1) A live bet
Marcel Reif, the king of reporters, has of course not let himself be deprived of the treat of Schalke vs Dortmund as a live match. For a few minutes at the beginning of the game, he even manages to make the viewer believe that he could enjoy the game for once today and would be willing to convey this to the viewer. As I said, for a few minutes. Very soon he lapses back into the usual old tone of the constantly lecturing, yet consistently dissatisfied.
The game itself began very lively. Schalke had a plan against their neighbour and arch-enemy, while Dortmund, perhaps under the impression and as a result of their midweek victory against Bayern and thus all but securing the title, took it a little easier. So Schalke took the lead, with a 1:0 through Farfan, which neither gave us the chance to rejoice, let alone form our own opinion of whether it was successful or beautiful, spectacular or unconventional, a chance strike or a great shot, no, almost before the ball hit the ground Marcel Reif lectured us that “Kagawa put his head down there”, as he thought he had seen. Well, it’s sensational and a compliment to this idiot that he actually recognised the Dortmund player standing in the way during the shot, which really wasn’t that lame. Shame on him – and this is really the mildest form – for not having caught any of the things that could give us spectators pleasure, always keeping in mind the neutral spectator who just wants to watch football, practised and performed by the best of the best in Germany, in a truly top game. Even more shame on him for drawing the spectator’s attention to an error while the ball was still in the net, when the spectator might have been ready to shout for joy, simply because the round belongs in the square and there is nothing better when watching football. Maximum shame on him that the recognition of the blunder could not be confirmed by anything, on the contrary, would actually leave him in the permanent rain, if he had an ounce of decency, and condemn him to silence.
Kagawa didn’t put his head down, no, he put his head into the really very hard shot. He even planned a change of direction, recognised the danger at that pace, tried to deflect the shot past his own goal and, if possible, neither put it into his own net, nor let it become, say, a perfect cross for another attacker. All this at this incredible speed, where you really almost overdo it with fractions of a second, which, if you look at it honestly, should only leave your mouth open, but at the same time, don’t forget the fluttering of your ears! The fact that the ball did find its way into the net was nothing other than bad luck, but that does not leave the slightest bit of doubt or fault in either the shooting or the defensive performance. Certainly Marcel Reif could not help but correct a little. “No, he didn’t put his head down.” That was it, with that he took the blame far from him and only rudimentarily admitted his own blunder.
Dortmund did afterwards what they usually do: attack, play fast, play well, get everything out, run, run, but always keep the overview, at about the level that has propelled them to the top of the table. The equaliser was sensational, yet in a way a lucky shot. Well, why not give them credit? Schalke were good, very good, in the whole match, actually the slightly better team, but even that would not be a sensation at all, because as third in the table in a home match against the first in the table, they could well even be favourites, at home, even if this was not the case on the betting market.
After the score was 1-1 and the game remained as lively as it had started, Marcel Reif’s “betting offer” came. He secreted this: “I bet you that something will happen in this game.” Let’s grant him that by “something happening” he meant another goal. He was willing to bet on it, so that sounds good, anyway? Where were the phone numbers that could be used to respond to this betting proposal? What was the point of the suggestion, “I’ll bet with you…” if you can’t take it? And anyway, this phrase is as hollow as it can be (roughly what it must look like in the whole area between his hairline and chin), but of course one hears something like that in everyday life from time to time.
Can’t we go into it a little more closely here? On the betting market, odds are constantly offered on many different events. Above all, this type of betting is becoming more and more popular in the form of betting on games in progress. So you can really bet live. Here you would have to click on the option “Next goal” at betfair and there on “Lay” for “No more goal”. At the moment you pay odds that there will be no more goals, you are betting that there will be one.
Here, Mr. Reif, you should please inform yourself first. Because this kind of oracle only works via odds and an actual bet. So if they want to bet, it means colloquially that you want to bet 10 euros against 10 euros. And this would be outright betting fraud. It is actually a ratio bet in almost every bet, which makes sense when you agree on odds, and then on a bet amount. The betting exchange betfair does all this (of course you can also bet elsewhere and find similar offers). Have you, Mr Reif, ever read up on this? Do you actually know what odds are, do you know how the betting market works?
