Posts Tagged ‘ Bundesliga ’

Der Klassiker with Mia San Atlanta

Get the podcast here: Der Klassiker with Mia San Atlanta

Follow along with the show notes:

 

Atlanta based Bayern Munich Supporter Group Mia San Atlanta hosted Der Klassiker at Der Biergarten, with fans coming dressed in Bayern kits and lederhosen to support Die Roten. I caught up with Heather and Jon Cooke about Mia San Atlanta, their trip to Charlotte to see Bayern, their support of ATL Champions League and we even talked kits. This is a great group of fans and I hope you enjoy our conversation.

You can stay up to date with Mia San Atlanta on social media.

Read my SoccerNomad blog post on Bayern Munich home shirts.

First Bayern Munich kit

Bayern Munich kits through the years

14/15 Champions League shirt (Heather’s favorite)

2011-13 home shirt (My favorite)

16/17 Home, Away, Third shirts

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Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

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History of Bayern Munich home shirts

bayern-1974

If I had to do life over again, I may have followed the Bundesliga instead of the EPL. Doesn’t address supporting my own domestic league, but that’s a discussion for a different day. Incredible teams, passionate fan support and amazing players. Historically Bayern Munich are the top dogs and from what I knew, they had always worn red home shirts, hence the name Die Roten. But one day I read this post from Museum of Jerseys, clicked on a link and my mind was blown.

bayern-munich-shirts

Fußball-Club Bayern München started with a sky blue shirt and white shorts. Think about that. Sky blue. A post from Bundesliga Fanatic mentions:

. . . “in the club constitution a genuine Bavarian color scheme was mandated. The founders of Bayern settled on white shirts & blue shorts. The only problem: It was impossible to purchase blue shorts during the early 1900s, therefore Bayern was forced to wear black shorts which they called “darkblue.””

bavarian-flag

After two seasons the Bavarians changed to a white shirt with black shorts, and following a merger with Münchner Sport-Club (MSC) in 1906, the club changed to a strip of a white shirt and maroon shorts and this combo lasted until 1927 except for a short interval featuring a shirt with light blue and maroon stripes from 1909 to 1912.

bayern-munich-shirts

The 1927/28 season saw the introduction of a white and maroon striped shirt with maroon shorts which morphed into a white shirt with maroon sleeves and maroon shorts that was worn from 1931 to 1955. Looks fantastic. A kit of a maroon shirt and black shorts took over for two seasons before 1957/58 saw the return of white, with either a mostly white shirt or a white shirt with maroon sleeves, both worn with maroon shorts.

In 1968 everything changed. For one season the German club wore blue and red vertical stripes with blue shorts. It was an echo of the kits used from 1909 to 1912 and very similar to Barca’s strip. The following seasons of 1969-1973 saw a red and white shirt with red shorts (white shorts in 1970/71). The trefoil and three stripes of adidas were added to the shorts in 1971. Another one off shirt was worn in 1973/74 as the Reds wore a white shirt with a thin horizontal stripe of red and blue opposite the club badge with white shorts.

bayern-munich-shirts

In 1974 the club adopted the rich red shirt that I associate with the club. That year also saw the adidas logo appear on the shirt with the wordmark across the chest, the trefoil opposite the club badge, and the three stripes down the sleeves. As far as I can tell adidas and Bayern Munich have the longest running partnership between manufacturer and club, and adidas even picked up a small percentage of shares in the club in 2002.

An all red strip with varying design elements was worn until 1991 with an all white strip in 1977/78 being the outlier. 1991 saw the emergence of the adidas Equipment branding and the use of blue on Bayern shirts for the first time in 20 years. Three diagonal bars were seen on the shoulder opposite the crest and on the shorts. For the 1993/94 and 1994/95 season, things went one step further with the same template and the addition of blue sleeves. In 1995, the red/blue vertical stripes re-appeared with a white collar. 1997 saw the first predominantly blue jersey since the original days of the club and in a much darker hue. Big red bands broke up the navy blue diamond shadow pattern.

