New Jogi Pictures: Nivea advert (2017)

The End of the Season/Hansi’s New Job

There’s still one final match-day left but already things are changing and Hansi’s news isn’t the biggest change of all nor is it the worst. This season is Freiburg’s first season back in the top flight after getting relegated a season ago and it’s fair to say they’ve surpassed expectations. RBL qualifying for the Champions League is a less significant achievement than what Freiburg have done because they don’t have RBL’s money or resources yet they’re in the running for Europe anyway. Even if they don’t actually qualify they’ve still had a great season. Regardless of whether they’ll be playing Europa League football or not next season it’s not enough for some people, it’s not enough to keep Grifo and Philipp at the club. Grifo leaving I expected and I whilst I’m disappointed I don’t have any hard feelings towards him. Philipp is another story and it’s not just the fact he’s leaving, it’s where he’s going. This is even worse than Klaus going to Hannover because Philipp is going to none other than RBL.

Funny thing is Grifo is going to Gladbach and if everything went right (from Freiburg’s perspective) they could end up with no European football and Freiburg there instead. Gladbach still have a shot at qualifying for Europe but everything has to go their way for that to happen and only a win is enough for them on Saturday. It helps they’ve been gifted playing Darmstadt on the last day but that might not be the gift it appears to be. Playing a team who has nothing to lose is not always what you want at a time like this. As for Freiburg’s chances of automatic EL qualification I don’t even want to think about that, they’ve never beaten Bayern in Munich and haven’t done so that often at home for that matter. In order to qualify automatically they have to win, there’s no question of a draw being of any help with their awful goal difference of minus 15. And in order to get the play-off place they can lose and still get it, but only if everything around them goes their way. The last time MD34 was a nail-biter for them it was for very different reasons, they were fighting just to stay in the league. So whatever happens on Saturday it doesn’t matter, they’re safe, that’s what really counts.

It’s keeping hold of players that’s Freiburg’s big problem, they develop young players and then watch them get picked off. It’s just the way things work in football but it makes it no less painful. At least there are three players I know I don’t have to worry about, Petersen, Schwolow and Söyüncü won’t be going anwyhere. And it’s not all bad, there are two not so quite new additions to the squad in the form of Pascal Stenzel and Florian Niederlechner. They’re not quite new because they’ve been on loan at Freiburg since January 2016. I was hoping they’d get to keep hold of Niederlechner and whilst I’m glad I’m surprised Mainz didn’t want him back, they could certainly do with a goal scorer like him.

As for Hansi the reason for him leaving the DFB has finally become clear with returning to Hoffenheim in the post of sporting director. It’s a most curious affair since a short while ago Alexander Rosen (who he’s replacing) appeared on TV and denied they’d had any contact with him. What I’m wondering is how long were they talking for, when did they make a deal and what if anything did Rosen know of it. I don’t care really since Hoffenheim are the enemy but if it happened as it looks like then I can’t help but feel a little sorry for Rosen. And the biggest question of all when he went on TV that day did he know Hansi was going to be not only joining them but replacing himself. Like I said it’s all very curious. And SSN helpfully provided the following picture of him with the guy he’s replacing. I don’t know what game it’s from, it’s not one I saw anyway. That’s a downside to Hansi’s new job, now I have to record Hoffenheim games too.

On one hand I’m happy about it because it means seeing more of Hansi but on the other hand it’s Hoffenheim which makes him the enemy too. Speaking of Hoffenheim there’s one other matter related to them, their reported interest in Matze Ginter who apparently wants to leave Dortmund were a suitable offer to be made. I don’t know if there’s any truth to the rumors but I hope there aren’t. Him going to Hoffenheim wouldn’t be the worst option, a few months ago RBL were reported as being interested in him and that would be unthinkable. I’d rather see him in the blue of Hoffenheim than play for them. There is one good Matze related piece of news, he’s in Jogi’s squad for the Confed Cup in the summer and not Stefan’s squad for the u21 Euros. He wasn’t included in the squad for the Euros last summer which was disappointing so hopefully he can this opportunity to get in Jogi’s good books.

DFB PK: Joachim Löw & Stefan Kuntz (Confed Cup Squad Announcement) 17/05/17

Joachim Löw – Sky Sport News 17/05/17

Should is the Root of all Evil

I’ve been waiting to post something until I was sure I had a subject to write about which wasn’t related to real life in any way. I still don’t have that but today I realised I don’t need to keep waiting. It’s possible to write about real life without it getting too depressing. At least today it is. I’m in sort of a good mood and I’m making the most of it. Freiburg won, I got a Jogi video from the game and with ten packets of stickers left to open I’ve completed 87% of this season’s album. Those things may seem pretty trivial but they are very important to me and I’m no longer worrying if I should be thinking of bigger things or if my interests make me a child. I don’t care anymore.

