1. Dortmund let the German side down.
Whereas Leverkusen and Schalke exited the Champions League Round of 16 with their pride very much intact – the Rhinelander only losing on penalties to Atletico Madrid and Gelsenkirchen’s finest coming within an ace of knocking out holders Real Madrid – there was little honourable about Dortmund’s showing in the 3-0 second-leg loss to Juventus at Signal Iduna Park.
Just when the ‘Schwarz-Gelben’ needed one of their trademark 100,000 volts displays, the fusebox melted and it was telling that even star attacker Marco Reus had one of his rare off-nights.
Unimaginative, too imprecise in their final ball and strangely hesitant in going for goal, this was a Dortmund light years from their 2011/2012/2013 heyday. Bland, beige, plain vanilla. What a pity that only the fans on the Südtribune have maintained their high emotional standards
2. Hamburg’s lack of goals and composure leaves them holed and rudderless.
Their 1-0 home loss to fellow strugglers Hertha Berlin on Friday was Hamburg’s 15th match this season without scoring a goal – a club record of the worst possible kind – and should a cure for their shot-shy ills not be forthcoming, they surely will suffer their first-ever top-flight relegation.
Battling so feverishly that they lead the league in fouls conceded and yellow cards received, many Hamburg players seem to think cool heads are for wimps and this penchant for poor discipline certainly cost them this weekend, Brazilian defender Cleber seeing red nine minutes from time and Hertha’s Sebastian Langkamp heading in Hertha’s winner moments later.
As expected, the HSV gallows were erected the following day, coach Joe Zinnbauer unceremoniously ditched in favour of club director of football, Peter Knäbel.
3. More doping revelations.
Flamboyant former Eintracht Frankfurt and Arminia Bielefeld midfield dribbler, Angsar Brinkmann whipped up a storm with his admission on western German radio station, ‘Eins Live’ that he once took a drug to boost his matchday performance.
Renowned for his showmanship and off the field escapades, the so-called ‘White Brazilian’ insisted that he had not witnessed systematic doping during his pro career, but did plead guilty to taking the amphetamine, Captagon, before an important match.
“In 20 years in the game, this was my only experience of this type of thing. As far as I know, there’s no tablet to help you control a ball or make you talented.”
4. Manuel Neuer is only human.
Even the great ones occasionally fall off their pedestal with an almighty thud and world number one keeper Neuer certainly went sprawling in Bayern Munich’s shock 2-0 home defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach. The German number one fumbled Raffael’s eminently stoppable shot over the line for Gladbach’s opener on the half-hour and far from convincing when the same opponent shot under him late on to seal a vital win for Lucien Favre’s expertly set-up side.
Succumbing to only their second defeat of the season, Bayern were strangely subdued all afternoon and Pep Guardiola would have been further concerned by the sight of star winger Arjen Robben going off early in the game. The diagnosis ? An abdominal injury which could keep the Dutch flyer out for weeks.
5. Trainer Klose.
Deutschland striker extraordinaire Miroslav Klose may have retired from international football after last year’s triumphant World Cup campaign, yet has no intention whatsoever of severing his strong ties with the DFB.
In an exclusive interview with Kicker magazine, the 36-year-old Lazio front-man expressed his desire to take all the necessary coaching courses and revealed that he soon would be meeting with federation technical chief, Hansi Flick to discuss a leadership post with one of the national youth teams.
Interesting also that Klose sees the oft-criticised Fiorentina target man Mario Gomez as his successor at the point of the national team attack.
“If he’s top fit, he’s the striker who will score for Germany,” said Klose.