Wednesday, 26.4.2012, second leg of the Champions League semi-final, Bayern Munich had to travel to Madrid to defend a 2-1 lead from the first leg, if possible, in order to achieve the dream of every footballer, to reach the final of this gigantic competition, which will be played in Munich, of all places, making the dreams a little more intense for everyone in the Munich jersey. This is one of the great highlights from Sky’s point of view, today the cafés and pubs equipped with Sky are guaranteed to be overflowing, today it is a matter of really promoting oneself and football, today one certainly does not have to fear that even a single television set will be switched off as long as the game is not decided against Bayern, which from a German point of view please, please do not happen for a long time, if it has to happen at all…
The game was high-class, dramatic, fascinating, thrilling, rousing, and even had the much longed-for outcome for all those who felt inclined towards Bayern, which is definitely an overwhelmingly large percentage in this country – and as an author, one includes oneself right away, because not only had the increased international competitiveness of all German teams, which were really on a par with Europe’s top teams, long since been established before and during this season, but a bet had been placed, at the behest of the computer, on Bayern’s progress, with which supporters could be bought at will. This, however, had further reasons: even if Barca is recognised as the best team in Europe, by many sides, but at the same time by oneself, and it is very well known that this Real Madrid is an even 7 points ahead of Barca in first place in the Spanish Primera Division and that even the El Classico was won last Saturday in the lion’s den, in the Camp Nou, including the (almost certain) championship decider, it had been established from one’s own observation, not only in the first leg, that it is a mystery how this table situation in Spain may have come about.
Real Madrid could impress with practically nothing. It may be that Bayern have the right antidote, even in the first leg, that Bayern are Real’s opponents, as even the longstanding record of the two shows, but in any case there was a very clear departure from the market assessment that Real should be 1.67 (betfair before the start of the match) favourites here, on the 90 minutes alone. Even if that event even happened: they were far from such superiority. Insofar as one speaks of a match at eye level over the 90 minutes, then one does far more injustice to Bayern than to Real Madrid. It was a class performance, from the 1 to the 11 (or the 17 to the 93, if those were the numbers that were allocated), and that over the entire 120 minutes plus the penalty shoot-out, about which you can’t think of the slightest negative thing.
One would expect a little enthusiasm, a little excitement from the announcer’s booth, drawing the viewer into the action with skilful commentary, so that even if the housewife’s cooker was about to overflow, she would rather let this happen than miss even one second of this fantastic event?
Not at all, which the experienced reader has known for a long time, unless he himself had to be an ear-witness to the head guru of the reporters’ guild, Mr (“I said ‘My Lord’, but I meant you”) Marcel Reif, and thus, if he persevered, deserves a big compliment, because once again it was like pure torture what one had to listen to, and that from the first minute on.
When Real skilfully created the first chance, horror spread – which would have been understandable – if it hadn’t been accompanied by the nonsensical assertion that “you shouldn’t give away chances so easily”. In general, it is customary in reporter jargon – Marcel Reif being the originator – to add that “that was too easy” after every successful action. Absurdly simple, does one wish for the pure trump card of defence? That every attack is simply repelled, because as soon as an opponent is really outplayed and the attacker has thus gained 1 metre 35 of space as well as a tenth of a second of time before the next one is on his feet, one has to hear that it goes “too easily” and that he “has too much space”, followed by a “has all the time in the world”.
No, it’s an ordeal for which even the cornea, which has actually been in place for a long time, offers no protection. When Xabi Alonso plays two dream passes over 40 metres in the first 15 minutes, which change from one cross to the other and land with pinpoint accuracy ready to be processed by the teammate, Mr. Reif by no means lets a word of appreciation escape, instead he says: “That’s exactly what you have to prevent.”
In between, Ronaldo has a chance to score. Marcel Reif comments: “You should have heard the name Ronaldo in Munich, too.” We have heard him, Mr. Reif, I can assure you of that, but it doesn’t help against one of the World Footballer of the Year candidates that you know him now and then, he still creates a goal-scoring chance, imagine that! What he says is actually an impertinence, but no one here is making a fuss because everyone has long been used to this impertinence, which would still be the most harmless reason. The real reason is that no one listens to this unbearable drivel any more, in the truest sense of the word.
