Kovac steers Wolves out of the woods amid shambles of Hertha Berlin

Wolves are built to thrive in bitter winter, so with the champions still struggling to de-ice the windscreen and get the motor running, who better to assume the role of Bayern for now? In a glacial Olympiastadion in Berlin on Tuesday, Wolfsburg flamed their hosts, Hertha, 5-0 to make it two wins, 11 goals scored and none conceded. They remain seventh, but three points off third place and with a better goal difference, and defensive record, than any team beyond Bayern. …”
Guardian

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Niclas Füllkrug: Germany’s New ‘Old’ Striker Continues His Ascent


“Niclas Füllkrug isn’t your archetypal modern German striker. When the Germans warmed up for their 2022 World Cup campaign with a friendly against Oman in mid-November, Füllkrug came off the bench at half-time. In doing so, he became the oldest outfielder to make his debut for Germany in 20 years (29 years, 280 days). Did he make an impact? You could say that. He scored the only goal of the game within 35 minutes of his international introduction with what was only his second shot for the national team. …”
The Analyst

Where will Sebastien Haller fit in at Borussia Dortmund?

“… 4-2-3-1 – Terzic employed this formation the most during the Hinrunde, and it appears ideally suited for a centre-forward like Haller. When Haller’s diagnosis was made, Dortmund brought in Anthony Modeste — a similar type of player to the Cote d’Ivoire international — as cover. The Frenchman didn’t shine, scoring just two Bundesliga goals, but Youssoufa Moukoko did better. …”
Bundesliga (Video)

The top 10 Bundesliga moments of 2022, featuring Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt

“From Bayern Munich’s record-extending 10th successive Bundesliga title to Eintracht Frankfurt’s historic UEFA Europa League triumph, it’s been another year to remember in and around the German top flight. …”
Bundesliga (Video)
Bundesliga: The 2022/23 Bundesliga season so far in numbers (Video)
Bundesliga: The story of the 2022/23 Bundesliga season so far (Video)

Germany: 2022-23 Bundesliga – Location-map, with 3 Charts…

“The map page shows a location-map for the 18 clubs in the 2022-23 Bundesliga, with recently-promoted and -relegated teams noted. (Promoted in 2022: Schalke, Werder Bremen; relegated in 2022: Arminia Bielefeld, Greuther Fürth.) The map also shows the 16 Federal States of Germany, and the 14 largest cities in Germany, with 2015 population figures listed at the the top of the map. …”
billsportsmaps
W – 2022–23 Bundesliga

Confusion, exasperation and dating apps – my month as a gay reporter at the Qatar World Cup Confusion, exasperation and dating apps – my month as a gay reporter at the Qatar World Cup


“The morning after Germany were dramatically knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage, I took a walk around the backstreets of Doha. For the first time in my life, I was confronted, in person, by a sign telling me I was not welcome. Across Qatar’s capital, we often saw flags, usually for the 32 nations competing at the World Cup. This time, alongside Qatari national flags and a banner saying, ‘Welcome’, I saw a piece of paper: a rainbow flag with a no-entry symbol over the top of it. Beneath it, in red letters, the sign said: ‘Not allowed in Qatar’. In Britain, I had read about signs like this, whether they were against black people, Irish people or immigrants in years gone by. I am not making a direct comparison; I am not trapped in a hostile environment. For me, this was merely a moment in time. For others, it can be a lifetime. …”
The Athletic (Video)

How FIFA Silenced a World Cup Armband Campaign


Belgium’s foreign minister, Hadja Lahbib, wore a One Love armband into a V.I.P. box, where she sat near the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.
“The opening match of the World Cup was only hours away when the leaders of a group of European soccer federations arrived for a meeting at the luxury Fairmont Hotel. The five-star property, converted into the tournament headquarters for FIFA leadership, was an unlikely setting for a fight. But with the matches about to begin, it would have to do. By then the federations and representatives of FIFA had been meeting on and off for months about a plan by the group of national teams to wear multicolored armbands with the message ‘One Love’ during their matches at the tournament in Qatar. …”
NY Times

