THE BUNDESLIGA FAQ  98/99 (December)
Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich and the National team
(Click on 'The Bundesliga FAQ' for an index of the 2-monthly updates)

Will Bayern run away at the top? Bayern had one of the best starts in Bundesliga history. Will anybody be able to follow?
What's the matter with the 'Mannschaft'? - Part 2 The German national team is continuing shaking up after the disappointing France 98. Also with new coach Erich Ribbeck they lost at Turkey and looked embarassing against the Netherlands...
Who are Borussia Mönchengladbach and can they get rescued? Borussia Mönchengladbach is one of the most popular clubs in Germany. Why? And today MG are in trouble. Can they survive?

Will Bayern run away at the top? 
 Hopefully no, the Bayern machine is runnung smoothly but Leverkusen is yet hungry and Kaiserslautern is still enjoying the taste of success.  
Bayern and Kaiserslautern are also playing Champions League while Leverkusen fully concentrates on the championship.  

 For Bayern this should be no alibi physically because Bayern is rotating the players anyway (with the exception of Brazilian striker Elber, midfielder Effenberg and keeper Kahn). But of course names like Manchester United and Barcelona take some concentration off matches against Bochum & Co.  

 Leverkusens emerging explosive Brazilian midfield with Emerson and the flamboyant Ze Roberto could make it a thriller if they can keep that form of the last weeks.  

 Kaiserslautern will have to fight too much Champions League in their heads and might face more problems occuring from playing in two major competitions as they are not as strong on the bench as Bayern. But as long as their supervaluable players Ciriaco Sforza and Olaf Marschall are healthy, you can never count them out. 

 Yet Bayern achieved a stunning points/game average (981213): 2.375! 
- to compare: Leverkusen and Kaiserslautern 2.06 what is still very good 
(champions 97/98 Kaiserslautern had 2.0, 96/97 Bayern: 2.1, 95/96 Dortmund: 2.0 
actual leaders England Aston Villa have 1.94, leaders Italy Firence 2.15, leaders Spain Mallorca 2.0 /standings 981213)    

 If they can keep up that average the others have indeed no chance. To drop into reach of the pursuers Bayerns average should have to drop at least to about 1.7 for the remaining l8 matches. Or the others will have to play more successful than most champions before. 

 In the old 2-point system there had been one such dramatic case: In 1971/72 Schalke 04 finished second with points that had been far enough in 27 of 32 years to become champions. 


What's the matter with the 'Mannschaft'? The German national team shaking up after France 98 - PART 2 
 In the last update parallels between politics and football had been drawn. Here they can be continued. Although it has to be attached, that this analogies idea should not be stressed too much... 
 The metaphor of change, of new departures, motivated a more positive attitude towards the National team, its coach and his decisions. The reality: Erich Ribbeck send the youngsters home again, and reactivated 37 year old Lothar Matthäus to play at least until Euro2000. Also Andy Möller is back and Thomas Haessler is expected back also. Leaves only one major departure after the World Cup: Jürgen Klinsmann (beside from a few other important but not key players).  It is a step back and has produced its first results: 
2 Euro-qualifiers in one week: a 0:1 defeat at Turkey and a victory at Moldavia which saw 2 completely different halfs of the German team.  
 Above it was called an metaphor of a new beginning. This metaphor made the public see those matches completely different than before: Had the coach been still Berti Vogts, the two matches might have triggered devostating critics. So now it was called a promising new beginning with only little mistake - a bad result. 
 But the next match seems to have entirely unveiled the misery: The Netherlands one half completely embarassed the German team, who played as bad as before only against Romania some months ago. The result? This was the point: As it used to be before, the German team was able to score as much as their opponents: the match ended 1:1. So yet just nothing changed although it felt like. 
 The parallels? Also the new government made more or less no changes or if, it have been the same things the old one had already intended anyway. And those measures do not seem to solve any problems. But here it is much too early too see results. 
As it might be in football also? 

Who are Borussia Mönchengladbach, why are they so popular, and can they get rescued? 
 A note as the following misunderstanding for German football beginners is known: Mönchengladbach has nothing to do with Munich/München and is located in a completely different part of Germany. 

 Borussia Mönchengladbach attained nationwide and even Europe-wide sympathies in the 1970s when an extra-ordinary generation won the German championship 5 times in 8 years, the cup once, and the UEFA-Cup twice. 
 The small club from near Düsseldorf ralleyed a gang of young players and a coach with a good reputation of working with those. That earned them the nickname 'Fohlen' what means foals (or colts, in German male and female kid horses do not get distinguished by a different word). They became famous for fast counter-attacks and also for importing a number of low-priced talented skandinavian players.  
 The club, with a smaller stadium and from a smaller town than others became the big counterpart for Bayern Munich with Beckenbauer, Maier, and Müller. But MG did not have the opportunities of the rich and so had to let go the best players again and again.  
 The most famous players were Berti Vogts, Günter Netzer, Jupp Heynckes, Rainer Bonhof, Uli Stielicke and Alan Simonsen. 
 The famous coach that formed the team was Hennes Weisweiler. His pupils became a generation of well-known coaches themselves: Berti Vogts coached the National team, Rainer Bonhof was his assistant. Jupp Heynckes coached various teams in Germany and Spain, won the German championship twice with Bayern and the Champions League with Real Madrid. Winnie Schäfer has coached succesfully in Bundesliga, Horst Köppel and Horst Wohlers have been less succesful there. Alan Simonsen has been National team coach for the Faroer islands and Uli Stielicke for Switzerland and is assisting Erich Ribbeck now for Germany. Only Günter Netzer did never have any ambitions but he worked as manager and he is commentating expert for TV and magazines. All players have a quite similar philosophy about the team and about work and football and some of them had to face similar problems with the contemporary professional players and media.  

 Rainer Bonhof is the new coach for Borussia Mönchengladbach and is trying to rescue the team that has dropped to #18 of the table and faces relegation.  
 The situation has become dramatic after the attempt to rebuild the team around Stefan Effenberg has failed and Effenberg left for Bayern Munich. A too long time before modernisation of the club structures had been avoided, the club already had been in danger various times. Now the plans for a new stadium might come too late. 
 The also fired club manager Rüssmann at least had reestablished the name as a positive association term for sponsors and brought some plans on the way.  But he was harshly criticized for being self-satisfied, had made some wrong decisions and and having built a kind of personal empire. In the end some continuing problems with some players and a team that appered weaker and weaker ended his era. 

 Now Mönchengladbach is last in the table and will need about 30 points from their final 19 matches to survive. If Bundesliga newcomer Rainer Bonhof accomplishes this, it will be a masterpiece. If not, the fate of Borussia is very unsure, as the stadium might not be build and the club has not the financial substance to force a comeback like Kaiserslautern had been able to do.