Match on the evening of 14 August 2009
Since this is a kind of “experience report” – moreover, one recorded directly after the experience –, one’s own perspective seems quite justifiable, so perhaps here and there this view will come to the fore?
On the Friday evening of 14 August 2009, as usual on such weekends at this time of year, second division football was on. Three games, with the choice of: Single match or conference? The author of these lines chose the single broadcast of the match SC Paderborn – Karlsruher SC.
Of course, the question arises in principle with each of these individual broadcasts as to how high the ratings are and whether this is measured at all? The most “significant” aspect of this question would seem to be: is there at least one single decoder that transports them to the TV screen via a single option, beyond the small proportion of enthusiastic supporters of one of these two clubs? The answer should be: no, there is not. However, the following restriction may apply here: no one who follows it continuously, in words and pictures.
So maybe one or two people tuned in, maybe one or two, at most three. Listened and watched: zero of them.
Who would watch a second-division football match just like that, without a passion, a fan connection behind it? You don’t. There is something missing in the entertainment value. Be it the game of football itself or in the presentation offered.
This alone would be questionable if Sky wanted to exploit the product “football” as a kind of goldmine – and pay millions for it. How is this supposed to pay off?
Subject to verifying surveys: it would be a most regrettable observation and finding, confirming many of the concerns generally expressed here, and at the same time an urgent one to be remedied, if one should be interested in a continuation of this overall concept and the broadcaster? Of course, this is something the broadcaster itself would have to ask itself – and in doing so, would have to accept some of the responsibility.
The speaker does nothing, both in tone and in the entertainment value he strives for, to make the matter palatable. At the same time, however, a rather simple statement applies: most of the observations made by him over the airwaves are at least superficial, tendentious, but for the most part simply wrong. The length of a feature film tends to be exceeded, suspense, entertainment, quality, everything comes up short in a football broadcast in the view represented here.
Whoever votes against this statement: please film an evening in which at least one person demonstrably sits in front of a television set with the picture and sound of such a second division match switched on, without a fan relationship to either party in the competition, listens throughout, and, as a further condition: mostly bites his nails, occasionally jumps up or skips, cheers along and is recognisably excited/tense. Any further proof of sympathy would have to be provided, soo that’s the hot one.
Upload this video to youtube, of course. Then perhaps one would have to reconsider the statements made here. However, with a single copy? Very well. Since it’s impossible to find such a person anyway, there’s no need. It would be an experiment, yes, but more one of thought.
At the moment, during the tasting of such an “appetiser” in the early evening programme, one is, so to speak, permanently sprinkled with nonsense, with the palpable intention (hold your eyelids up, without the use of matches!) of being put to sleep or of being made to switch off, and the very few who might have tuned in at the beginning will very soon have complied with this almost blatant request. This speaker was obviously sure: “I can talk about whatever I feel like, no one will listen anyway,” while at the same time glibly assuring: “Football? No fun anyway.” To interpret this as consideration for patients at risk of heart attack would be sarcasm at its purest.
Since the defeatism in the form of “spreading boredom” is not an isolated case, one has to state: this is a total flop, the overall concept in its current presentation. Even if there are still subscribers who remain “loyal” to football here out of old love, tradition and attachment and want to be comprehensively informed (especially about results?!), then it is hard to justify that an entire programme of this kind cannot find a place in subscribers’ diaries? “Are you free tonight?” “Yeah, maybe after 9pm. It’s Second Division today, you know – I’ll have to watch.” I guess that would be the end of the friendly relationship? Cancellations because of the Second Division? Yes, is it still going on?
There is an urgent need for action, let’s put it that way.
If someone responsible for the programme were to subject himself to torture just once and allow such a commentary to penetrate his ears, heart and mind for 90 minutes – no one does, according to the assured message therein – then he could only come to one conclusion: the man must be dismissed. If the person tortured in this way exposed himself to this torment a second time: the next dismissal, in consequence all the other nonsense tappers with the microphones too. What they say in the course of a game is demonstrably damaging to the station. They are all moles! Out with them, we have identified them!
