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Every week we’ll look to give you a summary of the last seven days of Bundesliga action. Admittedly we’re no experts but what we lack in knowledge we’ll make up for with boisterous enthusiasm, childlike wonder and unfettered opinion.

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First things first, why ‘the Bundeshammer’ you ask? Well, over the last couple of years the Bundesliga has been pragmatically going about it’s business, making a strong case for itself being ‘the best league in the world’. While we dispute the ability to accurately measure a league’s greatness, there’s no doubt Bundesliga’s stock has risen with the presence of two German teams in last year’s Champions League final and much praise given to the league’s treatment of its fans and the support of the fans themselves.

It’s not a subtle league defined by physical, powerful, well-drilled teams who, for the most part, take it in turns to fail spectacularly or succeed fantastically. It’s compromised of fan-led clubs with full stadiums and well-maintained facilities. If Bayern look unstoppable at the moment, then comfort can come from knowing the structure in place at other clubs always provides the potential for success given a good coach and the right squad. That’s perhaps is what makes the Bundesliga so strong (and undoubtedly interesting); the capability of clubs to rebuild themselves and once gain challenge for the title. The self-sustaining nature of the league is what have led many to look to it for advice on how to improve the negative aspects of their own national competitions, Premiership included. Like a hammer, the Bundesliga has struck hard at the heart of the game, like a hammer, the Bundesliga is a tool for reconstruction and renovation and like a hammer, the Bundesliga is a fucking hammer. It makes sense, you know it makes sense.

And The Bundeshammer just got dropped.

Dice

Iconic Premier League Moments

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The Old Guard vs The Young Pretenders (Manchester United 4 Manchester City 3, 20th September 2009)

Michael Owen and his Manchester United teammates celebrate ecstatically as the veteran goal poacher scores a winner deep into stoppage time against arch rivals City.

‘You come at the king, you best not miss.’ So sayeth The Wire‘s Omar Little after a failed attempt on his life but the sentiment seems equally applicable here. New-money Manchester City came into this derby with a point to prove; that finally they were the match of their hideously successful neighbours, not just a troublesome handful but for once a genuine title rival. Manchester United, in turn, sought to put The Citizens in their place and show that there was still a clear gap in quality between the two sides. Over the course of an enthralling game it was United who triumphed in typically Fergisonic fashion but not before being dealt a scare by their east-city rivals. Despite the win it became clear the gap was closing.

What Happened Next…

  • Neither team would win the title that season. Manchester United would finish second to a resurgent Chelsea side. Manchester City would finish fifth narrowly missing out on the Champions League…
  • …However, The Citizens would go on to claim their rival’s crown two seasons later in a sensational down-to-the-wire title battle. City had officially announced themselves as a Premier League giant.
  • Michael Owen celebrated this, the high point of his Manchester United career, by keeping The Devils’ (and later Stoke’s) bench warm until his anticlimactic retirement a few years later.
  • Omar Little would terrorize gangsters on the mean streets of Baltimore for another four seasons. He remains one of the best-loved modern-day television characters of all time.

Dice

The Celebration Station

Every week we’ll be breaking down and rating well-known and memorable goal-scoring celebrations. When judging celebrations we’ll be looking at such key ingredients as originality, how iconic the celebration became, identity (do you instinctively link the celebration to the scorer) and, of course, playground appeal (which celebrations are kids ripping off after shinning a beauty between their schoolbag goalposts at lunchtime).

Alan Shearer’s ‘Raising of the Arm’

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Dice

‘I think someone said to me once: ‘Will you ever change your celebration?’ and after that there was no way I was going to change it.’

Alan Shearer

It doesn’t take an evening spent watching Match of the Day to realise Alan Shearer is a stunningly boring man. All you have to do is read the above quote and you pretty much get the gist of the man’s capacity to make even the most ardent Shearer-fans zone out.

At least in this sense his ‘Raising of the Arm’ celebration is apt; the celebratory equivalent of watching Grey’s Anatomy or having your (rump) steak cooked medium well. It’s unspectacular and uninspired, harmless and comfortable, and, above all else, consistent. Be it meaningless penalty or game-clinching thunderpuncher, Shearer would always follow his goals with the raised arm and the facial expression of a cheeky schoolboy who runs in the corridor when the teacher isn’t looking then sniggers at his own wanton bad-assery.

