Alright. That does it. I want my team now to train WITHOUT pussy gloves, tights, snoods or heatable slacks etc. Look at mighty Schalke, yall! Trashing Bayern 2 (T-W-O) -Nil – proving Magath's state-of-the-art anti-pussy training methods totes right! (see my last post)
Whereas Bremen... I am afraid, the one’s who wore pussyfied accessoires during warm-up, did miss the goal by what? Kilometres.... So there MUST be a correlation, right? Notice also, Wolfsburg did wear half-sleeves. And Bremen? I have to admit, I do like the long-sleeved orange kits sans reverse xmas/spikey design... But if it would mean we'd score more if they would wear the tank top version thereof, I'd be all for it! (Wiese may wear gloves though -- knitted mittens might also be cute too)
Here is how it all went down.
(4-2-3-1 but actually a 2-5-3 on the pitch)
Schmidt – Merte – Prödl – Pasanen
Bargfrede ---- Hunt ----- Marin
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Pekarik, Barzagli, Kjaer, Schäfer - Josué, Riether, Cigerci, Diego - Mandzukic, Dzeko . They played diamond with Diego as playmaker.
Looking at the formation, Bargfrede surprisingly played offensive midfield and Fritz was the other half of WB’s double six – alongside Frings. Schmidt deservedly got fielded as RB again and judging from his solid performance totady might also get fielded against Inter and possibly against BVB too.
After Frings did lose a challenge to Diego and in return fouled some, the resulting free kick by Diego from from the right corner of the box was the first threat to Wiese – but Diego opted for the centre of the goal and Wiese fisted his ball away confidently.
The game saw the first good chance for Bremen after Frings played a strong vertical pass from midfield to Arnautovic who crossed to Hunt whose ball cut through the box to Bargfrede who missed the far post by a couple metres.
I should give Marin some credit, for he delivered the ball to Frings after intercepting a sloppy pass by Diego.
Mertesacker, and let me say upfront he looked really improved today, cleared a dangerous ball by Dzeko with a tackling after Frings played a sloppy ball in midfield leading to a quick counter attack by Wolfsburg, but was also robbing us of our chance for building up our game. Again, the game did see a lot of those sloppy ball losses, Hunt and Frings might lead the statistic. I can look that up later.
The first 15 minutes were mostly revolving around Diego who looked like an energizer bunny out to prove WB (not his own team lol no) how good he can still play – at least for a while and after he noticed how lackluster Dzeko’s performance was, he also stopped his input to the game. Yet he still put Wiese to the test with shot on the near corner – Wiese snapped like it was the most common routine in his repertoire – you could tell he knew Diego’s tricks still.
Another striking weakness of our game were the set pieces, Marin, unlike Diego, did not manage to create any corners that looked promising. This is a constant problem in WB’s game, another weakness that robs us of chances. I think there has been no goal after a set piece so far, but don’t quote me on that. I only see Prödl missing corners. Frings used to do good right corners...
The tactical line up seemed appropriate – though it’s still highly unusual to see Werder standing deep in their own half and lurking for counter attacks. A passive Werder, but considering the harsh defeats lately the best option. However, personally it’s also a declaration of defeat somehow, saying we are not the old attack-mode Werder anymore. But let’s not get nostalgic here – times are going to change soon – and for the moment not conceding and gaining confidence should have top priority.
Back to the game - another tricky moment resulted from Pasanen’s ball loss to Mandzukic, who was rumoured to be a possible WB transfer last summer, and delievered the ball to Diego who cut through our box – both Frings and Prödl only cordon him.
Arnautovic had a promising steep angle shot on goal after Hunt played a pass and he showed beautiful control of the ball when he turned around caught the ball volley and stayed in ball possession. Benaglio was attentive though.
Hunt played a good game in the first half and alongside Fritz became the motor of our attacks.
Diego, on the other hand, was less and less of a motor to Wolfsburg’s game – he got yet another yellow card for bitching after he complained about a supposed back pass by Frings to Wiese.
