Let's start again!
The countdown starts for Borussia's first match in the league against Cologne. And to spell it correct or familiar for all Cologne supporters: In Germany the name of our opposing team from the river Rhine is "1 FC Köln" or with regard to its mascot the "Billy Goats".
Some remarks before going into details: Is anybody there who won't be curious or maybe a little bit nervous when thinking about Borussia's first step into the new season this coming Saturday?
Forecasts about BVB in 2009/2010 seem to be difficult and opinions about Borussia's performance in the new season differ from high optimism down to positions below last season's # 6 in the league. Two days before the match against Köln, Borussia reported about 50.675 sold seasonal tickets (previous season: 50.549 and lower prices!) - new record in the league! That's proof enough how high emotions for our club run at the moment!
So, what's new in our beloved team in summer 2009?
Beside our new acquired players Dimitar Rangelov, Kevin Grosskreutz (strikers), Markus Feulner and Sven Bender (midfield) it's easy to point out the most important change: Our highly effective striker Alexander Frei returned to FC Basel much to the regret of the majority of BVB fans! Thank you Alex for many important goals! You will always be in our minds and you will deserve a special chapter in our club's chronicle! Alex's direct successor in Borussia's team, Argentinean Lucas Barrios left a positive mark during training matches and especially in the first cup competition match against Weiden last Saturday. Of course it wasn't a great match, but it was a typical match when a Bundesliga team meets a team from the lower divisions. Most important result is that Borussia entered the next cup round! Therefore the only recommendation for the first matchday in the league currently is: Forget all the critics and bad reviews about our cup match - the real world will start this Saturday in our Westfalenstadion against 1. FC Köln!
And Prince Poldi?
During the last weeks Cologne, also popular for its carnival scene in Germany, seems to be more or less a one man show! And this one and only man is Germany's international Lukas Podolski! What a hype it was when managers of Cologne and Munich confirmed his change from Bayern Munich back to FC Köln. It took and still will take long discussions if Lukas Podolski took the right decision to return to Cologne. Many experts agree to his decision, others say that he gave up in Munich to early. No question: Lukas Podolski is one of the best German strikers but in the near future there will be a lot of pressure on him! Thousands of experts or so called experts will observe him permanently. So it's clear that Lukas Podolski will try everything to play a good premiere match for Köln to prove that he is now playing for the right club. BVB defenders - keep a special eye on Lukas! And the strikers team Lukas Podolski and Slovenian Milivoje Novakovic (16 goals in season 2008/2009) could be a dangerous threat not only for Borussia.
Another big issue is Köln's new coach Zvonimir Soldo. Much to everyone's surprise former well known coach Christoph Daum quitted his job in Köln and is now coaching his former employer Fenerbahce Istanbul. New coach Zvonimir Soldo is not unknown in the league. From 1996 until 2006 he played for VFB Stuttgart as a solid midfielder. The return of Lukas Podolski and the departure of Christoph Daum put other developments in Köln's squad nearly into the second row. But worth to mention are the new Potuguese international Maniche and Germany U-20 international Christopher Schorch. So some popular players enlarge the amounts on Cologne's payroll. BVB coach Jürgen Klopp has made an interesting comment regarding Köln's high staff costs in a newspaper: "Did Cologne's manager Michael Meier find an oil spring in Cologne"? A funny, but also legitimate question. But this should be the only remark about the current Cologne- and former BVB manager Michael Meier in this warm up report.
What can we expect from our Borussia on Saturday?
Above mentioned Lucas Barrios (on the back of his jersey you will read "Lucas") will be surely a regular player for Saturday. But Sebastian Kehl and Leonardo Dede will be without much doubt not a part of Saturday's team. Kehl suffered a groin injury during the warm up before the friendly match against Valencia. Dede broke his jaw in a pre-season match against Paderborn and in his medic's opinion it needs more time to heal. Also our goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller is not in the best health at the moment. Roman had to interrupt training due to injury. A partially torn elbow ligament was his "souvenir" from the cup competition match last Saturday against Weiden. But maybe he will able to play and if not - Marc Ziegler always played a solid part as a substitute for our regular goalkeeper. Possible substitutes for Dede are Marc Schmelzer but even 22 years old Yasin Öztekin will get the chance to play the defensive part on the left side. After positive impressions during the last training sessions it was reported that he could be on Jürgen Klopp's list to join the team on Saturday. Currently unsatisfying is the situation for Florian Kringe. The former midfielder lost his regular position in the team and is now struggling for his come back. Not an easy job for him with regard to all the other alternatives in Borussia's midfield. A possible substitute for Kehl could be again Mats Hummels or Tinga. Nearly a luxury problem for Jürgen Klopp, which we find at the moment also in other parts of the team: Probably Owomoyela. Subotic and Santana will play their regular defensive positions all others will have a chance to join the squad on Saturday or in the near future. Beside Barrios, Nelson Valdez, Dimitra Rangelov, Mohamed Zidan Kuba and Kevin Grosskreutz will apply for a job as strikers. High quality enough and as mentioned another luxury problem for Jürgen Klopp. But before our first match of course it's better to have a bunch of luxury problems than ineffectual compromises - this season will be long enough!
So hopefully our team will continue the success of last year's first matchday, also against a team from the river Rhine: Borussia won 3:2 in Leverkusen and created the base for a successful season. And that's all we want for Saturday! The first three points for our black'n yellows in a sold out Westfalenstadion! Come on boys let's start again!