SK/OT. Sasha and Anderlecht’s season is on the line this weekend
Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread
Crunch Time: Decision Day. With the exception of one or two senior leagues (that complete their seasons next weekend) this is the big one. England, Italy and Germany will all finalize their seasons this weekend. The winners go on to Europe, or get promoted, the losers go home or get relegated.
Lets call Saturday Germany Day. It’s a big day for US Players in Germany at both ends of the Bundesliga table. Schalke visit Freiburg and this has to be the game of the day in Germany. #4 Schalke are currently in the final UCL place on 52 points. They lead #5 Freiburg by a single point going into this finale. A win or a draw gets them through, but Freiburg are no push-overs as Jermaine Jones and Schalke know, they are 0-1 this season, and where beaten 3-1 by Freiburg at home in December. To Close to Call
At the other end of the table #17 Hoffenheim, who have struggled all season, have the unenviable task of traveling to #2 Dortmund and will need an unlikely win to avoid straight out relegation to 2.Bundesliga. Head to Head Dortmund have the advantage, and beat Hoffenheim in Sinsheim 3-1 earlier in the season. Hoffenheim have beaten the teams around them over the past five weeks, but against stronger opposition (Schalke) they were well beaten. Sadly Hoffenheim lose this one and Fabian, Danny and co. are set to prepare for life in 2.Bundesliga next season. Augsburg and Michael Parkhurst are not out of the woods yet either, even if Hoffenheim loses, # 16 Augsburg will need a win and a little luck. The good news is that the odds are in their favor. Augsburg welcomes already relegated #18 Furth into their home and that should result in the three points they are desperate for. #15 Dusseldorf share the same points total, and only lead Augsburg on goal differential, travel to #9 Hannover and, newly re-signed, Steve Cherundolo. Dusseldorf are leading this seasons tally 1-0, after beating Hannover 2-1 in December, but times have changed for Dusseldorf, who’s first season back in Bundesliga since 1986 has not gone well, and they could find themselves in the relegation playoff against Kaiserslautern (2.Bundesliga /third place). Hannover wins/Dusseldorf Relegation playoff.
Talking about 2.Bundesliga, the promotions are already set as the teams set up to wrap up on Sunday. Hertha Berlin and John Brooks will be plying their trade in the Bundesliga next season after topping 2.Bundesliga. Eintracht Braunschweig take the other promotion spot (so glad no US players are with them – typing their name during weekend commentary would take ages) and the aforementioned Kaiserslautern take the promotion playoff spot. Unfortunately we do lose Andrew Wooten and Sandhausen, who are relegated to 3.Liga. Andrew had a pretty good season with seven goals, second on the team.
In 3.Liga, Preussen Munster and Matt Taylor, who up to a month ago led the division, will be hard pressed to even make the promotional playoff. Their last three games have only yielded one point, and in a league where the top five teams are only separated by seven points, that’s just not good enough. Matt has had a phenomenal season scoring 15 goals in the league and three more in the DFB cup. Saturday #5 Preussen Munster will be at home to #19 Babelsberg. Munster should get the win (and Babelsberg relegated) and then will have to wait on the results from Heidenheim and Osnabruck, both whom are playing relegation candidates at home. Munster Wins/fail to get promoted. At the bottom of 3.Liga, Darmstadt and Preston Zimmerman are battling for survival. There are just two points that separate #19 from #16, all four teams are hoping for a positive result on Saturday. Two of the four teams will be in Regionalliga next season. As fate would have it #18 Darmstadt are at home to #16 Stuttgarter Kickers, who Darmstadt visited earlier this season and came away with a point in a 1-1 draw. Whichever way it goes, Preston Zimmerman had a great season, scoring seven league goals to lead his team. Going out on a limb, Darmstadt Wins/Stuttgarter Kickers are relegated.
Usually I comment on the whole weekend, as this is Decision Day Weekend, I will continue this piece on Saturday night for Sunday – Covering England and Italy and a closer look at #1 Anderlecht and Sasha Kljestan’s game against #2 Zulte-Waregem.
Join me Saturday morning for the “Thread”, let me know if you agree with my predictions and let me know your predictions for Saturday and Sunday.
Hertha Berlin will be playing in the Bundesliga next season after winning promotion this year, but Alfredo Morales will not be with the club. Morales signed a two-year deal with FC Ingolstadt today.
“Ingolstadt is a young, up-and-coming club with great potential,” Morales, who joined Hertha at age 10, told the club website after the deal was announced on Friday. “It was time for me to make a new step, I felt it in my gut. I want to do my part to help FCI continue moving forward.”
The move to Ingolstadt means the 23-year-old will stay in the 2. Bundesliga and will likely get a shot at more playing time. Morales appeared in 23 first-team matches with Hertha Berlin across all competitions over the last three seasons, including 10 games in 2012-13.
