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The Flying Dutchman Is Departing From Munich

Arjen Robben, the 35-year-old Dutch soccer legend, played his final game for Bayern Munich this past Saturday in the DFB Cup (German Cup) that saw the Bundesliga champions deliver a dominating 3-nil win against RB Leipzig that led to Bayern Munich hoisting that golden trophy.

Ending a 10-year career in Bavaria, Robben showcased his skills throughout the past decade throughout Germany, as well as before then with teams in Spain, England, and Holland. Of course, there are just a few highlights out there of when he’d start on the right side of the pitch and then cut inside to his favorable left foot for either a rocket of a shot back post.

Just a few.

Quick Stat: Arjen Robben scored 99 goals in the Bundesliga and nearly earned his 100th on a couple of occasions in his final league match a week and a half ago.

I could go on and on and on…and on about the properly rated and interestingly underrated talent of Arjen Robben in the era of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. For starters, with help from “Robbery” partner in crime Franck Ribéry, Robben helped define Bayern Munich for the past decade.

Here’s “Robbery” in action against Manchester United in a 2010 Champions League match in Old Trafford.

And then there’s the 2012/2013 season in which Bayern Munich won the amazing treble (Bundesliga, German Cup, Champions League) with help from, guess who?

But now it’s time to say a Bavarian goodbye to Mr. Wembley (or The Flying Dutchman) as we wait for him to announce his future plans, which will either be retirement or one final tour of playing with a not-yet-determined club. I actually got to see Arjen Robben play in the Allianz Arena for a Champions League game against Atlético Madrid back in late 2016. Bayern Munich won 1-nil on a Robert Lewandowski goal in, let’s say, chilly weather. I believe the thermometer read 20-degrees.

Regardless of having to wear a couple extra layers, which was no big deal at all for the awesome prize of seeing Arjen Robben and Bayern Munich battle (and defeat!) Atlético Madrid in a Champions League match inside the stunning Allianz Arena in Munich. The entire experience was amazingly unforgettable.

Returning back to the Bavarian goodbye, Bayern Munich produced a fitting farewell with words of gratitude from the star winger.

Until next season, Arjen Robben?

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Pep va a Torino, in Italia da quattro anni?

Pep Guardiola made Premier League history with Manchester City this season

(Getty)

Pep Guardiola — the famed Catalan soccer manager who played for and then coached FC Barcelona to glory with this player named Lionel Messi — is the subject of a rumor reaching a fever pitch level.

Is Pep heading to Turin, Italy to coach the Old Lady, commonly known as Juventus?

Speculation in Italian media is that the current Man City man has agreed to a 4-year deal to lead Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus.

Just last week, Pep reiterated his reported denial of a move to Italy.

“How many times do I have to say? I’m not going to go to Juventus, I’m not going to move to Italy.”

But that was last week. Conditions, like those on the pitch during a game, can change.

While confirmation hasn’t been declared by Pep or Man City, this move would fit with the coach’s recent stints in Germany coaching Bayern Munich for three seasons and just finishing up his third season in England coaching Manchester City. This kind of move seems inevitable as Pep appears to be seeking continental club glory.

Literally.

And this is why this rumor should, at least, be entertained. Whether a move to Italy happens or not, it fits with Pep’s pattern of coaching European powerhouse clubs in different countries for just a few years at a time.

Here’s a quick rundown of Pep’s trophy case as a head coach:

  • FC Barcelona 14 trophies (2009 Copa del Rey, La Liga, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup; 2010 La Liga, Spanish Super Cup; 2011 La Liga, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup; 2012 Club World Cup, Copa del Rey)
  • Bayern Munich – 10 trophies (2013 German Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup; 2014 Bundesliga, German Super Cup, DFB-Pokal; 2015 German Super Club, Bundesliga, German Super Cup; 2016 Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal)
  • Manchester City – 5 trophies (2018 Premier League, League Cup; 2019 Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup)

The 48-year-old soccer manager still has at least a couple more decades coaching at the highest level, which is where he’s at right now. And since Pep hasn’t won the Champions League since leaving Barça — getting ever so close in Germany and England — there is a strong chance that the Catalan is yearning to cap his club coaching career with at least one more Champions League title in a country other than Spain without Lionel Messi before tackling a full World Cup cycle(s).