1991-1993-h 1993-1995-h 1995-1996-h 1997-1999-h

Images via Die Grosse Fussball Sammelalben

The 1999/00 season saw red return as the main color, although the shirts for the 2001/02 and 2002/03 seasons were more of the historic maroon with charcoal sleeves and shorts. Horizontal red and white stripes got a look from 2007 to 2009. The stripes went vertical for the 2010/11 season in homage to shirts from the early 70s.

1999-2001-h2001-2001-h2003-2004-h2005-2006-h2007-2008-h2009-2010-h

Images via Die Grosse Fussball Sammelalben

For the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons, Die Roten wore an all red kit with gold trim. This looks really good and is one of favorites. White replaced gold the following season and adidas added a diamond shadow print, similar to the crest in the body of the shirt for another really nice design. The 2014/15 campaign saw the return of the blue and red vertical stripes. White was used as the accent color on the ring collar, stripes on the shoulders, cuffs and down the torso.

2011-2012-hbayern-munich-14-15

An all red kit was present for the 2015/16 season as adidas used a darker red on the collar, brand markings, cuffs and waist to complement the traditional red. The 2016/17 shirt is all red with horizontal stripes of a very subtle contrasting red, a full collar with red buttons on a white plaquet.

bayern-munich-15-16bayern-munich-16-17

Where the club and adidas go from here is anyone’s guess. I would love to see the white shirt with either maroon trim or sleeves. Thinking Arsenal’s away shirt from 2007/08. Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this look at Bayern Munich home shirts. I learned a lot about the club and found some really interesting designs.

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Resources for this post:

Special thanks to Denis Hurley of Museum of Jerseys for his help on this project.

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Read the rest of my Strip Club posts here and follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Old Futbol Buffet–Red Dawn

Manchester United 4  Newcastle United 3

Due to Winter Storm Euclid, I was able to watch Manchester United v Newcastle United in a highly entertaining match even though neither team played that well.  The confrontation produced seven goals and a dramatic ending.

From the not learning from previous mistakes department, Sir Alex started Giggs and Scholes.  I need to check the stats but that pairing usually results in dropped points, and for most of the match that looked to be the case again.  Carrick played well but struggled to control the game in the middle and Newcastle punished on of his giveaways as Ba’s shot went through Evans’ legs and de Gea teed it up for Perch to slam home.  United then responded but didn’t really threaten Krul’s net.

However a poorly defended free kick by Newcastle resulted in a United equalizer.  Newcastle maintained their composure and scored a controversial goal as a Simpson’s shot came in which Evans turned into his own goal trying do ward off Ba.  The goal was given, then not given, then given. Just before the interval Marveaux rattled the crossbar with a free kick which would have put Sir Alex’s men in deep trouble.

The second half was worse in technical terms with sloppy passing and movement preventing the Reds from putting the Magpies under pressure.  Evra’s equalizer was a little fortunate and Krul who had great performances last season against United should have done better.  Cisse punished United’s lax marking off a throw in as Obertan cruised down the left hand channel and squared for the striker who banged it home for the visitor’s third lead.

RvP squared the match again and Chicharito sealed the points after several missed opportunities.  United were fluid going forward but wasted far too many chances against Newcastle and Swansea.  The pessimistic part of me believes that the luck and the late goals will dry up, and if the Reds don’t tighten up defensively, another trophyless season awaits, as they will be exposed against better opposition both at home and abroad.

Manchester United 2  West Bromwich Albion 0

Sir Alex made several changes to the team, brining in Kagawa behind Welbeck, with Cleverley supporting Carrick.  Young’s hard cross was turned into the net by a WBA defender and from there United took control of the match without finding the second goal.  The Reds had several good chances on the half hour mark but desperate defending preventing another goal.  WBA enjoyed a brief spell just before halftime thanks to a series of set pieces.

There was a little more balance to start the second stanza but WBA still had a lot of men behind the ball.  The introduction of Lukaku changed the match in my opinion as his strength and energy upset the United rearguard.  My guess is that Clarke saved him for the second half to go against a tiring defense.  After all the possession, RvP finally put the game to bed with a lovely finish to seal the points.