Richarlison, Messi and Pulisic: Three Stunning Goals Frozen in Time


“We take a closer look at three memorable goals from the group phase of the 2022 World Cup. See the critical moment when each ball was struck into the net. …Richarlison’s Wonder-Strike. In Brazil’s opening game, Richarlison leaped into the air and scored his second goal of the match with an acrobatic scissor kick. Brazil went on to finish at the top of the group, advancing to the round of 16 to face South Korea. …”
NY Times
NY Times: Watch Christian Pulisic Send the U.S. Past Iran and Into the Knockout Rounds
NY Times: Belgium’s Long-Ball Goal Sinks a Determined Canada
NY Times: Germany’s Late Equalizer Revives Its World Cup Hopes

Germany’s World Cup failure: ‘It’s not just bad luck, it’s inability’

“You can slice and dice this nightmare a thousand ways, smother it in narrative, toss in a few dollops of socio-political allegories and hunt for a couple of details that really spoilt the taste — it was the remote base camp at the northern tip of Qatar peninsula that lost it, or the unworn One Love armband or the unnecessary pre-tournament friendly in Oman — but listening to the Germany players after the event, they all brought it back to the most basic of basics. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Japan’s ‘historic’ win over Germany: 38 clearances, eight key saves, two glorious goals


“As Japan’s players attempted to take stock in the immediate aftermath of their 2-1 victory over Germany, they gathered close to the touchline. Arm in arm, they each looked above to one of the two big screens inside the Khalifa International Stadium. They were watching the highlights of the second half and, in video form, just how they managed to turn it around. They had achieved the best result in their nation’s footballing history. The substitutes and backroom staff joined their colleagues to form one mass huddle. They had been stood alongside manager Hajime Moriyasu in the final throes of the game, screaming and clapping furiously. …”
The Athletic (Video)
The Athletic – Germany 4-2 Costa Rica: Flick’s side crash out at group stage again, Musiala is rare bright spark
Guardian: Simón plays Spain into trouble as Japan turn World Cup upside down

Germany’s Coach Is Out of His Depth, and So Is Its Chancellor

“BERLIN — The start was promising. In a WhatsApp group — under the peppy name ‘Get prepared’ — the coach of Germany’s football team, Hansi Flick, delivered a stirring motivational message to the 26 players representing the country at the World Cup. Under a picture of a lamp, his colleague added: ‘May our light shine in Qatar!’ Well, not quite. After losing to Japan, in a lackluster, anemic display, the team just about managed to draw with Spain, thanks to a late equalizer. …”
NY Times | Opinion

Spain 1-1 Germany: Super subs Morata and Fullkrug, technical quality and a very high line…


“A lot of the talk beforehand was about the midfield battle in Spain’s game against Germany but it was two substitute strikers that had the biggest say. Alvaro Morata put Spain in front midway through the second half before the Werder Bremen striker Niclas Fullkrug equalised late on to grab Germany a point. The result leaves Germany still without a win and with plenty of work to do to advance to the last 16. …”
The Athletic
NY Times: Germany meets the moment and keeps its World Cup hopes alive.

Why some World Cup managers are using their full-backs to do very different jobs


“Louis van Gaal, the Netherlands head coach, has described his asymmetric lateral defenders as a ‘steering wheel’. That is, when Daley Blind (left wing-back) pushes forward, Denzel Dumfries (right wing-back) has to drop deeper and vice-versa. Full-backs, or wing-backs, being pivotal to a team’s chance creation is no longer novel at club level but is underpinning the attacking success of many sides in the first round of World Cup fixtures. …”
The Athletic

How Japan’s five substitutes and switch to a back five stunned Germany


“It’s been an eventful couple of days in the World Cup, to the extent that this isn’t even the most notable example so far of an Asian side turning a 1-0 half-time deficit against a strong favourite into a famous 2-1 victory. But in a purely tactical sense, Japan’s win over Germany was the most fascinating contest of the World Cup so far, a classic game of two halves. Germany ran riot in the opening 45 minutes, prompting Japan to dramatically change their shape at the interval before launching their astonishing comeback. …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Germany’s protest will reverberate down the years and generations
NY Times: Germany Protests FIFA Decision That Blocked Rainbow Armbands
The Athletic: Germany chose to be an ally and take on FIFA. It was a powerful, meaningful gesture

