Samstag, 7. August 2010

The pre-season 2010/11 - or: what pre-season?

It's the ideal situation for moaning and complaining on too high a level.

We simply have too many interenational who went pretty far in the World Cup. Most of our supposed starting line-up have just come back from their presumably much-needed holiday after the World Cup - one of them even severely injured (thank you, Dutch witch-doctor...). One could now do the expected (and maybe even slightly justified) thing and sit down and cry like a little schoolgirl, but what's the point?

Exactly.

Interstingly, our manager Louis van Gaal exhibited just this very tendency (and he looks nothing like a little schoolgirl, even if you push it). Doesn't sound too much like Mia san Mia (= we are who we are), does it? If one was to be malicious, one could probably argue that he's already making up excuses for a rather horrid start to the season.

But why be so pessimistic?

Ok, the aforementioned internationals won't be in good nick for the first few games, but there's still those who did not go to the World Cup (what? who?) and those who made an early exit (Franck Ribéry, anyone?). And there's those who went but spent most of their time sitting around (Hello, Mario Gomez).

If anything, it's time for the supposed back-benchers to suck it up and seize their chance, because it's probably never been that easy to sneak into the starting eleven and maybe even stay there.

Let's have a look at the various department's, shall we?

Goal

Ok, in goal there should be no surprises. Hans-Jörg Butt it is. Sounds a bit boring, but who cares if he plays another very solid season and does what he does best, and that is not being noticed too much (ok, he's not all that grey, he even made it to the World Cup).

Defense

Well, this is probably the most shaky part in the team; it already was last season - and the most neuralgic spot is the one at left back. Last years contenders were:

Edson Braafheid
Holger Badstuber
Diego Contento
David Alaba

Since the transfer market hasn't yielded an apparent results for a new candidate so far and Edson Braafheid has announced to give it another go (scary), it's again more or less the same crew, with Contento being apparently the manager's favourite, especially since Badstuber will probably continue in a more central position next to Demichelis or van Buyten.

Ah yes, the calamity duo. Ok, maybe that's a bit harsh, but it's probably no big stretch to say that they don't belong to the best full backs in Europe. And particularly Demichelis is always good for an absolutely mind-boggling blunder (between really good defensive work, that is), so it's going to be interesting to see who will make the cut and who will find himself on the bencht between those two.

So the only really firm spot in the back four is Philipp Lahm, who has developed quite a taste for skipper honours, much to the dislike of Herr Ballack, who must have this eerie feeling of becoming a bit superfluous: first Chelsea, now the national team. So it's time now to be a bit authoritative and tell young Philipp where he belongs - back in line. It will be interesting to see how their meeting on the pitch will be when Bayer play Bayern...

Midfield

In theory, most of the spots are gone: Ribéry, Robben, Schweinsteiger, van Bommel. Well, one of the is recovering (from all sorts of things), one is injured, and the other two have just come back from their World Cup holiday. So now it's time to shine for Altintop, Kroos, Tymoshtshuk (or however you spell him), Ottl, Sosa and Pranjic. Granted, it doesn't sound too glamourous. But then again, sometimes you don't want glamourous, you just want not too much trouble. And that should be possible even with these guys.

Strikers

Up front there's competition - big time. And much will depend on the manager's line-up: one proper striker or two of them? That, of course will also have consequences for midfield, but we're on strikers now. Predictably, after the World Cup, everyone's going a bit Müller, but it's probably wrong too expect too much from this young lad at the moment. About a year ago, we were watching him play for Bayern Munich Reserves down in League 3 and we assumed that maybe in two or three years' time, this lanky boy down there might be a candidate for the first team. Not that I wish him that, but it wouldn't be too surprising to see a bit of a dip in form - and who could blame him?
That leaves us with Mr. Duracell Ivica Olic, who would probably also go full speed ahead in a friendly against a youth team - and Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose.
The former of the two has now publicly announced that he wants to make it in Munich (grrr!) and that he is determined to find his way back into the first team. Well, that's all good, Mario, but these are, as far as I am concerned, the absolute minimal requirements here at Bayern, so good luck to you.
The latter has just earned himself the anger of chairman "Killer-Kalle" Rummenigge. Before the World Cup, Klose said that he was now working really hard and that he had already lost 10 pounds. This obviously begged the question of what he'd been doing for the rest of the season. So for all your sakes, let's just hope that good Miro is kind enough to keep up this work-ethic and, erm, try just as hard here in Munich.

So what's the situation in the attacking department? I have no idea. Should be interesting, though.

Well, and there's Louis van Gaal, whom I wouldn't be surprised to pull another one or two young players out of his hat, whose names not too many people will have heard before. Or maybe there will be another surprising transfer. You know, all it takes is shaky start and the bosses are more likely to press the panic button in the form of a multi-million Euro transfer. Mind you, it worked out rather brilliantly last time.

But now, it's the so-called Supercup, where the Champions play the Cup winners, so Bayern would play, er, Bayern - no, hang on... It's Schalke, the runners-up in the League. I mean, not that I care, but why not Bremen, the runners-up in the Cup? Would that be too logical a decision? Anyway, that's probably just nitpicking...
So here's the Supercup in all its glory: the first title of the season, so important that they didn't actually bother having this competition in the last 14 years. But it's a title and it's against Schalke, so losing (although not too unlikely a scenario) is out of the question - technically. I doubt that anyone really cares by the start of next week.

And that's Bayern Munich's pre-season - if you really want to call it that: a funny bag of ifs and don't-knows, which makes it even more interesting.

Prediction? Well, it always will and always has to be winning the League, that's for sure; the Cup's a bit more tricky (one bad game and you're out), but the Big One is the Champions League. After last year's rather surprising outcome, the team seem to have tasted blood and want take "Old Big Ears" back to Munich. The good thing is that the competition won't start until mid-September. Of course, it's virtually impossible to predict a CL season, but after last year's inspiring performances, there's definitely a craving for more...

And in case you're not psyched for the new season, this should do the trick:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kleriFqRu1s&feature=related

Entschuldigung! Apologies!

Zuerst einmal Entschuldigung, dass hier so lange (Februar!) nix mehr los war. Ohne Euch mit Details langweilen zu wollen: Es war eine unglückliche Kombination aus zu viel zu tun (privat) und noch viel mehr zu tun (beruflich)...

Egal, hier soll es wieder regelmäßig mit dem FC Bayern weitergehen, es gibt aber eine Neuerung: diesmal auf Englisch. Warum? Ich will's einfach mal ausprobieren.

In diesem Sinne: Pack ma's.

------------------------

First of all, apologies for not writing anything in a couple of months (February!). Without bothering you too much with the details: it was a rather stressful combination of having too much to do (privately) and having to do even more (work-wise)...

Anyway, this blog should continue on a regular basis again, but with a twist this time: I'm going to write in English. Why? Well, because I want to try it and see how you like it.

So without further ado: Pack ma's!

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