Couple of player notes:

  • Welbeck was serviceable, with a decent workrate and interplay but he is still not top class.
  • Cleverly was iffy, providing energy but several turnovers and a lack of ideas around the 18.
  • Smalling keep things steady at the back, staying to his task but not providing the offensive oomph of Rafael.

Daniele of Red Rants watched a changed United team overcome a heavy pitch and determined opponent to secure three points and go into 2013 top of the table.  Kagawa’s return gives Sir Alex more options, especially with Rooney’s injury and Daniele feels that Valencia may need a rest.  But who would replace him?  Not the best game and much less drama than the Newcastle match, but the result is what matters.

Matthew Evans shared his thoughts on WBA’s performance for ESPN FC.  Despite several injuries, the Baggies regrouped in the second half and Matthew saw a better effort from debutant Thorne and some good play from Lukaku.

Midseason thoughts

United are seven points clear but the deficit is far from convincing.  The Red Devils have plenty going forward, especially with everyone fit but the attack can be stymied and will be shut down against organized and fit sides.  With the defense leaking goals, I can see narrow defeats in the spring that could cost them the title.  City continue to lurk and may lose the title only because their manager is substandard, but without a European distraction, there is every chance that the Citizens will close the gap.  Chelsea are an outside bet as Rafa has secured the defense.  If they can find the goals, they could mount a serious charge.

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Articles and Podcasts

Anto had Italian commentator Owen Neilson on the Beyond the Pitch pod to discuss the Serie A at the Winter Break.  I have not been following the league at all this season, so I took the opportunity to catch up.  Owen and Anto acknowledged that Juventus are champions.  The Old Lady has a significant lead at the break, and the chasing pack are not strong or consistent enough to catch the Bianconeri.  As for Anto’s beloved Milan, they broke down the problems at with the Rossoneri, including the Brazilian clear out and the possible burnout of Stephan El Shaarawy.  Fiorentina and Roma are doing great things this season, while Palermo is struggling at the bottom.

Another league that has gotten away from me is the Bundesliga.  Raphael Honingstein provided a year in review of the German league for SI.com, focusing on the rise of Borussia Dortmund, who won a league and cup double and progressed from the Group of Death in the Champions League.  He also praised Marco Reus as player of the year and SC Freiburg for a fantastic year of results.  Raphael concluded with a look at the German National Team and their “traumatic” defeat at the hands of Italy at Euro 2012.

Michael Cox (aka Zonal Marking) jotted down his 10 moments from 2012 for ESPN FC.  What a year.  Chelsea winning the Champions League (reading Michael’s comments I was reminded of Robben’s missed penalty in extra time—aargh!!); Spain’s wonderful performance in the Euro 2012 Final against Italy; CR7’s crushing goal at the Nou Camp that secured the league for Real Madrid; and Zambia winning the Africa Cup of Nations. I admit that I didn’t watch a single minute of the tournament, but I knew about the story.  The death of Zambian National Team actually made it in to SI way back in the 90’s, and I can still remember reading the article and trying to imagine the pain of losing an entire generation of players.  20 years later the promise was fulfilled and what a moment for the players and the country.

On the latest episode of The Big Question podcast, Aaron discussed the future of college soccer with Travis Clark of Top Drawer Soccer.  Both agreed that there is no one answer for how the college game fits into the puzzle of American Soccer.  I think Travis summed it up best, saying that “There are different paths for different players”.

I follow college soccer even less than MLS and went to my first college game in years last fall to support MichiganState and the Red Cedar Rowdies.  Didn’t see much in terms of next level talent, but there were two UConn players that I could see having a chance. The elite players in America need to be Europe. That has been my stance for several years.  To be the best, you need to play with the best.  Having said all that, the college game is another road to the professional game for the next tier or two of player.  The MLS has to draw from somewhere, but financial considerations and conference realignment may have something to say about the collegiate game in the near future.

Old Futbol Buffet–Long Live the King

Eric Cantona signed 20 years ago for Manchester United.  I wasn’t even following football at the time, so my first real memory of him was the 1994 FA Cup Final against Chelsea, with my favorite recollection of the Frenchman being the 1996 FA Cup Final goal struck in the dying moments against Liverpool.  Watching the match on replay at my parents, I screamed in ecstasy as the ball found its way into the back of the net.  Props to Anton Alfy for putting a video of all 82 goals that Cantona scored for Manchester United.  Well worth 15 minutes of your time.  Viva Le Roi!!