The Radar – The Athletic’s 2022 World Cup scouting guide


“Welcome to The Radar — the World Cup edition. Last year, for Euro 2020, we profiled 60 players that people were talking about — or would be by the end of the competition. Thirty-four of those players have since moved club. More teams means more players, so for the World Cup we’ve upped that to 100. The result is below, a carefully crafted guide to some of the best footballers on show in Qatar listed alphabetically by country — the heavyweight names, the rising stars and the under-the-radar players who could be coming to an elite club near you. …”
The Athletic

Who Will Be This Year’s World Cup Supernova?

“Michael Owen, Mario Götze, and Kylian Mbappé anointed themselves as stars with stellar World Cup performances. Will any young players usher in a new era at this year’s tournament? There are very few moments in world history that can unite entire generations in awe. At the head of that very short list, you will find the moon landing. A couple of lines further down, but still on the same page, you will see an athletic feat of rare brilliance: say, Usain Bolt breaking the sound barrier in the Olympic 100-meter final. …”
The Ringer

World Cup 2022 Group E guide: Spain’s young midfield stars and watch out for Germany’s triangles


“What should we expect from Spain? Where is Japan’s weakness? Are Germany playing differently under Hansi Flick? The 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and The Athletic is running in-depth tactical group guides so you will know what to expect from every nation competing in Qatar over the coming month. …”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup 2022 Group G guide: Tadic’s corners, Swiss pressing and a more complete Neymar

“What should we expect from Spain? Where is Japan’s weakness? Are Germany playing differently under Hansi Flick? The 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and The Athletic is running in-depth tactical group guides so you will know what to expect from every nation competing in Qatar over the coming month. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Taking Stock at the World Cup Break

“In the end, the reverie could not quite hold. Union Berlin, the unassuming, unheralded team from the forest, had first moved atop of the Bundesliga in early September. It had the air, back then, of the sort of fleeting feel-good story that the early days of the season can bring: not a fluke, of course, but a confluence of circumstance that was unlikely to last. Nobody expected Union to remain there for long, least of all anyone connected to Union itself. The highest echelon of German soccer has, in recent years, grown used to the sudden advent of supercharged underdogs in its ranks, from Hoffenheim, the passion play of a local billionaire, to RB Leipzig, the artificial creation of an energy-drink conglomerate. …”
NY Times

World Cup 2022 Groups: The Predictions


“The 2022 World Cup is finally here, with the tournament in Qatar being the first held in the months of November and December since the first World Cup finals in 1930. The 22nd men’s FIFA World Cup tournament will see 32 teams battle it out in the group stage after qualifying via five different regions – Asia, Africa, South America, North America/Central America and Europe (no nation from Oceania qualified). From there, 16 will make it through to the knockout stages. …”
The Analyst

Inside Bayer Leverkusen and how they plan to grow a club built around a company


“There are wild parrots in Leverkusen. Step off the train in the German city and walk into the park that leads to the football stadium. They’re there. A dozen, maybe two. They sit in the branches and then flutter away when they decide people are getting too close. It’s a local phenomenon. Nobody seems to know quite where they came from. One theory has it that a few rose-ringed parakeets were released many years ago and, from there, the population boomed. ….”
The Athletic (Video)

European roundup: Filip Kostic inspires Juventus in defeat of Internazionale

“Filip Kostic set up both goals as Juventus beat Internazionale in Serie A on Sunday in a challenging game where both teams had chances to win. Kostic took advantage of a cleared Inter corner and raced into the box, where Adrien Rabiot guided the assist elegantly into the bottom corner in the 52nd minute. Kostic then fed an unmarked Nicolo Fagioli six minutes before full time for the second goal. Juventus are fifth on 25 points, 10 behind leaders Napoli. Inter are seventh on 24 points. …”
Guardian

Haaland, Aubameyang, Silva & Haller: Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt’s goalscoring graduates

“From Erling Haaland and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Andre Silva and Sebastien Haller, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt share a history of developing some of the most feared goalscorers in the business. Ahead of Saturday’s top-six clash between the two clubs, bundesliga.com takes a closer look at some of the prolific forwards the pair have seen plunder goals for them across the decades. …”
Bundesliga (Video)

World Cup provisional squads explained: What are the rules and will they be made public?


