Bayern: A Fan’s View.

March 15, 2014

The draw for the next round of the Champions League was about to be made. Please, please Munich or Madrid. Two sides I’d love to see us beat, and two Cities I’d love to visit.

I packed light. Scarf, wallet, passport, ticket, fags, lighter, Nicorette gum, e-cigarettes and a lightweight tunnelling shovel just in case.

We lift off from Bristol Airport at 2pm on the Monday, and I’m in my hotel in the middle of Munich by 6pm local time. My chum Max doesn’t arrive until Tuesday evening, so I head to the bar where there are already gathered ten or more committed drinking Gunners. Three of us head into town and explore a wonderful City. We launch into a heart stopping Bavarian Meat Fest of epic quality and then back out into town. We visit every one of the famous beer halls (thanks for the tip YanMan), and eventually roll back into the hotel in the early hours.

Match Day. Kick off not until 20:45 local time, so plenty of time to explore. I opted for the two hour trip to Mount Wank. The train journey South and West to The Alps takes you through absolutely stunning countryside. Past Lakes and then into the foothills before journeys end. Turns out Mount Wank is little more than a pimple, so I opt to head up The Zugspitze (Germany’s highest peak at over 9,000 feet with views over four countries).

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Step One. I board the small mountain train that climbs the steep snowy base before entering a tunnel gouged through the heart of the mountain itself. Being the only passenger not in heavy footwear and florescent arctic clothing, looks in my direction are curious. Emerging in some ski resort or other, I then head to the cable car for the final push. At this point, curious looks turned to something more sinister. Now I don’t know if any of you have ever in your youth boarded a tube train in rush hour, with dyed orange and black hair, reeking of fish with every square millimetre of your hands bloodied and scabbed, having done a day’s work with sea lions, but I have, and the feeling is one of being highly toxic and infectious. The unsurprising upside is that you find yourself, as I did in the cable car, with a lot of space to yourself and the most terrific choice of views.

Wow, the view from the top was breathtaking on a perfect day. I felt fantastic. Things were going well.

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I managed to re-join one old mate as well as my new chums back in the hotel bar around 18:00.

Off to the match and a fast thirty minute express train to the outskirts of the city. Emerging from the underground, the Stadium comes into view. Perhaps half a mile away, it sits isolated on a barren plain sitting there like some squashed glowing poisonous tropical fruit. It is impressive in its Bayern Red luminous robes.

Stadium

I’m guessing there were three odd thousand Gooners high in the North End behind the goal. For me, our vocal support was somewhat muted in its potential as there were two distinctive areas of noisy support, and being divided by a quieter central group, we never managed to sync and get maximum volume. Nevertheless, we did our best against overwhelming numbers. Incidentally, and perhaps it was just on this occasion, but the Bayern support was nothing like as colourful or vocal as we experienced in Dortmund. Having said that, they all remained until the very end. Now it’s worth remembering, that this Stadium is a 40 minute tube ride to the main Munich rail station, and also, that kick off is a full hour later. Mmmm.

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Needing to be at the airport at 14:00 on the final day, there was time to explore the City. It really is a lovely place. Stunning architecture and very friendly people. Time to visit a Palace, and track down some chocolate to bring home. Sitting outside a café in the sun, I pondered the difference between Munich and London. Striking to me was the absence of road markings and hideous signposts everywhere. The lack of traffic wardens and surveillance cameras. Uncluttered by ludicrous instructions. It struck me that citizens in Munich are capable of making their own decisions and not nanny stated. Clearly a very personal view, but it appeared to me that people were allocated individual responsibility, and they used it wisely. It was refreshing. I liked the place very much.

Here’s a question to myself. If I knew for absolute certain that The Arsenal were going to win every single game, would I still go? No, I wouldn’t. We lost to the current European Champions, and these things happen. I don’t mind. The team played with passion and pride, and I banked more very happy memories. I was in Dortmund with Raddy when we won, and that was also memorable but for more reasons than just the victory, and next season I want to try again. I met Gooners who were there when we beat Villarreal and Madrid, but they had to witness losses on their travels for that to be possible. This is football, and it is exciting. To make these journeys with fellow Arsenal fans is a privilege.

Thank you Chas and Ant, as without your amazing away support, I would never have been able to go.

