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Being Juergen Klinsmann - The Revenge Of The Tartan Army


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30 Months Of Hurt

Finally, after two and a half years of humiliation, Berti Vogts was out on his ear. With only 9 wins in 32 games the record of the diminutive German was frankly appalling. Almost single-handedly he had managed to reverse the progress made under Andy Roxburgh and Craig Brown and the Scottish national team was now a laughing stock. But now the Tartan Army could look forward to a new man in charge and hopefully the whole sorry episode could be forgotten.

But for some, this was not enough. One particularly extreme faction wanted more. The Berlin Branch of the Tartan Army had endured more than most and they didn’t just want rid of Berti – they wanted revenge. And so they devised a Cunning Plan.

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30 Months Of Hurt

Finally, after two and a half years of humiliation, Berti Vogts was out on his ear. With only 9 wins in 32 games the record of the diminutive German was frankly appalling. Almost single-handedly he had managed to reverse the progress made under Andy Roxburgh and Craig Brown and the Scottish national team was now a laughing stock. But now the Tartan Army could look forward to a new man in charge and hopefully the whole sorry episode could be forgotten.

But for some, this was not enough. One particularly extreme faction wanted more. The Berlin Branch of the Tartan Army had endured more than most and they didn’t just want rid of Berti – they wanted revenge. And so they devised a Cunning Plan.

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A Cunning Plan

The first stage in the Cunning Plan was to find a volunteer who would be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. The individual concerned would need to be a true patriot but would have to be able to speak fluent German. They would have to be prepared to go deep undercover, leaving behind their friends and family and cutting off all ties to their previous life. They would also have to undergo painful and irreversible surgery. In short they would have to become JUERGEN KLINSMANN!!!

Once a brave volunteer had been found and the months of plastic surgery had been completed, the next step in the Cunning Plan could take place. The real Klinsmann would be kidnapped and held in a secure location whilst his doppelganger took over the reigns. The fake Klinsmann would then proceed to wreck the German national team by selecting second-rate players, instituting bizarre and poorly communicated tactics and blaming everyone else for his failure. If the faux-Klinsmann could hold onto his job for long enough then the German team’s proud record in major competitions would be a thing of the past and they would plummet down the FIFA rankings.

And so The Revenge Of The Tartan Army began.

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A Willing Volunteer

Clearly the first stage in the plan was to find a Willing Volunteer. The successful candidate would need to be the same general age, height and build as the real Klinsmann as there was only so much that could be achieved through surgery. He would have to be fluent in German and be able to imitate Klinsmann’s voice and mannerisms so accurately that even the German’s closest friends and family would be fooled by the charade. After patient weeks of searching the Berlin Branch of the Tartan Army finally found their man.

Stefan McCardle was the product of a marriage between a Scottish father and a German mother. His parents met when his dad, an army man, was posted to Osnabruck, and the two fell in love and soon married. When Stefan was born his father decided that he would remain in Germany at the end of his tour of duty rather than accepting another posting and uprooting his family, so he bought himself out of the Army. As a skilled electrical engineer he had no great difficulty in finding work and he set up a small business that provided the McCardle’s with a very comfortable living.

Stefan’s father enjoyed his life in Germany but he never let his son forget his Scottish roots and the young lad was taught English at home and grew up totally bi-lingual. A keen football fan, McCardle senior followed his local team and his son accompanied him to the home games from an early age. But young Stefan was fully indoctrinated with tales of the Scottish national team and their great players of the past and the McCardle men always took a keen interest in the team’s fortunes.

When Stefan was first sounded out about the Cunning Plan he showed an immediate enthusiasm – of course at that time he had no idea that he was being considered as the Willing Volunteer. But gradually he was drawn in deeper and deeper. Not only did Stefan have the right physical attributes – he was a similar age to the real Klinsmann, was tall, slim and blond – but he had no strong family ties (his parents had met with a tragic accident a couple of years earlier) and he was a gifted amateur thespian. He was finally convinced to take on the task when it was suggested that the Cunning Plan would serve as a monument to his late father who, alas, had not lived to see his beloved Scotland rid themselves of the disastrous Vogts.

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A Transformation Takes Place

And so Stefan McCardle agreed to forgo his real identity and become the Klinsmann doppelganger. An eminent plastic surgeon in Edinburgh was recruited to the cause and he began the long and painful process of transforming his patient into JUERGEN KLINSMANN. An agonizing and complex series of operations followed to undertake the physical alteration and at the same time Stefan began to study Klinsmann the man. He needed to be intimately familiar with every aspect of the German’s background – his childhood, his playing career, his likes and dislikes. He had to learn his family history, research his lifestyle and habits and finally his patterns of speech and physical behaviour. It was a painstaking process and it took months before Stefan and his co-conspirators were ready to put their plan into action. But finally on 30h January 2005 they made their move.