What I should or shouldn’t like is of no importance to me anymore. I’m not so worried about what other people think of me in that way. Sometimes the right pieces come together at the right time to make you see something and that happened to me this week. The research I’ve been doing for my presentation and the psych appointment being the two pieces in question. One of the things I discovered whilst looking things up was the word autism was first used in 1912 and it used to describe a group of patients who seemed to be isolated and uninterested in the world around them. That was long before autism became a proper diagnosis or even a recognised condition but it wasn’t that far off an accurate description. And I know some people won’t like it but it makes sense to me. I understand why some people will be offended by that because it conjures up the image of the stereotype of autistic people who are living within their own little world and who are unable or uninterested in being a part of the world around them. Thing is I do live in my own little world and I’m not keeping that a secret anymore. I’m not making myself spend time with other people just because I think I’ve had too much alone time. I know what makes me happy and what doesn’t. It really should be that simple but I over complicate it. I have to try and stop doing that.

Like I said it makes sense to me and it was reading all of that combined with what the person I saw said which made me realise something. I wish they’d been blunter, at first they went through the usual but there’s no such thing as normal anyway. Then we got to the real point. I don’t seem normal because I’m not. Any effort I put into trying is a waste of time. It’s an unobtainable dream. And that led to another question, do I even want to be normal?

The past few months I certainly thought I did, now I’m not so certain. One thing I did decide is that I was a lot happier before I started worrying about what other people think I should be doing. I’ve been so worried that I won’t or can’t meet their expectations. And I’ve been worried about what’ll happen when they realise that themselves. Yet I was worrying about completely the wrong thing. What I’m really afraid of is them finding out I have no intention of even trying. Because I really don’t want to be normal or to do any of the things everybody thinks I should want. That’s the secret I’m worried will be exposed. Not only that I can’t pretend to be normal but I don’t actually want to.

I know I said this wasn’t going to be depressing, I didn’t lie, this is far less depressing than the last thing I posted. I’m not debating whether or not I have the right to be alive for one thing. Today I haven’t felt like I’m a waste of space who doesn’t even deserve to consume oxygen. I might feel that way tomorrow or even later tonight if I can’t sleep again. But at least I had this one afternoon free of any such worries. To get back to the point there’s a phrase I came across which I feel fits perfectly, it’s how the Navajo Indians refer to people with autism and such disabilities. They call them perpetual children which I think is a really neat way of putting it.  I can’t explain why exactly, I just really like it.

Nothing has changed between now and the last post I wrote, nothing has been fixed or anything like that. There’s still plenty to be put right and I’m no closer to a solution for the main problem than before. The reason I’m not stressing out over it is because I’ve let myself withdraw into my own little world without worrying if I should or not. There’s that word again, should. They’re right, it can be an insidious and unhelpful word. I have to do what I need and right now that’s run as far as possible from reality.

On the subject of reality there is one thing I have to mention, Freiburg’s win against Schalke today means they’re in fifth place in the table. If they finish in fifth place they’ll be playing Europa League football. I don’t want to think about next season because it feels like tempting fate, both in regards to them and myself. As good a mood as I’m in it still makes me uneasy to think that far ahead, to assume I’ll still be alive then I suppose. In regards to Freiburg it’s not missing out on Europe Im worried about, what’s scaring me is the possiblity they will qualify. I’m not sure they’re ready for such a big step. Last time it pretty much broke them and whilst I’d love them whatever happens – whatever division they play in, I’d rather not have to go through the heartbreak of relegation again and what comes with that.

Relegation is one thing, you can always get promoted again after all. But the players, that’s not so simple. I got over the others leaving last time that’s true. This is different though, I’ve watched them become a team together, it would be all the more painful because of that. I guess this specfic worry ties in with what I’ve been writing about. Because by rights there’s no way Freiburg should be in contention for European football. They’ve conceded 55 goals so far this season. To find a team who’s conceded more in fact you’d have to go right to the bottom of the league, HSV have let in 59 and Darmstadt 59. To put things in perspective they were relegated in 2014/15 having scored 36 and conceded 47. They’re going to finish in the top half of the table with a worse goal difference then when they were relegated, having scored only four more goals. I think it’s the contradiction and oddly enough their unpredictable nature which I love so much. Sometimes they just don’t make any sense. I guess they’re a good fit for me in that sense. I mean last week they lost to Darmstadt who are in 18th and got relegated this weekend, and not only did they lose but they did by three goals. And this weekend they’re in a European place. From one extreme to the other.

The reason for their relegation two years ago lay in the fact that season they drew 13 games compared to five this season. They still have defensive issues obviously but they’re working on them, Söyüncü is a large part of the reason they’ve improved so much. The handsome Turk has the intelligence to match those good looks and is something of a monster tackler. There’s one question which requires no thought at least, he is without a doubt my favourite player this season. Not just my favourite new player but my favourite overall. There’s nothing complicated about that at least.  I just wish he could have played today, not least so Schwolow would have someone to celebrate with, a little something like this:

Joachim Löw at SC Freiburg v Schalke 04 2016/17

Joachim Löw at SC Freiburg v Schalke 04 2016/17 back-up link

New Jogi Pictures – Hamburg Journal 27/04/17

Hansi Flick at SV Sandhausen v Karlsruher SC 2016/17

Hansi Flick at SV Sandhausen v Karlsruher SC 2016/17 back-up link