Are Bayern Munich in crisis?

It looked to have been a mere blimp in Bayern Munich’s season but picking up just one Bundesliga point from an available nine has raised questions around the Säbener Straße. A 1-1 draw against Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Hertha Berlin and a 3-0 hammering against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday evening.

Just one goal in three games isn’t your typical Bayern Munich. This is an elite European club that has won six consecutive Bundesliga titles and if things don’t change imminently, there could be real problems ahead. Continue reading

Bayern Munich’s first defeat is just a minor setback


It all seemed to be going so well for Bayern Munich but after dropping five points from an available six, questions surely must be asked of Niko Kovac’s side. Conceding a late equaliser to Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg kicked proceedings off before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat against Hertha BSC on Friday night. Continue reading

Player profile – Mesut Özil (Germany)


When Germany manager Joachim Löw announces his final squad to travel with him to the World Cup in Russia this summer, there are several names already expected to feature on the list. It is very likely that there will be a mix of youth and experience, and that makes the inclusion of players like Thomas Muller – who we looked at last week – and Arsenal star Mesut Ozil very likely. The stalwarts are the two most capped players in Löw’s provisional squad, with the final list set to be submitted ahead of the tournament’s kickoff on 14th June. With Germany looking to defend their title having won the 2014 World Cup, the fitness and form of these two will of course prove key if they are to progress as far as expected in the tournament.

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Player Profile – Thomas Müller (Germany)


If Germany are to take to the World Cup and enjoy a successful defence of their trophy, then their key players will of course have to step up. The likes of Manuel Neuer and Mats Hummels will be key as far as the back line goes, but going forward Germany have often proven themselves to be as lethal as any other side in the world. With that in mind, there is a double-edged sword style of argument relating to Thomas Müller’s involvement at the upcoming tournament. On the one hand, pressure may be reduced owing to the wealth of talented boasted among the German front line. However, flip that coin and you will see the obvious point that each attacker needs to be at their best to maintain what has become a fearfully good goalscoring record in recent years. One of the key targets is, of course, none other than Bayern Munich star Thomas Müller.

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World Cup 2018: Germany Looking For Successful Defence of Crown


With the World Cup now fast approaching, let’s take a look at some of the nations who will be hoping to have a successful time of things in Russia this summer. Where better to start, surely, than the reigning champions Germany?

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Germany’s Thomas Müller rediscovers international goalscoring form

Euro 2016Form is temporary, class is permanent. 

As is frequently the case in football, highly gifted players temporarily lose form.

Whether it is a goalkeeper losing confidence in his handling, a defender misjudging tackles, a midfielder becoming complacent in possession or a striker’s goal – scoring touch deserting him, world class players can often endure frustrating spells whereby they struggle to make as positive an impact upon their team’s performance as they are capable of.

Inspirational in Germany’s comfortable victory

That is an issue which Thomas Müller had recently been experiencing for Germany, with the Bayern Munich forward undergoing a seven-game goal drought at international level, as he failed to score during his country’s Euro 2016 campaign.

Nevertheless the 26-year-old showed his unquestionable class to emphatically end that goal drought by scoring twice for Germany, to help Joachim Low’s side begin their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win away to Norway.

After Müller ruthlessly capitalised on hesitant Norwegian defending to give Germany the lead with 15 minutes gone in the game, on the stroke of half time, he then provided an assist for Joshua Kimmich to score his maiden international goal, by playing a wonderful through ball to his Bayern Munich teammate, which the 21-year-old despatched brilliantly beyond Rune Almenning Jarstein.

The Hertha Berlin goalkeeper was beaten again on the hour mark, as Müller  scored his 34th international goal by rising to powerfully head home Sami Khedira’s fine cross.  That capped a thoroughly efficient German display, which was characterised by control and superb teamwork, as Müller played an influential role in his team dominating the game.

Continuing to build an excellent international career

As well as scoring a brace and providing a goal-scoring assist, Müller produced an immaculate all round performance, as he has so often done for his country since making his international debut during Germany’s  1-0 friendly win over Argentina in March 2010.

Subsequently in the process of amassing 79 appearances and scoring 34 goals for Germany, Müller has become one of his country’s most important players, whilst he holds a similarly revered status at club level with Bayern Munich.