Robert Meakin led the tribute to Cantona on last week’s Manchester United Redcast.  After breaking down the win over QPR, he looked at possible winger replacements as Nani will surely be off in January and Young has struggled to find form.  Cantona’s impact on the club was discussed before moving on Fergie and how long he has at the club and who could replace him?  (Pep and Mourinho were mentioned.)

Speaking of Fergie, Roger Bennett posted on ESPN FC regarding the recent Harvard Business School report on Sir Alex, noting that the secrets to his success are building a foundation, maintaining control, evolving with the times, and evaluating talent.  Would love to get a copy of that.

As for the current United team, a crazy first half saw seven goals in 34 minutes, as the Red Devils went into half time up 4-3.  That ended up being the final score in a game that was full of incident.  Due to supporting my kid’s school, I was working in a concession stand and missed the brouhaha.

Daniele at Red Rants watched another sloppy performance from the United rearguard, and only a strong and swift response from the team earned the Reds the three points.  As he pointed out in his post game notes:

Sure they score goals for fun and they’ve mastered the old club tradition of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat – United have fallen behind 14 times in 22 games this season – but thinking that the “you score four, we score five” approach could possibly lead to a title, is at best naive and at worst downright deluded.

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MLS Cup Final

After watching a couple of La Liga games, I was able to see the second half of the MLS Cup.  The Galaxy took the game to the Dynamo, with Gonzalez equalizing and then LA taking the lead after Clark handled in the box.  Donovan converted and eventually the breakaways paid off as Hall tried to haul down Keane, who kept his feet but the referee pointed to the spot again.  The Irishman scored the spot kick this time to give the Galaxy a 3-1 win and second MLS Cup win in a row.

A couple of thoughts:

  • Ricardo Clark is awful.
  • Not sure if Lalas shaving his mustache at halftime is the grossest or awesomest thing ever.
  • Houston’s jerseys looked like they were claimed from a Goodwill sale.  I thought sublimation was left back in the 90’s.  SB Nation’s Dynamo page posted the particulars on the shirt.  (Rays and energy. Seriously?)
  • Mad props to Donovan for dedicating his goal to a Make A Wish family.  No way I would have even thought of that in the aftermath of a Cup victory.
  • The MLS ball reeked of bargain bin quality.
  • Tally is not a name.  It’s a hunting cry.

The panel on the SI Soccer Roundtable (11/29) discussed the chapter that is ending with Beckham’s farewell and the future of the league as a whole.  Really brought the last five years of the league into the focus.

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Articles and Podcasts

Bira Brasil was Beyond the Pitch in the aftermath of Mano Menezes being axed as Brazil boss.  Bira handicapped the challengers and thought that Tite and Ramalho would be chosen ahead of former coach and World Cup Winner Luiz Felipe Scolari.  In the end Big Phil was chosen.  Can he regroup the team ahead of a home World Cup?  Watch this space.

Tim Vickery was on the Off the Ball last Wednesday to discuss the dismissal as well, blaming politics for the departure of Menezes.  Brazil is at a crossroads, having to choose between reclaiming their heritage or continuing with the current over physical, counter attacking approach.  With the reappointment of Scolari the latter has been chosen, and his task will be build another “family” and lead the Seleção to glory on home soil.

News of an expanded 64 team Champions League hit the interwebs last week leading to the usual moaning and groaning from fans and media.  I think Iain Macintosh’s post on ESPN FC was spot on, identifying the old adage—follow the money.  The loss of the European Cup, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners Cup has brought the game to the point where undoing the last 20 years is impossible.  The fact that this year’s Champions League Group Stages have been interesting just masks the fact that usually they aren’t and that 16 groups of four teams will be super tedious.  If only the group winner progressed, there might be some value, but inevitably the current 16 team knockout will morph into the 32 team knockout, which will start earlier and earlier into each new year, packing the fixture list even more.  This is a horrible idea and will hopefully kill the golden goose, so that real reform can happen.  Doubt it.

