Salma Mitha has joined the ESPN Soccernet podcast this week as their Bundesliga correspondent. While it is understandable that the great Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger wouldn’t have time to spend on a podcast, I do feel that it was a positive sign by ESPN, who produces a bi-weekly podcast dedicated to the EPL and MLS to try and include our great league in their discussion. Typically the Soccernet contributors are downright ignorant of the league and embarrass themselves when they speak of it. This week they added a German resident and blogger to their ranks to cover our beloved league.
But I do hope that Salma’s first gig won’t be an indication of the future as he sounded no more versed in the league than Dom Raynor. One would hope that a person living in Germany (if location was the benchmark, then our friend Jan from the Offside would have been the best choice) would be able to bring more than the great Derrek Rae, who has filled in nicely with Bundesliga reviews when called upon by ESPN. Unfortunately, it sounds like the new correspondent has a long way to go to touch Rae, let alone put Soccernet on par with the vastly superior Football Weekly by the Guardian which boasts Rafael Honigstein as the German expert (and he seems to be the most knowledgeable when it comes to the EPL many times).
The Guardian has been one of the only audio sources for English speakers interested in the Bundesliga for a few years. World Soccer Daily tries with Johannes Berendt and Andy Brassel, but Brassel covers the full of Europe and Johannas is a rare interview these days although Kenny Hassan has lived in Germany and has shown good knowledge when they speak about the league. Deutch-Welle has a bare bones sports report, but it covers Formula 1 more than the Bundesliga. The Game by the Times is pure EPL. So the only other source of note is ESPN and Soccernet had seemed to give way upon realizing they couldn’t compete against the Guardian in the Bundesliga any better than the other major leagues in Europe with Richardson covering Italy, Lowe covering Spain and Doyle covering France. They had dedicated themselves to the EPL, UCL and MLS for a while, but it now seems that they may be trying to expand. And I hope it works.
But there were a couple of major bungles in week one that worry me. The Bundesliga correspondent shouldn’t refer to Dzeko and Grafite as D-zeko and Grafeetay. It’s Juh-eko and Grafisch. Telling us that Magath was fired to make way for Klinsmann is a gaffe of epic proportion, although maybe I was just unaware of Hitzfeld’s year and half interim label. And frankly, rehashing the same old story about Ibesivic’s injury causing Hoffenheim’s downfall is ridiculous as Herr Honigstein has already given us the real reason(s) for their downfall weeks ago.
So let’s hope that Salma was just nervous and has better days ahead of him. I am hoping that he does and I hope everyone here will listen and give the new correspondent both positive and negative feedback as it is justified via their facebook group.