THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY
Football fans don’t always get the credit they deserve. And they very rarely get treated well by the powers that be in the beautiful game, with concern over money and global TV rights often paramount over the views of the fans.
But not always in Germany. The Bundesliga is often heralded as the perfect model for football fans, compared to the big money ticket of the Premier League for example. And when the fans needs aren’t central to the decision making, you can bet they make their voices heard.
In recent seasons they’ve protested rising ticket prices, the threat to the 50+1 rule and the impact of the globalisation of the game. And big on their agenda has been Monday night matches. While Monday Night Football has been a staple of the Premier League since its inception, it’s a relatively recent phenomenon in Germany. One that hasn’t gone down well.
The German supporters were instantly against it when it was first introduced to the Bundesliga last season, feeling that it was inconvenient, disrupted their week and was a decision that was taken for TV rather than them. Of course they protested, with Dortmund fans completely boycotting Monday night fixtures and Eintracht
Frankfurt fans throwing tennis balls onto the pitch during one Monday match.
Now it seems they’ve got their way with the Bundesliga confirming in November that Monday night matches would be discontinued when the next media rights deal was negotiated ready for the 2021-22 season. As you might expect, this isn’t good enough for fans. Watch this space.
Reports at the beginning of November suggested that four Bayern Munich players have created a ‘veritable opposition’ to Coach Niko Kovac.
Reports first surfaced after the draw with Bundesliga minnows Freiburg at the Allianz Arena. This was just before Bayern slipped seven points behind the old enemy, Borussia Dortmund, when losing to their great rivals 3-2 at the Westfalenstadion. Reportedly, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery and Mats Hummels are all in opposition to the former Bayern star’s methods at the Allianz, in particular the lack of game time that each of them has received. According to Kicker they are pushing for the Croatian to be sacked and have even limited their effort in matches to engineer poor results that will force the board’s hand and rid them of a head coach that was only appointed this summer.
The 47-year-old has spent most of his half season at the helm under constant pressure due to results that have seen his side slip to fourth in the table and nine points behind Dortmund at the time of writing. At the back end of November, he was given the dreaded vote of confidence from Chief Executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge but did receive a standing ovation from 350 Bayern fans when he visited a fan club in Inzell at the start of December.
There is talk of ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger waiting in the wings to take over from Kovac if he is given the chop. Whatever the merits of Wenger, or the results Bayern have achieved under Kovac, the last thing that any football fan wants to see is players deliberately not trying and fighting for the cause, especially when things aren’t going well.
Schalke are taking allegations of sexual assault from a female fan in their crowd ‘extremely seriously.’
The story broke following their game at home to FC Nurnberg at the end of November when a female fan said she was repeatedly groped by a man in the stands at the Veltins Arena. She has also alleged that she was told by a steward to “go home and watch on TV” if she did not like it. A complaint was filed immediately after the game, by a 22-year-old woman, according to police in Gelsenkirchen. The police also confirmed that they have opened a criminal investigation and, that at the time of writing, there are trying to identify the man. They are also investigating the conduct of the steward.
The word from the club is that they are taking the allegations “very seriously”, adding “we are in the process of getting an overview and working in close cooperation with the police”. An internal investigation from the club is underway.
There was at least more positive news for women in football as Aga Hegerberg won the first-ever Women’s Ballon d’Or. The Norway and Lyon striker finished ahead of Wolfsburg’s Denmark international Pernille Harder, Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan and England’s Lucy Bronze, who both also represent Lyon.
Hegerberg’s coronation was marred by presenter Martin Solveig, who crassly asked her if she ‘knew how to twerk?’ He received a steely ‘no’ in reply and rightful condemnation on social media.
ABOVE:THE GOOD, Borussia DortmundABOVE LEFT:THE BAD, Niko KovacLEFT:THE UGLY, Schalke