It is time for another Säbener Semmelschmarrn, and not a moment too soon. Here we take a slightly more off-beat look at FC Bayern München, with the usual mix of random stories, Bild-baiting and general all-round nonsense. Grab your spoon, and tuck in…
It has been an interesting month in Munich, both on and off the pitch. FC Bayern are winning football matches again. The mojo is still missing, the media are still throwing pebbles, and some of us are still biting. Then, if things could not get any worse, we had Rafinha’s Halloween bombshell. See what I did there?
Erm, OK. Let us get on with it.
James Rodríguez is one player who has been continually eyeballed by the media. According to various sources, the Colombian is incredibly unhappy in Munich, and wants to escape from his Bavarian prison as quickly as possible.
If these stories are to be believed, James is particularly unhappy with Niko Kovač’s squad rotation policy, and is getting increasingly irate at being benched or subbed out. Then there was his stomp-off after the 1:1 draw with Ajax.
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 2, 2018
If the media gossip is to be believed, James first wanted to move back to Real Madrid. Then there was talk about a possible move to Liverpool. Now we are being regaled with stories of a possible move to Juventus, who supposedly want to rekindle the love affair with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Next week, James will be wanting to play in the MLS because he doesn’t like the Munich winter.
Niko lays down the law
When Die Roten were on their four-game winless run, the attention was all on the Bayern coach. No matter the problem, Niko was somehow to blame. After all, there is nothing that some scribblers would like better than hounding a man out of his job and garnering a few extra clicks in the process.
Keen to whip up hysteria and promote their FC Hollywood fake news agenda, all sorts of stories were cooked up, up to and including objections from some players to the coach’s post-training bike rides.
Bild | Bayern players are revolting against Niko Kovac's training methods. According to Bild-info, Kovac obliges his players to go on a bike ride for 20 minutes after every training and 30 minutes after every game for regeneration. This „overtime“ is annoying the players. pic.twitter.com/9Tksw38XCd
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 12, 2018
We all knew that Niko would take a tougher line regarding player fitness. If these claims are true – and there is no good reason to believe that they are – the complainers would have been best advised to get on with it. It was not long ago that the same players were complaining about fitness coach Giovanni Mauri smoking on the training ground.
The latest “Kovač crackdown” concerns players not warming up properly, with Franck Ribéry and Jérôme Boateng both coming under scrutiny. Again, there are no actual quotes, just speculation.
After all of the summer shenanigans and talk about a move to Paris Saint-Germain, Jérôme Boateng seemed to have settled down. Despite criticism about his extra-curricular business ventures and some sharp words from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the defender appeared to have got back to the business of playing football.
It is fair to say that some of Jez-B’s performances have not been great. The Hertha Berlin game stands out, but there was also his being put on the seat of his pants by none other than Georginio Wijnaldum in Germany’s dismal 0:3 defeat against the Netherlands.
I am not sure that this is what Kalle meant when he suggested that Boa needs to “come back down to earth”.
This brings us to one of Boateng’s latest tweets, a badly-timed attempt at selling his media brand. Yes, football is far from a long-time career, and players should be able to pursue off-pitch projects. But given his poor recent form, this is far from great timing.
— Jerome Boateng (@JB17Official) November 1, 2018
Best not tag Kalle in this one. Boom! Or should we say… Boa!
Rafinha sheikhs things up
While we are on the matter of explosions, the latest Bayern blast was at their recent Halloween party, where the players threw themselves into the usual fancy-dress nonsense.
Standard stuff, one might have thought. A ghost here, a ghoul there. Robert Lewandowski as a nuclear fallout victim. Sandro Wagner as a goateed Batman. Niklas Süle as a vampire. Then, lurking in the bottom right-hand corner of the photo, a mysterious mustachioed character in Arab headdress carrying two wired boxes marked “Vorsicht”.
At the gathering itself, all of those involved were able to forget about the more serious stuff for a couple of hours. As is the fashion, photos were innocently shared on social media. It was here that the fuse was lit. I do not think I need to say what happened next. Rafinha offered an apology, but that only seemed to make matters worse.
My personal view is that Halloween should be the one day of the year where those who are easily offended keep clear. It is an occasion where comedy can, and very often does, cross the line. Usually inadvertently. Stay at home. Stock up on eye masks and ear plugs.
Rafa’s outfit may have been extremely lame, but it was far from racist. (It was also massively inaccurate. I have never seen a terrorist bomber kitted out in traditional Arab attire).
The problem was that this took the attention away from the hazmat-suited Lewy and his wife Anna, who looked fantastic as Lara Croft.
Davies in Munich
To round things off, let us get back to the football. This week, it was announced that teenage signing Alphonso Davies will be joining the Bayern team on the training ground. The Canadian cannot officially play until after the winter break, but this is a fantastic development.
Nobody is expecting miracles from such a young player who will need to make the major step up from Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS to the Bundesliga, but the early signs are good.
— FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) November 2, 2018
Given Bayern’s current problems up front, the versatile Davies, who celebrated his eighteenth birthday today, will be a more than welcome addition the team’s offensive armoury.