This sure was one heck of a week to start up this column. Lots to discuss this week including new faces being added, potentially some new faces leaving, a tough Champions League draw, and more.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Der Monday Meister.
Match Day Recap
Schalke 04 1-1 Bayern Munich
Match Day 2 saw Bayern Munich travel to Gelsenkirchen to take on Schalke 04, a team whose recent record against has been, to put it nicely, abysmal. We truly did dominate just about the entire first half possession wise but could only muster one goal. Though, it was a beautiful set up from Sebastian Rode to Robert Lewandowski.
The second half was a whole different story as Schalke came out a little more aggressive, and we seemed to not be in sync. To quote legendary dodgeballer Patches O'Houlihan, "I've seen better runs in my shorts." Our passes just seemed a BIT too strong, just a BIT off the mark, or just the wrong first touch. It was really frustrating to watch. In the 62nd minute, it was Germany international Benedict Höwedes who brought the score level at one apiece.
Now, I'm really not one who blames the refs, but how in the HELL do you miss the ball going right off his arm?!? Outside of that, there were several fouls against us that were blatantly missed, one that was in the penalty area that should have been a PK. It was just a frustrating match all around. We have to accept that we are going to have a gigantic target on our backs, and teams like Schalke aren't just going to roll over for us anymore. We still dominated overall with 64% possession and completed 539 passes with 85% accuracy. Those types of stats will lead to a win 9 times out of 10. This just happened to be the one that didn't.
As for my man of the match? I give it to Rode. Thought he played a good complete game throughout from box to box. Good showing by him
Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 Hertha BSC
Leverkusen overcame an ugly own goal in the 24th minute to run roughshod over Hertha with four second half goals from Tin Jedvaj (who also had the own goal), Emir Spahic, Julian Brandt, and Karim Bellarabi. Hertha managed to answer with a goal in the 60' from Julian Schieber, but Leverkusen led in shots a whopping 21 to 3.
Dortmund seemed to be back on track after losing to Leverkusen at home to kick off the Bundesliga season. With two goals in the first fifteen minute from Marco Reus and Sokratis, this one looked to be a real barn burner, even more so when Adrian Ramos added another one in 78'. But, to Augsburg's credit, they never gave up. They actually led Dortmund in possession, completed passes and passing accuracy, and it paid off near the end of the game. With two late goals from Raul Bobadilla and Tim Matavz, they certainly made things interesting to the end, but their early mistakes proved too far a hole for them to get out of.
Hamburger SV 0-3 Paderborn
Newly promoted Paderborn made the most of Hamburger's errors and despite being killed on possession 67% to 33%, managed to get goals from Elias Kachunga, Mario Vrancic, and Moritz Stoppelkamp.
Suttgart 0-2 Köln
First half goals from Yuya Osako and Anthony Ujah was all Köln needed to beat Stuttgart despite losing on possession 69% to 31%. Is this the new thing? Only possess the ball for less than a 1/3rd of the game and somehow win? Well anyway, it worked for Köln, but it's probably not a very good strategy going forward. That being said, good for them on this victory. Good to see em back in the Bundesliga.
Wolfsburg 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
An own goal from Sebastian Jung proved to be the difference maker in this game. Wolves HAD been up 1-0 thanks to a 15' goal from Naldo and went up with a 78' goal from Maximilian Arnold. Then, Vaclav Kadlec stepped up and played the hero from Frankfurt with an equalizer in 85'
Werder Bremen 1-1 Hoffenheim
Markopolo's favorite team Bremen got the equalizer from Alejandro Galvez in the 59' but couldn't muster anything else as they drew with Hoffenheim. This is one of those games where the result reflects pretty accurately how the two teams played. Possession was evenly split at 50%, both teams had about 65% passing accuracy and completed a similar number of passes (253 for Bremen, 260 for Hoffenheim)
Borussia Monchengladbach 0-0 Freiburg
Mainz 05 0-0 Hannover 96
Both of these were 0-0 draws. Not much to report...yawn
Bayern News Roundup
As I mentioned in the summary, this was a very busy week for Bayern Munich.