We’ll see if Pep’s pursuit of a return to Champions League glory will be attempted with Man City or Juventus this upcoming season. Something to consider from his perspective is that the chance to coach an in-form 34-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo may prove to be too tempting at this point.

Future Prediction: If Erik ten Hag, formerly of Pep’s coaching tree at Bayern Munich, doesn’t win the Champions League with Ajax during the next few seasons, then it would not be inconceivable that Pep moves to Amsterdam to coach the aforementioned club in the Johan Cruyff ArenA in a few years.

Or, staying in the same time period stated immediately above, Pep could move to Amsterdam but coach the Dutch national team instead to try and help the small yet historically soccer-rich country win its first World Cup. Winning at this level for the Netherlands would make for an incredible full-circle career, doing something special for his late dear friend, former coach and footballing inspiration, Dutch (and FC Barcelona and Ajax) legend Johan Cruyff whose Total Football legacy that started with fellow Dutchman Rinus Michels remains the prominent philosophy over him and modern soccer.

If there’s anyone in soccer who knows with acute detail where the ball will move next, it’s Pep. And if there’s anyone in soccer who knows with clarity and awareness where his admired and prized philosophy is wanted, it’s Pep.

Italian soccer, like Germany and England during the past six seasons, may never be the same again.

The Blue Jackets Swept Away Its Playoff Past With Lightning in a Bottle

The 8-seed Columbus Blue Jackets swept the 1-seed–and Presidents’ Trophy-winning–Tampa Bay Lightning in four games in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

This remarkable feat was the first time:

  • The Columbus Blue Jackets had won a playoff series in its franchise history
  • The Presidents’ Cup winners were swept in the first round of the NHL Playoffs

Game 1: A 3-0 deficit was erased with a stunning Blue Jackets 4-3 comeback win.
Game 2: Columbus destroyed Tampa Bay 5-1 in Florida.
Game 3: The Blue Jackets won 3-1.
Game 4: Watch below to relieve the dramatic, magical night inside Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH-IO on Tuesday evening.

Was last season’s four-game collapse against the favorited Washington Capitals the odd springboard for the Blue Jackets playoff success thus far in 2019? That’s probably a safe presumption, specifically when discussing the third game in this series. More broadly, Columbus has arrived in a way this city has been waiting around two decades to witness.

And now its NHL counterparts and fans alike are seeing something different about the Blue Jackets right now…

something they don’t want to face-off with anytime soon.

Discovering the Bones of a Football Stadium

The Discovery Channel + Sports?

Yes. It’s true.

In the spirit of recent news regarding new innovative soccer stadiums in Europe, as covered here on Jimmy’s Daily Planet involving Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, let’s dive deep into an enlightening perspective of the building process for a football stadium (applies to American and European football equally) that’s not normally fit for front page news.

Discovery UK, staying true to its M.O., dove into the groundwork of how American football stadiums are built for its latest (ad)venture. Specifically, the University of Phoenix Stadium was examined.

Tackling this fascinating subject matter–which again still qualifies for stadiums dedicated to the world’s game–should certainly earn some views at the pub whilst sipping on a frosty pint during halftime of Champions League.

Today’s UEFA Champions League schedule at 3 p.m. ET:

  • Ajax vs. Juventus
  • Manchester United vs. Barcelona

Interestingly, like the version of football favored in Europe, constructing a stadium requires acute attention to detail, innovation in design and patience for achieving the ultimate goal.

The following blueprint isn’t for your average LEGO set.

Interior and outer design, size, sound control and distribution, the impact of weather, pitch condition, and many other essential variables and constants must be addressed–and can be addressed–in a variety of ways when building a new major sports stadium. Thankfully, Discovery UK has provided at least a few answers that will hopefully satisfy our understandable curiosities concerning our particular tastes in sports stadiums.

Given that sports stadiums are a community’s calling card and identity, knowing the bones (so to speak) of our favorite stadiums around the world is valuable knowledge. An awesome power, really. Because, like sports, once we understand the fundamentals, we can then begin to innovate in ways that redefine perception locally and beyond for generations to come.

What’s your favorite sports stadium(s)? Why? What experience(s) impacted your opinion(s)?

Isn’t it amazing how our cherished memories of watching sports live are only partly about the game? That’s what’s really beautiful about “the game” in the abstract.

Oh, substitute hot dogs for well-done mini bratwursts and we’re all good, Discovery UK.