In the first quarter of an hour there were five top-class goals. Of course, Mr. Reif was not happy about this, he had hoped for a boring 0:0, without any chances to score, one has to assume. He later spoke of it being “anarchic”, the game at that stage. Of course, the Bavarians got their money’s worth without end, because Real took two of the three chances and Bayern didn’t take either of the two giants, but that too has long since become a habit and the normal spectator goes in one ear and out the other, only wondering at half-time about the pent-up aggression, the cause of which he doesn’t yet know exactly, but which is easy to explain: here, the long-awaited major event is being made so pomaded for him that he simply loses the joy of it, yet everything is actually so beautiful?
By the way, most and biggest complaints came from the fact that he wanted to remind the tired kickers down there, who in their, from his point of view, so ridiculous efforts are desperately trying to reach the level of their idol, the three-time world millennium kicker of the intergalactic league, Mr. Marcel Reif, and of course in doing so do no more than a dog barking at the moon, that this is a Champions League semi-final. His point, I suppose, is that there may still be one or two goal-scoring chances per team in the quarter-finals, but please, children (he always says), not in a semi-final! That’s really going too far.
He actually seemed to know that Real Madrid’s strengths are in the offensive? He probably knew enough about the table to know that they would have scored an incredible 109 goals in 34 league games, a number equal to Germany’s total, while at the same time scoring a value that Bayern themselves have never achieved in their league?
Well, yes, he probably knew that, only he seemed to draw the completely wrong conclusions from it. Because: he didn’t describe the league as balanced, no, no, it would be quite the opposite, because in Madrid teams would have scored goals – he wanted to talk about Real’s miserable defence – you wouldn’t believe it. To make it vivid for the listener, he mentioned this one name: “Getafe”.
He only wanted to be reminded briefly that Spain is number 1 in the European rankings, even with a clear lead (which, in his opinion, must have been achieved by throwing dice, because number 1 always belongs to Germany and Germany alone, of course), and that at the same time three of four teams in the Euroleague are in the semi-finals and that at the same time two of four teams in the semi-finals of the Champions League came from Spain, even if Barca was almost eliminated a little tragically the night before. Nevertheless, this kind of mockery is so inappropriate that one is at a loss for words. One would wish (but not for Schalke or Gladbach) that next season a Spaniard would come to Gelsenkirchen again, one of these underdogs from such an unbalanced league, and pull the wool over their eyes with another 4:2, just so that Marcel Reif would please, please, please keep quiet at some point.
The betting market had also taken a fairly clear position on the distribution of chances before this complete semi-final: Real were clear favourites, even if the computer had some doubts.
When Bayern, unheard of in the second half, again allowed a half-goal chance here or there, the indignation in the announcer’s booth grew. No, according to his performance Bayern had to dominate the game from 1 to 90 at Real, or what does he mean? Bayern did it so fantastically that you just have to take your hat off, and at the same time express admiration for them. Real knew, by the way, that they weren’t hosting Getafe, and that with a score of 4:0 it was still hard to believe, but that one goal against really doesn’t make a difference, while Bayern knew very well that they were dealing with the black beast, and at the same time that another goal against would mean the end, but Bayern still had chances, even if only very sporadically. Of course, he didn’t like that either. This was due to clear failures, and these had to be brought to the point.
So: when there were many goal chances, really great ones, on both sides, he didn’t like the game at all. It was “anarchic” and where one should take the benevolence from in order to take that – apart from the condescending tone, which makes it unmistakable – as a positive, he may explain when the opportunity arises. But when the chances to score became fewer and the Bavarians “hadn’t had a goal for ages”, he didn’t like it one bit. How should the game be played in order for him to be satisfied? What is the broadcaster thinking when he chooses this pompous monkey when installing the announcer?
No, it was pure catastrophe, a disaster, a mockery of every true friend of football, a punishment for every subscriber who subscribed to the sports channels. Even after the game, by the way, there was no joy to be heard from him. It was rather that at the funeral service he attended, the body was now finally in the ground….