One For the Road: Final Test in Münster Before Heading South

Before moving operations to Austria for training camp, Peter Stöger and crew took a quick trip north to Münster for the second test match of the off-season, resulting in a 2:2 draw with last season’s fourth-place finisher from 3. Liga.

Friday also saw the debut of the new away-kit, spurring debate as to which of the revealed jerseys for the coming season is the better-looking.

Auswärtstrikot (Away Jersey) for 2013-14

For me, something about the white sleeves with the red body of the shirt is not a complete win. It reminds me of the night I covered a Fenton High School basketball game at Linden, where the Linden Eagles were wearing red shorts and white tops. It just struck me as ‘off’ or somehow mismatched, probably because I’d never seen a professional or even collegiate basketball teams with such a look.

On the flip side, combining the traditional all-white look of the home kit and my ability to dribble food onto myself in pretty much all situations, takes a little bit of the allure out of what I otherwise find to be as classy-looking a football shirt as you’re likely to see this season.

Then again, middle-aged fat guys probably shouldn’t really be wearing sports jerseys for so many reasons. Will any of those reasons keep me from paying far too much for a shirt that’ll make me look like a complete dope? Even if I have to tack an extra $25 to get it shipped from Germany to Seattle?

These are the real debates of the summer, my friends. Without the drama of actual Bundesliga competition, test matches only temporarily turn our attention away from the need to plan our game-day look for maximum club support.

Yet, a test match was played, and attention was turned away from the white-hot jersey debate.

SC Preußen Münster finished the prior season just one point away from the chance to play in Dynamo Dresden for their spot in the 2. Bundesliga.  A two-game losing streak over match days 36 and 37 took the Eagles’ fate out of their own hands, making their victory in the season finale a bit hollow as they watched VfL Osnabrück sieze the promotion-playoff opportunity. Until the back-to-back losses, Münster had been among the league’s top three clubs all but one week since beating the VfL 0:2 in Osnabrück back in September.

None of which is to say that Münster would offer Stöger a glimpse of what matches will look like in the coming season, even when facing clubs from the bottom of the table, but the opposing talent was bound to be a big step above that of those found in Troisdorf last Friday.

Seven of Münsters starting eleven in the test match were regulars in last season’s squad, including American Matthew Taylor.

The Effzeh, on the other hand, remained without the services of Timo Horn, putting more-than-capable veteran Thomas Kessler on duty again. With Brecko, Maroh, Nascimento, and Hector in front of him, the man destined for back-up duty did get to see the same back line Horn is likely to see when he returns.

Without trying a lot harder to find out for certain, I’m assuming Lehmann, Matuschyk, and Jajalo were the midfielders and Risse, Przybylko, and Bröker the forwards in something like the 4-3-3 Stöger used last season, but there wasn’t enough in the highlights video for my untrained eye to say with any amount of certainty that was the alignment used.

Keeping in mind that the new away kit was always going to be the most-memorable item from the day, young striker Kacper Przybylko decided to make as much of an impression as one can make in an early test match.

Despite being a completely conspicuous 1.92 meters tall, the 20-year-old they call “Pritsche” snuck away from the wall once Mato Jajalo struck a free kick from just outside the penatlty arc, allowing him to calmly collect the ball deflected by keeper Daniel Masuch and deposit it into the goal, while the six Münster players who’d been in that same wall simply watched, giving Köln the lead in the 18th minute.

“Pritsche” was denied a second goal minutes later when a one-on-one showdown with Masuch resulted in a nice, quick-reflex save.

A third showdown between Köln’s young Pole and the Eagles’ veteran keeper led to “Pritsche” receiving a long and accurate pass from Miso Brecko and dribbling toward the goal line to the right of the goal to avoid the sprawling Masuch before delivering a back-pass to Marcel Risse in the penalty area. Risse drove the pass into the empty net to make it 0:2 in the 30th minute.

I’ll just take this ball over here, if you’re going to lie in my way.

And…then it finished in a tie.

Hey, it’s highlights. I have no idea why the last hour of the match played out so the home side walked away feeling good about coming from behind to earn a draw. Hence, I’m not going to waste a lot of time commenting on that.

Well…maybe just a little bit…

The first goal for the hosts came on a penalty, that helped a bit.

According to Preußsen Münster’s website game report, the only way Benjamin Siegert could be stopped as he entered the penalty area with the ball was through a foul. And the only problem with that statement is that Jonas Hector DID stop Siegert without fouling him, clearly meeting the ball before Siegert decided to take flight as dramatically as possible once he realized he’d lost the race.

Granted, if the referee says it’s a foul, the result is that it’s a foul, so I guess the report is technically correct. Though, I’d love to sit down with Malte Müller (the credited author of the game report) and let him look me in the eye and try to tell me with a straight face that Hector did not make a good, clean play in that situation.

I have NO idea what this is, but I found it when looking for photos from the match and think it’s amazing.

Blowing a two-goal lead to a third-league team, even in a test match…even with a new coach still installing his system…even with regulars missing from the team…even with more transfers bound to come…even with Stöger letting some younger players get time with the professionals…even with a suspect officiating decision being the leading cause of one of the goals…even, even, even with all of that, there was bound to be some squirming among Effzeh fans around the internet. Though, I have to admit the first “Stöger OUT!” tweet I read had me nearly spitting my coffee onto my keyboard in laughter.

By all reports, Risse, in just his second go in a Kölner uniform, appears he will be a huge signing for the club. On the flip side, Maxi Thiel did little after entering the match at halftime, showing that, as anticipated, scoring against fifth-league defenses would be a lot easier than against any competition the club would see going forward.

While I think Münster showed enough to make it clear why they are likely to be a promotion favorite in the third league next year, I don’t think the result is by any means indicative of anything for either club. In the true spirit of a test match, it would appear Stöger is willing to look at them as little more than an opportunity to test things.

Go figure.

With the club now training in the mountain spa town of Windischgarsten, I’d expect to see the team starting to mold itself into whatever it’s going to be for the league campaign, though probably not nearly a finished product by Saturday’s test with Austrian Bundesliga side SV Ried, nor for the following Tuesday’s contest against FK Baumit Jabolonec of the Czech Gambrinus Liga.

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