Superheroes of FC Hollywood: Part One
Bayern Munich, the most successful club in Germany and one of the elite forces in Europe is the hub of some of the greatest players football has ever seen. During the 1990’s the club was nicknamed as FC Hollywood due to some of the players off the pitch stories. However the club renewed its international success by winning the Champions League for the 4th time in 2001 in the San Siro. A record 22 times the German Domestic League Champion, Bayern Munich today is one of the continent’s strongest teams on their quest to conquer Germany and Europe.
Bundesliga Fanatic brings you the Superhero Series of FC Hollywood, in part one today we have a look at the present superheroes of the Bavarian Giants.
Manuel Neuer: The Superman
He often makes headlines with stunning saves, his flying images on paper often makes an impression that he can actually fly. While his long throws are the outcome of his super strong hands, his senses are terrific in penalties and he has spectacular reflexes.
Often regarded as one of the best keepers in the world, Manuel Neuer saved spot kicks from Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka in the Champions league semi final in Madrid, he successfully converted his penalty in the tie breaker in the Champions League Final 2011-12, when a few of team mates refused to take up the responsibility. He is a true leader on field and is “The Superman” of Bayern Munich.
Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Neuer’s performance against Manchester Utd in the 2010/2011 Champions League semifinal (when Neuer was still with Schalke) as one of the best he has ever seen turned in against the Red Devils. The former Schalke captain had a hard time becoming a fan favorite in Munich due to fierce rivalry between his former club and current club, but after some world-class performances, notably the heroics in Champions League Semi Final, he has become one the most consistent performers and provides confidence for the Bayern Munich defence.
Manuel Neuer’s flying saves, strengths, reflexes and footballing intelligence makes him the Superman of the Bavarian Giants.
Philipp Lahm: The Wolverine
There are many who think Wolverine is a tall 6 feet 3 inch superhero, thanks to the X-Men Movie Series where Hugh Jackman portrays the role of a character (Wolverine) which is actually a feet shorter than the actor. Wolverine is actually 5 feet 3 inches according to the original comic book. However “The Wolverine” in Bavaria (Phillip Lahm), though four inches taller, is not a loner like the fictional superhero.
The fictional Wolverine has the power of healing and the Bayern Munich skipper possesses the power to heal his team from the previous disappointments. This year Bayern looks brighter and there is a sense of mental strength which was lacking last season. Lahm is the healer of the team and also holds the key to turn defence into attacks with his trademark acceleration overlapping Robben on the right flank to create scoring opportunities. Even though he often helps in attack but he’s hardly out of position due to his concentration on the game, his quick acceleration and excellent positioning sense.
Since taking the armband from Mark Van Bommel, Phillip Lahm has matured into a great captain for Bayern Munich. He can take pressure, create mouth-watering goal scoring opportunities for strikers and more importantly score goals from outside of the penalty box with his right foot.
Phillip Lahm’s leadership and superpowers makes him Bayern’s Wolverine.
Bastian Schweinsteiger : The Batman
If München is Gotham City, then Bastian Schweinsteiger is “The Batman”. When Michael Ballack left Bayern Munich in 2006 to Chelsea as the highest paid player in England at that time, FCB suffered a huge setback, perhaps the way Gotham suffered after an earthquake, with the resulting failure to qualify for the Champions League in a decade.
After the setback in 2006-07, Schweinsteiger played an important role in Bayern’s success in 2007-08 and 2009-10 domestic double winning seasons. Bayern has suffered the most when he has been injured as no one has been able to take up his role in the center of the midfield (last season).
A superb reader of the game, Schweinsteiger have developed into one of the best midfielders in Europe with first rate dribbling skills, excellent tackling and precise passing skills, similar in fashion to the way Batman has developed several skills (with the help of some gadgets of course). He is the engine room of Bayern Munich and with him we often he see the best out of Mario Gomez, Robbery, Thomas Muller and now, Mario Mandzukic.
His intelligence, skills and strength make him “The Batman” of FC Bayern. Moreover he drives an Audi S8 — no matter what, Batman must have a cool car.
Toni Kroos : The Spiderman
His feet can talk to the ball, his passes (long or short) are so accurate that it makes one believe his feet and the ball are inseperable, and commands the ball as where to land through the impeccable passing of this 22 year old playmaker. He can shoot the ball from distance — it’s like the ball listening to his boot. It appears that the ball is tied to his being with some kind to invisible spider web which serve his passing and shooting. Yes, he is Toni Kroos, “The Spiderman” of FC Hollywood.
Toni Kroos became a star in Germany in 2007, when he was named as the player of the tournament in the Under-17 World Cup in South Korea. However he often failed to make into the squad for Bayern due to presence of so many established player and eventually he was loan to Leverkusen in January 2009. He stayed in Leverkusen for a year and a half, and it was at Leverkusen where he established himself as a key player and demonstrated enthralling passing and shooting skills.
Since returning to Munich at the beginning of 2010-11 season, Toni Kroos has become one the key players at Bayen Munich. After finishing 2nd in three competitions last season, Toni Kroos’s exceptional talent can help Bayern go one better this season.
At this young age Toni Kroos is the heartbeat of Bayern’s attack and is the Spiderman among the superheroes of FC Hollywood.
Arjen Robben : The Flash
The superfast winger is fearsome to any defence in the world. Robben along with Frank Ribery forms one of the world’s best wing attacks for Bayern Munich. The duo is dubbed as “Robbery” by the German Media. Arjen Robben is superfast with the ball, forms a formidable right side of the team with Wolverine (Phillip Lahm), and is “The Flash” of the team.
Even though he has had good stints with Groningen (2000-02), PSV (2002-04), Chelsea (2004-07) and Real Madrid (2007-09), it is with FC Hollywood that he has become the one of Europe’s finest wingers with amazing dribbling and shooting skills. He has twice felt short of European glory, losing out on Champions League Final twice in the last three seasons, but this may be his year. Despite his tendency to cut towards the middle, defences can rarely stop him even if they know where he’s headed.
Robben played an important role in Bayern’s domestic double winning campaign in 2009-10 as he was named the German Player of the Year in 2010. Having signed a new contract with the Bavarian giants till 2015, Robben will play a crucial role in Bayern performances in Germany and Europe in the years to come.
Robben’s pace attributed by his skills makes him the Flash of FC Hollywood.
While there are other heroes Ribery, Muller, Gomez or may be even Martinez and Mandzukic, the article only contains 5 superheroes who we think have similarities with the five mentioned players. Do you think we missed a few? Feel free to share your views on the Bundesliga Fanatic.