With Hamburg’s win today over Energie Cottbus, the Dinosaurs join Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich in a three way log jam in second place behind surprise front runners Hertha Berlin. All four are four points behind the pace with upstarts Hoffenheim a mere five points off the pace with just ten games remaining.
So the Bundesliga is left with four possible fairy-tale endings, unless the surging Bavarians take their typical place at the top by the final day. Hoffenheim, as we all know by now, are in their first year in the top flight and contending to be the first promoted side since Kaiserslautern to win the title. Wolfsburg are factory town team that has taken an audacious English approach and VW’s money to finally contend for the title after 70 years of uninspiring results. The Dinosaurs are vying for the title for the first time since they were a superpower back in the early 80’s. And Hertha are trying to do the same; however, their drought is fifty years longer than Hamburg’s, back when it was a national cup competition and the players weren’t paid.
But Hertha and Hamburg represent two Cinderella stories, which might not have happy endings.
While I love the thought of either team bringing home the championship after such a long time, they are two of the more negative teams in the league. Looking at goal scored, neither is any more than a mid-table team. And when it comes to defense, Hertha is only more forgiving than Rutten’s Schalke, who would make Stoics look like followers of Dionysus.
Hertha scores little and allows in less. Hamburg scores little but allows as many, which masks their low scoring rate with more excitement than it deserves. A long-time fan of Martin Jol, I’m aware of his propensity to throw away leads, and it is covering his team’s stalwartness.
If either of these two teams win over the more possession minded Bayern, Wolfsburg or Hoffenheim, could it spell the end to the league’s goal glut? For years, the Bundesliga has been the highest scoring major league in Europe. But teams replicate success, and the stinginess of HSV and HBS could become the new beacon for Bundesliga sides, if either of these two organized sides win the league?
It’s an interesting question and one that could potentially pose a threat to our league.
Do you think a Hertha title, for all the fun that it could bring due to the surprise nature, long road to redemption and capital furor, end up costing the league in the long run as attack-minded clubs such as Bayer, Hoffenheim, the newly inspired Stuttgart and the recently awoken Werder have to give up a wonderful brand of football in order to compete for the riches of Europe, by reverting to Hertha and Hamburg’s organize-and-counter styles.
In the midst of the fun of seeing the Bundesliga strive to be the most competitive and fun league in Europe, is it possible that we are seeing the last season that it could be considered so?
I hope not! I want to enjoy the possible Cinderella stories at face value, but does anyone else worry about the success that Hertha is built on becoming all the more common, turning us into a replicate of Ligue Un? Or am I overthinking this?
I would love to get other’s opinions.