Written by MickyDidIt

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Can he inspire us to another win in Germany?

March 11, 2014

One of our own is out there. A solo mission without backup and on his birthday. Can he do it again? Can Didit’s positive energy inspire The Arsenal to another surprise win? It has worked before so it could work again – perhaps he is the lucky charm.

Big Raddy is a logical man, not prone to flights of fancy nor believing in things which cannot be proven …. and yet …. I still believe in lucky socks, lucky wine, lucky mints +++ When I go to The Emirates I have to take a certain route to the ground and drink in a lucky pub. My guess is that you have rituals as well, so why shouldn’t Micky’s presence affect the result?

I could write at length about this wonderful Bayern team – you will have read or heard all the stats – they are the best team ever in the Bundesliga which is some achievement. They have averaged almost 3 goals a game at home and have only lost twice in 100 home games – we know who inflicted one of those losses  🙂

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So, despite Guardiola’s assertions, BM are huge favourites to win the game and the tie. But  ….. we have reasons for quiet confidence. We have won there before, we have just beaten a good Everton side, we were better than BM prior to Szczesny’s sending off and we are The Arsenal. Plus we have our secret agent  ……

It is remarkable that we have beaten both Bayern and Borussia in their own grounds on our last two visits to Germany. Which other team in world football can say the same? I will tell you …. none

My Team:

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Gibbs has a late fitness test and Monreal is just recovering from his foot knack so given the inexperience of both Jenks and Bacary playing left back I would prefer to see Captain Fantastic playing there  – he has done so in the past and it allows us to play the dreaded 3 at the back.

Give Podolski a run on the hour and perhaps give Gnabry a kickabout should we be losing (highly unlikely)  on 75 minutes – just to show the Germans what they have allowed to slip away.

Munchen: In Old German means “place of the monks” (unsurprisingly) because the Benedicitne monks established a monastery in the area. It was officially granted city status in 1175 and was a stopping point on the Old Salt Route through Germany. The city expanded rapidly when Duke Louis of Bavaria was crowned German king in 1314 and Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He gave Munchen the salt monopoly which brought great wealth into the city and by the 15thC it was a gothic centre for arts and architecture.. By 1506 Munchen had become the capital of the independent  state of Bavaria (later to become a Kingdom) and remained so until the unification of Germany in 1871 .

Pre-match we will be split in our predictions between the optimists and the other less smiley people but come match time we shall all unite behind our team. There is a chance we can recover from an undeserved home defeat and without belief all is lost. A similar scoreline to last season will take us to penalties  …. errrm  ….. we need to score 3 !

A final note …. About now Micky will be climbing Mt. Wank singing songs from the Sound of Music – which song do you think he will sing at the summit? I am going for “High on a Hill was a Lonely Goatherd”. 🙂

Written by BigRaddy


A week of highs and lows ….. pants up and pants down

February 21, 2014

Last Friday:

Snippets from Le Boss at his press conference; On the title race…“It is very open, only Chelsea can lose it because they are in front and all the other teams can win it.” on why every other manager says they are not contenders…“It’s fear to fail”. On Sagna’s future… “No, he is not close [to signing]. It’s an ongoing process.”

Although there were no injuries due to Wednesday’s game, Cazorla is a doubt as he is in bed with Flo. Oops! Sorry flu! 😀 Flamini is back from suspension and raring to go. Just don’t get carried away again Mathieu!

Thanks to http://www.arsenal.com/

Robin van Persie

could be set for a dramatic return to Arsenal at the end of the season after his agent reportedly met with Arsene Wenger to discuss a move. Van Persie, who forced a move to Manchester United last year, enjoyed a superb opening season at Old Trafford – firing the club to the Premier League title. But the Dutchman has reportedly become frustrated with life under new manager David Moyes, and is now angling for a switch back to Arsenal.

According to Sky Italia

Wenger met Van Persie’s representative in London late last month where it was made clear that Van Persie wants to leave United – and go back to the Gunners.

Saturday:

The Chav’s despicable motor-mouth manager made a totally unwarranted attack on Le Boss, I’ll not dignify his words by repeating them here. Suffice it to say he got his comeuppance when City duly dumped his team out of the FA Cup.

Plenty of speculation about priorities prior to our 5th round tie with Liverpool. There’s bound to be a few surprises in the team selection.