You don’t know anything about anything, but you talk such nonsense. “I bet with you…”. Yes, I’ll bet with you too. But please pay me 10 times the money, then we’ll have fun and it’s a fair offer. The odds at the time (the equaliser came in the 18th minute) must have been around 1.14 on the event “another goal is scored”. So you would have to pay about 7 times as much on the market for his statement, so 10 times would be too much, so as a bettor you would have a good bet on it. But if this were to be rubbed in his face, he would hardly come out with more than a stutter. “I didn’t know that” or “I don’t understand that” or at least “No, I’m just kidding, I’m not betting”, which you can then confidently supplement with “I’m just talking rubbish and that’s all there is to it”. I get a lot of money for spoiling the fun for so many subscribers that no new ones join.
In truth, he has chosen the side that is most likely to come in. The betting market sees the chance in the order of 85% that another goal will be scored. That’s where the oracle becomes more and more embarrassing, if you want to predict the occurrence of such high odds. Especially since most announcers prefer to concentrate on the 100% chances and then take some minor credit. So roughly, when injury time starts, measured at one minute, and they then oraculate that “nothing will go wrong there.”
2) “too complicated”
In the match between Gladbach and Cologne, which was almost as explosive a derby as the one between Schalke and Dortmund, and which was just as high-class, because Gladbach was showing its old strength again, and Cologne was able to keep up for a good while, there was once a lightning-quick action, with a series of Gladbach direct passes, with which they almost penetrated the penalty area, but the last ball was intercepted. You can sense the class of this action from the reaction of the spectators, because it is accompanied by “Ah” and “Oh”. That’s what the fans like and that’s how it goes, playing off an opposing defence. Even if it didn’t result in a goal, it was definitely an action you would enjoy as a friend of football.
Well, this was probably already the decisive restriction: as a “friend of football”. Because people like that are not used to sitting behind the microphones at Sky. They don’t enjoy football, let alone think that this could be the only thing that makes you a good journalist: getting the story across to the viewer, regardless of whether you think it is one yourself. Well, there is no professional honour in these speech bubbles and no responsibility to the employer or the viewer. This has all been known for a long time and is well known. How these gentlemen were nevertheless assigned to this job remains the greatest mystery.
The speaker had the following explanation at the ready: “too complicated”. So nothing, he says, will be read off the result, because no goal was scored from this attack. However, any other kind of attack would probably not have resulted in a goal either and he would have had some alternative instruction on how to do it, but above all how not to do it, because it wouldn’t work anyway. In the very rare case that an attack does end with a successful goal, the tables are turned. All the previous instructions, which the players simply didn’t want to accept but might have done so now, would have been forgotten immediately and the “collective deep sleep of the back line” would have made the goal possible.
In other words: Gladbach would have inadvertently not played too complicated, the last ball would have ended up with the attacker, who would have taken it briefly and then sunk it with a perfect shot, then under no circumstances would they have realised that “this is how it is done”, since they apparently had the chance to make it “too complicated”, after which it would come to nothing, or to do it right, after which it could logically come to something, no, none of that. The person who scored the goal would have been “criminally free”, the opponent who allowed the last pass would have “not paid attention at all” and the goalkeeper would have been “partly to blame”, because he would have had to hold such a shot if he hadn’t been in the wrong position beforehand.
It is such a tragedy to listen to this that one can only cry. It’s the highest division in Germany and Germany is in Europe, with the national team often at the top, but the football on offer here is a pure smorgasbord of inadequacies, as we are led to believe? And that’s how they want to attract customers? To spend 620 million euros to get these rights in the next few years, to present this far below-average mediocrity and to be able to pick on it to your heart’s content, so that no one listens? Like the market crier who not only has small eggs that don’t even taste good, but stands in the middle of the market and advertises his goods as inferior? Who does he want to lure with that?
3) The technical skills
Once again, the king himself, Marcel Reif, allowed himself an absolutely incredible impertinence when he commented on a long ball from Luiz Gustavo that didn’t reach his teammate after 20 seconds in the Bayern vs. Real match – all the goodies go to him, chapeau to Sky for always using him when there are new customers to be won, because this effect is to be avoided at all costs – as follows: “Luiz Gustavo’s technical abilities are not sufficient for that.