Staying with Europe, Christoph recounted German football during the 1970’s on his blog, An Old International.  He recapped the bribery scandal early in the decade, which affected the image of the emerging league but also allowed the country to move forward.  This release led to unprecedented success for clubs and the national team.  Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach dominated the league, winning eight of the 10 domestic titles, and also conquered Europe with Die Roten winning three European Cups and BMG winning two UEFA Cups.  Plus the Nationalmannschaft won the 1972 European Championship and then claimed the 1974 World Cup before losing out to Czechoslovakia in the 1976 European Championship Final.  Great read and thanks to Peter Alegi for the link.

Finally, Matt Reece, a fellow member of Mid Michigan United shared this amazing freestyling video on my Facebook timeline.  After watching it, a couple of things struck me.  1. Mind blowing skills, but it does sort of come across as someone with too much free time.  2.  I only take my clothes off for the ladies and never in public.  3.  What the Michael Jackson song???  Anyway give it watch and see if you can even do one thing that guy did.

Old Futbol Buffet–Being: Screwed

This weekend was filled with football from Spain and England.  Saturday I managed to catch a couple of La Liga games in afternoon, and then Sunday started early with Liverpool hosting Manchester United, which was followed by Manchester City v Arsenal.  This was followed by my Over 30 Semi Final before some beers and pizza and then bed.

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Saturday

Went up to the pub for Real Betis v Espanyol and FC Barcelona v Granada.  Haven’t totally collected my thoughts on those matches yet, but the first match was dire.  Not many chances and rarely held my attention.  The FCB match was fascinating as the Blaugrana could not break down the visitors until El Capitan made the breakthrough minutes from time.

After that I headed to Lansing’s Old Town for the Bluesfest.  While down there I listened to band while watching the first half of the Michigan and Notre Dame game.  No skin in the game and I was ready to throw my beer through the TV as Denard threw pick after pick and put pressure on the Wolverine defense.  Ugh.

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Sunday

Liverpool 1  Manchester United 2

The Reds from Liverpool got hosed.  Even as a fan of the Red Devils, there is no other conclusion from the game.  Halsey had a howler and these things happen.  He missed a trick though.  For Shelvey, if he had gotten a yellow for his challenge on Rafael towards the beginning of the match then gets a yellow (and so does Evans) and then he is off.  As for the penalty, very little contact and Valencia forced the referee to make a decision.

United were not sharp. Maybe it was Liverpool, maybe it was the Champions League virus, maybe it was the personnel.  The defense was in shambles, with players getting tackles wrong and constantly letting Suarez run at them.  In the midfield, Giggs was wasteful in possession and Nani was awful.  Can’t get him on the bus out of town soon enough.  Kagawa was decent in possession but not incisive enough.  There wasn’t a killer ball, a direct punch at the opponent.  Scholes came on the second half to get hold of the ball and pushed Giggs outside for Nani.

LFC were still dangerous after the red and deserved the lead and probably a little more from the match. Glen Johnson owned Rafael and the hosts should have exploited that more. Probably the biggest revelation of the match was the Spaniard Suso.  He was fantastic and an upgrade on Borini.

The Red Devils win was less than satisfying, as they were poor and probably didn’t deserve anything from the match.  Again the question remains:  Will LFC stay with Rodgers?  They played well but the results are not coming.

Doron and Nik focused on Fergie’s lineup for their post at the Stretford End.  The gaffer didn’t get it exactly right and was forced into changes, especially in midfield, but, in their opinion, the back five were solid and proved the manager correct.  Issues remain for United despite the three points, which they are quick to point out.

Ed at The Liverpool Offside remains optimistic despite the loss and increasing injury list for the Reds.  Suso’s performance gave him hope as did Liverpool’s performance before and after the red card.  Unfortunately the club is in the relegation zone after five matches.  A run of results will get them clear, but when does that run start?

Manchester City 1  Arsenal 1

Don’t know what to make of this match, other than Joe Hart is an amazing keeper.  City played well after the midweek disappointment but were missing a gear.  Yaya never got going and Aguero was just a half step off.  In the end, City’s directness compared to Arsenal’s patience made for a nice conflict and a fully rested side might pose more problems for Londoners.