“A month from today, it all begins. The World Cup in Qatar looms ever larger on the horizon and the countdown is on to the first of 64 games that will crown a winner at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, December 18. Doubts persist over the suitability of Qatar to host this World Cup, as well as its readiness to welcome more than one million visitors, but the biggest names in football are about to descend on a tiny Gulf nation that’s half the size of Wales and roughly as big as the US state of Connecticut. …”
The Athletic
The Analyst: World Cup 2022 Guide to Each Group

Anthony Modeste snatches last-gasp Klassiker draw for Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich

“Anthony Modeste came off the bench to provide a goal and an assist, including a 95th-minute equaliser, to salvage a 2-2 draw for Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker against Bayern Munich. … In the build-up to the game, Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl commented that, ‘Experience tells us that these direct match-ups have an impact on the standings come the end of the season.’ …”
Bundesliga (Video)

UEFA Champions League Preview: Big clash in Lisbon, while Juventus need a win

“While Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez claims there are too many inconsequential matches, the Champions League group phase pushes ahead with matchday three. Matches that look quite appetising can be found right across Europe, from London to Leipzig to Lisbon. …”
Game of the People

World Cup 2022 news round-up: Nkunku and Lewandowski shine as Argentina put faith in Scaloni

“Club football is back and with fewer than 50 days for players to find form and fitness before the World Cup kicks off on November 20, Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Leandro Trossard of Belgium and USA forward Ricardo Pepi laid down a marker at the weekend. Off the pitch, coaches are already being rewarded before the tournament kicks off with Wales extending Rob Page’s contract and Argentina set to keep Lionel Scaloni as head coach until the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico. …”
The Athletic

The Inscrutable Intensity of Zinedine Zidane’s Glare

“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves Zinedine Zidane, a headbutt, and a delicately placed Panenka in Germany in 2006. …”
The Ringer (Video)

World Cup 2022 power rankings: how the 32 look with two months to go

“With most teams having played their final matches before the tournament in Qatar, who appear most likely to lift the trophy? …”
Guardian

Germany still confident about World Cup hopes despite lean run of form

“A proud footballing nation on a lean run of just one win in six games. A humiliating defeat at home against Hungary. And above all, a sense of stasis and frustration, a lack of creativity, the suspicion that for all the talent and trophies in this team, it remains considerably less than the sum of its parts. Germany and England may share a common predicament, but as they prepare to meet on Monday night only one of these nations is currently racked by existential crisis. …”
Guardian

World Cup health check: The issue each country must address before Qatar


“The September international break is normally relatively relaxed — a chance to tweak tactics and focus on formations. Not this time. For almost all 32 competing nations, this is the final set of international fixtures before the World Cup begins in Qatar on November 20. So that you can go into the break feeling prepared, The Athletic has identified one issue every team need to try to fix this break…”
The Athletic (Video)

Think tank: Some potential reasons why Bayern Munich is struggling

“A dominating DFL-Supercup, plus strong four games to open the Bundesliga season — including the improbable Gladbach draw, which may have been the best of the performances — followed by three straight clunkers coinciding with the return of English weeks. How serious is the crisis at Bayern Munich, and what can be done about it? Let’s explore four of the possible narratives behind the recent Bavarian mudslide. …”
Bavarian Football Works

The Surprising Names at Risk of Missing the Flight to Qatar 2022

“We’re currently 67 days away from the first ball being kicked at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, and as we approach the first ever World Cup to be staged in winter rather than summer, players have less time and more pressure to impress their respective international managers. Some players have an almost guaranteed spot in their national teams regardless of their seasons – think Harry Kane and Achraf Hakimi. Others don’t have such a luxury and have a constant point to prove when they step out to play. Those are the players we’ll delve into in this article: players with a point to prove to be part of the travelling pack who jet off to Qatar in mid-November. …”
Football Paradise