In a carefully choreographed operation a hit squad intercepted Klinsmann as he was driving to watch a league game between Dortmund and FC Bayern. He was taken to a safe location and Stefan took his place at the match. The Cunning Plan was underway.

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Uproar In The Press

At the time of Stefan’s insertion the German national team was in 13th place in the FIFA rankings. The team would be competing in the Confederations Cup in June and before that time they had two friendly games scheduled, an away game in Nigeria and a home game against Uruguay. When Stefan announced his squad for the game in Nigeria the German Press went haywire – most of the 22 players were complete unknowns. FC Bayern keeper Oliver Kahn was the only prominent player in the squad. There were a few players from First Division clubs but most came from teams in the lower divisions. The only capped players were Kahn, midfielder Stefan Freund and winger Horst Heldt. But there was one common factor – they were all at least 35 years of age. At a chaotic press conference Stefan, as Klinsmann, made a short announcement.

“I have chosen a German squad packed with experienced players because at International level experience is very important. You cannot rely on young players at this level as they, by their very definition, are lacking in experience in light of their extreme youthfulness. I am confident that the mature professionals that I have selected will do me proud.â€

Refusing to answer any questions me made his escape and decided to lay low until the squad flew out to Nigeria. The game itself was a little disappointing as his team of journeymen did surprisingly well, only losing 2-0. On his return to Germany, Stefan made a brief appearance in front of the press to give his views on the game.

“We were obviously very unfortunate to have lost this game. For many of our squad this was the first time that they had left their native shores and clearly the experience of visiting the Dark Continent was difficult for them. There were many other factors that contributed to our unlucky defeat - many of the players were airsick during the long flight; the pitch was not in very good condition; the game was played with a yellow ball; there are too many foreign players in Germany; the general weakness of the German economy is a concern for everyone and it certainly affected the focus of the team. But rest assured that I am not concerned by this one-off result and we will rectify the situation in our next match, of that I am certain.â€

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Thanks Simon. Stuart, you must be a mind reader icon_smile.gif

Giving Youth Their Head

Within a couple of weeks the faux-Klinsmann had to announce his team squad for the visit of Uruguay and once again there was a shock in store for the assembled press. This time he had made his selection from some of the larger clubs in Germany – FC Bayern, HSV, Hertha BSC, Hannover 96 and others. That wasn’t the surprise. The bombshell was that all of his squad were aged 18 or under. Once again Stefan made a brief statement at a frenzied press conference.

“It should be clear to all of you, as indeed it is to me, that the future of our national team lies with youth. In the words of the great Whitney Houston - 'I believe the children are our future, Teach them well and let them lead the way'. Fine words indeed, and who can argue with that sentiment. You see before you a new generation of German players that will lead our country to glory and give us a brave new future.â€

Declining to answer the frantic barrage of questions that his statement had generated, he quickly left and tried to stay out of the limelight until the day of the match. The game was not a success for Stefan as his youngsters did remarkably well, holding on for a scoreless draw. He did his best to disrupt them by making nine substitutions during the game but to no avail. Despite his personal disappointment, Stefan put a very positive spin on the result during his post-match statement.

“A goalless draw against one of the best teams in world football is a very creditable result for my young team. With a little more good fortune we could easily have won. Events conspired against us, of that there is no doubt. Consider the following – none of the youngsters had played for their country before; a number of them were feeling very homesick and missing their parents; the evening kick-off was very late and past the normal bed time for several of my players; playing in front of a large crowd was quite upsetting for some – the noise gives them a headache; and of course the high unemployment rate is a concern for everyone in the country.â€

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The Confederations Cup

As the German domestic season came to a close there was increasing speculation regarding the squad for the forthcoming Confederations Cup tournament. It hadn’t taken the German press long to question the sanity of their national coach following his recent squad selections and the 22 unveiled by Stefan for the tournament only served to increase the outcry to near-hysterical levels. The entire squad came from a single team – VfB Lubeck who had finished 14th in the Second Division. Stefan made his usual brief announcement at the press briefing before taking his leave and going into hiding.