As for the Gunners, I have started a paypal account to buy Gervinho a first touch.  Old joke but never get tired of it.  Several times he got in and just gave it away.  Then at the end, he created some space for himself and put it in row Z.  How good is Cazorla?  This year’s David Silva, we’ll see if he can do it for an entire season.  Jenkinson looked confident and was a presence both attacking and defending on the right side.

The Arseblogger was pleased with the performance, which saw the Gunners go to the home of the Champions and get something from the match.  The teamsheet was quality with a couple of quiet performances from Diaby and Poldolski.  The team was assured in possession (a little too assured for me—shoot the damn ball) and earned a deserved point.

Harkiano at Bitter and Blue still cannot figure out if the Citizens start to the season is solid, sluggish or poor and is looking to the next five matches to make a conclusion.  Again City played well but Silva and Yaya did not have enough of an influence and the strikeforce could not finish off the limited number of chances they had.

Finally, Zonal Marking looked at the 4-2-2-2 of City against the 4-4-1-1 of Arsenal, although to be fair, the formations were fluid and unbalanced times.  He focused on the match-ups around the pitch and each manager’s second half substitutions.

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Podcasts

Uli Hesse joined Anto on Beyond the Pitch to discuss the current storylines in the Bundesliga, including Dortmund’s attempt to win three league titles in a row and Bayern’s signing of Javi Martinez from Athletic Bilbao.  They also touched on the German National Team and their mentality heading into the next competition.  Finally, Uli has written a great piece on the founding of the league at ESPN FC, which I highly recommend.

The panel on the Lovely Left Foot pod gave their thoughts on this summer’s transfers and also commented on the early rounds of games across Europe, while revealing boredom with the current Champions League set up.  Have to say, Match Day One was not short of excitement.

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Other stuff

My Over 30 team, CCFC, reached our tournament final for the third year running.  We destroyed our opponents and now go for the double next Sunday.  Our opponents ground out a win against a team that one my teammates described our version of Chelsea from last year.  Hard to watch and the beers only helped a little.  Sunday we go for glory.

Currently I’m reading Philippe Auclair’s book on Eric Cantona.  Can’t recommend it enough as he tells of Le Roi’s rise through French football to his days at Leeds and United.  Learning a little bit about the history of Ligue Un and the Les Bleus as well.  Good stuff.

Old Futbol Buffet–Labor Day Weekend

What a window!!  Friday at work was spent trying not to get sucked into the Transfer Window shame spiral as every time I checked the interwebs some deal was on or off or confirmed or denied.  Essien to Real Madrid.  What the what?   Bendtner to Juve.  Ugh.   The Joey Barton saga.  By far the busiest team was Spurs, getting in Lloris, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Vertonghen and Dembele in and Modric, Kranjcar, Pienaar, dos Santos, Rose (loan) and VdV out.  City were also active as Mancini tries to build his squad for important season, including defense of their title and a Group of Death in the Champions League.

Tons of business was done and it was hard to keep track of it.  Surely magazine editors and writers must be used to their preview issues doomed to the dustbin the moment they are printed as late transfers completely change forecasts.  I’m looking at you Fulham.  Several Americans were involved in this window, with Dempsey finally getting out of Fulham, Bocanegra going Racing and Edu going to Stoke.

Miguel Delaney ranked each team’s performance in the transfer window for ESPN FC, noting that Chelsea, Spurs and Everton all made strong moves while Norwich is just hanging and Liverpool were not able to overcome the mistakes made previous windows.

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Weekend’s Games

Miguel Delaney was on hand at White Hart Lane as more points were dropped.  He examined the situation for AVB and gave his comments on the situation.  (At least AVB was back to the suit and tie).

Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2

Sunday morning rolled around and I got up for my first viewing of the 2012-13 versions of these two teams.  Let’s start off with the kits.  Liverpool’s home is sharp.  A striking color of red and not cluttered with stripes or accents or anything else.  As for Arsenal’s away strip, #PurpleReignPain isn’t awful on TV, with the purple fading away to create an almost black kit.