Too cool for their own good? Union Berlin’s fight to retain their identity

“It takes about half an hour on the train to get from the centre of Berlin to Köpenick, and the journey is a game of two halves. The second half is a gentle rumble through the industrial, residential and woodland heartlands of Bundesliga club Union Berlin. The first half is a sight-seeing tour of Berlin’s world-famous nightlife. …”
Guardian

Analysing Bayern Munich 2 Barcelona 0: Xavi’s Alonso gamble, misfiring Lewandowski and ruthless Sane


“A ruthless 10-minute spell immediately after half-time helped Bayern Munich beat Barcelona at the Allianz Arena, with goals from Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane sealing three points for Julian Nagelsmann’s side. Barcelona dominated the first half but Robert Lewandowski failed to make Bayern pay on his return to Munich. Whatever the Bayern head coach Nagelsmann said at the break did the trick — by the 54th minute they were two goals ahead, first a header by Hernandez and then a neat finish from Sane. …”
The Athletic

Most Goals Scored in a FIFA World Cup by One Player


“The only players to score nine or more goals in a single FIFA World Cup did so between 1950 and 1970 – a competition with nearly a century of history cramming its one-tournament stars into two decades. It seems the game’s defensive focus and organisation had yet to catch up to its emerging individual attacking skill. It was a time of free goals, and in some places free love, and if you weren’t around to experience it in person, you’re left with grainy video – and of course the numbers. None of the five players to score that many did it in more than six games while the modern-day format for World Cup tournaments has made it possible for top goalscorers to get seven in should they reach the last four. …”
The Analyst

European roundup: Bayern held by Stuttgart, Napoli and Milan grab wins

“Bayern Munich conceded a stoppage-time equaliser scored by the VfB Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy from the penalty spot, as the champions endured a third consecutive Bundesliga draw. The game started well for Bayern, with Mathys Tel scoring their opener in the 36th minute. The France youth international Tel, who at the age of 17 years and 136 days became the youngest player to start a league game for Bayern, had already scored in the German Cup first round. He scored his first league goal by drilling in a low drive from an Alphonso Davies cutback. …”
Guardian

Why Leroy Sane’s late runs into the Inter box were so crucial for Bayern Munich

“On Tuesday evening, an Italian side playing 3-5-2 were defeated by the runs of a speedy attacker — starting deeper and narrower than you’d expect, but going in behind. Kylian Mbappe scored the opener for Paris Saint-Germain against Juventus and got the second goal, too. On Wednesday evening, an Italian side playing 3-5-2 were defeated by the runs of a speedy attacker — starting deeper and narrower than you’d expect, but going in behind. Leroy Sane scored the opener for Bayern Munich against Inter Milan and forced the own goal that was their second. …”
The Athletic – Michael Cox

Champions League: Michael Cox’s tactical guide to this season’s leading contenders

“Judging by the bookmakers’ odds, there are eight sides who stand a decent chance of winning this season’s European Cup. Broadly speaking, they look familiar from last season — few clubs have undergone a dramatic overhaul in terms of their starting XI and only one of these eight clubs appointed a new manager in the summer. If you haven’t watched any of the favourites since last season, here’s the lowdown on their approaches for 2022-23. …”
The Athletic

Union Berlin are now a major irritant to the Bundesliga’s established order

“Those records keep tumbling. Their longest top-flight unbeaten run (now 11) was extended. This is the first time they have gone unbeaten in five Bundesliga away games. Add to that, of course, the big one – this was their biggest ever Bundesliga win, at the home of one of German football’s iconic clubs in front of a sold-out, 62,000-plus crowd. Union Berlin are not a curio, not a fleeting story and more than a minor irritant to the Bundesliga’s established order. …”
Guardian

Real Madrid & the Role of Tactics at Elite Teams

Does a team need a complex tactical structure to be elite? In recent times we have seen complex tactical approaches from managers and clubs like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and even Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern Munich. But does a club need one to be successful? Real Madrid would argue not. Jon Mackenzie explains, Marco Bevilacqua illustrates.
YouTube