Sunday:

Speaking ahead of the game Wenger said….“We have a very strong defensive record yet when we crack, we crack, but overall I must say defensively we have been very consistent and the real value of the team is the number of games that we have played [to get] that defensive record. On that front we have had a good stability.”

Arsene named the following starting eleven…

Fabianski, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Flamini, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Podolski, Sanogo.

A closely fought match ended with a 2-1 win for the good guys, goals from the excellent Oxlade-Chamberlain, and a sweet strike from Podolski saw us through to a home quarter final tie against the other Scouse team Everton.

Liverpool manager Rodgers, along with most of the Liverpool pensioners masquerading as TV commentators, pundits and sports columnists bewailed the decision by top referee Howard Webb to deny Suarez a second penalty, for a challenge by The Ox. Perhaps if the Uruguayan striker had merely “gone to ground” instead of doing so only after a triple somersault with half pike Webb may have been tempted to award the penalty. Two Liverpool players were lucky to stay on the pitch, the carthorse formerly know as Gerrard, and Sterling. The former escaped with just one booking for two bookable offences and a series of debatable tackles, the latter who actually put his hand on Webb’s chest while complaining bitterly about a perceived wrong. The lenient Webb called over Captain Carthorse and told him to “talk” to the young winner.

One other match went decidedly in Arsenal’s favour when Le Boss politely but firmly put The Despicable One in his place following Saturday’s ridiculous outburst, “I do not want to go into those silly disrespectful remarks” said Wenger “I am embarrassed for him. Honestly. I am more disappointed for Chelsea than for me.”

Monday:

The Cup win is now in the past, the quarter final is to far in the future, looming is the small matter of current European Champions Bayern Munich.

Olivier Giroud showed a degreeCelia Kay 4
of naivety when he was caught in a tabloid sting, a “glamour” model Celia Kay “allegedly” entered his hotel room and the striker was photographed exiting the bathroom in his underwear. Giroud has publicly apologised to his wife, family and friends as well as to the manager, team-mates and Arsenal fans. Score a hat-trick on Wednesday Olly, and all will be forgiven….. at least by the manager, team-mates and Arsenal fans. Oh! In case you are wondering, this is what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday: Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich

The build up begins.

Wenger to make seven changes!

one headline screams. Well yes but, only to restore those players rested for the FA Cup tie and to replace the suspended Arteta.

Guardiola has problems as Ribery’s stand-in is ruled out!

yells another.

Pep Guardiola will be forced to reshuffle his attack against Arsenal after learning his Bayern Munich side would be without both Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri for the Champions League tie. Shaqiri tore a muscle in his right thigh on Saturday and is expected to be out for at least three weeks. That could mean he is also absent for the second leg of the last-16 game, which takes place in Munich on March 11.

The Balotelli rumours persist, another report say’s Talks are “ongoing” between the player’s agent and Arsenal. Meanwhile, the asking price has been dropped to just €40 million and with Puma willing to stump up £15 million towards the fee Super Mario is beginning to look like a bargain.

Wednesday:

A bright sunny day, at least it is here in Norfolk, a great game in prospect and endless speculation about the starting line-up. Will Giroud play? At home, not away! Will it be Wilshere or the Ox alongside Flamini?

As usual, the “experts” have written us off, as have the bookies, Ladbrokes quote 7/4 against a home win, 11/4 against a draw and 3 /4 on an away win.

In other news, Vermaelen’s agent has been quoted as saying our captain wants to leave the Emirates in the summer, That makes three defenders likely to depart, Sagna is no nearer to signing an extension and Fabianski has already signalled his exit. Injuries and loss of form have restricted TV to just a few appearances this season and last, so as long as Merts and Kos remain fit there seems little chance that Thomas will get much game time even when he regains fitness.

Sagna is out of contract in the summer and is free to “talk” to overseas clubs now. A report in Italy says Liverpool have made the player an offer in an attempt to poach Bacary from under the noses of Inter Milan. If this is the case then Liverpool stand accused of tapping up our right-back. Will UEFA do anything about it? Don’t hold your breath!!

Young right-back Hector Bellerin has been recalled from his loan spell at Watford and has been given the number 40 shirt and is currently listed as an Academy player. Sagna understudy?

