1. The FIFA winds of scandal reach Germany
The incendiary allegation in leading current affairs magazine, Der Spiegel, that bribes were at the heart of the decision to award Germany the 2006 World Cup is not likely to be extinguished with a few pails of water.
Last week, the publication claimed that a 6.7 million euro slush fund – the money allegedly loaned to the Germany organising committee by Adidas owner, Robert Louis-Dreyfus – was used to secure the votes of four Asian delegates on FIFA’s exco. Moreover, the sum did not appear in any official budgets and both German bid chief, Franz Beckenbauer and current DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach knew what was going on.
Beckenbauer and Niersbach immediately issued vehement denials of wrongdoing and the DFB have threatened to sue Spiegel. But with Green politicians calling on Niersbach to come before parliament to explain himself and state prosecutors in Frankfurt looking into the affair, the image of football in Deutschland has taken a severe hit. Tipped in many quarters to be the next president of UEFA, Wolfgang Niersbach only has two options: clear his name or go down with the ship.
2. Köln coach Peter Stöger offers his glasses to the referee
Hannover’s Danish midfielder, Leon Andreasen, is almost certain to face a suspension after TV replays clearly showed him scoring the only goal of the game in Köln on Sunday with his forearm. Just how match referee, Bastian Dankert and his assistants managed to miss the incident, only they will know and despite owning up in the post-match mixed zone, Andreasen could have avoided all the heat and anger with a little on-the-spot honesty. Sure, Hannover have been struggling this season.
Yes, they desperately needed the points. But was the victory worth Andreasen’s reputation as a sportsman ? Oh for more like striker Miroslav Klose, who, on ‘netting’ for Lazio against Napoli three years ago, immediately confessed to the referee that he had handled the ball home.
3. Worrying times for FC Augsburg
Over-achieving small-town teams with limited playing resources often find it tough to combine the Europa League with domestic obligations and it certainly seems the case for Augsburg, who in a few short months have gone from fifth-place finish in 2014-15 last term to dysfunctional bottom of the Bundesliga pile. With fixtures coming thick and fast, Markus Weinzierl’s men already seem to be on reserve power. Not as fresh and resourceful as last term. Not as defensively switched-on and sharp going forward.
Essentially, they have been worked out. Rather than letting FCA play their usual counter-attacking game, opponents are letting them have the ball and befuddled by the two lines of four in front of them, the Weinzierl crew simply have lacked guile. Beaten 2-0 home by Darmstadtlast weekend – FCA’s sixth defeat of the season – Die Fuggerstädter might have to forget about Europe. Bundesliga survival is all that matters.
4. Skripnik’s salty soundbites
Stressed out by five straight losses, Werder Bremen coach, Viktor Skripnik, plainly was in no mood for a cordial exchange of pleasantries following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the Weserstadion to champions-elect Bayern Munich.
Most unhappy with a string of critical questions from the floor, the Ukrainian momentarily lost all control, peppering his responses with expeletives and street argo.
“What’s your solution?, ” he screamed at a reporter. “You’re always saying that it’s bad, s**t and so on. My daughter can see that. So can every grandad and grandma at the stadium. You explain that Werder are f****d up. Did you think we were in Champions League ?”
Bremen director of sport, Thomas Eichin, continues to publicly back his man.
5. The Tiger takes over Paderborn
More than a decade after hanging up his boots, former Bayern Munich and German midfield general Stefan Effenberg at long last has a pro club to run and how well his first game in charge of second division Paderborn went – guiding them to a fully-deserved 2-0 win at home to Eintracht Braunschweig.
Bayern’s skipper when they won the Champions League in 2001, Effenberg had assumed that his name, experience and undoubted leadership qualities would have automatically given him a technical area post in the Bundesliga. But frightened off by his appetite for controversy and volatility, no one dared take the plunge until now.
“He’s the type of guy we need,” declared Paderborn president, Wilfried Finke.
“He’s a bad loser. “