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Author Archive for Andy Brassell

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Tayfun Korkut the unlikely architect of Stuttgart’s revival | Andy Brassell

Less than a month after what seemed a deeply underwhelming appointment, it has begun to seem a brighter future is possibleThe fabled ‘new manager bounce’ is one thing. Stuttgart winning away, though? That’s something else entirely and after a first vic…

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Porto’s Vincent Aboubakar atones for faux pas with scoring streak

Cameroon striker angered Porto fans by joining former team-mates’ celebration but has made amends with 20 goals this season before the Champions League match with LiverpoolIt started as an innocent greeting to some former colleagues and almost ended up…

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Schalke’s Leon Goretzka gives Bayern Munich a glimpse of their future | Andy Brassell

Schalke midfielder will join Bayern in the summer and his display against them will have pleased home fans in MunichAt least he ended up with an assist from it. It was a whisker from being one of the goals of the season, as Leon Goretzka threw a bicycl…

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Nuri Sahin: ‘I want to give back after football and my children to be proud’

The Dortmund midfielder talks about Jürgen Klopp, the excitement surrounding Jadon Sancho and how he hopes to bring the Champions League back to his current clubWe are back to where it started for Nuri Sahin – spiritually at least. As we settle into th…

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Ademola Lookman slips and slides from Everton into Leipzig’s affections | Andy Brassell

Ralph Hasenhüttl has belief in the match-winning debutant who ‘only brought one pair of boots with him from England’It could have been all so different for Diego Forlán. So he thought, at least. Some years back he famously told an interviewer the tale …

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Kevin-Prince Boateng the catalyst for Eintracht Frankfurt’s ‘one-night stand’ | Andy Brassell

Eintracht went second in the Bundesliga for 19 hours after the league’s hardest-working team triumphed againIt was short, but oh so sweet. For 19 hours following their 2-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Friday, Eintracht Frankfurt were second in …

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Cologne on the trail of greatest escape after forcing Hamburg’s hand | Andy Brassell

Saturday’s win at their fellow strugglers sparked the sacking of Markus Gisdol and raised hopes of an unlikely escapeAlready, it threatens to be the story of the season. FC Köln were dead, buried and we were just waiting for the post-mortem. Following …

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Borussia Dortmund’s plans for new start hit by same old Aubameyang problem | Andy Brassell

Dortmund wanted to return from the winter break with a clean slate but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exclusion ruined thatA new year, a new Borussia Dortmund. That was the plan after a fractious, difficult and sometimes traumatic 2017, which took in the …

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Bayern Munich top late dramatics as Bundesliga shuts up shop with a bang | Andy Brassell

A swarm of clutch finishes marked out the final round of games before the winter break, including drama for leaders Bayern in their win at StuttgartThe memo, it appeared, was widely received. As the Bundesliga’s Hinrunde – the season’s first half – cam…

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Wolfsburg hungry for more as Englische Woche leaves Leipzig gasping for break | Andy Brassell

Martin Schmidt has Wolfsburg climbing the Bundesliga table but the winter break can’t come soon enough for RB Leipzig“I would say it’s something to learn from.” Divock Origi’s summary of his glaring second-half miss that might have given Wolfsburg vict…

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Dortmund give Stöger ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ chance after firing Bosz | Andy Brassell

It is left to Peter Stöger, sent packing from Köln last week, to restore confidence at Borussia Dortmund where there has been next to noneA week is a long time in the Bundesliga. On Monday, Peter Stöger and his assistant Manni Schmid cleared their desk…

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Peter Stöger leaves with his head held high at crucial juncture for Cologne | Andy Brassell

Peter Stöger’s name deserves to be cherished in the context of the club’s history, and it is sad that his tenure in Cologne fell apart like it didIn a way it ended just as it was supposed to, with honour. As Peter Stöger took his final bow in front of …

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Schalke’s historic comeback leaves Bosz on the brink in Dortmund | Andy Brassell

