Dutch players like Jaap Stam and Edgar Davids were found guilty of using drugs. There is no such thing as a clean football.
Yet all the people you heard talking about this call it some minor fault in the system – because there were no drugs found there wasn’t any doping – completely ignoring the point that there are ways and means to delude urine samples in such a short time. It’s sad for the players (Ibertsberger and Janker) who might have not known the regularities, but the should be punished. As a precedence two Italian players were suspended for one year after showing up late for a drug test only a few weeks ago. It’s disgusting to see how casual the German FA (DFB) deals with this situation. It’s even more disgusting how all the other officials from other clubs reacted. Hoffenheim‘s coach Ralf Rangnick stated that showing up late for drug tests after a game is common in the Bundesliga, other coaches told him. I tend to believe him as noone really wants to have a case of doping in professional football. Yet the DFB wants him to verify his claim or back off from it.
All this shifted the attention from another thrilling matchday with lots of surprise victories and a fabulous offensive showing from Hoffenheim and Stuttgart. Too bad…