Yeah, yeah, yeah, Robert Lewandowski’s scores goals, James Rodriguez is awesome, Leon Bailey is amazing, Jupp Heynckes is god. We all know that, but it’s time to look at the other side of the Bundesliga and hand out the alternative awards- the ones that no player or coach really wants.
We present the ‘Alternative End of Season Bundesliga Awards’.
The Timo Werner Diving Swan Award (sponsored by Moisin Nagant sniper rifles)
Last season’s winner of the tragic/ comedy dive award now has the gong named in his honour, but there is absolutely no honour attached to this year’s winner. Arise (after throwing yourself to the floor) Kyriakos Papadopoulos!
Do you know the Greek word for ‘embarrassing’? My best effort at a translation is ‘Αμηχανία’. Perhaps we could use the word ‘Papadopoulos’ instead as quite simply his Oscar-winning theatrics are just that- plain embarrassing.
When Köln pulled the game back to 2-1 in the 90th minute on matchday 2 against Hamburg, they were understandably keen to retrieve the ball from the back of the net and get on with the job of grabbing a late, late equaliser. The usual scuffle for the ball ensued and as striker Jhon Cordoba tried to retrieve the ball, he ran past the giant Greek centre back.
When the Köln forward had gone a meter or so, Papadopoulos hit the deck. It was like he had been taken down by a high calibre sniper’s rifle from row Z of the Rhein-Energie Stadion.
Surely Cordoba had pulled some kind of ninja move and floored the HSV colossus. How else could you explain such a pained expression and the flooring of the 6ft, 85kg defender? The untrained eye may have assumed guilt on behalf of the Colombian striker, but with the help of the VAR in his earpiece, referee Sören Storks was able to see it for what is was and duly booked Papadopoulos.
A proper Greek tragedy.
The Dumb-and-Dumber Goal Celebration Award (sponsored by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels)
There have been some pretty bizarre goal celebrations this season such as the Bayer Leverkusen ‘Fortnite’-inspired theatrics, but the award for the dumbest goal festivity has to go to Hamburg’s Nikolai Müller- especially as it ended his entire season!
You’d think that scoring the winning goal in HSV’s Bundesliga opener might count as a good week for Müller, but not so. The talk the next day around the football world was not of his rifled shot from a tight angle that got Hamburg’s season off to a flier, but rather what happened next.
Taking off towards the corner flag in celebration at the Volksparkstadion following his 8th minute goal, the winger jumped into the air trying a couple of mid-air pirouettes before crashing into the corner flag and twisting his knee on landing.
Rather than congratulating him, his team mates were calling for the physios and it was game over for the 29-year-old. From cloud nine to the treatment table in 30 seconds. What a *******! (add your own humorous insult here)
The news then got worse for the ex-Mainz and Fürth attacker as medical investigations showed he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and faced seven months on the sidelines. His next game for HSV will be in the Zweite Liga.
The Miss of the Season Award
There have been times this season when I seriously wondered whether Wolfsburg’s on-loan striker Divock Origi would be able to hit a cow’s arse if armed with a large banjo.
At other times I considered some of my wife’s experimental cooking which is often inedible and I just can’t finish it. Could there be a worse finisher than me?
Yes there could! We give you Sehrou Guirassy.
Only handed his first Bundesliga start on matchday 9 at home to Werder Bremen due to an injury in the warm-up to Claudio Pizarro, the French forward had two absolutely massive chances to finally get Köln’s first win of the season, but completely fluffed both opportunities.
In the 81st minute he was played in on goal by Yuya Osako, but dithered with his shot before being blocked. His big moment of glory then came in the 87th minute when substitute Tim Handwerker fizzed the ball across from the right into the six-yard box for the simplest of tap-ins.
How he managed to miss will baffle many people for a long time. It seriously looked impossible to miss, but somehow he managed to screw his shot nowhere near its intended target.
If a huge hole had opened up in the Rhein-Energie Stadion to swallow him up, Guirassy would have probably missed jumping into that too.
The Worst Goalkeeping Howler Award
There has been no shortage of appalling goalkeeping errors this season to cause both hilarity for rival supporters and consternation for their respective trainers.
Big names like Sven Ulreich, Ralf Fährmann, Ron-Robert Zieler and Roman Bürki have all been guilty of horrendous howlers, but the ultimate award goes to Robin Zentner, who edged out Hannover’s Philipp Tschauner’s goal-kick, which went directly out for a corner.
Matchday 11 saw Mainz travel to face Borussia Mönchengladbach and the 1-1 draw produced the season’s oddest goalkeeping faux-pas.
Remember the great Ronaldinho’s no-look pass? Well the Mainz number one invented his own version at the Borussia Park, but it just wasn’t anywhere near as impressive as the Brazilian maestro’s.
“In the corner of my eye, I could see something white and I thought it was the ball — but it was the penalty spot and the ball was somewhere else. I went to play a pass into the centre but I didn’t make contact with the ball, and then I realised it wasn’t even there.”
Words don’t really do the absurdity of the situation justice, so just take a look for yourself. What a @#*@#*@*!
The ‘Can We Get a Refund?’ Award
Splashing the cash in the summer to strengthen your squad is an established practice, but sometimes you don’t exactly get what you thought you’d paid for. In Köln’s case they thought they had bought an adequate replacement for the departed Anthony Modeste (scorer of 25 goals in 2016-17). For €15 million they signed Jhon Cordoba from Mainz and it was expected that goals would be forthcoming (if not quite in Modeste quantities).
What they actually got was a player seemingly totally unaware of where the goal was or how to put the ball into it. The Colombian made 18 appearances and scored a grand total of zero, null, nada!
A worse striker even than Franco Di Santo! ‘Can we have our money back’?
The ‘Vidal Sassoon’ Award for the Worst Hair
It’s fair to say that Serge Gnabry has a history of dodgy friseur but his Sisqo-inspired shaved blond look from earlier in the season was a low even for him. The Champions League play-off defeat to Liverpool was a moment to forget for Hoffenheim, but so too was Gnabry’s new hairdo.
Thong, thong, thong, thong, thong!
The ‘WTF?’ Award
Mainz’s matchday 30 clash with Freiburg was subject to arguably the most bizarre moment since VAR was first introduced to European football. Both sides were ordered back on to the pitch having gone to the changing room at half-time after the video assistant decided to award a penalty for an earlier handball.
Match official Guido Winkmann, who was also on his way to the tunnel having initially turned down the penalty claim and blown for half-time, brought the players back out so that Mainz’s Pablo De Blasis could take a spot kick for a handball that VAR noticed after the half-time whistle had been blown.
Crazy, just plain crazy!
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