The first half was hard to watch, with lots of energy but very little finished product.  Thought Liverpool looked tasty although not nearly sharp enough in the final third, as Suarez was not at his best.  The Reds saw the passes and the runs but could not execute.  As for Arsenal, the Gunners looked all over the place and were not organized defensively.  Going forward, everyone made the same run and complicated things.

The opening goal came down to two points: Gerrard turning the ball over (looked like simple miscommunication) and then Glen Johnson not tracking back.  Just lazy and allowed the German, who started the counter to get in and squeeze a tough shot past Reina.

The second half saw a little better from both sides, especially Arsenal.  Cazorla started making a bigger impact and Diaby continued his dominance.  Thought Giroud was wearing the invisibility cloak but couldn’t tell if it was a lack of movement from him, lack of service or something else.  For the visitors, Gerrard really struggled physically and in possession and surely the confrontation is looming between him and Rodgers.  Can’t see Jose Enrique being on Merseyside next year.  His form has plummeted over the last 12 to 18 months.  I really enjoyed watching Sterling, who was very lively and almost earned a pk against Mertesacker and was a constant threat on the outside.

The game was killed off when JohnJo watched the Cazorla walk in, receive a one two and then blast a shot at Reina, who should have done better. My tweet at the moment summed up the game for me: for all of #LFC possession, defensive lapses are killing the Reds. #LFC #AFC #EPL

The stat at the end was thrown out that this is Liverpool’s worst start since 1962-63.  not time to hit the panic button yet.  They are a decent side that just needs some fine tuning.  Joe Allen was class (first time I had every seen him play).  Get rid of Gerrard and kick Suarez up the back side, and a top six finish is not beyond them.

Following the match John W. Henry wrote a letter to the fans.  Pretty interesting reading as he articulates the management style of the club.

Zonal Marking analyzed the game, focusing on the shape of each team—Liverpool’s pressing 4-3-3 and Arsenal’s 4-4-1-1.  Cazorla was able to find space inbetween the lines and his movement led to both of the goals.

Ed at The Liverpool Offside was not in the greatest of moods: The football might be changing and the personnel are somewhat different, but Liverpool still present as the same indifferent, ineffective squad that’s stumbled and stuttered their way through the past two seasons.  He made sure to call out Gerrard and Reina while also looking at the few options Rodgers has at his disposal.  Time will tell if LFC can turn it around.

The Arseblogger was very happy with the defense, from the back four the reading of the game by the group.  Also, the midfield is starting to come together which should allow the Gunners to push on after a slow start.  I would still be concerned about squad depth although it sounds like several players are on their way back.

Finally, somehow Manchester United won their match at Southampton.  I followed the game on twitter and thought for sure the Reds were done for, but RvP came to the rescue.

Doron at the Stretford End tried to keep everything in perspective after three games for Manchester United. Six points out of nine, but there is still a lot of work for Sir Alex to do as this season progresses.  The game against Southampton featured a defense that had not played together since January 2011 and a midfield that needs to gel.  Had it not been for RvP, this would have been a loss.

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Michigan State University 0  University of Connecticut 1

Rounded off Labor Day weekend with a trip to DeMartin Soccer Stadium for MSU v UConn Men’s Soccer.  Sat with the Red Cedar Rowdies for a game marked by two things: heat and lack of sharpness.

The temperature at kick off (1pm) was 90+ degrees so both teams sat in to conserve energy.  Whether by design or by accident each team attacked in an unbalanced 4-4-2 with both left wingers pushing high into space but not seeing much of the ball.  UConn went with small combination passes while the Spartans challenged them over the top and out wide with driven balls.

UConn came into the game #1 in the country but have to say wasn’t that impressed.  They rotated a number of players across the front of their attack, with Allando Matheson being an absolute beast.  Strong, nimble and aggressive, he was the Huskies’ best attacker, eventually netting the only goal early in the second half.  In the back, their central defender Sergio Campbell was a rock, combining size, strength and speed.

For the Spartans, I was disappointed by the constant play into pressure.  Rather than play a possession pass, they almost always tried to play over the top or to a teammate with a defender right on them.  They had two quality attacks in the second half, one of which went to the right hand channel but the cross was over hit and the run mis-timed, while the other was a perfectly weight through ball but Domenic Barone couldn’t outmuscle #4 and hit a weak shot.