What the Champions League Is Lacking


“PARIS — There will be stories, of course. There are always stories. The Champions League delivers them so frequently and so reliably that it is impossible to dismiss the nagging suspicion that all of this might just be scripted, the product of some complex simulation being run from a secret lair in Nyon. Robert Lewandowski, clad in the blue and red of Barcelona, will return to Bayern Munich, only a few weeks after forcing his exit. Manchester City’s visit to Borussia Dortmund will see Erling Haaland standing once more before its Yellow Wall, that great force of nature no longer at his back but marshaled in his face. …”
NY Times
The Athletic: Champions League draw analysed – The biggest games, the shocks in store, the toughest groups

Rating the best and worst of Europe’s 2022-23 kits: From stunners to zany stripes

“We’ve rated the Premier League home kits. We’ve rated the Premier League away kits. So now it’s time to go Euro. It’s a big ask to review the design choices of an entire continent, but The Athletic has broad shoulders and is very happy to take on the job. Someone has to — you may think that this is not something that is absolutely vital for the smooth continuation of public discourse, but unfortunately, we’ve checked, and actually, it is. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Experience and youth helping Borussia Dortmund create early-season waves

“As one of only two sides with a 100 per cent record in this season’s Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund’s start to 2022/23 also includes an impressive DFB Cup first round win – and with Edin Terzic’s title hopefuls boasting a crucial mix of youth and experience, the omens look good for the Black-and-Yellows for the months ahead. …”
Bundesliga

Why the through ball is becoming a dying art in European football


“The number of through balls in the UEFA Champions League dropped 50 per cent between the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons. In Europe’s top five leagues, the number of through balls dropped on average 30 per cent over the same period. In the Europa League, it dropped 24 per cent. The through ball is not extinct, but it is endangered.Before examining why, we need to define the term. FBref data define a through ball as a: ‘Completed pass sent between the back defenders into open space.’ It is a complex pass to complete, hence the number of through balls is never particularly high and is in fact lower than the goals-per-game total in Europe’s top divisions. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Bayern Munich and the Myth of Competition

“Just like that, it was over. For two months or so, there had been just the slightest flicker of hope for the clubs of the Bundesliga. They had not felt it in some time. They did not want to admit to feeling it now, not publicly: It was fragile, guilty, most likely forlorn, but it was hope nonetheless. Robert Lewandowski was gone. Serge Gnabry, for a time, seemed as if he might follow. Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer were another year older. For the first time in a decade, Bayern Munich seemed not weak — Bayern Munich is never weak — but just a little diminished, just a little more human. …”
NY Times

New era dawns but Bayern should still be too good for Bundesliga rivals

“Is this finally it? Before the start of every season we’re looking for a reason why Bayern Munich might not win the Bundesliga, and it has begun to feel like a vain hope for genuine title competition. In May Bayern were crowned champions for the 10th campaign in a row, and the Rekordmeister have been run to such an exemplary standard that few can see an imminent end to the medley.  …”
Guardian

Is This the Season We Finally Have a Bundesliga Title Race?

“… From 2014-2019, Bayern scored over 90 goals once in five Bundesliga seasons. Over the past three seasons they’ve scored 100, 99, and 97. The key difference was Lewandowski, who went from one of the world’s best strikers to, perhaps, the best player on the planet. In the five seasons from 2014-15 until 2018-19 inclusive, he scored at an incredible rate of a Bundesliga goal every 102 minutes, or every 117 without penalties. It’s a world class record. Then, over the last three seasons, he got even better. …”
The Analyst

Transferspeak: The 22 stages of a transfer saga

“Transfer sagas are dead. Well, the classic, perfectly-sized sagas of the golden era, anyway. Bit of tapping-up, some balking at the asking price, a cheeky transfer request being slapped in, an 11th-hour hijacking, done deal, ‘as soon as I heard they were interested, there was no other place I wanted to go’. But something weird has happened. Transfers are now taking ages. Or are they? It’s the transfer window’s Muller-Lyer illusion: maybe transfers are just as long as they always were, but something is making them seem more drawn-out. …”
The Athletic

Sensible Transfers: Bayern Munich

“Domestically Bayern Munich are still dominant, having won another Bundesliga title in 2021/22. But elsewhere they are stuttering. They have made early wise signings with Mazraoui and Gravenberch from Ajax, but the big transfer news is that Lewandowski wants to leave. So how do you begin to replace the record-breaking-Pole? Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Marco Bevilacqua.”
YouTube