Mehdi Benatia Transfer Saga Come To A Close
The long discussed, much ballyhooed transfer saga of Mehdi Benatia finally came to a close with a transfer fee of approximately €26 million with performance incentives that could make it go up to €30m. At first, I didn't know who this guy was and, apparently, neither did Arjen Robben. The more I see of him, the more I like. There were some who said he was the best centerback in the world last year, and given the price tag for David Luiz, this looks like a steal. There's a good summary of Benatia here.
Xabi Alonso, COME ON DOWN!
This one seemingly came out of nowhere. It shouldn't be too surprising as he has a lot of experience with Pep (albeit from the other side of the pitch), and he fits an area of need as an insurance policy only should Schweini and Thiago take too long to come back from their injuries. Was this really a need? Meh, I'll defer to these guys. It's a pretty good read about whether we should have made this deal
Julian Green To Be Loaned?
A report out of Sky Sports News has Julian Green joining Hamburger SV on a season long loan. I'd like to see him get some minutes with the big club, but that's probably not a reality right now. At Hamburg, he should get some significant playing time, and hopefully we have worded this loan deal so we don't run into another Emre Can situation.
Bayern Draw Group of Death
Well, there are no two ways to say it. We got hosed with our Champions League draw. We have Manchester City, CSKA Moscow, and Roma in what is, top to bottom, the toughest group of the CL. Anyway, here are my picks for who wins and who advances:
Group A: Atletico should win this group with Juventus also advancing.
Group B: Real Madrid and Liverpool are head and shoulders above this group.
Group C: I'm picking Leverkusen to win this group with Benfica also advancing.
Group D: Dortmund wins this group with Galatasaray edging out Arsenal who struggled against Besiktas.
Group E: Bayern Munich and Manchester City should win this very tough group.
Group F: Barcelona and PSG are the two giants here and both should advance easily.
Group G: Chelsea will win this one fairly easily, and I'm picking Schalke to edge out Lisbon to advance.
Group H: In the group of poop, I've got Porto and Donetsk advancing, cause....hell, why not?
Europa League is Also Happening!
Yes, I will even preview the Europa League Group Stage as well. You're welcome.
Group A: I've got Monchengladbach winning this group with Villareal also advancing.
Group B: FC Copenhagen, who got flattened by Leverkusen, should win this group with Torino advancing.
Group C: Tottenham should win this one even without Coach Lasso with Besiktas also advancing.
Group D: I've got Celtic winning this group because I'm a closet Celtic fan...seriously. Salzburg will also advance.
Group E: PSV Eindhoven should do the Eredivisie proud here with Panathinaikos also advancing.
Group F: Inter Milan should win this group, and I've got Saint-Etienne also advancing.
Group G: Sevilla should win this one, and I have Feyenoord moving on as well.
Group H: This is a very tough group with Wolfsburg, Everton and Lille, but I've Everton winning and Wolfsburg going on.
Group I: Napoli should win this group, with BSC Young Boys also advancing.
Group J: Kiev should win, and Bucuresti should advance.
Group K: Fiorentina should win this one, and the Macedonian side PAOK will also advance.
Group L: I've got Legia Warsaw winning this group with Turkish side Trabzonspor advancing.
Whew! That's a lot of soccer to preview. As the competitions progress, this column will get a little less lengthy.
Beer Of The Week
After reading such a long and horribly written, error riddled column, you're probably thinking, "Man, I could use a beer." My friends, I am right there with you. Every week, I will pick out a beer that hopefully you might not have tried yet to get you through the rest of the week.
This weeks Beer of The Week is "Drift" by 3 Brothers Brewing in Harrisonburg VA. It's a summer session ale with a good strong hop flavor to it, but not so much that it destroys your pallet. They use citra hops which gives it a nice crispness to it. It's only a 5.0% ABV so you can drink a couple of these and not feel like you need a nap. With fall right around the corner, this is a great way to enjoy what's left of the summer before we move into the Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales.
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