Welcome to my first blog of 2015 and I hope you had a lovely and relaxing Christmas and will have a successful New Year. Most of us may have been suffering from the Bundesliga winter break blues and had to be cheered up by news (although females would disagree) from a court in Düsseldorf where a judge ruled that men can still enjoy the privilege of peeing standing up.
Yes, this story made headlines over here, too, including reputable newspapers like The Independent, and the ruling convinced many British males that it's not all bad in Germany.
In contrast the English Premier League clubs have had to put in extra shifts over the Christmas period, playing matches on Boxing Day and New Years Day. In addition, the majority of Premier League clubs are still involved in the FA Cup (DFB Pokal) and League Cup***
*** Beginning each August, the League Cup (this year sponsored by Capital One) features all 92 clubs from The Football League and Premier League in a straight knock-out format across seven rounds, with the semi-finals being played over two legs. Premier League clubs enter the competition in Round Two with clubs that have qualified for the Champions League or UEFA Europa League joining in Round Three. The competition culminates in a final at Wembley Stadium each February, with the lucky winner qualifying for the subsequent season's UEFA Europa League (http://www.capitalonecup.co.uk).
However, yesterday was regarded as the most amazing day in FA Cup history as several Premier League giants like Chelsea or Manchester City (both with home advantage) were knocked out by clubs like Bradford City (League One) or Middlesborough (Championship). Bradford even managed to come back from 0:2 to win 4:2 and send their travelling supporters into raptures.
For Chelsea manager Jose Morinho the defeat was a disgrace, and I am sure that most Chelsea supporters agree. However, it still does not make Schalke's exit in the first round against Dresden any more digestible. And it was 'squeaky bum time' *** again for a Manchester United manager. This time it was Louis van Gaal who started the match against Cambridge United with substitutes who are valued at £100m,
*** When Louis van Gaal defended his controversial 3-5-2 formation he claimed that the 4-4-2 system "makes my ass twitch", providing an alternative for Alex Ferguson's 'squeaky bum time'. According to the Independent it stems from van Gaal's tendency to translate Dutch expressions directly into English. The Dutch phrase is 'met samengeknepen billen' which means: very nervous and hanging on in quiet desperation.
Manchester did only marginally better and managed a goalless draw. For Cambridge who play three leagues down in League Two, there were even chances to win the match and the replay at Old Trafford will guarantee a lot of extra cash. Cambridge has already indicated that the extra money will be used to modernise the stadium facilities, including new toilets. Whether there will be signs to do it sitting down is not known at at the moment.
Enjoy the restart of the Bundesliga!