There is an alternative: the reporters must be reminded of what makes good journalism. For them it is: “You have the story. Go in search of it, in words and pictures. If you don’t have it, at least pretend you do. Get that across. Enthusiasm, fascination and excitement must come through, the viewer must simply be forced to stay with it because there is action and suspense. You are a salesman. You have to sell your product, just like the market crier. I don’t give a damn about your own point of view. And with error analyses and sober objectivity, you can perhaps apply for a job as a coach, sports director, manager or player observer – if that’s where your qualities truly lie – but that’s not what’s called for here. Even if, by chance, it should be true. Mistakes are the exception, this is the highest quality, the spectator has to be pulled out of his armchair and pushed into it, biting his nails, because he can’t stand the tension.”
A seminar would be a good idea in which one goes back to these basic virtues. For one thing should not be denied the speakers: they can talk, prattle, babble, and do so without interruption. It’s just that the orientation is completely wrong. Nobody wants to see “misfits”. But the impression is created – for each of the non-existent listeners – that they are permanently attending one.
But now to the game, its classification on the betting market, the course of the game and the unspeakable commentator:
On the betting market, Karlsruhe were very slight favourites. This is quite understandable, because Paderborn has just been promoted to the second division, while KSC has just been relegated from League 1. The assessment is “normal” and was also shared by the specially programmed and always consulted computer. however, this (computer) considered Karlsruhe to be an even clearer favourite than “the betting market”. Thus, a small bet was placed on KSC.
The differences are, as always, only nuances, expressed roughly as follows: Market says 52/48 KSC. Computer 56/44 KSC (draw excluded). Nevertheless, that is already enough (under certain circumstances) for a bet.
Karlsruhe had played quite strongly and impressed in the first game of the season with their new line-up, but the game at home against Aachen only ended 1-1.
On the other hand, Paderborn — according to the match report, combined with the familiar “reading between the lines” – had also undeservedly lost 0:2 in Düsseldorf. So basically, one could not yet see any very clear contours. As a general rule, promoted teams are usually a little more successful in the early stages of a season than most people expect. In this respect, the market was possibly even more right than the computer, “calculating” this by means of mass intelligence?
In short: the bet placed by the team itself did not have a particularly good basis for justification.
1) Here, quite simply, is how the game went:
The game started, Paderborn got right down to business. Obviously, the coach of Paderborn had given his team the order not to wait and see but to go full throttle from the first minute. This “tactic” is nothing unusual for a home team, but not necessarily standard either. KSC were a bit surprised by it, they tried to run the ball calmly through a few stations, but were immediately disturbed, and in many cases with success. They wanted to demonstrate a class, with calmness and composure, but this failed thoroughly in these minutes.
The big advantage you get as a home team from such an approach is that you get the crowd right behind you. They immediately pick up on this perceived euphoria and shout their team forward even more, while it can have the opposite effect on the opponents. It is almost superfluous to mention that this kind of approach also carries risks on the other side. One of them, quite obviously, is that with very aggressive forechecking or pressing, in the case of a good ball sequence by the opponent – who breaks away playfully and who finds the free space behind the pressing opponents and uses it with fast, energetic advancing – you quickly find yourself outnumbered in defence, which can consequently lead to a dangerous goal chance on the “wrong” side.
In this game here it was well executed and rewarded. Paderborn had a good scoring chance right away, which “gets the fans on board” even more and better. For the moment, the phrase that “the Karlsruher weren’t on the pitch yet” would really have suited. The spectators were fully there, but that did not necessarily apply to the Karlsruher.
After five minutes, there was a standard situation for Paderborn. A long ball hit into the penalty area from 40 metres — the so-called “half-field”. Now the observation is that in recent years it is one of the situations that can almost conjure up the greatest danger of a goal. Almost greater than a direct free kick from 20 metres. Because: the ball is hit long towards the goal. The moment of this shot/pass is precisely timed by the attacking players, who are all well equipped with headers, and they run together towards the penalty spot, at the same time as the attacking players appearing in the crowd.
If possible, the ball comes down at head height. It is extremely difficult for the goalkeeper to reach the ball there, because a large number of players appear in front of him, both his own and the opponents’. At the same time, the defenders also have a hard time. The curious thing is that the ball doesn’t even need to be touched in order to come dangerously towards the goal – because it is executed with exactly that orientation. The goalkeeper does not even know whether it will come into contact. He sees very little in the crowd of players. He has to reckon with everything. And, in contrast to a cross from the baseline, which used to be considered more dangerous, the ball hit from behind into the penalty area no longer has to be touched.
