After a good solid month into our season we have had five league games and one DFB-Pokal (German Cup) game so far. Overall we can say that we have started positively into the new season earning eleven points and currently landing third place in the Bundesliga table.
We also reached the third round of the DFB-Pokal last weekend making it one step closer to the final in Cologne in May. Those not familiar with DFB-Pokal, it is simply another national competition where all first, second and regional (aka third league) division teams partake in. Reserve teams within each club, however, are not permitted to participate. It is a single-elimination tournament made up of five rounds over the course of the season with the sixth round being the final in Cologne. A drawing is held before each round to determine who plays who.
Although this competition doesn’t necessarily measure a team’s consistent performance over the length of a season like the Meisterschaft, the league title, it is therefore a one-time fight between two teams on a given day where the best prepared team and even possibly with a bit of luck will advance. That is what makes this title so special; any team can be capable of winning it or at least moving forward into the next round. Typically it is the ‘better’ teams who end up more successful but since my time in Germany, I have already experienced, as well as many others, that the underdog sometimes does pull off a win and upset the favorites. It surely then raises the stakes on both sides since losing means you ‘go home’ and must wait another year for the next opportunity. After last weekend, we have effectively made it to the next round and patiently wait until our next competition in November.
With the large reshaping of our team this new season a lot of things have fortunately fallen quickly in to place whereas some other aspects will need a bit more time to fully click for us until we reach that point where we all imagine for ourselves and the club.
Last week we started our back-to-back English weeks (those not familiar with an ‘English’ week, its playing Sunday, mid-week and again on Sunday). In 15 days we will have absolved five games, three on the road and two at home. Naturally the last days and the continuing days are very intense, strenuous, and time-consuming. It is also a time which we must take seriously as an athlete, staying disciplined and professional at the tasks at hand. Sleep, Nutrition, Recovery, etc are left more in our own hands as we enter and continue into a week like we have now. Physically and mentally tiring, we are forced to find the balance we need to perform at our top ability day in and day out. Some may enjoy it more than others but as an athlete, I can say, along with many others, that is exactly what we envision and desire from our sport.. to play as many games as possible. Of course over a longer period it is simply not humanly feasible, but with a few matches close together, it allows you to stay in the rhythm of your game and reside in top competitive form. It also grants other players who unfortunately do not see as much playing time as they would like to get onto the field and help the team. During these intense English weeks each individual of the squad, from top to bottom, is especially important and essential in bringing the total success of the team forward.
Before our english weeks began we had a two week break from league play as all the national team players were gone with their respective national teams seeking to qualify for the World Cup in 2015. Some were successful, some have advanced to playoffs whereas the other’s hopes have been postponed until next the World Cup preparations. As mentioned in my last blogs we have quite a few foreigners on the team and represent a handful of European countries. Germany, Norway, Switzerland have qualified, Holland and Italy are into playoffs, and Austria and Finland must unfortunately wait until the next World Cup qualifiers.
As we continue into the next weeks until our mid-season break in December we eagerly look forward to implementing our goals and achieving the best we can. One game at a time, however, is our aim and simply seek to collect as many points as possible and close the gaps to the top teams in Germany.
Professional soccer player currently playing for FC Bayern München in Germany. Previously played for 1.FFC Frankfurt and WNY Flash.