Thursday:

Dream tie ends in nightmare for Wenger

Yes, as many of us secretly feared, our Champions League 1st leg tie with Bayern Munich turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. All seemed to be going well up to the point where Ozil’s weak attempt at beating Neuer, from the penalty spot, was comfortably saved by his former schoolmate.

That seemed to knock the stuffing out of Arsenal and give momentum to Bayern. Gibbs went off injured, Szczesny clattered Robben and was rightly red-carded. Even though Alaba hit the outside of the post with the resulting penalty Bayern had their tales up and the wind in their sails.

Down to ten men Arsenal, with the exception of Ozil, put up a defensive performance only bettered by the occupants of The Alamo, but like those heroes from the past, eventually they succumbed to superior forces.

2 – 0 down going into the 2nd leg at The Allianz Arena, a repeat of last seasons second leg would see us having to win on penalties. Would Ozil take one? Should Ozil take one?

Arsenal at home to Sunderland tomorrow offers the chance of redemption. A win and the resulting three points will help to put the Bayern game on the back-burner, at least for a while.

Everything is ready for the unveiling of the Dennis Bergkamp statue. It will take place outside The Armoury at 11.30 am on Saturday, Dennis will also make an on-pitch appearance at half-time. I’d prefer him to play the second half, but we can’t have everything.

TWTWTW

Norfolk Gooner


Arsenal v Bayern: self-preservation …… the first law of nature

February 19, 2014

The long awaited moment has finally arrived. The Bavarian brigade have descended on London. Time for nervous anticipation and a bit of trepidation perhaps. Following their survival from the Group of Death, a fresh challenge awaits the good guys of Arsenal. What can be more daunting than to face Bayern Munich, the “best team in the world”, in the first leg of a dance unto death?

2 nil against bayern

Neither is this the first time. Last year as well, Arsene Wenger’s men played Bayern in a first leg at The Home of Football, and they lost 1-3. An outrageously superb return leg victory by 2-0 still saw Arsenal crash out of Champions League on away goals. Bayern Munich went on to win the Champions League in Europe followed by the World Clubs Cup.

However, daunting as the challenge no doubt is, there are some positive notes of encouragement this time round.

First, the away win against Bayern in Munich sparked a remarkable run for Arsenal, leading to an amazing record over the calendar year 2013; by and large, this run of performances and results still continues.

Second, Arsenal have had occasional indifferent performances, but the positive vibes from the FA Cup win against Liverpool are fresh in the minds and hearts. This is in sharp contrast to last year, when they went into the game against a disappointing loss to Blackburn. Quoting Arsene from yesterday: ““We have a strong team spirit, that is for sure, and a strong desire to do well and a united team. … We did not always have the belief, because belief is built by the results and on that front we are stronger.”

Third, Bayern were the champions last year, and are favourites this year. But they are not yet champions again, and the law of averages indicates they may falter at some step. And after the heroic display by our boys last year, it is quite possible that the massive fall from grace may happen here and now, against the mighty Arsenal.

Fourth, Bayern were a formidable unit last year, and they still are. But are they better than last year? Well, the core of the team is essentially the same, and the main difference is the new manager – the master craftsman Pep Guardiola. By contrast, Arsenal have a new magnificent wizard, Mesut Ozil, plus a lovely bunch of upcoming stars in The Ox, Wilshere and Gnabry. On balance, the relative changes in team strengths seem evenly matched.

On the injury front as well, it seems fairly balanced. Arsenal are missing two key players in Ramsey and Theo. Bayern have sustained injuries to Ribery, Shaqiri and Badstuber; Schweinsteiger is returning from injury and may not feature in the game.

Fifth, Bayern have been mighty impressive in the Bundesliga this year. But they get to play largely weaker teams in the German league. Whereas Arsenal has fought hard against the Oilers, and is therefore potentially better tempered by their fighting performances. The motivation and spirit within the team is very high. Yes, there was a minor incident involving the truancy of one Olivier Giroud, but that cancels off against the reportedly unsettled Kroos in the Germand side.

Overall, it looks even stevens. It remains to be seen who turns up on the night. Who has the greater desire to perform well. Arsenal’s defensive performance will be under particular spotlight. Not conceding an away goal will be particularly crucial.

