Posts Tagged ‘Schalke 04’

2013/14 BUNDESLIGA PREVIEW

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Hi Guys.

Welcome back!

Football season is here again!!!

Straight away, we kick off with a preview of the Bundesliga, the home of the reigning European Champions.

After a heartbreaking 2012/13 season, Bayern Munich wrestled the league title from Dortmund in grand style breaking almost all records in Germany’s top division. The league champions sent out a clear message to rivals locally and abroad by capping it up with the German cup and UEFA Champions League against bitter rival Borussia Dortmund.

This preview will discuss the title challengers, European place (UCL/EL) challengers and the relegation dog fight.

Title challengers/Possible winner.

First off, the title-winner will most definitely be Bayern Munich. The triple winner will be too strong for the rest of the league. They should win around 95% of their matches and then it comes down to the two ties they play with Borussia Dortmund. Even if Dortmund would come out on top due to their counter-attacking style which caused Guardiola’s system trouble in the past (see Barca vs. Real Madrid/ German Super Cup). The champions are still adjusting to Pep Guardiola’s short passing approach but I feel they will gel as the season goes on. Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara’s arrival to an already packed midfield will give the former Barcelona coach a variety of option.

Dortmund lost Götze and have adequately replaced him with Armenian goal scoring midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan who arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined the Yellow and Black army from Saint Etienne and should ease the goal scoring burden on Polish striker Robert Lewandowski who may be moving to the Allianz Arena next summer. Nuri Sahin and Ilkay Gundogan availability in the middle will be crucial for Dortmund.

I still think Dortmund will lose more points than Bayern against the rest of the league.

European places contenders

Bayern and Dortmund will share the top two spots. Schalke 04 and Leverkusen do have the best chances to finish 3rd and 4thand to qualify again for Champions league football which will help in attracting better players and more revenue from the UEFA’s big pot.

Schalke did hold on to top starlet Julian Draxler but same cannot be said of Bayer 04 who lost Andre Schurrle to Europa league winners – Chelsea. Stefan Kießling should guarantee goals at Bayer Arena.

To predict who will get the other Europa league starters is a tough one. Normally I see Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Gladbach competing for those. The middle of the pack is quite unpredictable. There are one or two teams which you wouldn’t think that they could challenge the established sides, last season, Freiburg, Mainz and Frankfurt were the surprise package. With European distraction this season, last season achievement may be a tall order for Freiburg. Same goes for Mainz who has lost good players with Adam Szalai and Jan Kirchhoff.

Expectedly, Werder Bremen and HSV Hamburg would challenge the European spots but last season and probably this season they would struggled a lot. Hamburg does have financial problems (and a bad coach) and for Bremen it doesn’t look much better. I don’t expect much from both of them.

Relegation battlers

This group will probably provide us with the most interesting scenes this term. I expect Braunschweig and Hertha to struggle but as with the norm lately, promoted teams tend to have some extra motivational bonus and survive the first year. Augsburg were almost relegated last season and I think they will battle to avoid relegation from early on. Then there will be the likes of Nürnberg, Mainz and maybe Freiburg who could all end up in the relegation battle. The interesting thing from the past season was that always one or two quite established clubs were brought into the relegation fight. Last season candidates were Hoffenheim and Bremen, the season before was Hamburg and year before was Stuttgart and Schalke.

From Hoffenheim and Hannover I do not expect them to get involved into relegation worries as well as to fight for Europa League. A mediocre season for both.

 

The Reborn Madrid Legend in Schalke

Raul Gonzalez Blanco definitely shares legendary status with Real Madrid’s President of honor, Alfredo Di Stefano in Real Madrid. The 33 yrs old gentleman holds virtually all records at the historic club in Madrid.

“Handing-over-the-baton” to CR7 …

Therefore it came as a surprise to many when he decided to end his sixteen year stint with Real Madrid before putting pen to paper for the Fußball-Club Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04. The signs of El Siete leaving Los Blancos were clear to see as the once dreaded striker had fallen down the pecking order in the 2009/10 season at the Santiago Bernabeu club. With the desire to still play at the highest level, Raul moved to the north of Germany for regular playing time.

Raul’s goals, winning mentality and experience were envisaged to give Schalke 04 the additional boost needed to win a long-awaited Bundesliga title.
However, Die Knappen’s season has not panned out as expected with the Royal Blues spending much of the first half of the season fighting at the wrong end of the table, Schalke are off the title chase but they are in the finals of the German cup and will need to win that competition to make it back into Europe.

Despite the disappointing league campaign, Raul has shown that he’s the grand master in the UEFA Champions League. His influence has inspired his team mates in the knock out stages of the tournament and he has led by example with his goals against Valencia and defending champions Inter. His first goal against Inter in the return leg at home was a joy to behold.

A more interesting statistics shows that the iconic Spaniard’s 142 UCL appearances is more than the combined number of appearances for all his Schalke 04 team mates who played the second leg quarter final fixtures against Internazionale.
His positive influence on the team has won the hearts of the Gelsenkirchen faithfuls as he was handed a microphone to lead signing fans after climbing into the crowd to celebrate Schalke’s semi final qualification.

Raul appears to be back to his best at 33 playing the role of a second striker while surprisingly leading the scorer’s chart

The Grandmaster – back to his scoring best for Schalke

for Schalke this term. He is now also highest goal scorer in all UEFA competitions with 73 goals.
The three times Champions league winner said he has no regrets about leaving Real Madrid and coming to Schalke

“When I left Real, I left a great club but joined a great club,”

Winning a trophy or two during his stint at the German club would only add to his already blooming heroic status in Gelsenkirchen.

For a man who was adjudged to be done with football in his last days at Real Madrid and his move to Schalke 04 raising a lot of highbrow, El Siete can be described as a man with several lifes.

As Manchester United face Raul and his Schalke team in the semi-finals of ‘his competition’, they would be wise to pay special attention to the man, the legend, Raul Gonzalez!