Courtesy of his two goals against Norway, Müller has become Germany’s 10th top goal – scorer of all time.  Furthermore following Lukas Podolski’s retirement from international football, Müller is now his country’s leading active goalscorer.

In pursuit of Klose’s goal – scoring record

Given that Müller is just 26-years-old, possesses wonderful fitness levels and boasts an impressive international goal per game ration of 0.43, it is altogether conceivable that he could yet break Miroslav Klose’s record of 71 international goals.

Ultimately the prospect of endeavouring to achieve that represents a significant challenge to Müller but it is one that he undoubtedly possesses the potential to embrace, as proven by his wonderful return to goal – scoring form against Norway.

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Are Germany underestimating France ahead of Euro 2016 showdown?

Football - Germany v Scotland

Joachim Loew’s Germany side travel to the Stade Vélodrome to face Didier Deschamps’ France in the Euro 2016 semi-final on Thursday night, and go into the game as slim favourites to reach the final against either Portugal or Wales. It’s the World champions against the host nations. The tournament’s best defence against the most potent attack. Only one side can go through so something has to give, but are Germany underestimating France?

Germany and Bayern Munich attacker Thomas Muller issued fighting talk ahead of the meeting. “Fear never comes into it. We know France have many good players, but Iceland didn’t honestly look that good at the back so if we defend well as a team, we will not let these players get into positions to show their class. We’re respectful, but I’m optimistic.”

The Eagles will be without the spine of their team to face France. Defender Mats Hummels is suspended, while midfielder Sami Khedira and striker Mario Gomez are both ruled out through injury. Muller isn’t fazed, however. “We’ll find a solution even if we’ve got some players missing out, which is bitter. This happens in football, there are always injuries and suspensions for big games but you’ve got to compensate as a team.”

“I said before the tournament that I’ve never seen so much depth of quality in our team as we have now so I’m sure we can compensate,” he added. The Bayern Munich forward also refuted claims that home advantage will be a major help ahead of their semi-final meeting, hinting that the weight of expectation could be to their underdoing. And with Germany having made the last four of seven of their last eight international tournaments, Muller believes France should fear the Germans.

“France have not got here by luck. But they are now under a bit of pressure too as the hosts, and they know they’re facing a strong Germany side. We were both being mentioned as favourites before the tournament and there aren’t many bigger games than this one.” Germany have made the semi-finals in consecutive European Championships, while finishing as runners-up in the 2008 tournament.

With Loew’s men finally ending their duck with their 2014 World Cup win, while France’s last international tournament triumph came in 2000, Germany will go into the semi-final outing with less pressure on their shoulders. They scraped through against Italy in the quarters, but remain unbeaten in the Euros and are yet to concede in normal time. A France side having scored 11 goals in five goals are sure to test them, however? Which side will come out on top?

Germany finally beat Italy and advance to Euro 2016 semi finals


No matter how great your defence is, no matter how much you tactically prepare for your opponent, luck will come along and take the rug from underneath you at lightning speed and this Euro 2016 quarter final between two great nations Germany and Italy emphasized this. Mesut Ozil who opened the scoring in the second half needed ricochets and odd bounces before latching onto the ball to beat Gianluigi Buffon and Italy needed a penalty, a decision that could have gone either way to equalise. In the end after a frantic penalty shoot out that proved more worthy and entertaining than the 120 minutes that had preceded it, Germany won. And it was the Germans first major tournament victory over Italy albeit after extra time and penalties that gave them a deserved win in the end.

Germany haven’t won the Euro’s since ‘football was coming home’ according to the English at Euro 96. Twenty long years is a long time for a nation that have won the competition on three previous occasions in 1972, 1980 and of course 96, but Germany surely look equipped to give it a real shot now. Their opponents will either be hosts France or Iceland in the semi finals.

On the face of it it’s hard for Italy to be disappointed although of course they will be. But in truth the Italians showed too much respect to the current world champions and were on reflection wholly negative throughout. Their game plan got stuck in the Bordeaux summer heat where an early goal never sufficed and Germany ploughed along creating chances though in the early stages admittingly not testing Buffon. Buffon himself cut a figure of a boss on the pitch, a goalkeeper who seemingly knows no limits. Tonight Buffon aged 38 and playing his 163rd game for Italy over 19 years sensed through an international career of highs- winning the World Cup in 2006 and lows a European Championship runner up in 2012, that his team after disposing of current champions Spain would go on and win in France. It wasn’t to be after a thrilling penalty shoot out that saw Buffon perched on the right hand side of the area looking away from goal such was the drama.