On the line-up, the goalkeeper and defence select themselves. The primary objective to my mind will be to withstand an immensely potent Bayern attacking force, likely comprising midfielders Robben, Kroos and Muller and frontman Gotze. With this in mind, I would suggest Flamini and Wilshere as defensive midfielders, and an attacking midfield of Rosicky, Ozil and The Ox. Rosicky may moving back in defence and Wilshere likewise move up in attack.

And finally, here is the bombshell. Given disciplinary issues, including a disregard for team curfew the night before a game, I would not be averse to Wenger allowing Giroud some more bench warming time. Football is a team game, and no one is indispensable within the team. Podolski is the striker in my starting lineup. He has just scored a fantastic team goal against Liverpool, and so his confidence should be high. Santi scuffed shooting opportunities twice gainst Liverpool and does not appear to be fully fit. He will be on the bench as well, in preparation to launch a salvo when the need comes.

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However, the Boss knows best. We will see what team emerges. The bottomline is to fight hard in the midfield and break down opposition attacks, and a tight and compact backline to thwart any advances that may trickle through. The priority is not to concede an away goal to Bayern. There will be chances at the other end, and we should be eager to take these chances.

All to play for. Onwards and upwards!

COYRRG!!!!

Written by arnie


We are Top of the League, and our real competitor is …

October 3, 2013

… Bayern Munich, the champions of Europe, the inheritors of the Barca legacy, the architects of a beautiful game, the Bavarian Brigade, now managed by one Pep Guardiola, who we all remember only too painfully well. And the competition is … the Champions League, of course.

Yes, Bayern Munich is our true competitor, and not any of the minnows that populate the English Premier League, basking in the vain glory of wasting a lot of money on ordinary players, and without any serious intent or ambition of building a team that plays a beautiful game. Some of them we saw in action yesterday, and what a poor show it was as well. Well, Chelsea did well this week, it has to be said. But never mind, we can deal with them. One other numpty, coming from somewhere down there in N17, will be seen in action tomorrow. Probably will be an equally poor show as well.

Compare their games to the fantastic football on show from Arsenal on Wednesday, and marvel at the huge difference in quality. Yes, quality, style and beauty of the beautiful game that Arsenal produced. Well, the show this time was only against Napoli, who had hardly anything to show at all. And before that, there were the men from across the Channel in Marseille, and they were ordinary as well. So, let us not bask in the glory of victories against weak teams. Let us look to the future.

And yes, our true competitor is the Bavarian Brigade – Bayern Munich. What a fantastic game they produced as well. Drove Man City out of the ground from the first minute, a total domination if there was ever one, almost as good as Arsenal’s domination over Napoli. Except that, Bayern’s frailties were exposed by the end, as soon as changes from the benches came in to replace the leaders on the pitch – IRN Robben, Franck(enstein) Ribery, and Schweinsteiger (the strange hybrid between, well, just forget about it!). Much as the first team played a fantastic brand of football, the weaknesses of the replacements were plain and clear. I am sure Arsene saw, noted and approved!

So, friends, We Are Top of the League, but it is not only the Premier League I am talking about, it is Champions League as well. Yes, we can win the Premier League, and even if we do not win it this year, we will certainly be in the mix. But, even if the Premier League matters, and matters not quite a flying fig, it does not quite matter as much as the Champions League. We have won the Premiership in the past, and know what it means to win the League. But if there is one trophy we want to lay our hands on, and now is the time like no other, it is the Champions League. And, yes, now is our time.

The Champions League is really our stage. There is a method to the madness that, despite all limitations that the doomsday brigade would point towards, we have qualified for the CL continuously over a decade and a half, progressed to the knockout stages umpteen times, and have more than a fair share of QFs/SFs and a Final. But, despite our consistent performance in the Champions League, despite our top seeding (for whatever it is worth), we have never laid our hands on the trophy. And it hurts. And we deserve it more than anyone else. And we deserve it now, more than any time in the recent past.

