Posts Tagged ‘ Hertha Berlin ’

German Giants Go Head To Head In Battle Of Europe

ansgararticleIt is safe to say most of Europe’s and even the world’s eyes will be on a stadium in London on Saturday night. The Champions League final has nearly as big an appeal as the World Cup final. The English FA was happy when Wembley was picked as a host, it was a gesture for their anniversary. The worst case happened, however, when no team from the “Best League In The World” survived the quarter finals. On the other hand, two very different and yet similar teams from Germany made their way to the final. An all-German affair, unlikely as it seemed before this season, will decide the winner.

The favourite seems clear in Bayern München, but their trauma of two lost cup finals last season haunts them even after a truly astonishing league campaign. 92 points after 34 matchdays as well as winning the championship the earliest were just a couple of records the team of coach Jupp Heynckes broke over the course of the season. A little stumble away at BATE Borisov could not hide the fact that the team won their Champions League group comfortably. Things got tense in the 2nd round match-up against Arsenal, but from then on, they left Juventus and Barcelona no chance whatsoever, schooling the Spaniards 7-0 on aggregate to enter the final.  Continue reading

Bundesliga Sits Atop European Football Throne

bundesli

The Bundesliga league season has culminated in spectacular fashion with final day drama sealing the unlikely relegation of a club who thought they were safe. The standard of German football on the whole has improved since a beleaguered national side surprisingly made their way to the 2002 World Cup Final only to be humbled by the mighty Brazil. But German football has bounced back and is now stronger than ever as Europe gets set to witness the first ever all German Champions League Final this Saturday when Borussia Dortmund battle Bayern Munich at Wembley.

Ahead of the big showdown we take a look through the rest of the Bundesliga, a league brimming with big clubs, exciting talents and more goals than any other league in Europe. Continue reading

LOI V Bundesliga: A Steep Learning Curve

The League of Ireland has once again fallen victim to the underrated force of the Bundesliga after Hannover 96 all but ended St Patricks Athletic’s European dream after securing a three nil away win in Dublin.

The first leg tie saw goals from Leon Andreasen, Christian Pander and Didier Ya Konan break Saints hearts and all but end the tie as the contest. The Saints travel to Germany on Thursday for the second leg which is nothing but a formality but it could have been so different had Liam Buckley’s men claimed a well deserved goal.

The Inchicore side will travel to Hannover with pride at stake and will bow out of Europe with their heads held high after a great Europa League run saw them knock out IBV of Iceland and Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia before coming up against the might of the Germans, something they weren’t phased by.

Indeed it’s not the first time Ireland’s most consistent European club has felt the gulf in quality between the League of Ireland and the Bundesliga, a league which is arguably the toughest in the world. Hertha Berlin knocked Pats out of the Europa League in 2008 despite the Saints claiming a credible nil all draw at the RDS, which could have easily swung in the Saints favour.

Fast forward to 2012 and Die Roten proved a more brute force than their Bundesliga rivals. Hannover haven’t had any great European history but in recent years they have shown their form and prowess. The 2010/11 season saw an amazing fourth place finish for the men from Lower Saxony and ensured they ended their 19th year absence from competing on the European stage. Few could have predicted that finish for Mirko Slomka’s side yet the best was yet to come from the German side, who marched all the way to the Europa League quarter finals only to lose out to eventual winners Atletico Madrid.

This season offers another venture in the Europa League for Slomka’s side, who beat Pats 3-0 without really hitting their top gear. While 3-0 was incredibly flattering to the Germans, Pats deserve tremendous credible for their valiant second half showing. The League of Ireland is a world away from the Bundesliga both on and off the pitch but the determination and heart of St Patricks Athletic has shown that if lady luck was on their side it would have been a different story. In the end the clinical finishing of Hannover killed off the tie, although Brendan Clarke should have done better to save Pander’s free kick while there was a suspicion of offside about Ya Konan’s finish.

St Patricks Athletic have long been regarded as one of Ireland’s top clubs and their consistency on the European stage is far greater than any other club despite Shamrock Rovers tremendous feat of reaching the Europa League group stages last year.

Pats have an incredible home record in the Europa League but when they reach the crunch stage the very fact that they have to move their home tie from Richmond Park seems to be something of a mental hindrance. The Saints have enjoyed many great nights in Inchicore and have saw off some good sides such as Elfsborg, Krylya Sovetov and Siroki Brijeg. Such victories have brought the might of clubs such as Hertha Berlin, Steaua Bucharest, Karpaty Lviv and Hannover 96 to Dublin. European football is a tremendous learning curve and a whole different game to the domestic league.

If Pats can learn anything from their illustrious opponents of which Hannover are no doubt the finest then we may well see Ireland’s European club crack the Europa League year after year.

But until then Saints fans must remain content in the knowledge that fantastic European nights come at the expense of domestic success, as has been proven year upon year.

Pats Ready For Hannover Battle

St Patricks Athletic will look to continue their Europa League journey tonight when they square off against Bundesliga giants Hannover 96 at Tallaght Stadium (Kick off 7.45pm).

Tonight’s high profile tie with the Bundesliga giants is the reward for Pats following their extra time victories over both ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar and Široki Brijeg – leaving the Saints as the League of Ireland’s sole representative left in European competition.

It is the second successive season that Pats have reached this stage, having been knocked out by Karpaty Lviv last season.

Hannover remain in the middle of their pre-season preparations ahead of the beginning of the 2012/13 Bundesliga season on August 23rd when they open up their campaign with a home tie with FC Schalke 04. They come to Dublin with an air of confidence and few can blame them as they are the clear favourites, however such is the nature of football that the favourites tag can often be seen as a hindrance.

Pats won’t fear their illustrious opponents and have tasted the strength of the Bundesliga in recent years. 2008 saw the Saints square off against Hertha Berlin, a tie they were rather unlucky in. The Saints lost 2-0 in the first leg but achieved a credible nil all draw in the return leg in Dublin, a game they easily could have won.

Speaking to stpatsfc.com, Saints’ manager Liam Buckley stated that while his side were under no illusions of the calibre of Hannover 96 and the huge challenge they would pose, it was one that everyone at the club were relishing and that his side would concentrate on their own performance rather than worrying about the opposition.

“We have to make sure we play our way. When we get the ball, we’ve got to be even more patient in terms of keeping possession – our supporters have been great in understanding that and supporting us this season.”

“We’ve a tough game Thursday night, but we’ll rely on what we’ve been working on for the past few months, and if we retain the ball, they’re not going to score. So we cannot afford to give the ball away cheaply which we have done at times this season – if we can avoid doing that, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

Buckley reported that the Saints will be without the services of Stephen O’Flynn after breaking a rib, the striker is expected to be out for up to a month. Dean Kelly is also on the casualty list with a groin injury, while Mark Rossiter is a long term absentee with a knee injury.

Buckley however is hoping to have new signing Vinny Faherty registered in time for tomorrow night’s clash.