I cannot tell a lie. After eight goals in the prior two matches, the 0:0 with Kaiserslautern was a bit of a letdown.
Actually, the way the Effzeh was continually on their back heels as the Red Devils pressed was actually somewhat alarming. Thankfully, they didn’t really finish some of their better chances, while Timo Horn took care of the others. All in all, you’d hope for better in a home match in front of 50,000, but you take the point and, with it, the rise to second place, which turns out to have been the highest rung achievable, as Greuther Fürth returned to their winning ways.
On the home front, I think the signs that I’ve turned my son into a full-on “Billy Goats” fanatic are clear.
During last Tuesday’s second soccer practice of the season/his life, the business of selecting a team name was the first business of the day. A teammate quickly suggested “dragons” before Owen raised his hand and offered “Billy Goats,” which caused the coach to look at me for clarification, as parents sometimes have to translate three-year-old into plain English. When I shrugged sheepishly and said, “Billy Goats” while also wearing my 1. FC Köln ball cap with Hennes figuring prominently, the other parents all giggled a bit. Clearly “Billy Goats” seemed a bit of an off choice.
The only other suggestions were “Butterflies,” which never really got any support, and “Billy Goat Dragons,” which was suggested by the coach and would have been EASILY the coolest team name of all time.
But, after five children voted a total of seven times, “Dragons” won the day, 4-3.
In our front yard, however, Owen is still 100% Billy Goats, all the time. Along with it, however, has come a conversion in his player persona. He’s always been a big fan of Mame Diouf, primarily due to the way his name sounds, but also from watching him score goals on the night he apparently was looking to identify a player. After weeks of explaining how Diouf does not play for the Billy Goats, my soccer-fanatic son finally started saying “I’m Ujah” when coming toward the goal with the ball.
“Ujah,” clearly is a pretty fun name to say, but he also is the guy who scores the goals, so, “Ujah” it is.
Which apparently makes me “Diouf.” We’ve not quite gotten to the point of grasping that one striker would be unlikely to be defending another so near the goal, but we’ve plenty of time for that.
As a bonus, the kid runs around singing “Viva Colonia” after scoring and sometimes just around the house. It’s undeniably catchy a song, to the point where even my wife sometimes finds herself singing it.
We’re truly immer dabei, even from this far away.
Excited to see what will happen in Mainz. I honestly thought they were getting a bit too much credit for their good start, thanks to some fortunate scheduling of struggling opponents. Now that they’ve gotten slapped around a bit by better sides, they may be a little underrated going into the Cup match. I think the difference in class will keep our side aware, but I do have a slight fear of underestimation. It’s going to require great performances all over the pitch to reach the next round, but I think it’s realistic.
Now, on to what others are saying about the second-place squad of the second league:
- Obviously, attention is temporarily distracted from the long-term goal of promotion in the earlier part of this week, as the DFB-Cup tournament second round takes place Tuesday and Wednesday, with our chosen team of interest kicking off in Mainz at 11:30 a.m. PST (8:30 in the evening over there).
Because two of the bigger scoring threats available to 1. FC Köln were purchased from FSV Mainz 05 this summer, Marcel Risse and Anthony Ujah took part in a press conference, a portion of which can be seen at the 1. FC Köln You Tube channel.
Risse said that, first of all, he is looking forward to the match, which he believes will be “intense,” as Mainz seems to like to start thier home matches aggressively. Also, when asked whether he’d been asked for insider tips on his former club, Risse said they’d exchanged thoughts on things Stöger noticed from watching Mainz’s 1:4 loss to Leverkusen.
Ujah had even less to say about the opponent, saying his time there was brief. He was oddly asked twice whether he maintained contact with players in Mainz, to which he responded in the affirmative. Ujah definitely maintained that his focus is strictly on getting his current club into the next round and anticipates no real emotional reactions to the opponent.
Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with the creativity of those asking questions of the players, but I suppose I’m used to the overdone media surrounding American sports. I suppose it is notable that Ujah was questioned and answered freely in English. I love how casually bilingual people are over there.
The pair of former Mainzers cost the Effzeh a total of $2.7 million Euro in transfer fees, which is only 96% of what paid to get Christian Clemens to move north and into the first league. It will be an added bonus if, along with the great play we’ve already seen from each player, we get enough insider information about their former employers to help Peter Stöger plot a successful course past FSV Mainz and into the third round of the tournament.
- Over at one of my favorite FC Köln sites, Gero Dieckmann previews the cup match, pointing out Mainz beat Fortuna Köln in the first round of the tourament and then won three consecutive league matches. Three consecutive league losses followed, which leaves a cup loss to another Köln club the perfect way to finish an eight-match “sandwich.”
I found this analysis to be most excellent, of course. Where was Dieckmann when that dull press conference with Ujah and Risse was held? I’d bet he could have delivered a pertinent question!
Also, thanks to Dieckmann’s piece, I learned the answer to a question I had since Friday: How un/healthy is Bruno Nascimento after leaving Friday’s match in the first half?
Apparently, the way-too-thin Brazilian is unavailable tomorrow, likely giving Kevin Wimmer his wish of playing from the beginning. While I’ve not been too enamored of Nascimento’s play so far this year, I’m no more excited about Wimmer, but more because I’ve not seen much of him and because I’m interested in seeing more of Roman Golobart.
And I’m left with a yearning to be in Mainz tomorrow, rather than at my desk, likely eating cheese, salami, and Vollkornbrot while hoping whatever stream I find doesn’t drop, if I can find a stream at all!
- The official site of the DFB also took interest in Risse’s return to Mainz to face his former teammates, interviewing the right-side threat who calls his move “exatly the right decision.”
Oddly, site editor Peter Scheffler starts the interview with a few questions about voter turnout in his neighborhood during Sunday’s elections without having clued the reader as to why that might be of interest. That could be because most anyone who’d be reading it in German is likely to know about an issue there, but it’s just another place for me to refer to my J-school days and think it could have been done better.
I was going to offer some highlights, but will hope to translate the entire thing later, which means I probably won’t, but I promise to try!
Wish I had time for more, but I gotta run! Until kickoff…See ya!