Simone Zaza was brought on at the death in extra time with the scores locked at 1-1 specifically to take a penalty. Five minutes later he did take one but it may take a day or two for the Hubble space telescope to locate where the ball went. But Germany were hardly any better, a nation so revered for their precise penalty kicks missed three of them as did the Italians. Manuel Neuer the German keeper who either has an outstanding tournament or a forgettable one, is having the latter. His saves, many on a whim but that doesn’t matter were still world class. Finally it was up to Jonas Hector the German who was one month old when Germany won the World Cup in 1990 to end the match and years of hurt. Buffon looked like he had the shot covered which is the real ultimate tragedy, but the ball skipped under him, just, and Germany had finally beaten Italy in a tournament.

Germany will now be the favourites to win the competition on July 10th, but first a thrilling semi final whoever wins from France and Iceland awaits them. As for Italian coach Antonio Conte he has overseen his final game before heading off to Chelsea and the Premier League- but what of the man in red tonight Gianluigi Buffon? Is he ready to hang up his gloves after two decades? Let’s hope not, because even neutrals still need to see him in the big matches, he still counts.

Three potential Euro 2016 Golden Boot winners to keep an eye on

There can be no question that it has been an enthralling start to Euro 2016, with a number of excellent games lighting up the tournament during the early stages. Despite the pressure of getting off to a good start or, at the very least, avoiding defeat in the first game, the quality of football has been refreshing, with all twenty-four teams showing what they are capable of on the international stage.

Tournament football often has the potential to create surprises and shock results along the way, and Euro 2016 has certainly not disappointed on this front as it has proved that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Those who play and work as a team will often prevail, but there are times when individual brilliance comes to the fore and make the all-important difference between success and failure.

Nobody has really staked his claim to finish the tournament as the Golden Boot winner, but while Betway believe that Thomas Muller and Cristiano Ronaldo are still strong favourites to claim the accolade, there are others who have made a promising start in the opening round of fixtures.


Gareth Bale: Qualifying for their first major tournament since 1958 is a wonderful achievement for Wales, and although they have not travelled to France to merely make up the number, there is a prominent feeling that all hopes rest on the shoulders of Gareth Bale. The Real Madrid star has the quality to change the game in an instant with a moment of real magic, with Bale possessing a wonderful left foot that is capable of creating havoc against any defence.

There is much more to Wales than just giving the ball to Bale and let the world’s most expensive player create damage, but he is the one player that Chris Coleman can rely on to produce the goods. He did just that in their opening victory against Slovakia which could prove to be crucial; questions could be asked of the goalkeeper, but Bale’s free-kick flew into the back of the net as Wales got off to the perfect start after just ten minutes. Being a leader amongst men could enable Bale to enjoy even more success in front of goal, and if his team-mates can provide him with the right quality of service, than he could fire himself into contention for the Golden Boot.

Olivier Giroud: He may not be everyone’s cup of tea in France, but Olivier Giroud appears to be Didier Deschamps’ first choice striker at Euro 2016. Scoring the opening goal of the tournament may lift the criticism and pressure off his shoulders, with Giroud booed by his own fans during recent friendlies in which he missed a number of chances. The Arsenal striker certainly had plenty of opportunities on the opening night at the Stade de France, and although they went begging, it was encouraging to see Giroud getting in the right positions to score goals.

He is among the strong favourites on Betway sports betting market to be the Euro 2016 Golden Boot winner, and if his team-mates can continue to provide him with the quality of service he received against Romania, then Giroud could prove his doubters wrong in the best way possible.

Nani: Cristiano Ronaldo may be the shining light for Portugal, but Nani outshone the world superstar with a strong showing in the surprise draw against Iceland. The former Manchester United winger appears to be utilised as a striker at Euro 2016 which may aid his claim for the Golden Boot, with Nani getting on the scoresheet with a smart finish at the near post.

Nani also had a close-range header wonderfully saved by the goalkeeper, and although some would argue that he should have scored, Nani certainly looked the most likely in Portuguese colours to make something happen. Whether that stays the case as the tournament progresses remains to be seen, but Nani may represent a great outside bet for those who like to back an underdog.


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