On Friday, UEFA’s smallest member will try to avoid embarrassment against the reigning world champions in the next round of Euro 2016 qualifiers. Since winning the World Cup, the German national team has been suffering from a hangover. And who can blame them? Not only had they won the most coveted trophy in the world, but on Tuesday in Berlin, 21 members of the winning squad attended the world premiere of Die Mannschaft, the documentary about their triumph in Brazil, reliving the glory under the glitz and lights of cameras. Bundestrainer Joachim Löw will hope his players can refocus on their game on Friday, but frankly the world champions are approaching one of the biggest mismatches of these Euro 2016 qualifiers. Gibraltar are the newest and the smallest member of UEFA, with a population of less than 30,000 living on 2.6 square miles of rocky island. Their team consists entirely of amateurs: a firefighter in goal, a customs agent in […]

Sunday saw bottom club Borussia Dortmund regain their old stride as they defeated previously-unbeaten Borussia Mönchengladbach. For 24 hours, Borussia Dortmund were bottom of the Bundesliga, the famous black and yellow crest anchoring the league table. With just seven points, BVB hadn’t won a league match since mid-September and had suffered successive defeats against the likes of Köln, Hannover 96, and Hamburg. Back-to-back dates with Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach, who hadn’t lost a single match this season, seemed to come at the worst possible time for Jürgen Klopp’s men. If anything, the pair of difficult fixtures against high-quality opposition seems to have galvanized the team. Dortmund produced one of their best first halves in recent memory against Bayern, and were unlucky to lose in the end. But the Bayern game appeared to confirm a leading theory among those attempting to diagnose Dortmund: BVB could do well against teams who attack them, like Bayern and Champions League sides, but cannot […]

Matchday 10 in the Bundesliga saw last season’s top two clash at the Allianz Arena, while second-placed Gladbach took on fourth-placed Hoffenheim. Borussia Dortmund Push Bayern in “Der Klassiker” Borussia Dortmund are now in 17th place, 17 points behind Bayern Munich, with 18 fewer points than they had at this point last season (when they were only one point behind the champions). Last time they were this far down in the table at this point, they wound up relegated. But the team that lost to Bayern on Saturday put on such a classy performance, particularly in the first half, that those statistics are hard to believe. Klopp got his tactics exactly right, deploying Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender together in midfield instead of the newly returned Ilkay Gündogan. These two, more defensively minded than the passmaster, had silenced Xabi Alonso in the Champions League ties against his former club Real Madrid, and they did so again here. Shinji Kagawa had […]

On Saturday, Poland beat Germany for the first time in their history to take control of Euro 2016 qualifying Group D. The match, which ended 2-0, featured goals from Milik and substitute Mila, and marked the first time the Poles beat their neighbors in 19 attempts. One of those attempts was during the group stages of World Cup 2006. The Germans and the Poles found themselves in Group A with Ecuador and Costa Rica, with Poland and Ecuador vying for the second spot into the last 16. With this in mind, the Poles arrived in Dortmund to stymie the hosts, who fielded five of the players who would go on to win the World Cup 2014. Germany 1-0 Poland Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany June 14, 2006 In front of a home crowd of 65,000, the Germans dominated possession but couldn’t take the lead, with Miroslav Klose coming close on two occasions in the first 15 minutes. In the tenth […]

Matchday 6 in the Bundesliga saw Borussia Dortmund lose the Revierderby, VfB Stuttgart get their first win, and Hamburg score their first goal. Schalke Defeat Dortmund in Revierderby The Revierderby is one of the fiercest rivalries in Germany, a battle of wills between rival cities in the heart of German coal country. As Schalke and Dortmund have consistently finished near the top of the Bundesliga in recent years, it’s also become an assertion of dominance. But if this year’s Revierderby is anything to go by, BVB are in serious trouble. The loss was not only a dent to their ego, but meant that they slipped further down the table to 12th place after a 2-1 loss in Gelsenkirchen. Last year, BVB won this fixture, 3-1, thanks to goals from Sahin, Blaszczykowski, and Aubameyang. Two of those three are injured at the moment, and Klopp’s ramshackle side was filled with players newly returned from injury and those unaccustomed to playing together. […]