Connect with us

Bayer Leverkusen

Could Cinderella Ruin The Bundesliga’s Ball?


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.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more



  1. Jan

    March 20, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    “But in general, success is replicated. You can’t blame teams for doing that. And to have an unlikely champion based on a certain style has potential to trickle down (a philosophy that works in footie, but not economics).”

    But can you give any examples of that happening in the Bundesliga in, let’s say, the last ten to twenty years, to back up this hypothesis? I can’t. Or any other league for that matter? Ottmar Hitzfeld will go down in coaching history, but only for his success and not his attacking football. He could grind out results with his teams and won the Bundesliga and CL with Dortmund and Bayern, but the success of those two teams under Hitzfeld had no “negative” impact on the league. After all, Klinsmann was signed, no to continue a recent history of sexy Bavarian football by Hitzfeld and Magath, but to finally inject more flair and attacking football into the serial champions. Neither did Bremen’s or Stuttgart’s Bundesliga wins turn the league into attacking football wonderland.

    And then I would argue that you are a bit too quick jumping to conclusions about Hertha anyway. If some Swiss football fans are to be believed, then Favre likes to take his time to build a team and he likes to build it from the back – settle the defense and take it from there. But when he was done doing that, he gained a reputation for playing beautiful attacking football with Zurich and winning back to back league titles this way. Hertha are capable of regularly stringing together beautiful passing moves when they attack, so there are already plenty of previews of the potential of this team on display each weekend. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about Hertha too early there.

    When it comes to Hamburg and labeling them as the other organized team alongside Hertha… I can’t see it. After all they have the worst defense of the top 5 teams. You can’t be that organized then and overall you don’t see patterns drilled into the team when they play. Hamburg are in a transitional season IMHO. They lost key players, bought a couple of new ones, but still have to find a vdV replacement after the Neves flop. De Jong hasn’t been replaced yet, unless you consider Silva his replacement, in which case Kompany in central defense still needs a quality replacement. Gravgaard is only a backup for the backup defender Reinhardt after all. So there is still work to do on the transfer market in the summer. And overall Jol has still work to do to make his team play consistently and actually organized. So, I’d say it’s too early to make any statements about this team and Jol’s philosophy either. And where does Wolfsburg light up the league so much really BTW?

  2. Double Pivot

    March 20, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Well thanks for a non-rant reply Juliet.

    I am a glass-half empty kind of guy at times. And so I fret that anything could take away from the excitement of the league. Teams in England that get promoted, tend to play very soul-sucking football in their first year back. That doesn’t happen in Germany: KSC last year. And all 3 teams (except Koln at home) have been exciting teams now that Meyers has Bm playing good football. And that should say a lot.

    But in general, success is replicated. You can’t blame teams for doing that. And to have an unlikely champion based on a certain style has potential to trickle down (a philosophy that works in footie, but not economics). So I didn’t offend or insult anyone and I don’t need a grip. It was a question, and one nobody really tried to address.

    And as for Abby saying things like “if the Bundesliga can’t keep up with HBS”. Well after 80 years of being light year’s behind every other club, I would say that the possibility of Hertha fans being unbearable when they do eventually win, will be pretty much guaranteed.

  3. Juliet

    March 20, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Hertha’s win is not going to change an entire league’s play. I think sensible people can figure out that Hertha’s rise is partially due to their own excellent defense and good countering skills, and partially due to other events like Hoffenheim’s awesome early rampage, Bayern letting their defense sleep in, Schalke’s meltdown, etc. that have made the league delightfully competitive.

    Abby, I’d be insulted if people kept saying these things about my team. Sure it’s unexpected, but it’s also a fascinating phenomenon. I’m enjoying it.

  4. Paul

    March 16, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Get a grip – really, Munich have won the Bundesliga 7 of the last 10 years. Fantastic if Hertha win it, as a Hertha fan I will be very happy. But will their style change the league? Come off it. Maybe when they win it 3 years in the row, you can talk about the influence one team has on an entire league. Bayern are currently the only team with any kind of influence over playing style in the Bundesliga, they are the only continually successful team. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

    Abby – you rock – give em hell! It seems to me that people are all a bit put off by Hertha’s success. It doesn’t fit into a nice little box they can write about, so instead they just criticise it. Hertha plays a style of football that make me happy – cause we win! It’s that simple!

  5. diana

    March 16, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I think I used to read what Rafael Honigstein explained the reason why no one had expected Hertha Berlin to be at the top (this was when they were initially at the top, not what is happening of late) is because Hertha knows how to defend where it seemed that the rest of the league did not know how to do so. The buzzword seems to be that everyone else is talking about the offensive football we are seeing in the Bundesliga these days, apart from the title race the Bundesliga is having.

    Has it changed the perception of the league abroad? Not at least in my country, even if we have the Bundesliga on the TV here. Someone should tell Rudi Voeller that. The Bayer Leverkusen sporting director should see what is at our newspapers here on its sports sections on any given day. For all of Bayern Munich’s spanking of Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League last 16 in the home and away-legs, I am actually worried they will be drawn against an English side in the quarter-finals. Unless Juergen Klinsmann has a plan…

    ‘The fact is, defending is a part of the game too. Has the Bundesliga forgotten that?’
    Agree with you, Abby. As much as I like to see goals galore with a scoreline like 5-4 (like how it ended between Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim in the first-half of the season), I do like to see teams which do know to defend too.

    Not that I am advocating catenaccio in the Bundesliga but paraphrashing what Abby has to say, attacking and defending are both part of the game. Now Hertha Berlin has been called ‘masters of efficiency’. Or maybe it is from the Goggle Translate.

  6. Abby

    March 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Look, I sympathize with the fears, but I can’t help but be annoyed at the constant characterization of Hertha as extremely negative, as if they’re going out there to kick their opponent’s ankles and their only ability is putting long balls onto Voronin’s head.

    The fact is, defending is a part of the game too. Has the Bundesliga forgotten that? Hertha’s managed to get where they are by having a decent defense- their players are working well together, they know what they’re doing and what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s not even the world’s most impressive defense, but it’s there and solid. Maybe the Bundesliga could use a little reminder of that side of the game, if it wants to do better in Europe, both in how to defend and how to win against a team that can.

    And I think that if Hertha do continue their success, we’ll see the next stage of Favre’s plan. Hertha are where they are because he had to overhaul the team without the money that is usually used for that sort of thing. His previous teams were more traditionally attacking, but he needed to get a foundation down first- and a defense. There are flashes.

    But if the vaunted exciting attackers of the Bundesliga can’t keep up, that’s their fault. Not Hertha’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Bayer Leverkusen

Translate »