After Bayern München had won the Bundesliga home match against Eintracht Frankfurt last Saturday, according to the commentators “laboriously” with 2:1, the same pairing was now on the agenda again in the DFB Cup, with the home advantage reversed. That always brings a bit of excitement and explosiveness, so that here, by almost random selection, these two games are to be commented on a little, of course including the reporters’ insights in comparison to much more appropriate ones.
In principle, Saturday’s game can be summarised relatively quickly. The most appropriate is an interview conducted with Bayern coach Louis van Gaal after the game. The reporter, who was once again over-smart due to his highly complex experience as a first-grade teacher of the difference between 1 and 2, wanted to “really get to the heart of Louis van Gaal” today. He made this clear with the following question: “Would you call today a lucky victory for Bayern? Louis van Gaal has already had his first experiences with the German media – a fairytale that has cost more than one Dutch coach his job – but he answered, clearly trying to be objective:
“I don’t think the victory was lucky. We had a lot of big chances, six in the first half alone, and we created enough chances, the opponent only two. We had more possession, more corners, more chances to score. I don’t think you can call it a lucky victory. We also forced the luck.”
If one wanted to, one could add self-motivatedly: “The timing of the winning goal in the 88th minute may make it seem lucky for you. But that is also the only criterion. The victory was deserved, according to game shares and performance data, and quite clear.”
Well, the words “reporter” and “give in” just don’t go together in the Sky reporter’s German usage. So he “followed up energetically”. That looked like this: “When you talk about a multitude of big chances, then you must inevitably talk about weakness in finishing?” Once again, there is no escape. Louis van Gaal tried nevertheless: “I think my team showed a good game today. We created a lot of chances. Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t see what we did wrong. I would have to worry if we hadn’t had any chances.” You could also confidently add to this statement in your mind with “if I could have taken a 2:1 win before the game, I would have grabbed it immediately.” Because, according to the specially created database, there was still a 24.2% chance against a Bayern win, as usual confirmed by the betting market. A win is a win, every winner should be satisfied. So it could have turned out differently.
The stupidity of the questions is nevertheless remarkable. First you have to explain to the dumbass that you had enough chances – which he therefore missed during the game (while twiddling his thumbs and counting goals, his favourite pastimes, which, however, completely exhaust him intellectually) – and, after he seems to have been enlightened about it, he turns around and simply denounces the “lack of chances”. There must be something that was bad.
Yesterday evening now the “revenge”. The DFB Cup is a big draw anyway, but also because of Saturday’s result, there were certainly a lot of Frankfurt fans, as well as fans all over Germany, who thought Eintracht could pull off a surprise in this match. And what neutral observer doesn’t like to see a surprise? Especially when it’s Bayern… Whereby the positive Frankfurt expectations may also be partly derived from the only seemingly lucky victory, but a less attentive observer due to the previously described “analyses”, from Saturday. Either way, however, one would assume: new game, new luck and there is always a chance.
However, the Bavarians have to fight against this all year round with maximum commitment and ambition. Every other opponent could hope for a little let-up, no, against Bayern they will always give 100% (but by no means more, as you are sometimes symbolically talked into doing; 120% for today?). In all stadiums they are met with an aversion, even if it is only temporary – namely until the next European Cup evening. That can be a little extra motivation even for a game like this, especially after a few weeks of slightly less favourable results.
In any case, not much else happened than on Saturday. Bayern were the better team and they had chances to score. A small difference to Saturday: This time, one of the first chances went in. 1:0 for Bayern. And anyone who knows anything about football – usually all the spectators except the one behind the microphone – knows that this has many advantages. The players of the leading team feel more secure, the players of the opposing team feel more broken. You don’t have to chase or prove anything first. You lead. And with an average of under three goals per game worldwide in professional football, one can immediately gauge how valuable such a goal is. The 59.2% that the computer estimated before the game for a Bayern victory becomes 82% in no time at all, to put it in probabilities, in coordination with the betting market.
It plays easier for Bayern, harder for the opponent. Nevertheless, there was still another chance rather by chance (back-passing mistake Franz), and this chance was also converted. The 2:0. Now let’s leave out the significance for the development of chances on the outcome of the game and also the further motivation of the teams. The Bavarians, partly thanks to their superior class, partly because of the relief of the early goals, but also because of a small deficit in the previous games also scored the third. A 3:0. “The thing is done” is not something you like to hear, and you may guess that there may still be a per mille against it, but it would be no fun to wait for this miracle. The sentence is true. But if one is forced to comment further, then the focus should be on the individual actions and not on the distribution of chances about the outcome of the game. In other words, “fade out” the intermediate score, so to speak, for the viewer. What would be the point of mentioning it at every scene? To pretend all the time that it was totally exciting because you didn’t know the winner? Or audibly “blow the whistle” on the game, with disinterested commentary, because there’s nothing at stake? Although on Sky this is the standard : No, it shouldn’t be. From now on there would be the chance, just football commentary. And that doesn’t have to be a disadvantage.