“The single most important factor in the long term success of any team is consistency – and continuity of course. And what could offer more in that arena than a group of players who are teammates at club level as well as at International level. Hence my selection today. Why Lubeck you will ask – why not a team such as FC Bayern after their all-conquering season both domestically and in Europe. I’ll tell you why. I have found that the most important factor in selection for the national team is that you must be German. And FC Bayern have too many foreign players. The same with Dortmund, Schalke, Stuttgart and all of the other top teams. The Lubeck players are all German and are all proud to be representing their country. Consistency is key and this is a very consistent squad.â€

For Germany the competition started with a game against Australia and Stefan was pretty disappointed with the scoreless draw. Next up came Senegal and Stefan was positively distressed when his team won 2-0. The 3-0 defeat by Argentina in the final game was much more satisfactory although given the bizarre tactics that Stefan employed he had expected a higher scoreline. Luckily this meant that Germany finished 3rd in their group with Argentina and Australia qualifying. In his post-tournament summary, Stefan tried to highlight the positives.

“Let’s look at it this way – we only lost one game out of three and that’s pretty good. My innovation to have the very popular Der Drei Lederhosen singing the national anthem before each game was a masterstroke, enthusing the crowd and giving us great support. There have been some questions about the tactics that I employed in the final game but I felt that playing with no one in central midfield and deploying 5 wingers would confuse the opposition but Argentina are a world class team and they managed to adapt to my formation better than anyone could have imagined. But it is vital to have experimentation and change – we cannot live in a vacuum. And anyway, the crippling cost of re-unification affects every aspect of our lives and footballers are people too.â€

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BobBev:

The entire squad came from a single team – VfB Lubeck who had finished 14th in the Second Division. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Genius! icon_biggrin.gif

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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels

Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Silver white winters that melt into springs

These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites

When the bee stings

When I'm feeling sad

I simply remember my favorite things

And then I don't feel so bad.

Sorry Bob, couldnt resist. Erm it does mention schnitzel and crisp apple streudles, they're German icon_wink.gif

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The Fallout

The German FA were appalled at their team’s performance in the Confederation Cup, their anger and dismay magnified by the fact that the tournament had taken place on home soil. Stefan was invited to explain his actions at an extraordinary general meeting of the Board and he had to be at his most persuasive to hang on to his job. After a very narrow vote in his favour he realised that he needed to be a little more circumspect in his actions and that he would have to get a couple of decent results under his belt. His task was made easier by the fact that the next major tournament was the 2006 World Cup and Germany had already qualified as hosts. The FA had arranged a few warm-up games in advance of the tournament so a win here and there should be enough to keep him in the job until then.

By naming a squad of established players and using fairly sensible tactics Stefan engineered wins over Hungary and Austria. With the FA and the press being lulled into a false sense of security the fake Klinsmann began planning his assault on the World Cup.

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Towards The World Cup

There was great excitement in the German press as the draw was made for the group stages of the World Cup. The hosts were placed in Group G alongside the USA, Romania and Ghana and the general consensus was that the team should have no great trouble in securing qualification. There was one final warm-up game scheduled in advance of the tournament and by coincidence it would be against fellow Group G side Romania.

Stefan decided that it was time to wind up the press once more and his squad announcement for the friendly certainly had the desired effect.

“You may not be aware of my deep interest in ancient Chinese philosophy but it is a subject that has fascinated me for some time now. Strange reading for a mere football man, you might think, but not all football men are unintelligent. During the Han dynasty, around 200 BC, the various strands of Chinese philosophical thinking were organised into a number of schools. Some are relatively well known. For instance the YinYang philosophers studied the nature of the cosmos and attempted to account for all of its changes in terms of two fundamental principles, the Yin and the Yang. There is also the school of the Dao or Way, which attempted to understand the ultimate principles of reality and to offer a fundamentally different concept of social organization.

But my personal interest is in a concept based around the thinking of Wan Hung Lo who conceived the idea of Wu Hsing or the five material agents (wood, fire, earth, metal and water). Accordingly I have made my squad selection based on the German translation of those elements (Holz, Feuer, Erde, Metall and Wasser) and I have selected players whose names contain these words. I am confident that this will tap into the power of this fundamental philosophy, bringing great harmony to the team and harnessing the awesome power of nature to great effect.â€

Having been reassured by Stefan’s selection for the last couple of games the press listened open-mouthed to his latest bizarre pronouncement before all hell broke loose. Stefan made a mad dash for the exit and hid himself away until match day.