The visitors eventually stuck one man up top and just parked the bus, which invited the Spartans on to them.  Several half chances went begging and the game closed out 1-0 to the Huskies.

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Podcasts

Uli Hesse put together a two part post of the on beginnings of the Bundesliga, with next year being the golden anniversary.  The league is far younger than most of their European contemparies, and the real story is how the league was formed, as German clubs dealt with two issues: instituing professionalism and deciding who form the inaugural first division.  Very interesting articles on the formation of a league that didn’t even include Bayern Munich at the outset.

Part 1  Part 2

Finally got around to listening to John Gregory’s appearance on the Beyond the Pitch.  They covered the future of English managers (in essence becoming more sophisticated in terms of continental players), the power of the player in modern football, and the way forward for Aston Villa Football Club.  Gregory is honest, forthright and clear, and it is well worth the listen.

Strip Club–Best (and Worst) of 2012/13

The new campaign is upon us, which means the release of new jerseys.  I have already done posts for FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus, and now it’s time for the rest of Europe.

Starting in England . . . for a one stop shop of this year’ EPL kits, visit this link at Mao Football.  He has put quite a page together.

A couple of kits jump out at me.

The short sleeve jersey from Arsenal is horrendous and caused me to start the twitter hashtag: #StoptheSleeve.  Over the last couple of years, NIKE has gone with thick bands, first at the bottom of the sleeve and now narrower, multiple bands across players’ biceps.  However the long sleeve version isn’t too bad, sort of like the new US home kit.  As for the away kit, NIKE launched the Purple Reign campaign that I have co-opted into #PurpleReignPain.  Absolutely horrendous.  Can’t believe the Gunners have to wear those.

Keeping with purple, Liverpool’s new shirt manufacturers Warrior have launched a third kit that is laughable.  A purple chest with white sleeves, this is a kit that is doomed to the dustbin of history.  A solid home kit and an away kit that I am withholding judgment on are completely undermined by this piece of shit.

Across the boarder, Rangers are struggling everywhere but their kit.  This offering from Umbro is quite amazing and I love the old school look, with the sponsor getting out of the way.

rangers-home-shirt-2012-13

Moving to the continent. . .

Inter and NIKE went way off the reservation with the away kit and may be facing some major blowback from the fans.  Don’t know what could have caused them to move away from the typical white kit or maybe something blue.  Red top is a very dicey decision.

inter-milan-away-shirt-2012-13

Again NIKE is going to get some flak from me, this time on the Porto Home and Away Kits.  Porto’s home jersey is very simple: blue and white stripes.  Can be narrow or a little thicker.  Think Juventus except black instead of blue and Italian instead of Portuguese.  So what does the American sports manufacturer do?  This:

porto-home-shirt-2012-13

Combining navy #StoptheSleeve’s with a ridiculously wide white stripe, this jersey is all kinds of wrong.  Until you consider the away kit. . .

Further #PurpleReignPain.

Moving on to Spain.  I have collected almost every kit here.  So far my favorite is the Sevilla third kit.  The all navy blue strip is marked by a white collar and looks pretty sharp.  The worst kit in Spain is the away strip from Segunda side Recreativo Huelva.  Might be the worst kit ever.

Finally, I will wrap up with Germany.  I have not found the Bayern home kit, but their second and third strips leave a little to be desired.  Then there is this offering from FC St. Pauli, playing in the second tier of German football.  Guess Cleveland Browns fans have a natural partner in German soccer.  The real winners in the Bundesliga are Borussia Dortmund.  Not only are they the reigning domestic Double winners, but they have a full range of dynamic kits, with the home kit modeled by Roman Weidenfeller’s girlfriend, Lisa Rossbach.

dortumnd 12 13

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

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Here are a list of sites to find your favorite team and see what are designs are out there:

Football Fashion

Beautiful Gear

Football Kit News

Mao Football

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I know I have missed tons of stuff out there on the interwebs, so I would love to hear your best and worst.  Feel free to comment below or hit me up on twitter or facebook.