So much goes on in the world of German football that it’s sometimes hard to keep up on all the happenings. The Bundesliga Fanatic will try to keep readers informed with a midweek round-up .
Bayern Munich, MSV Duisburg, Energie Cottbus and FC Schalke 04 Advance in Pokal Cup
2. Bundesliga clubs MSV Duisburg and Energie Cottbus joined Bayern Munich and Schalke in advancing to the semi-final stage of the DFB Pokal Cup. Schalke sealed its advance Tuesday with a dramatic 3-2 ET win over 1. FC Nurnberg, with 17 year-old wunderkind Julian Draxler sending a screamer off the hands of Nurnberg keeper Raphael Schafer to win the game with only a minute left before extra time ended. Julian Schieber had two first half goals for Der Club who fought valiantly as the game wore on, withstanding numerous Schalke offensive onslaughts in the last ten minutes of regulation like a beaten boxer absorbing blow after blow but refusing to go down. Young Swiss forward Mario Gavranovic and veteran Ivan Rakitic netted Schalke’s other goals to put Felix Magath’s men through.
On Wednesday, MSV Duisburg eliminated 1. FC Kaiserslautern 2-0, with defender Branimir Bajic opening the scoring in the 36′ and Goran Sukalo getting an insurance tally in the 58th. American goalkeeper David Yelldell kept the clean sheet for Duisburg.
Wednesday’s other upset saw Energie Cottbus squeeze by 1899 Hoffenheim 1-0 at the Stadion de Freundschaft. The game was scoreless until the 84′ when veteran Chinese attacker Jiayi Shao provided Cottbus with the game winner, leaving coach Marco Pezzaiuoli still looking for his first win at Hoffenheim’s helm. Thorsten Kirschbaum handled the shutout in the Cottbus net, while Hoffenheim newcomer Ryan Babel made his German debut. Babel, who has had lengthy stints at Ajax and Liverpool, is still only 24 years old. He was unable to convert a good opportunity for his first goal for the Baden-Wurttemburg club.
In the final match of quarterfinal Cup action, Bayern Munich paid a visit to the New Tivoli stadium in Aachen and left with a solid 4-0 win. Aachen held their own against the Munich monolith, only allowing a 26′ headed goal by on-fire Mario Gomez during the first 94 minutes of play. But eventually Bayern’s quality was too much for the home side, and Bayern Munich tallied three times in the last fifteen minutes of the match on two goals by Thomas Muller and one from Arjen Robben. The triumph for Louis van Gaal’s team puts them only two Cup victories away from their sixteenth Pokal Cup title.
Van Bommel Transfers to AC Milan
Dutch international Mark van Bommel left Bayern Munich, signing on a free transfer with AC Milan on January 25. The Bayern captain made his debut for Milan in its 2-1 Coppa Italia win over Sampdoria. The 34 year-old midfielder made 182 appearances for Die Bayern since joining the club from FC Barcelona in August, 2006. Van Bommel also made 66 appearances for the Dutch national team and was their captain, succeeding Giovanni van Bronkhorst as the Netherlands field leader.
Van Bommel will be recalled fondly by Bayern fans for his spirited contributions to the club’s success. “I’m leaving Bayern with pain in my heart, but with my head held high. I’ve enjoyed four-and-a-half very successful years here and I’d like to thank the club and the fans. I will never forget Bayern Munich,” Van Bommel was quoted as saying on the Bayern website. His departure follows that of another Bayern Munich veteran, Martin Demichelis, who also left this winter to join Spanish side Malaga.
Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa Injured
Borussia Dortmund’s exciting young Japanese star Shinji Kagawa suffered a metatarsal injury Tuesday in the thrilling Asian Cup semi-final match between Japan and South Korea. Kagawa, who scored eight goals for Dortmund before winter break has become a Bundesliga sensation, but according to his agent, he may be sidelined for the remainder of the campaign. Kagawa has already returned to Germany to begin undergoing treatment.
The Japan-South Korea matchup went to penalties before Japan could pull out the victory that will launch them into the Asian Cup title match with Australia Saturday. Along with Kagawa, Bundesliga players Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg) and potential Stuttgart signing Shinji Okazaki started the match for the Blue Samurai, with Bayer Leverkusen winter signee Hajime Hosogai coming on as 87′ substitute for Kagawa. Hosogai scored an extra time goal in the 97′ , knocking in a deflected penalty kick before South Korea came back to tie the game and force it into penalties. Hosogai will start his German career on loan to FC Augsburg. Eighteen year-old Hamburg forward Heung-Min Son appeared as a substitute for the South Korean team.
Slomka Signs Contract Extension with Hannover 96
Hannover 96 head man Mirko Slomka signed a two-year extension to coach the 96ers through the 2012-2013 season. Slomka joined Hannover 96 last winter, and kept the team from relegation. This season, he has improved the performance of the team so much that Hannover have flirted with the heady atmosphere of the second place position in the Bundesliga table and currently hold the third spot. Slomka, 43, has already led Hannover to more wins barely halfway through this campaign than they could achieve in either of the last two seasons.
Because of Slomka’s delay in signing the contract extension, it was feared that Slomka had other plans for his coaching future, but those fears have now been put to rest. Hannover President Martin Kind was quoted on Goal.com as stating that “together with the team, he has achieved a lot in the past year. He avoided relegation and has followed that with the best first half to a season in the club’s history.”