The game itself started well, Romania scoring virtually straight from the kick-off. But then striker Michael Holzer scored twice before half time and Stefan was forced to bring him off because he was playing too well, Thomas Holz replacing him. At the same time he removed keeper Heinz Scholz who was also proving to be unacceptably competent. During the second half midfielders Mario Scholze and Daniel Farenholz were also replaced by Christian Holzer and Stefan Holzinger as they were also playing too well. With 20 minutes remaining Stefan made a last throw of the dice, removing substitute keeper Tammo Feuerherdt who was also proving to be half decent, and replacing him with central defender Soren Holz. That finally did the trick, Romania equalising late on – a draw was better than a win but Stefan was still unhappy with the final result.

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World Cup Fever

As the opening game of the World Cup finals approached, there was feverish speculation in the German press regarding the squad that the Klinsmann doppelganger would announce for the most important tournament in the country’s history. As host nation anything less than an appearance in the final would be regarded as failure and Stefan was acutely aware of this.

By the time he made his squad announcement a new set of FIFA rankings had been produced and the Berlin Branch of the Tartan Army were delighted to see that Germany had dropped down to 29th place. The pressroom was a buzz of noise as Stefan approached the dais at the front of the room with several sheets of paper clutched in his hand. To the huge relief of the assembled media, Stefan’s squad for the World Cup was, by his standards at least, very conventional.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Name Club Caps Goals Value

Balitsch, H Leverkusen 4 0 €7.75M

Ballack, M FC Bayern 43 16 €41.5M

Bierofka, D Leverkusen 7 1 €4.8M

Deisler, S FC Bayern 29 4 €32M

Freier, P Bochum 11 1 €5.5M

Frings, T Dortmund 25 2 €22M

Fritz, C Frankfurt 0 0 €2.4M

Huth, R Chelsea 0 0 €6.5M

Jeremies, J Hertha BSC 49 1 €8.25M

Kahn, O FC Bayern 69 0 €3.4M

Kehl, S Dortmund 18 1 €10M

Klose, M Schalke 04 38 21 €19M

Kuranyi, K VfB Stuttgart 11 1 €17.5M

Lauth, B Chelsea 5 1 €10.25M

Leschinski, B HSV 0 0 €2.4M

Metzelder, C Dortmund 24 0 €24M

Nowotny, J Leverkusen 45 0 €6.5M

Rahn, C HSV 10 1 €10.25M

Rau, T FC Bayern 13 1 €4.1M

Rost, F Werder Bremen 5 0 €4.7M

Schindzielorz, S 1.FC Köln 0 0 €5M

Wörns, C Chelsea 56 0 €1.1M</pre>

However, in his short summary after the squad was revealed, there lay a hint of things to come.

“To be successful in a major international tournament it is necessary to deploy tactical flexibility. The modern game is a squad game and each member of the squad must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure the success of the team. During the forthcoming tournament I will be taking tactical flexibility to a new level and I can assure you that there will be some surprises in store for our opponents and fans alike.â€

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Thanks toby

The Tournament

The opening game against Romania started in conventional enough fashion – a strong team selection taking the field and a sensible 4-4-2 formation adopted. Then on the half hour, with the game still scoreless, Stefan received an unexpected bonus. Right back Hanno Balitsch received his second yellow card and Germany were reduced to 10 men. Sensing an opportunity he reshuffled his formation, moving striker Miroslav Klose to right back to the Schalke player’s obvious confusion. Romania scored what proved to be the winning goal a few minutes before half time and Stefan was spared the need to tinker further with his formation. In his post-match press conference he explained that moving Klose back into defence was an example of the tactical flexibility that he demanded from his team.

For the game against the USA Stefan raised some eyebrows when he replaced the suspended Balitsch with Dortmund midfielder Sebastian Kehl, once again citing tactical flexibility. With 60 minutes played and the game still scoreless, he made some tactical changes. Midfielder Jens Jeremies replaced striker Klose and central defender Jens Nowotny came on for left-winger Daniel Bierofka. This successfully reduced his team’s attacking threat and the game ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

Entering the final game against Ghana, Romania were already assured of qualification with two wins. The USA were second on 4 points and a draw would see them through. Germany had just one point and their fate was not solely in their own hands. Stefan decided to field an orthodox team and save any radical changes until he saw how the remaining group game was progressing. After half an hour Germany were two goals ahead and the USA were losing to Romania but still held second place. When Germany scored a third goal in stoppage time at the end of the first half Stefan decided that drastic action was required during the interval. Chelsea centre back Robert Huth was having a stormer, having scored twice, so he was replaced by attacking midfielder Diesler with Torsten Frings coming on for striker Kuranyi. A 4th German goal just after the restart prompted another change, a clearly bewildered Michael Ballack swapping places with keeper Oliver Kahn. Unfortunately the Ghanaians were so inept that even that change made no difference, the Africans failing to register a shot on target for the entire 90 minutes.