Ingolstadt currently sit in 11th place in the 18-team 2. Bundesliga this season with one game remaining. Fellow Americans Edson Buddle and Amaechi Igwe have played at the club in prior seasons.
Wikipedia fun fact: The club nickname Die Schanzer has a military background, meaning trenchmen or rampartmen.
While Jurgen Klinsmann announced his roster for the upcoming games, here is a look at the rosters Belgium and Germany will be bringing to the US. As expected, Germany’s roster is a bit weaker with the DFB Pokal final on June 1. As for the Belgians, their roster looks pretty good.
Goalkeepers: Rene Adler (Hamburg), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96), Marc Andre ter-Stegen (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Defenders: Dennis Aogo (Hamburg), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Heiko Westermann (Hamburg), Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke 04), Per Mertesacker (FC Arsenal), Philipp Wollscheid (Bayer Leverkusen).
Midfielders: Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Roman Neustädter (Schalke), Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund), Aaron Hunt (Werder Bremen), Nicolai Müller (Mainz 05), Stefan Reinartz (Bayer Leverkusen), Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen), Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Max Kruse (SC Freiburg)
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Andre Schürrle (Bayer Leverkusen)
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Ajax), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Guillaume Gillet (Anderlecht), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Sébastien Pocognoli (Hannover), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern München), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (Twente), Steven Defour (Porto), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Everton), Thorgan Hazard (Zulte-Waregem), Timmy Simons (FC Nürnberg), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg)
Forwards: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen), Eden Hazard (Chelsea) Maxime Lestienne, (Club Brugge), Romelu Lukaku (West Brom), Dries Mertens (PSV Eindhoven), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Jelle Vossen (Genk).
Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 26 players for the upcoming USMNT camp. The third goalkeeper spot will be rotating between four guys.
GOALKEEPERS (6) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)
MIDFIELDERS (10) : Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5) : Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)
Both Steve Cherundolo (knee) and Timmy Chandler (knee) are unavailable. Here are some quotes from Klinsmann.
One player who is rumored to be missing from this roster is Landon Donovan. If Landon does not get called in, you would have to think he would be called in with the guys for the Gold Cup.
Speaking of that Gold Cup roster, it looks like they will have their own friendly against Guatemala down in San Diego before the tournament begins on July 9. But US Soccer has not officially announced anything yet.
We told you about the Gold Cup getting a new trophy last week. Well, here it is and it sort of looks like the old trophy.
With all these different USMNT rosters, Brian Sciaretta takes a guess at both rosters.
Jozy Altidore was named to the De Telegraaf Eredivisie Team of the Season. And here are two photos of Jozy holding the Dutch Cup after last week’s victory: Photo 1 & Photo 2.
There was a Sky Sports story that we posted last week about Bursaspor trying to obtain Maurice Edu from Stoke City on a permanent basis and multiple people are telling Greg Seltzer the same.
If Edu does return to Stoke City next season, he along with Brek Shea and Geoff Cameron will look like they play for the Columbus Crew in away games in their new black-and-yellow kits for 2013-14.
Remember when Freddy Adu’s manager at Bahia was fired a week after he joined the club and there was some crazy stat about the club going through 20-25+ managerial changes over the previous 10 years? Well, Bahia fired another manager.
As expected, Steve Cherundolo will be getting a new one-year extension at Hannover 96.
After being released by Carlisle United, Frank Simek is currently on trial with D.C. United even though he would still need to go through the allocation rankings since he has played for the USMNT before. Yay weird MLS rules!
Even with the broken leg, Will Packwood has agreed to a one-year extension with Birmingham City.
Mix Diskerud talked to Goal.com this week about his future with the USMNT and his failed move to Portland.
Tijuana defeated Palmeiras 2-1 last night meaning they will advance to the quarterfinals of Copa Libertadores. Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both got the start in the win and they will now take on Brazilian side Atlético Mineiro.
Alex Kurial of Yanks Abroad has a story up on how Americans Shane Recklet and Jacob Wilson are trying to help Vasas SC back to the top level of soccer in Hungary.
And go take a look at our cool new Sacha/Over There shirt. They will go up for sale next week.
So we have been talking about this Super Secret Project X for the last month or so and we are finally going to show it off to you guys (in case you haven’t noticed it on the left hand side yet). We decided to make a new shirt for the site and decided to showcase one of the site’s favorite things involving a player over there: Sacha Kljestan’s mustache.
After getting the blessing from Sacha himself and finding a graphic designer who could pull off the design, we now have the shirts in our hands. They were also printed on some awesome American Apparel tri-blend shirts which means they are super soft and of high quality (if I could marry a t-shirt, it would be the American Apparel tri-blend…….but I would also need help since I would be marrying a t-shirt).
They will be going up for sale starting next week with the price going to be in the $15-20 range (that price includes shipping as well). Still working out all the pricing details (not looking to make a profit, just looking to cover costs). And I am sure we will have giveaways and contests along the way for a chance at a free shirt.