You can actually see Frings smirk on the face. A bit sad for normally, or rather before Diego left, he would second him and bitch with the referee to save Diego’s ass. We all know those scenes all too well, still I think it has gotten considerably worse ever since he played for Wolfsburg. So Frings’ smirk would also be my smirk.
Wolfsburg’s attack, considering their horrendeous costs (40 Million Euro) looked cumbersome and their attack game was shabby – it was mostly waiting for Diego doing something or Dzeko’s solitary actions. I am glad we did not buy Mandzukic btw – he was overpriced (rumoured 8 Million Euro) and still is without a goal in Bundesliga. As for Dzeko, after he got subbed and left without handshake it got clear that shit is hitting the fan in this team. And he might be off to Real mentally, considering the play he put on display it clearly looked like that.
Before half time we saw another attack by Arnautovic after a vertical pass from Hunt (?) found him yet Austroboy was caught offside. He got caught offside a lot actually.
The second half saw no line up changes and we immediately had two free kicks, the second resulted from handplay in the wall, executed by Arnautovic. Rather badly. It was around that moment when everybody thought of Almeida real hard – still angry at his foolishness. The longer the game lasted, the more obvious it got that our attack was lacking force.
Fritz on the other hand looked really, really good on his new position, he got lot’s of balls across the half line and delivered much needed input to our attack.
Hunt tried a long distance shot and Wolfsburg had a weak shot on goal, Mandzukic actually, after Riether played the assist.
Bargfrede lost a ball to Josué, who played quite a dirty game today begging to get carded, but luckily improved Merte cleared the ball last minute in the fiver. I think Schmidt also tok a time out there. Missing to move in with the defense line.
Hunt played a nother great assist to Bargfrede, who had problems controlling the ball but somehow tried with all his might to cut through the defense line. Voluntarily going down when lightly touched by Wolfsburg’s Kjaer (?).
Penalty time! Stands started shouting Luuuuuuuutscher and all of a sudden it felt like a replay of last season’s game. Anticipation was high despite Frings’ last penalty miss, the crowd still had faith in him. Unfortunately not only Diego Bangalio’s eyebrow game is excellent, but he also quite a penalty killer.
Frings’ shot in the lower right corner of the goal got blocked by him and hit the crossbar – though from a distance it looked like a sure hit. But it wasn’t. Considering Frings’ successful streak of converted penalties, I still think he should continue executing them. Alright, Stuttgart was bad, but this one wasn’t nearly as bad afterall. And two missed ones out of twenty is still a pretty decent ratio...
Ironically, Wolfsburg is even worse at converting their penalties. In a weird twist of fate, and after Prödl did some shirt pulling or was it hitting Mandzukic with his stretched arm?, Dzeko shot a terrible penalty way over the box. It was funny to see how Diego initially claimed the ball...
...to have a go himself, but Dzeko, for some reason or another only beknownst to him, felt he was in a sufficient enough mood to have go and denied Diego’s request. I was glad he was being an egotistical bitch about it, for Diego had always had a soft touch for penalties. And we might have lost. Wiese on the other hand, is also known as quite a penlty killer and has now 9 out of 12 checked as saved under his belly! Impressive our Wiese. Speaking of Wiese, when Frings missed and knelt on the ground (sobbing bitterly like a child?) Wiese did not come up to comfort him. Why? After his mad-run for Frings and the referee against Pauli he now failed miserably to take care of his hurt soul.
Back to the game. Marin got mostly stopped or caught up in one-on-one battles by Wolfsburg’s defense. He keeps doing his ususal trick of feinting to the left and then right or vice versa to try to then sneak past the right side – a rather transparent maneuver, I am afraid and hardly ever successful.