So despite Stefan’s best attempts his German team, aided by a 2-0 defeat for the USA, had staged a remarkable comeback to qualify for the second round on goal difference. The good news was that they would face the highly fancied France in their next game. Stefan made a brief statement to the press in advance of the game.

“I am delighted with the way in which my players have adopted to my mantra of tactical flexibility. By forcing players to operate in unfamiliar roles it enhances their tactical awareness and improves our capabilities as a team. I have been widely criticised for switching Ballack and Kahn in our last game but I believe that it proved to be an unqualified success, giving both players a taste of what may be necessary in extreme circumstances. And by the way, Der Drei Lederhosen continue to inspire both the fans and the players alike. I will be extending this Munich Beer Hall feeling even further by insisting that all of the players drink a large stein of finest Bavarian ale whilst the national anthem is played before the next game.â€

Stefan’s cause was helped by injures to Huth, Jeremies and Nowotny, giving him ample excuse to adopt a more unorthodox lineup for the France game and he played reserve keeper Frank Rost in the centre of defence. An injury to Balitsch during the first half allowed him to bring forward Paul Freier on to replace the fullback but still his team reached the break with the game scoreless. That changed when Thierry Henry scored just after the restart and he was able to see the game out with no further changes. Germany were eliminated - and humiliated – the press were baying for blood and this time there was no escape for Stefan. Without even being given an opportunity to defend himself, he was fired.

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I know flip, but what can you do icon_wink.gif

Some People Are Never Satisfied

When the dust had settled Stefan made his way surreptitiously to the safe house where the real Klinsmann was being held. He expected that the kidnap victim would shortly be released and life could return to something approaching normal. The conspirators reasoned that even if Klinsmann did go to the authorities, no one would believe his bizarre tale, assuming that he was either completely mad or that he had invented it all as a way of avoiding blame for the entire fiasco.

But the Berlin Branch of the Tartan Army were not yet satisfied. Yes, the German team had been embarrassed, having to endure a humiliating exit in the most important tournament ever staged on German soil, but they wanted more. They wanted to leave a lasting impression and for that they needed to repeat their scam one more time. A week or so after Stefan’s sacking, the German FA appointed a new national team coach and the plotters wanted to continue with their Cunning Plan. After intensive discussions with Stefan he was somewhat reluctantly persuaded to go undercover for one last time. He would repeat his ordeal of surgery and would take on another identity – he would become MATTHIAS SAMMER.

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Thanks chaps

A New Man In Charge

This time the transformation was more difficult – having already endured extensive plastic surgery it was much harder to fashion Stefan’s tortured features into an exact facsimile of the new German manager. So an additional subterfuge was required. The real Matthias Sammer was kidnapped on 1st September 2006, just a couple of weeks before Germany’s first qualifying match for Euro 2008. A cover story was devised that Sammer had been involved in a car crash and whilst not critically injured, he had suffered facial disfiguration that would require him to be swathed in bandages for some time. Even when fully healed, he would bear the scars for the rest of his life. This deception would allow Stefan to take charge before he had properly healed after his cosmetic surgery and would also explain the less-than-perfect results when the bandages were removed.

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Sorry about that HD

The Road To Euro 2008

Germany had been drawn in Group 4 alongside Andorra, Latvia, Poland, Russia and Slovakia and would begin their campaign with two home games in quick succession. When the counterfeit Sammer took to the podium, still swathed in bandages, he could sense that the press was immediately sympathetic to him. The announcement he made to unveil his squad for the opening games soon put a stop to that.

“My predecessor made so many glaring mistakes in his time in charge, but in my opinion his biggest error came in his squad selection for the recent World Cup fiasco. His reliance on home-based players proved to be disastrous, culminating in an early exit from the tournament and his own demise. I intend to pursue a different course entirely by selecting only those players of German nationality that play outside of our homeland. In my opinion our top domestic players have become too comfortable on their inflated salaries and complacent in their approach towards the game. I have scoured Europe in search of Germans who have had the courage and the motivation to leave their native land in search of fame and fortune, and these are the players who will be rewarded internationally from now on.â€

The squad in full

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Name Club

Kling,S Arsenal

Dhompirom,G AstonVilla

Huber,E AustriaVienna

Solga,D AustriaVienna

Langer,M Blackburn

Lauth,B Chelsea

Erhan,A Fenerbahçe

Hamann,D Liverpool

DiGregorio,B Perugia

Hofmann,S RapidVienna

Henning,R Sporting

Ziege,C Tottenham

Jancker,C Udinese

Volz,M Arsenal

Hasse,H AustriaVienna

Rost,T AustriaVienna

Keidel,R Blackburn

Huth,R Chelsea

Niemeyer,P FCTwente

Berkant,G Galatasaray

Thomas,A Paris-SG

Nerlinger,C Rangers

Wiese,T RealSociedad

Hitzlsperger,T Tottenham

Federico,G Udinese

Da Costa, N FC Twente</pre>

The response from the media was an instantaneous uproar as the implications of Stefan’s statement hit home. Trying to make like the invisible man, he made his exit and awaited the reaction to his team’s display in their forthcoming games.