There are several things that work to our advantage in Europe this time round. First, we have a fantastic team now, despite the injuries, the thin squad and the kids! The mixture of youth and experience was always there. But the two were always embodied in different players. Some players were young, and others were experienced. Now we have a unique combination of youth and experience combined in the same players: Özil, Rambo, Giroud, Wilshere, Theo, Szcz, the list goes on. Plus, we have experience in good measure (BFG, Arteta, Flamster, Rosicky, and so on) and we have some fantastic and exciting kids coming up (The Ox, Gnabry, Jenks, Monreal, et al.). Most importantly, we have one Mesut Özil, who is just tailor-made for the European stage. And for the doubters, just watch the replay of the game on Wednesday! He knows what it takes to perform at the top level in Europe, and has both the experience and the ability to do so! In plenty, as well. And he is settling in really nicely with the fantastic talent in Arsenal. What a fantastic sight so far! And, what a fantastic prospect for much greater things for the future!

Second, we have the fans and the management of the club fully behind the players. For the first time in many years, there is a buzz around the club. Remember the happy evening of European football on Wednesday? The chants, the songs, the cheers! Ah, what an experience! Forgotten is the anger and vitriol spewed all around in the summer. The faithless have scurried into their holes. The fans are great every match, home and away. Even the journos have started putting in a good word or two for the good guys. Surprise, surprise!

Third, the playing environment in the European stage is fantastic. The grounds in Europe are good, and promote our brand of the beautiful passing and dribbling game. Our kids enjoy better protection from the refs, unlike in England, and there is good enough opposition so that the boys don’t fall asleep midway through the game.

Fourth, much as we are having a good time in Arsenal, and reaping the benefits of good financial and player management over a very long period of time, our major opposition in Europe are looking shaky. In England, the plight of ManUre, Chelski and Shitty are plain for all to see. Indeed, we are better than all of them, We Are Top of the League! In Spain, Barca are not quite the same team they were a few years back, and Real Madrid are struggling with a new management and a new look team. In Germany, Dortmund is doing well. But they lost to Napoli, remember, and wait till they meet Arsenal! Bayern are looking good, and they are our true competitors. All in all, the time is perfect for us. Arsenal is capable of beating any team in Europe on the day!! So, this is our stage, and this is our time!

We have started well, winning our first two games. But these were only two games, and against pitiful opposition as well. The men from the marshes down in Marseille, and the knobbly knees from Naples. Next comes the double-header against dodgy Dortmund. They have done reasonably well so far, but managed to engineer a loss against Napoli. Yes, the same Napoli whom Arsenal played out of the park at the Emirates the other day.

Its game on, friends. On with the show! There’s silverware looming in the horizon, and it is the right shape and texture! It is the Champions League!

Written by Arnie


Wemberley ……

May 25, 2013

“Wemberly, Wemberley,  We’re the Famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wemberly” . We should be singing this song as we walk down Empire way to watch our heroes take on the mighty (but beatable) Borussia Dortmund.

Can you remember back to that Emirates night in February? ….. the manly Oliver Giroud strikes a sweet shot which is heading into the net but cruelly and very unfortunately hits Neuer’s leg, 3 minutes later Bayern Munich break, Mandzukic’s shot hits Sagna and bounces over Szczesny …. 1-3, when it should have been 2-2 and with Arsenal pushing for a winner.  Yes, we got trounced in the first half but were coming strong in the second, which became an Arsenal trait throughout the season.

Second leg, we gave them a lesson – yes, the finest team in the history of football were hammered in front of their own fans by a team which apparently was in terrible shape and about to disintegrate under their “hapless”manager who was clearly too long in the tooth to motivate his team. Had we scored one more we would have won the tie – and we could have. Then we would certainly have beaten a poor and dispirited RM in the semis.

Such are the vagaries of football. (Biased? Delusional? Moi?  😀  )

Instead we have an all German Final, and thank goodness for that. Both teams have been playing the best football in the CL this season, both play with a genuine passion without resort to theatrics, and both managers believe in the beautiful game. We have enjoyed the Spanish domination (well, some of us have) but their blatant cheating has finally received it’s due reward.  We are in the Audi era. Beautifully built, efficient, powerful and desirable.

BD have had over 500,000 ticket applications! The support of both teams is astonishing and they SING.

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The loss of Gotze is a massive blow, both to BD and the Final. He is a wonderful player and will be missed, but what delights we have in store – there is hardly a player who is not top quality. From BD’s Lewandowski to BM’s flying Austrian baby FB, Alaba, every player is worth watching. BM’s midfield is just awesome – Schweinsteigger and Martinez – but so too is BD’s, who may have less famous names but nonetheless are hugely competitive.