That would be a suggestion in general: just stick to the match scenes. No generalities (“they keep trying with…”), no gloating (“a mispass festival”), no commenting in between during an action with an assessment (“not bad at all, that cross”; robs the tension). Simply comment on the individual game scenes because of the beauty and attractiveness of the sport itself, because of the suspense of a single goal that is in the offing, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the game, which is preordained. Well, unimaginable, admittedly, but that only applies to Germany.
But what did the much-loved and highly esteemed announcer do? Every time he was heard in the conference (only clear results that evening; Schalke won 3-0 at 1860, Werder beat Kaiserslautern 3-0 and Hoffenheim beat TuS Koblenz 4-0) he picked on Frankfurt Eintracht a little more viciously. As usual, he probably wanted to celebrate himself and get the last spectators to switch off. With good success, I’m sure.
So the very few spectators who did not comply with the indirect request to “switch off” could bear witness to his ingenious, comedic turns of phrase.
Example: Bayern attack, they get into the penalty area, but without finishing: “That’s not as easy as in training. It’s much easier.” Clever. One wants to shout at him, “Would you have made the same comment if you hadn’t known the intermediate score?” Or was the simplicity taken solely from the results board that was superimposed?
If he hadn’t known, or, what the clever man would have said, for example at the score of 0:1 against Bayern, one can extrapolate to the identical scene something like: “They’ll never get through like that. They lack precision, the eye for the teammate, the movement, the last consistency, the last pass.” and what not?
Then he even topped this performance with the next insertion: “That’s not a class difference.” No, because that was before. The “gag” that secures him the audience of millions (of mites): “That’s two classes difference.” A real thigh-slapper. Even the mites fled at that one. And that is truly an art…. Maybe he should become an exterminator?
Well, what the hell, you can’t always hit it. Here too, please: just once, deprive the man of his secure safety net and let him comment on a single scene without knowing the outcome. Then all that would remain — apart from the stuttering — would be the bad grammar. But one suspects what would be left: he would simply remain silent. Because of the inability to recognise anything. To the back he would murmur: “Menno. You have to at least tell me what the score is, Otherwise I don’t know who to pick on, do I?”
Counting goals and picking is the only thing he knows how to do. Without a safety net of results, all that would be left would be silence. That, on the other hand, would really help the cause. Replacing the reporter would not help. Because the replacement babbled the same nonsense.
To sum up: The game on Saturday was somehow not right because the chances were not converted. Something was missing, something was wrong, the result and the way it came about did not seem to match expectations. The coach calmly explained to them that that’s how football works. You try to get chances. When you have them, part 1 is fulfilled. Then you try to make the most of them. Part 2. succeeds, sometimes more, sometimes less. On Saturday rather less, but still often enough. Because: one goal more than the opponent is enough to win, the game lasts 90 minutes, you don’t get more than three points even for a 4:0. At most, the winning goal to make it 2-1 on Saturday came late and, contrary to a completely silly and intrinsically wrong expectation (“closing weakness when chances are not taken?”) it was probably not high enough for the questioner.
Otherwise: If, as on Tuesday, a few of these chances are converted, then instead of using the knowledge gained that chances sometimes go in and sometimes don’t – provided by van Gaal as an explanation and confirmed here — the “subterranean” performance of the opponent is responsible instead. And that’s what we really had to listen to for 65 minutes, from 0:3 onwards. “Collective failure…”, “that everyone at once delivered such a catastrophic performance…” and so on. Football sense? Very, very close to the top of the pitch, in the mite area…
A 0:3, 0:4 is not right for him either. It is simply not possible to present the reporters with any course of play at all, no, not even a single move that meets their — justifiably, of course, according to their own views — high standards. If a dribble succeeds, they say, “it’s far too easy”, if the attacker gets stuck, “he keeps getting stuck”. If a cross lands in the defence, the cross was bad. If the striker reaches it and heads it in, it was a case of “collective deep sleep.” There is no such thing as a “successful action”. According to the commentators, only a bloody layman could recognise one. “Nicely played,” thinks the latter. “Oh, you beginner. Anyone could do that if they were given so much space by the opponent due to the positional error.” Nothing can be done: good doesn’t work and doesn’t exist.