Noussair Mazraoui: Football’s Glorious Nonconformist

“Ajax full-back Noussair Mazraoui recently signed with Bayern Munich on a free transfer. He encapsulates everything we love about Ajax: determination against all odds, a pension for highwire-like acts on the sideline, and confidence to throw everything at the opponent. Nous will be missed in Amsterdam and his unique style will add something special to the German champions. …”
Football Paradise
W – Noussair Mazraoui

The Dust Settles: The Biggest Changes in Stats Perform’s Power Rankings Over the Course of this Season


“So that’s that. Another season in the books. Lots happened, but in some ways, lots stayed the same. As tends to happen, European football’s hierarchy tightened their stranglehold on silverware. Real Madrid, the very definition of footballing heritage, won their record 35th La Liga title and a 14th European Cup/Champions League. Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain continued their domestic league dominance. Elsewhere, it was a renaissance season for AC Milan, who won their first Scudetto in 11 years and returned to the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14. Forty-two years after winning the UEFA Cup in 1980, Eintracht Frankfurt won the famous trophy again, beating Rangers in the Europa League final. …”
The Analyst

Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich and the Bitter End


“Robert Lewandowski does not, in his own words, like to make “too much show.” He is, and always has been, a touch more impassive than the average superstar. He does not greet his goals, the ones that have come for so long in such improbable quantities, with a roar, or a leap, or a scream. Instead, he grins. For the really good ones, he might go so far as a beam. …”
NY Times

Freiburg’s football gods go missing as Champions League dream dissolves


“This should have been the day in which Freiburg made all their dreams come true. Sat in fourth place in the Bundesliga, with rivals RB Leipzig having come off a dreadful week of domestic defeat and European disappointment, they were set – with the sun out and their still-spanking-new Europa-Park Stadion full to its near-35,000 capacity, they were ready to celebrate. …”
Guardian (Video)
Guardian: Premier League’s pull could spell trouble for Bayern Munich and Bundesliga

Futures bets for EPL, Serie A title chases and other tight European races


“The Champions League final is set between Liverpool and Real Madrid, but there are still two incredibly close title races in two of the biggest leagues in Europe. The Premier League and Serie A titles are coming down to the final few weeks. There are also close battles for European places and relegation battles across the top five European leagues. Here’s a look at what’s on the line, the biggest matches to come and how the betting market views the close races in the final few weeks of league play. …”
The Athletic

When Borussia Dortmund Nearly Went Bankrupt


In 2004 Borussia Dortmund revealed the news that no football fan wants to hear of their club, they were bankrupt and faced the point of no return. How did a club, that these days is regarded as a ‘model-club’ get into such a state they needed a loan from their nearest rivals? Explained by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Craig Silcock.”
YouTube

Is Bayern Munich Breaking the Bundesliga?


“The first time Gregor Weinreich saw Bayern Munich crowned champion of Germany, he celebrated until sunrise. That was 1994. Three years later, when it happened again, he was so euphoric that he ran onto the field at the club’s old Olympic Stadium, a flare burning and sputtering in his hand. He was not alone. Many hundreds more did the same. Those memories remain sharp and clear and warm a quarter of a century later. His recollections of much more recent triumphs, by contrast, are already faded, fuzzy, indistinct. Weinreich knows Bayern won the title in 2014, and 2015, and 2016, and 2017, but he cannot tell them apart. …”
NY Times

European roundup: Barcelona earn late win at Levante, Milan held by Torino


Barcelona striker Luuk de Jong scored a header in added time to give his side a 3-2 win at struggling Levante after a remarkable, end-to-end game in which his side gave away three penalties. Levante began the game in 19th place but took a deserved lead against lacklustre opponents in the 52nd minute. The captain José Luis Morales scored from the spot after a foul by Dani Alves and moments later the hosts earned a second penalty, for a handball by Eric García. This time striker Roger Martí stepped up to take it and his effort was saved by Marc-André ter Stegen. …”
Guardian