For a few weeks Borussia Dortmund’s problem has clearly been confidence, but that won’t have been helped by the remarkable 4-4 draw with SchalkeThe 151st Revierderby was, and will continue to be, notable for a number of reasons. Perhaps chief among the…

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Werder Bremen and showman Max Kruse keep reality from the door | Andy Brassell

Max Kruse’s hat-trick brought relief at the Weserstadion, but questions over the club’s long-term – and even medium-term – plan remain“It doesn’t matter who scores the goals,” said Max Kruse on Thursday, and it sounded like he believed it. Yet even if …

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Bayern Munich’s turnaround leaves Dortmund seeking crumbs of comfort

Four games ago, Bayern trailed Borussia Dortmund by five points – but victory on Saturday has now put them six points clear at the top of the BundesligaIt was the sort of evening after which crumbs of comfort had to be searched for, and Borussia Dortmu…

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Bayern Munich back in customary spot but wait for real Bundesliga test | Andy Brassell

The returning Jupp Heynckes has breathed new life into Bayern, but with their rivals spluttering, it is hard to judge by exactly how muchWhen Jupp Heynckes agreed to retake the position of head coach at Bayern Munich for the remainder of the season, it…

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Leipzig get revenge on Dortmund in clash of pretenders to Bayern throne | Andy Brassell

This was the match of the season so far in the Bundesliga, hands down, as RB Leipzig ended Dortmund’s incredible unbeaten run at Signal Iduna ParkIt was clear, from the way Ralph Hasenhüttl jumped on the pitch at full-time, bouncing with his fists pump…

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Shadow of Pep Guardiola made Carlo Ancelotti a man out of time at Bayern | Andy Brassell

The sacked manager has many fine attributes but could never live up to his predecessor and Wednesday’s defeat to Paris Saint-German was the final straw

When Bayern Munich came to London last March to face Arsenal, following one 5-1 victory and just about to register another, everything seemed rosy in the kingdom of FC Hollywood. Sure, their football in the Bundesliga had hardly been edge-of-the-seat stuff, but Carlo Ancelotti spoke confidently, almost bullishly, of his team before the game in the press room at the Emirates Stadium.

He talked of his side approaching their physical best, and of their “real energy”. It felt like his plan to take them back to Champions League glory – the reason that he was appointed to replace Pep Guardiola in the first place – was coming together at the right time. It felt like Bayern could be becoming Ancelotti’s team at last.

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Bayer Leverkusen’s identity crisis nearing an end as entertainers emerge | Andy Brassell

After a season close to the abyss, Bayer Leverkusen’s rebuilding job has begun in earnest this season and is slowly showing signs of promise

For a long time, we’ve known exactly what Bayer Leverkusen are about. They impress, they entertain, they qualify for Europe and achieve to a certain level without actually getting it over the line. The old ‘Neverkusen’ epithet from the Klaus Toppmöller days has endured well.

Last season, and the summer that followed, changed all that. The Roger Schmidt era, which had given Die Werkself a firm on-pitch identity, fell to pieces and the club dropped the ball badly in appointing Tayfun Korkut as his successor – at exactly the point where a strong personality was needed to galvanise the players. In between wan performances, poor results and players meeting angry fans to appease them, Leverkusen came worryingly close to the drop.

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Julian Nagelsmann helped by a ball boy as he aces latest Bayern Munich audition

All eyes were on the Hoffenheim manager as a quick-thinking kid helped him mastermind another win over the champions to further enhance his reputation

There was never even a flicker of doubt over who or what would be the centre of attention at the Rhein-Neckar Arena early Saturday evening. “Before the game,” wrote Süddeutsche Zeitung, “so many cameras were directed at him that one had to ask whether there was any pose at all he had not been photographed in; sitting, standing, looking into the distance, hands in the pockets.”

It was, perhaps, less Hoffenheim against Bayern Munich and more the champions’ future taking on their present. There is consensus that Julian Nagelsmann, Hoffenheim’s 30-year-old coach of the year, will take the path to the top at the Allianz Arena at some point in the near future. The question, posed a lot in Germany over the last week as the two sides prepared to meet, is exactly when the moment will arrive.

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