Stefan was hopeful that the poor quality of his players would mean that he would not have to get too bizarre with his tactics or playing positions but when his team went into half time leading Latvia 1-0 he clearly needed a re-think. Too many of the misfits that he had selected were playing well – who would have thought that Arsenal’s Moritz Volz would make a decent right back! But despite three changes at half time the situation got worse – a stoppage time goal giving the Germans a 2-0 win.

Some changes in personnel saw an improvement against Russia until the Germans took the lead through an own goal with 20 minutes remaining. Fortunately, the visitors managed a very late equaliser to rob the Germans of two points.

The announcement by the bogus Sammer that he would no longer be considering home-based players had produced an interesting reaction amongst some of the senior German stars. Oliver Kahn and Jens Nowotny both announced their retirement from international football. Younger stars such as Ballack and Deisler made noises about moving abroad.

The German squad for the trip to Poland featured several new faces due to a number of injury withdrawals and Stefan was hopeful of securing a suitably poor result. He decided to deploy an ultra-defensive sweeper system modelled on the Italian Catenaccio style. With no natural sweeper in the squad Christian Worns was deployed in that position and performed as poorly as Stefan had hoped. His plan was almost undone by a superb performance from young Blackburn keeper Michael Langer but a swap with Tim Wiese of Real Sociedad and a second-half penalty did the trick, resulting in a 1-0 win to the Poles.

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It’s Muller Time

There was a gap of several months before Germany’s next game, a friendly in Singapore, and at the end of 2006 the new FIFA Rankings were published. Stefan was delighted to see that the German national team had now fallen to 43rd place. He was keen to keep the decline in their fortunes going and thought long and hard about his next squad selection. He finally settled on his players and made his usual short announcement to the assembled press.

“We are about to undertake a long journey to the mysterious East, to the Orient, where we will represent our country with pride. I have decided on a squad selection that makes it clear to our hosts just where we are coming from, that we are German and proud to be so and proud to represent our fine country. And what is more German than that most German of names, Muller? Did not one of the finest goalscorers the world has ever seen not sport that very same name? So it seems entirely sensible to have selected 26 players who all share that fine surname.â€

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Name Club

Müller, A Oberhausen

Müller, B SC Freiburg

Müller, B Neuenkirchen

Müller, C Offenbach

Müller, C Jena II

Müller, C Augsburg

Müller, D Gladbach

Müller, D Lichtenberg

Müller, D Siegen

Müller, F Paderborn II

Müller, G Aue

Müller, G Jena

Müller, H Düsseldorf

Müller, J Wald-Michelbach

Müller, K FC Bayern

Müller, K Karlsruhe

Müller, L Unterhaching

Müller, L Karlsruhe

Müller, N Verl

Müller, R Aue

Müller, S Verl

Müller, S SC Freiburg

Müller, S Dresden-Nord

Müller, S Wolfsburg

Müller, T Eisbachtal

Müller, T Jena</pre>

Stefan did not hang around to face the hostile press response but instead headed straight to the airport and flew to Singapore early to enjoy a little sightseeing before the team arrived. His team did reasonably well, winning 1-0 as Stefan resisted making any unusual tactical changes – the look on the faces of the reporters when he unveiled his team full of Mullers was reward enough.

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Thanks chaps

A Right Mullering

Germany’s Euro 2008 group got back into action at the end of March with games in Slovakia and Andorra. Stefan decided to stick with his squad of Mullers and although he had several withdrawals because of injury he was able to draft in a ready supply of replacement Mullers. The game in Slovakia ended all square at 1-1 and there were 4 more withdrawals in the few days before the trip to Andorra. Stefan was now scraping the bottom of his Muller barrel but still managed to find enough players. A 1-0 win was obtained to maintain Germany’s 4th place in the group. When the squad flew back home Stefan made a short announcement to the waiting press.