This is Heynkes final game before the arrival of Pep, and Klopp is everyone’s favourite manager; that alone is interesting. Both will want to impress the billions of viewers. Both have teams with potent forward lines and players who can express the imaginative tactics of their respective managers. I think we are in for one of the best CL Finals ever.

Now for a German Explorer. Although the English discovered 95% of the World it did leave a few places for Johnny Foreigner to plant his flag, and Alexander Von Humboldt (1769 – 1859) did so with remarkable regularity. Take the places named after him – they are in all over the West Coast of USA USA, Venezuela, New Zealand, Greenland, Mexico, +++. There are National Parks named after him in Cuba and Peru. Simon Bolivar referred to Von Humboldt as “The real discover of South America”. Not only was this fellow an explorer he was also a hugely eminent scientist and wrote books (in particular The Cosmos) which are still referred to today.

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During his lifetime Humboldt became one of the most famous men in Europe and was feted wherever he went. He eventually became a diplomat and was a huge favourite of European royalty. Von Humboldt died at the age of 89 in Berlin.

Back to the football. Wembley is about to be occupied by the Germans tonight (no joke, please Raddy).  Thankfully we will not be treated to another appalling display of negative football that both Chelsea and Mourinho’s Inter Milan brought to the world’s biggest club game of the season – No, what we will hopefully see is the two best teams in Europe serving up a feast of attacking football.

My allegiance tonight is purely based on the fairytale of Dortmund’s rise in the face of the juggernaut of German football’s biggest club.

“Los gehts BVB, kampfen og siegen”

Written by Big Raddy


Come on Arsenal …. Come on Arsenal ….

March 13, 2013

I’m excited. The prospect of seeing MY team walk out into the magnificent Allianz Arena to face the best team currently playing is exciting. It makes me proud.

Yes, we got a football lesson in the first half at The Emirates but we held our own 2nd half and could easily have got a draw. Before you neigh-sayers jump in ….. had Giroud’s shot been 3 inches to the right we would have scored; instead Neuer made a lucky save, the ball bounced kindly for them and Bayern scored their third. It could so easily have been 2-2.

But it isn’t.

So, what should Mr Wenger do? Should he put out a scratch team or send out our very best available and go for the win?

One could say that the Swansea game sat the weekend is more important and players should be rested but in my opinion that is cobblers. The Arsenal are the last team standing from the Premier League and we will fight to the last. Admittedly, the odds are against us – Bayern are 20 points ahead of an excellent Borussia Dortmund which shows how good they are, they have yet to lose at home this season, and have lost just once this season. Tonight will be the second.

Jack is out, Monreal is out, Podolski is out. Rumours abound that Szczesny will be dropped, that Diaby will start. Who knows? All I now is that whoever goes out onto the pitch tonight represents all of us, that’s right, every Arsenal fan, and as such he will give his all  – even Gervinho.

My Team (not AW’s)

bayern v arse

Expect to see the Mekon (Gervinho) and the Ox come on at 60 mins. I don’t trust Fabianski, he has let us down in big games (I shudder to think about his performance at Porto) and despite Chesney’s failings he is the better keeper. AW has said that Chesney is “mentally tired”, which bodes ill both fot the rest of the season and his future. Let us wish the Bi Man well.

Today’s English explorer:  Lawrence Wager (1904-1965). Now you may not have heard of this fellow but he is another of the great Englishmen. Not only an explorer but also a mountaineer and a fine soldier.

wager3

“Climb every Mountain, Ford every Stream….”

Following a 1st class Honours degree in Geology from Cambridge Uni, Wager went to explore Greenland (a Danish Colony). He mapped 35,000kms of Greenland!. Wager then went to the Himalayas where in 1933 he attempted to climb Everest, reaching 28,200 ft which at that time was the highest any human had been on earth. WW2 interrupted his career and Wager became a pilot, being involved in the famous “find the Turpitz”campaign which later became the subject of a popular movie.

After the war, Wager  was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and later Professor of Geology at University College, Oxford. Wager died of a heart attack in 1965.

To win tonight or win the tie would be beyond my dreams, a draw would also be fantastic. What I ask of our lads is to go out and play with pride – to show the world that Arsenal and Wengerball still demand respect.

We are the last representatives of the Premier League in the competition. If we have to go down let’s go down fighting.

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy