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02/04/2014
 
When you follow a club you are giving a part of your soul to a team of players and coaching staff of which they will either bring you joy or sorrow. In 2013 Eintracht Frankfurt finished in sixth place after returning to the Bundesliga after a years absence. A really impressive job after being relegated and making automatic promotion after one season out.

With this year's Bundesliga, Eintracht find themselves dealing with a relegation fight, being a couple points above the teams in the drop zone. Add in the fact that in the Europa League Eintracht has made it to the knockout phase with two February matches against Portuguese power FC Porto. Topping it off with a Frebruary DFB-Pokal quarter final against Borussia Dortmund the month of February could be the moment when Frankfurt finds out that they are being stretched to the breaking point.

Historically Frankfurt is one of the more storied clubs in Germany. The fact seems to be that the resources, the second season after relegation, are being stretched. It is great being able to make a real go at the Europa League but if this was another year or two down the line that Eintracht was in Europe then there would be no problem of going the distance and having fun while it would last. 

Because the consistency of being in the Bundesliga with the money that goes with it would be in the bank and would allow for a run in Europe. But who wouldn't like to defeat Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup while the league fixture against last year's Champions League finalists is four days away. For the fans progress in the cup means a chance to do amazing tifo, which the Ultras of Eintracht are the best.

Plus making the final could mean Europa League the next year when stability in Bundesliga has been established. In the league there is only one easy fixture, a home match against newly promoted side Eintracht Braunschweig, but after a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of European Champions Bayern Munich Werder Bremen at home and Dortmund on the road finish the league fixtures of a crowded February. Judging if the Eintracht squad can ever prevail over Porto is a difficulty in itself.

Porto is a typical Champions League side that finds themselves in the Europa League after finishing third in their group. The talent that is assembled and at Porto's disposal is one of depth and talent. Depth is something that Frankfurt doesn't have at their disposal. It may be fun to speculate but Eintracht has six matches remaining in February and it will either make or break their season one way or another.
 
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02/02/2014
 

Bayern Munich maintained their 13-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 5-0 home romp against Eintracht Frankfurt to extend their record 44-match unbeaten run on Sunday.


Bayern ran riot against strugglers Frankfurt with Mario Götze, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and centre-back Dante all getting on the scoresheet at Munich's Allianz Arena. Spain's Thiago Alcantara set a new Bundesliga record with 185 ball contacts as Bayern's midfield dominated.


Germany star Götze put the hosts ahead when he chested down Mario Mandzukic's cross and slammed his shot inside the far post with only 12 minutes gone. France star Ribery then proved he has recovered from a leg injury when he added Bayern's second just before the break.


Likewise, Robben came off the bench and fired home Götze's final pass to put his leg injury behind him on 67 minutes before Dante headed Bayern's fourth two minutes later. Fittingly, Mandzukic, who was dropped ten days ago for poor training performances, netted their fifth on 89 minutes and was mobbed by his team-mates.


This was Bayern's 17th win in 19 games and they have conceded just nine league goals. The European champions now face Freiburg, Hamburg and Nuremberg, who are all in the bottom four, before their Champions League last 16, first-leg match at Arsenal on February 19.

 
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01/31/2014
 

Borussia Dortmund earned their first Bundesliga win in five games with a 2-1 victory at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig on Friday with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring both their goals.


Dortmund welcomed back Germany centre-back Mats Hummels after two months out with an ankle injury. The 25-year-old rescued Dortmund with a challenge on replacement Karim Bellarabi in the dying stages as Dortmund stayed third, 14 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.


The night belonged to Aubameyang who, along with Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, finished the match with 11 league goals for the season - the same tally as the entire Braunschweig team.


Gabon right-winger Aubameyang headed home a Lewandowski cross in the first-half, then fired home the winner from Marco Reus' pass 25 minutes from the final whistle. His pin-point winner saved Dortmund's blushes after hosts Braunschweig had equalized when defender Benjamin Kessel tapped home on 54 minutes, despite a posse of Borussia defenders.


In a frantic final 10 minutes, Borussia's Lewandowski, Reus, Aubameyang and midfielder Nuri Sahin all had chances to add a third.


Braunschweig's attacking midfielder Bellarabi also had a late shot saved, while center-back Ermin Bicakcic's header rebounded off the inside of the post.


Dortmund's attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan also hit the post two minutes from time with Braunschweig goalkeeper Daniel Davari well beaten.


This was Dortmund's first win since November 30 after suffering two defeats and two draws.

 
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01/29/2014
 

Should it come as a surprise to anyone that Germans are good with money?

Looking at the most recent economic crisis in Europe, it would lead one to believe the Germans simply have the Midas touch. That doesn’t just go for their government, but also for their football clubs. DFL (Deutsche Fussball Liga) boss Christian Seifert announced the growth figures, reporting that the German league consortium reached a revenue figure of 2.17 billion Euros ($2.96 billion dollars). 


In addition, he was pleased to inform everyone that 17 of the 18 first league teams posted an operating profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Essentially, translated for us commoners, the Bundesliga is quite healthy.


Now, imagine all of this profit and being one of the top 4 football leagues in the world. What’s that you say? It’s possible to have a top league without foreign investment? Yes. Unlike our counterparts in other parts of the world, the Germans and the DFL have instituted the 50+1 rule. Boiled down to the brass tacks, it means that no single entity can own more than 50% of a club. This prevents foreign investors from coming in and splashing inordinate amounts of cash for their newest toy. 


In addition to that rule, the league will only license teams to play in the Bundesliga if they meet certain debt requirements. This prevents teams from leveraging debt to make massive purchases unless they can afford it. In which case, this prevents a Leeds United case study in German football. Proud of the model and efforts the DFL have taken, Seifert beamed with this quote to media, “The Bundesliga has reached a balance between sporting success and economic sanity.” Well put, Herr Seifert. I think most would tend to agree.


I will offer the most stunning piece of empirical evidence to back the claim: attendance. You see, the argument most tend to offer against the German model is that it produces a stagnant and unattractive league to watch. The logic would follow, that the best players in the world follow the money. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but what if one league has the best players in the world but many other teams then suffer because they can’t afford such players. Running a football club isn’t cheap after all. 


To follow this logic, then, would lead one to believe that very few folks show up to watch a match in Germany. Answer: False. Germany has the highest attendance figures in Europe, and continually draws packed houses to matches. Not only do fans show up for the big game against Bayern, but they also tend to show up against European 'powerhouses' such as Eintracht Braunschweig (above). Average attendance at a German match is 45,000 warm screaming bodies. Leading the pack in Germany, and Europe, is Borussia Dortmund with a staggering 80,520 bodies on average last season. 


To go even further, four of the top ten teams in attendance hail from Germany. That’s 40% of the top attendances being in Germany last season (Bayern, Schalke, Hamburg, Dortmund).  Not to mention, average ticket prices in Germany tend to be a lot lower. Oh, and drinking and standing are approved in German stadia around the country. All of this and 17 of 18 teams are turning an operation profit.


Well, many would tend to argue, “what’s the catch?” 


Frankly, there isn’t one.  The Germans are posing a logical and sound response on how a football league should be run. The crowning moment might have been an all German Champions League Final last year. I guess you can have your cake and eat it too. In the age of big transfers, large wages, and club owners, the Bundesliga leads us all to lift a Stein of Bier and say “Prost!”



 
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11/30/2013
 

European champions Bayern Munich extended their record unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to 39 games with a 2-0 win over bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday. Having set a new Champions League record of ten consecutive games after their 3-1 win at CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, Bayern cruised to victory in Munich with two Arjen Robben goals before the break.


Even with hamstring-victim Philipp Lahm, plus France's Franck Ribery and Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger on the walking wounded list, Bayern had too much fire-power for Braunschweig. Having warned his side not to take lightly the threat of Eintracht, who have never won in Munich, Dutch winger Robben was as good as his word.


The Netherlands star put the hosts ahead with a header after just two minutes, then slammed home a 30th-minute shot, but this was not an impressive performance as Bayern barely got out of second gear. Borussia Dortmund picked up their first win in three league games with a hard-fought 3-1 win at ten-man Mainz 05 to stay third and seven points behind Bayern.



 
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