“I am very happy with our performance in two difficult games. We were perhaps unfortunate in Slovakia not to have taken full points and I would single out the performance of Muller and Muller although Muller was perhaps a little disappointing. We looked more dangerous up front once substitute Muller came on and he took his goal very well. We were forced into some changes in Andorra with Muller, Muller, Muller and Muller all joining the squad to replace the injured Muller, Muller, Muller and Muller. Muller, Muller and Muller all impressed and it was the right decision to rest Muller initially, as we saw when he came off the bench to score the winning goal.â€

There were two more vital games scheduled for June – first Germany would travel to Russia and then Poland would come to Berlin. Helped by an early sending off, the Muller bunch gained an unexpected 4-1 win in Russia and then the team drew 0-0 with Poland. After that match Stefan had the unusual experience of addressing journalists who were not all openly hostile to him.

“The result in Russia was excellent, especially considering that we lost captain Muller to an early injury. Muller was absolutely outstanding and his two goals were world class. Muller and Muller were once again an inspiration to their team-mates and the performance of substitutes Muller and Muller was very encouraging. Our performance against Poland was not quite so good but it was always going to be difficult playing the group leaders.â€

Germany’s next action was in September with a trip to Latvia and a game at home to Andorra. The opening game finished scoreless leaving Germany’s qualification in the balance. With two group games left they were 4th place but could still secure a playoff place. Andorra were beaten 1-0 but the other results in the group meant that the top three teams all had 19 points, three more than the Germans, and it would take an extraordinary sequence of scores for Stefan’s team to grab the runners-up place.

Stefan sent out his team of Mullers for the visit of Slovakia in what would almost certainly be his last game in charge and watched them play out a goalless draw. But despite his failure to qualify for Euro 2008 he was amazed to find that the German FA did not sack him and he was retained to guide them to qualification in the 2010 World Cup.

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Football – A Black And White Thing

Amazed that he was still in employment after failing to qualify for the European Championships, Stefan entered 2008 determined to take full advantage of his good fortune. Having a team full of Mullers was fun but for the World Cup qualification campaign he needed to be even more creative. The new FIFA Rankings showed that Germany had slipped just two places to 45th – not good enough by a long chalk. There was a friendly in Australia scheduled for March, which would give an ideal opportunity for a suitably poor result if he could come up with an appropriate squad selection.

“So before I formally announce my squad for the forthcoming game in Australia, I would like to explain my thinking behind the selection. Once again we find ourselves travelling to the other side of the world and it is extremely important that we keep our German identity to the fore. Now given that our team colours of white shirts and black shorts are known all over the planet I think that it is very appropriate to keep that theme amongst the players. You will therefore find that all of my squad share their names with either our white tops (Weiß) or our black bottoms (Schwarz).â€

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Name Club

Schwarz, D SC Freiburg

Schwarz, D Villingen

Schwarz, F Lichterfelde

Schwarz, H SC Freiburg

Schwarz, M Gladbach (A)

Schwarz, M Braunschweig

Schwarz, M FC Bayern

Schwarz, M Grimma

Schwarz, S Trier

Schwarz, S Schalke 04 Under 23s

Weiß, A Lübeck II

Weiß, C Hordel

Weiß, C Schwerin

Weiß, D Ratingen

Weiß, F Arm. Hannover

Weiß, H Rheine

Weiß, M 1860 München Under 23s

Weiß, M VfB Hüls

Weiß, M Elmshorn

Weiß, M Ahlen

Weiß, M Aachen Under 23s

Weiß, R Erfurt

Weiß, S Aachen Under 23s

Weiß, T Lichtenberg

Weiß, T Flensburg 08</pre>

Stefan was optimistic that his selection should produce the desired result – in his 25-man squad he had four goalkeepers, two badly injured players, a couple of 15-year-olds and only one player with any previous international experience. But once again his team confounded his expectations, and despite playing all four of his keepers in outfield positions they somehow produced a 0-0 draw.

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Thank you gentlemen - now time for some schoolboy humour I feel.

The Rude Boys And The World Cup

Shortly after their return from Australia the draw was made for the World Cup qualifiers and Germany found themselves in Group 1 alongside Serbia & Montenegro, Greece, Wales, Cyprus and Malta – a mouth-watering draw that gave ample room for some humiliating defeats. The campaign commenced with two games in early September – away to Serbia and at home against Cyprus – with a trip to Wales the next month. It was with great delight that Stefan announced his squad for the remaining games of the year.


