The Bundesliga season is over …Schalke 04 captured the German Cup while Borussia Monchengladbach held off VfL Bochum in their playoff to remain in the Bundesliga while Dynamo Dresden jumped to 2. Bundesliga with their playoff triumph over VfL Osnabruck. The German national team played Uruguay in a rematch of their battle for third place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with the Germans again getting the better of the South Americans, and now we’re in the offseason which means no news, right? Of course not. The beautiful game never takes a break, and if there isn’t action on the field there certainly is off of it.
Armin Veh to Eintracht Frankfurt
Veteran German coach Armin Veh, who was fired by Hamburg SV late in the season after a disappointing performance by the team, didn’t stay unemployed for long. It has been announced that he will replace Christoph Daum as the trainer at Eintracht Frankfurt, who were relegated to 2. Bundesliga after a disastrous 2nd half performance.
Veh, 50, is a native of Augsburg who played midfield for Monchengladbach 30 years ago. Since his retirement, Veh has coached throughout Germany, including in his hometown, SpVgg Greuther Furth, SSV Reutlingen, Hansa Rostock, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg and Hamburg, capturing the Bundesliga title with Stuttgart in 2007.
According to new Eintracht Frankfurt Sporting Director Bruno Hubner, Veh was the only choice for the Frankfurt position. Although Veh has more than 20 years of experience in coaching in both the Bundesliga and 2. Bundelsiga, he inherits a team that was dismal at finishing in 2011 after a surprisingly strong showing in the Hinrunde. It will be quite interesting to see what Veh can do to return the Eagles immediately back to the top-level of German football.
The Manuel Neuer Soap Opera and other Transfer News
The Manuel Neuer soap opera continues. After Bayern Munich management crowed earlier that Neuer was all but signed prior to the German Cup, Schalke are now apparently balking and continue to assert that Germany’s #1 goalkeeper is under contract in Gelsenkirchen until the summer of 2012. Schalke executive Peter Peters stated recently that “we had good talks with Bayern Munich and we also reached an idea about the economic part of an agreement. But we have not yet decided to accept the offer.” Meanwhile, ESPN Soccernet also reports that Manchester United, another purported Neuer suitor, have shifted their attention to acquiring Atletico Madrid keeper David De Gea as a replacement for Edwin van der Saar. Bayern Munich’s offer for Neuer apparently stands at 22 million euros.
Meanwhile, the under-achieving Hamburg club look to begin revamping their club by purchasing defender Michael Mancienne from Chelsea. The 6-foot English native has only made four appearances for Chelsea since 2006, but has seen regular play while on loan to Queens Park Rangers and Wolverhampton. The price for the versatile 23 year-old is said to have been 3 million euros.
Looking to add to their roster with Champions League play awaiting them, Borussia Dortmund have added midfielder Ivan Perisic from Club Brugge. The 22 year-old from Split signed a five-year contract with the transfer fee estimated to be 5 million euros. The Croatian international scored 22 games in 37 appearances in 2010-2011 and was named the Belgian Jupiler League’s Player of the Year.
Earlier BvB had signed Chemnitz left back-winger Chris Löwe, 22, to a four-year contract. Another versatile player, Löwe will make the leap from fourth division play to the Bundesliga. According to Goal.com, the native of Plausen is considered to be Marcel Schmelzer’s caddy on the left side, replacing long-time Dortmund star Dede, who is likely to retire. BvB had already added youngster Moritz Leitner, who played on loan to FC Augsburg, and former 1. FC Nurnberg midfielder Ilkay Gündogan since the season ended.
Other Bundesliga transfers that you may have missed: Hamburg’s Piotr Trochowski goes to Sevilla; Bayern Munich midfielder Andreas Ottl and goalkeeper Thomas Kraft head to Hertha Berlin, while Hamit Altintop leaves for Real Madrid and Mehmet Ekici (on loan to Nurnberg last season) leaves Bavaria for Werder Bremen. Energie Cottbus Nils Petersen, 2. Bundesliga’s leading scorer, will play for Jupp Heynckes in Munich next season. FC Augsburg lost Abrahami Traore to Stuttgart but signed midfielder Lorenzo Davids from NEC in the Netherlands.
UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
Congratulations to the women of Olympique Lyonnais as they took the women’s Champions League title in London by downing German side 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam 2-0 while avenging last year’s final loss to the Potsdam side. Lyon had a perfect season in French football while Potsdam have won two previous Champions League titles.
The FIFA 2011 Women’s World Cup kicks off on June 26 with Group A nations Germany and Canada meeting in Berlin while Nigeria and France square off in Sinsheim. Group B action starts the next day with Japan meeting New Zealand in Bochum while Wolfsburg hosts the Mexico-England match. On June 28, the USA plays the Korean DPR in Dresden while Colombia and Sweden face off in Leverkusen, and Group D gets underway the following day with Brazil and Australia playing in Monchengladbach while Norway and Equitorial Guinea battle for a win in Augsburg.
For those craving more footy action, the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off June 5 with Costa Rico facing Cuba and Mexico meeting El Salvador. The Bundesliga Fanatic will be in Kansas City on June 14 — with press credentials — for a group stage doubleheader featuring the USA-Guadaloupe and Canada-Panama. Fanatic contributor Kurt Duncan and I will roadtrip to KC looking to get some interviews and photos and to meet with the great Bayern Munich fan Tim Russell. Should be fun. (And thanks to Brian Quarstad of IMSoccerNews for his help in gaining the press credentials).
And of course we can’t forget more Western Hemisphere footy excitement as this is the year for the 43rd Copa America tournament. Hosts Argentina will kick off the tournament in La Plata on July 2 as they match up against Bolivia while Costa Rica (along with Mexico this year’s guest nation to the CONMEBOL tournament) meet Colombia. The tournament final is set for July 24 in River Plate’s stadium in Buenos Aires. Along with the upcoming Euro qualifiers, that should keep everyone busy until August and a new Bundesliga campaign.
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