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Just Who Is Vedad Ibisevic? It’s Your European Football Round-Up

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Check back every Monday for BC Magazine’s “Euroscore” Round-Up of the weekend's top matches from Europe.

Liverpool stay top, a point ahead of Chelsea and six points in front of Manchester United, following their comfortable 3-1 win at troubled Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn have now dropped into the relegation zone putting more pressure on manager Paul Ince.

Chelsea kept up the pressure winning 2-0 at Bolton with two first half goals from Anelka and Deco. Meanwhile Manchester United finally broke down a resilient Sunderland winning 1-0 with an injury time goal from defender Vidic.

It was Sunderland’s first match without manager Roy Keane who surprisingly resigned during the week. The hunt is on for his replacement with ex-Newcastle and Bolton boss Sam Allardyce and former West Ham manager Alan Curbishley among the favourites. Whoever it is they will have to stop a run of six defeats in seven matches, form that has seen them slide into the drop zone.

There was a thriller involving Villa who won 3-2 at Everton. They initially appeared to have the match sown up when they were leading 2-1 on 90 minutes. Everton defender Joleon Lescott scored his second of the game with a volley making it 2-2 in the 93rd minute. Remarkably Aston Villa went straight up the other end and England prospect Ashley Young scored his second goal of the game giving the away side all three points.

Germany                                                                                                                              This weekend’s Euroscore featured match took place on Friday night in the Bundesliga between the top two sides. Last season’s champions Bayern Munich took on upstarts TSG Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

It was top against second at the magnificent Allianz Arena on Friday night. Remarkably it was the away team, Hoffenheim who are enjoying an incredible start to their first ever season in the 1.Bundesliga, who went into the game in top spot.

Formed in 1945 following the merger of two local sides, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim remained a relatively small amateur side until the early 1990s. Their rise to the top since then has been nothing short of miraculous. By 1996 they were in the Verbansliga Nordbaden. They finished top in 2000 and were promoted to the 4th division of the Oberliga Baden-Wurttemburg.

They earned another promotion this time to the Regionalliga Sud by winning the league. Just two years ago they finished second and found themselves in the 2.Bundesliga, the second tier of German football. Incredibly they won that in their first season. They have followed that by going top of the first division. A few years ago the very thought that they would be playing Bayern Munich at all was frankly ridiculous. To go there as leaders was the stuff of German fairytales.

Not only that but they took the lead early in the second half through that man Vedad Ibisevic. The 24-year-old Bosnian forward scored an instinctive, predatory strikers goal in the 49th minute when his excellent first touch created space in the Bayern defence for him to score. He was signed from fellow German team Alemannia Aachen.

He has been around a bit starting his career in the States playing 22 games for St. Louis Strikers, scoring 18 times. He moved on to Chicago Fire scoring three in as many matches. A short unsuccessful four game spell in France at Paris Saint-Germain was goalless and he moved on to Dijon, and from there on to Aachen. However he has clearly come of age and the goal against Bayern was his 18th of an incredible season.

With the January transfer window looming you can expect several big clubs to be on his trail. From Hoffenheim’s point of view they can turn in a very quick and healthy profit on the striker. However it is his goals that have landed them in such a high position. He is fluent in English, French, and German, and no doubt could learn Italian or Spanish if one of the big clubs put in a suitably large bid. Paris Saint-Germain must be kicking themselves.

About Jeff Perkins

  • Dr Dreadful

    The way Histon are playing right now, the scenario of them running out at Old Trafford to face Manchester United in a few years may not be all that far-fetched!

    I’m delighted for Hoffenheim and what they’ve achieved, but I do fear for them. Their success seems to be bankrolled largely by the capacious wallet of owner and software mogul Dietmar Hopp, and I wonder what will happen to the club if he ever decides he’s had enough.

    The cautionary tale to bear in mind here is that of Gretna, another village team, who in a few short years rose from English non-league obscurity to the Scottish Premier League (the town – more famous for quickie weddings than for football – is just on the Scottish side of the border), and – thanks to a Scottish Cup Final appearance which they lost only on penalties to the mighty Hearts – even the UEFA Cup.

    The problem was that Gretna’s sudden success was entirely thanks to the financial backing of millionaire owner Brooks Mileson. The danger signs were there early on. The club’s stadium was too small for Premier League football, so they had to play their home games at the ground of another club almost 80 miles away, pending the construction of a new stadium in the town which never broke ground.

    The resulting poor attendances and loss of revenue were crippling. Then, when Mileson fell seriously ill shortly after the team’s promotion to the Premier League and withdrew his financial backing, the club simply imploded. They finished bottom of the league and went out of business shortly thereafter.

    It does look as if Hoffenheim might be on a somewhat sounder financial foundation – they do have their own Bundesliga-standard stadium already under construction – but they’re based in a tiny suburb of a small town and are punching drastically above their weight. I just hope they can sustain it.