Malte Bonertz

Hans-Jorg Butt

Dominik Wohlfarth


Christian Bumberger

Rene Bogesits

Florian Dick

Volker Grimminger

Michael Kokocinski

Michael Wanke

Martin Amedick

Randy Gottwald

Markus Lüdicke

Carsten Wohlfarth


Mirko Dickhaut

Peer Kluge

Tim Kokoska

Janusz Marek

Dennis Viszkok

Sascha Iffarth

Guido Spork

Marcel Abshagen

Tobias Büttner


Ufuk Cicek

Benjamin Titz

Charly Kuntz

Steffen Wohlfarth

Following a 2-0 defeat in Serbia, Stefan made a brief announcement to the assembled press.

“It was a disappointing performance today, I have to admit. We weren’t soild enough at the back although Butt was very tight. Titz looked exposed up front and Abshagen looked tired late on. However Dick was hard and stood up well but Wanke seemed to be playing his own game.â€

A few days later Cyprus visited the BayArena in Leverkusen and after a 2-0 win to Germany the press were a more forgiving mood.

“I left out Dick and Titz and I think that made a noticeable difference. Whilst not the most mobile, Bogesits is certainly dependable and you’ll always know where he will be. Young Ufuk was a natural ‘in the hole’ although Dickhaut put in a flaccid performance. Wohlfarth blew hot and cold and Grimminger may not be pretty in midfield but he proved to be very effective.â€

The final game of the year was a visit to Wales and with Michael Wanke missing with a groin strain Fatih Cimsit was drafted in as a replacement. In the days leading up to the game Guido Spork also suffered a knock so Erol Arslan came into the squad. Stefan could barely hide his delight after a 4-0 thrashing but he did make time to address the media once more.

“Perhaps our problem up front is that Titz is just not big enough and although Peer made a stream of accurate passes Kuntz was left wide open. We all know that Randy Gottwald is an excitable player and to be honest Amedick was made to look silly. Kokocinski was up and down all day, Arslan was too far back and Fatih Cimsit just looked out of shape. But I am confident that the situation can be retrieved and that come next year the team will be firing on all cylinders once more.â€

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by WLKRAS:

icon_biggrin.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

^^^ What he said...

shame to see Spork missing out though, he was my favourite, I'll be nominating him for 'best character' in the 2005 FMS Awards icon_smile.gif

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The first game of 2009 was a friendly at home to Estonia and Stefan introduced a number of new names into his 23-man squad. Sadly he was hit with a number of withdrawals due to injury. This robbed him of the services of players such as Sebastian Popp, Ronny Rhode, Tobias Willi, Tobias Wurm and Florian Pinz thereby robbing him of the opportunity to use a whole host of awful puns in his post-match summary. On the positive side he still had the likes of Jan Sandmann, Justus Six, Patrick Prang, Dennis Puhl, Christian Stuff, Stephan Tingler, Jens Luck, Markus Rusch, Michael Ströll and Christian Quack. The game ended scoreless and, being just a friendly he decided to dispense with his comments to the press and save his witty wordplay for a more important game.

World Cup qualification continued with two games in quick succession – at home to Malta and away to Greece. Stefan was able to bring in all of the previously injured players thereby giving himself some superb punning opportunites. The Maltese achieved a creditable 0-0 draw, thanks mainly to some creative use of out of position players by Stefan. The game in Greece was not going to plan when Germany found themselves 2-1 ahead with 10 minutes to play but some inspired substitutions turned the game around and the Greeks finally ran out 4-2 winners.

“Luck was not on our side in these games and I still can’t understand why Jens played so poorly. Rusch was in too much of a hurry whilst Ströll seemed to lack urgency. At the back Wurm was turned far too easily, Willi was pulled all over the place, Sandmann looked half asleep and Rhode still has a long way to go. On the positive side, Tingler was electric, Stuff covered most of the pitch, Pinz gave the opposition some needle, Justus Six did the work of five men and Popp goes the weasel. With Puhl pushing up, Prang crashing into the defence and Quack ducking and diving we have real hope for the future.â€

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Apologies that I find the need to do one of these after every update but it reflects the quality of the piece...

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BobBev:

Stuff covered most of the pitch...



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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>

“Luck was not on our side in these games and I still can’t understand why Jens played so poorly. Rusch was in too much of a hurry whilst Ströll seemed to lack urgency. At the back Wurm was turned far too easily, Willi was pulled all over the place, Sandmann looked half asleep and Rhode still has a long way to go. On the positive side, Tingler was electric, Stuff covered most of the pitch, Pinz gave the opposition some needle, Justus Six did the work of five men and Popp goes the weasel. With Puhl pushing up, Prang crashing into the defence and Quack ducking and diving we have real hope for the future.â€


Brilliant - all of it icon_biggrin.gif

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