The new season opened with a “rivalry” that hasn’t been particularly competitive since the first Reagan administration. The Rekordmeister strutted into their match against HSV with all the swagger of a man whistling The Band’s “Stage Fright” next to a fellow with a shy bladder. Much like this labored analogy, the result was a mess for Red-Shorts, as they left the Allianz Arena on the pointed end of a 0-5 result. The match was particularly remarkable because it allowed an American television audience to view HSV’s ineptitude in glorious high definition. Fox Network’s coverage showed promise, but more on that in a bit.
There’s something a little special about Spieltag 1. Like Opening Day in baseball, it’s a time when even the lowliest of teams like newly-promoted SV Darmstadt 98 can dream of top-flight survival, or the likes of Gladbach and Dortmund can dream of challenging Bayern for the championship. Alas, some dreams last longer than others. Darmstadt fans slept soundly Saturday evening having taken a point from their home opener against fellow relegation-candidate Hannover, while Gladbach fans faced a sleepless night wondering what had happened to their beloved Foals. Indeed, Dortmund’s slaughter of the Champions League participants will likely prove to be an aberration, but Thomas Tuchel has shown that his BVB side are quite capable of producing results just as lopsided as his ear lobes.
It is a rare occasion that Spieltag One produces what proves to be the goal of the season. Though the first weekend of the 2015/16 season has come and gone without any obvious candidates for such an accolade, the weekend did provide us with a likely OWN goal of the season, courtesy of Werder Bremen right back, Theodore Gebre Selassie. The clinical chip over goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald from outside the 18-yard box was enough to dig a hole that Viktor Skripnik’s men were unable to recover from. Take another look at that own goal (link provided above). That’s not your garden variety, every day, Sunday league own goal, no sir. That is an own goal that Jeff Agoos, or, perhaps more apropos, Christoph Kramer would be proud of!
Finally, the commencement of the 2015/2016 Bundesliga season brings with it the dawn of Fox’ second chance at Bundesliga coverage. For years, the German top flight received second billing on Fox Sports World and, later, Fox Soccer Channel. It took years of GolTV, neglect, and the need to fit your poor computer with elbow-length rubber gloves to access less-than-pristine streaming websites, but we finally have the Bundesliga more readily accessible in the United States than ever before! For those of us in the states that remember doing silly things like voting on the match of the week for Bundesliga Radio or downloading 1-3 megabyte goal clips of our favorite teams week in and week out, the ability to purchase on-demand livestreams of every Bundesliga match is enough to summon a tear. Now, if only there was a weekly highlight show called Soccer Made in Germany…
It is the intention of the writer to have this piece be the first of a weekly series entitled “Over the Wall.” Moving forward, this serial shall seek to highlight a subject or focus on an event away from the spieltag talking points and match summaries. Hopefully, you, the reader, will find them entertaining