There is, by the way, a now tried and tested method of dealing with these low blows, and the tip goes out to everyone who hasn’t cancelled their subscription yet: get out the punching ball, stick on your face, and keep punching. That makes it a lot easier. The only danger is that one day you will have to face this person in the flesh. Then you should try not to suddenly confuse him with the punching ball…
What does Reif allow? An executioner probably has far more leniency for his victim than he does. It’s Champions League, it’s a semi-final, the game has just started, nobody knows yet where they stand, how the opponent is set, how they themselves are, how the crowd will react. It would only be human and far more than completely normal if you didn’t hit the first risky ball perfectly right away. Of course, you don’t want to do it, not even to play that single wrong pass, but you have decided to take the risk, it can be that you make an impression on the opponent, that you immediately gain self-confidence with a successful action, that you possibly even initiate a goal action with a skilful change of wings, perhaps with a finish, and in your dreams even with a successful one. Can’t a player be allowed to miss the ball at the first attempt?
Mr. (Un-)Reif cannot. But this is by no means the end of the story. If one were to say (as an agonised spectator) that it was a very weak ball or that one doesn’t have to play a bad pass in the first minute or that it was a mistake to try the ball because it was too difficult or whatever, but at least leave it at a (still far from inappropriate) criticism of this one action. No, the whole player has to be given his due, and not just a little of it, but above all unjustified, fatally wrong, erroneous, idiotic, hare-brained.
Luiz Gustavo – just like everyone else down there on the pitch and everyone else in Bayern kit – has outstanding technical skills. This is a fact. It would never happen that a player is selected whose technical abilities drop off recognisably, even if there are different types of players and they are also selected and fielded, sometimes deliberately, by top teams. There will certainly always be the ball winner, the man-to-man, the playmaker and the goal scorer, there will be the fighting pig and the Mozart, the long lunger who gets the headers out at the back or the one who sinks them in at the front. But one thing is guaranteed to always be a basic requirement in today’s football, especially for the top teams: the technical skills must be outstanding, otherwise you would certainly find someone who had all the other skills and qualities, as well as the technical ability.
Luiz Gustavo, by the way, in the course of the match, thanks to the increased attention of the author triggered by this disgraceful sentence, demonstrated these outstanding abilities, as did all the other FC Bayern players, by the way, who delivered a fantastic game. An apology to him did not come at any time, which really would have been the least, although there is no inclination whatsoever to hold this terrible gaffe against him, the chief reporter. Apart from that, the question always remains: who is supposed to watch and listen to this blather? How do they think they can captivate, fascinate and inspire the audience? With such statements perhaps? This is known as a “shot in the oven”.
By the way, we also had to listen to another extremely embarrassing sentence (and read it here now, in contrast to the many saved stupidities and embarrassments that are not mentioned). After a few minutes, coach Heynckes was shown on the sidelines. Marcel Reif felt compelled to say something involving him. This came out:
“He demands a win to nil from his team, no more, but also no less.”
It is quite certain that he did not demand anything from his team and certainly not a specific end result. He understands how football works, unlike that blabbermouth. One thing he knows for sure: Real Madrid’s greatest strength is its offensive. And he knows for sure that there will be a shot at the Bavarian goal. Now, if this is precise and hard enough – apart from all other possibilities of impact — there could be a goal against. “Demanding” that this does not happen, he will definitely not.
He will have tried to set up his team as well as possible, and thus create as many chances of his own as possible, at the same time allowing the opponent as few as possible. What he would most like to see is that his team would prove itself against the opponent who is recognised as superior – more Champions League titles, top of the league in Spain, which is now the number 1 in Europe and whose country is even the world and European champion; the betting market has also seen it that way – can show at eye level that they can compete well and that, even if elimination should occur, which must be taken into account, they can be satisfied with themselves and their attitude, perhaps point to the little bit of luck that failed to materialise, which could have resulted in or prevented the one goal in this scene that made or would have made the difference. These are the hopes, targets and expectations, summarised as briefly and as authentically as possible.
Everyone had one dream, collectively, as you could hear in advance: The best thing would be a victory without conceding a goal. It is quite clear that Heynckes would have signed any victory immediately if he did not also enjoy the game of football and thus preferred to see a game even if it was lost.