The game only caught speed around halftime and around the penalty miss frenzy but remained largely uninspiring – which is good for WB and proved we can also play defensive minded, if we try hard and face an opponent in disarray. Marin played another vertical pass on Arnautovic who – facing only Benaglio – had like most WB’s attacks a poor finishing touch. Another example was given in the last minutes of the game when Hunt shot a limpy ball on target after Arnautovic beautifully delivered the ball to him.
Here's the most adorb post-game blankie moment. Fraternizing with the mates...
And this one pretty much sums it up how our offense did..
On a side note, when we drove back home after the game, we talked a lot about stadium architecture and how it can affect the emotional side of the game. Noticing how every little inch of available space was plastered by banners and ad’s in Wolfsburg stadium was a rather off-putting experience. I know its the trend in football. The most absurd example that springs to mind is HSV and their Volksparkstadium, now christened Imtech Arena and I already forgot what last season name was.
I think I have made mention of Wolfsburg’s weird Wölfli-themed corporate identity before, yet after having experienced that foolery all-over again it brought back my old trauma. They have a „Wölfli-Kurve“ and their supporters call themselves „Wölfe“ (or maybe marketing coined them so, who knows) even their mascot – a forlorn looking greyish discharged Disney character of a woolf - radiated anything but aggressiveness and fear. I am glad Werder put their experiments with mascots (Pico, anyone) at some point to rest. „Grün-weiss“ is also less tacky – it’s simply our colors than the whole tacky woolf mystique which is taken from Wolfsburg’s own history – sucking off on their tradition since their team does not have any on its own – feels contrived.
Let me illustrate that by comparing stadium announcers. Wolfsburg went for a media cooperation with the main commercial radiostation in Lower-Saxony, radio ffn, known for elevator muzak and terrible morning shows. And in between each fuckin stadium announcement, their jingle gets hammered into your head. Not to speak of their questionable choice of stadium music – basically a continuation of what they heavy-rotate on their station. That sort of chart-orientated music that blends in well with everything and nothing – sufficiently bland and annoying, so people have a smooth sound experience when leaving their VW cars to get into the stadium. The quality of their presentation also lacked considerably in charm and was mostly geared towards male fans (fathers and sons) – I always like how Arnd Zeigler and Stolli talk to men and women and children and old and young folks. The whole mix. Their announcements were mostly telling the fans to buy merch and support their team. They seem to have problems with the latter, considering how intensely and almost desperately they kept begging for love. It got to the point of being painful for us. As for WB, their choice of music is pretty charming, so I would like to believe, and changes according to the occasion. Sure, they also have this silly quiz going. And Targobank runs ads before the game. And Hoffman home centre is doing silly ads. But they are less in your face and rather cheap in style. They don’t interrupt the game.
One last thing though, the worst of all his having to listen to the godawful Niedersachsenhymne sung by, err, Heino ! (For all those of you, who have no idea what that possibly means, you blessed souls, click on his name...I apologize for any inconvenience and hurt). Needless to say, I am glad that KA and Fischer have neither sold-out our stadium name nor hired some commercial radio announcers and keep at least some parts free of corporate sponsoring. Let’s see how the newly improved stadium is going to fare. Also, I have never been to any of their vip lounges. Tbf, it needs to be said it might also be owed to the lack of big corporation headquarters in Bremen... Yet in a way Roy Robson and Beluga shiping are harmless considering, and, so at least I would like to believe, more charming and lolsy than what VW/ffn/Bild does to Wolfsburg. I also like the fact that the Weserstadium is part of the city and not on some large-ass parking lot on the outskirts of the city. Anyway – sorry for digressing here.
Some more pics
Diego turning around to take a look (and waive) at his REAL TRUE fans in the southstands-- he also got some DIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE-GO chants when he excecuted a corner right in front of them. So no bad feelings. Also, his name got spared from the ususal "Our number seven is Edin..." "ARSCH-LOCH" chants by Bremen supporters...
This one looks clueless and might get sacked soon. He still speaks no perfect German.
Here's some Austroboy mostly inefficient...
Hunt denying Diego access
for penalty frenzy!! The dramz!!! The horrors!