People would have you believe it’s the understated nature of the action that makes it iconic; that there’s a supposed humility and dignity in refraining from doing anything other than raising your right arm. I call bullshit. All celebrations are designed to milk applause, to bask in oneself’s own brilliance and importance. If you choose to waste that moment by blithely raising your arm then more fool you.

Let’s get one thing straight; the man was a phenomenal goalscorer. Unequaled. And agreed, the celebration is well-known and playground approved due to its constant position in the footballing public eye (Shearer scored a fuckload). For that reason, damned by my own parameters for what constitutes a good celebration, I have to give the man an extremely begrudging 4. But let it be known that in terms of originality, creativity, vitality, in terms of how iconic it is compared to how iconic it deserves to be, it gets the fattest and roundest of zeroes.

4/10

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In terms of the criteria we are supposed to follow when rating a celebration, this one ticks nearly all of the boxes. We can all agree that this celebration is iconic and you know exactly who scorer is when you see it. Plus, playground appeal, if you have just smashed an indirect freekick into the top bag and you haven’t really thought about a celebration, this is a quick and simple way to portray your elation. No one can question your choice; this is the celebration of a proven goalscorer. All that being said, this has to be the most boring and uninspiring celebration of all time. Maybe it’s the fact we have seen it over 300 times, week in, week out, maybe its Shearer’s lack of personality, maybe I’m just biased against footballers who don’t do anything to excite me. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, this celebration will hopefully remain retired.

4/10

4/10

The Game That Made Shaun Goater

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On the 9th of November 2002, for one glorious day, Shaun Goater was the undisputed king of Manchester. Two goals and an assist, the Goat ate well that day but let’s contextualise this game quickly…

You’d be loath to describe United’s team that season as one of Sir Alex’s best vintages (Barthez, Blanc, Veron) but in typical Fergusonic fashion they somehow overcame a talented Arsenal side to win the league. City meanwhile were newly-promoted  and while the team contained genuine quality (Anelka, Berkovic, Foe) and were playing at home (the last derby to be played at Maine Road), United were clear favourites going into the game.

And yet Goater waded through the United defence with all the ease of cranberry farmer during harvest season. He ripped off Laurent Blanc’s back pocket and forced it down the Frenchman’s throat. Gary Neville, infamously, gifted Goater his first goal but the marauding Bermudan was so cataclysmically unplayable that game he would have taken it himself eventually anyway.

So here’s to Shaun Goater – legend of Maine Road, conqueror of The Red Devils and for one glorious day King of all of Manchester.

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Dice

Player of the Week – Shaun Goater

This week’s player of the week is Leonard Shaun Goater.

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Selected Clubs: Rotherham United, Bristol City, Manchester City, Reading, Southend United

International Caps: 36 (32 goals)

Google Recommends: Shaun Goater Gary Neville (see below)

Finest Moment: 

Three Words: Feed The Goat

Stay tuned for more Goats Milk over the next few days.

G    Dice

The Celebration Station

Every week we’ll be breaking down and rating well-known and memorable goal-scoring celebrations. When judging celebrations we’ll be looking at such key ingredients as originality, how iconic the celebration became, identity (do you instinctively link the celebration to the scorer) and, of course, playground appeal (which celebrations are kids ripping off after shinning a beauty between their schoolbag goalposts at lunchtime).

Daniel Sturridge’s ‘Are You Not Entertained?

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Dice

‘For me, I think I probably will look back [at my dance celebration] and think…at the time, it felt right.’

Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge’s celebration dance is ridiculous. Let’s just make that clear. Not just the dance itself but his sullen facial expression, the way he removes himself from his emotions, his team mates, the moment; and just gives himself to dance. It’s all ridiculous…but god damn has it caught on.

Any potential sniff of goal has the cameraman prone and ready to capture every second of Sturridge’s own private afterparty. Fans wait excitedly in empty car parks to flaunt their own version of the dance to the striker. South African Pirates use their biggest game of the season to offer tribute to Sturridge’s celebration (see below). He has the masses eating out of the palm of his hand every time he moves his arms and all the while his eyes are screaming ‘Are you not entertained?!’.

Fucking A we are.

8.5/10

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I must say, I’ve never seen a celebration quite like this. I’m a keen dancer and this move is even a bit too much for me. I really want to know the thought process behind it… Was it a drunken body movement that caught on…? Did he steal it from abroad…? Was he in his bedroom just working on a celebration and it happened…? I guess we’ll never know. The fact of the matter is this, I like this celebration, it’s original, it has character and it’s his own.

This is something I can box with.

8/10

8.25/10