Additional effect: the ball can easily be touched by both the defender and the attacker and thus experience a change of direction quite close to the box, to which the goalkeeper can hardly react and is also not directly prepared. So here and there you see a ball not exactly rolling or bouncing at top speed past a paralysed goalkeeper and landing in the net.
It may look awkward, but it is due to this circumstance that a change of direction is usually expected. There is no trace of “goalkeeper error”. Of “looking bad”, on the other hand, there is. How would one look “good”, though, when one has to get the ball out of one’s own net? “He cuts a great figure there – the way he gets it out of the net!”
Long story short: Karlsruhe weren’t quite there anyway, the ball was cleverly extended, 1:0. Well, no wonder everything, it’s always a game of probabilities. The goal situation was good, the execution was good, everything fitted, in, a goal.
Well then, Karlsruhe gradually remembered its abilities and gradually began to get a leg (one after the other) on the ground as well. There were better and better passages of the ball and subsequently, at (in)regular intervals, very clear and good opportunities to score. Once a player appeared completely free in front of the Paderborn goal, got the ball played into his foot, only had to push it from 5 metres into the goal, which had been left by the goalkeeper — so that must be the 1:1 — when just at that moment a defender came rushing from behind and only got into the legs of the attacker who was ready to shoot. The ball rolled past the goal. That was a clear penalty, not only according to the views otherwise held here of the different assessments of situations inside/outside the penalty area. Also in the slow motion it could be seen that the defender only hits the leg and not the ball, but the referee, as an alibi, decided on a corner kick, suggesting that he had seen the defender on the ball. Sure: an “excuse” is always welcome to him and if you don’t have to, you don’t give. But: it was a penalty.
All this escaped the attention of the commentators, who are so dearly loved, and to add “unfortunately” here would not do justice to the matter: it is anything but unique for the announcers to let essential things slip through their fingers. It is certainly not worth mentioning, especially since he “justified the score” the whole time, i.e. he picked on Karlsruhe. There would be no room now for a comment like “a clear penalty, not given.” You keep your tone and don’t get irritated. That would scratch the image of “omniscience” that is currently being built up. KSC is weak. You can see that not only in the score but in every action – he wants you to believe. At least, that’s what every single comment sounds like. They can’t do anything right and they’re not entitled to a penalty, or so he thinks.
In addition, there were two crossbar shots by Karlsruhe, one of which was a rebound with a chance to shoot over and the other was under the bar, i.e. a near-goal. Another opportunity was when a player was brilliantly played free and appeared alone in front of the goalkeeper. This chance also remained unused. All in all, there were (at least) five very good chances for Karlsruhe, and only three, less good ones, for Paderborn. Whereby the early two from the opening phase had the special character: “hold-up”.
A not unusual course of events nonetheless. Karlsruhe was behind, which then often releases forces. They desperately want the equaliser. The behaviour is somewhat comparable to “panic reaction” – hence the extra forces. At the same time, the opponent, the leading team, in this case Paderborn, pulls back a bit more, partly unintentionally, because the opponent does more, but partly also tactically, partly even due to player changes, which are made in the course of the game, if the score holds.
Nevertheless, KSC was simply the better team, nobody could deny that. More and better opportunities, plus more possession and better combination play. Paderborn had a lot of passion to offer, but also by no means played a bad game otherwise. Accordingly, a much more appropriate verdict would be: a good game and an exciting game. If you were completely neutral, you would say: “I don’t begrudge Karlsruhe the equaliser, they deserved it.
The 41st minute came, the fourth scoring chance for Paderborn, a slightly hesitant intervention by a defender – although this might have to have a low acceptance as Tyrolean reporter’s German, but it can be true in individual cases? — , a good finish and the ball was in. 2:0.
Karlsruhe tried to tie the game up before the break, but they couldn’t do it. So they went into half-time with an absolutely frustrating result. Any lead for Paderborn alone could not be called “deserved”, but one with two goals was simply unfortunate for KSC.
The fact that KSC did not have much to play for in the second half and that the game gradually “petered out” with a 0:2 score is also nothing unusual under the circumstances. KSC could perhaps, with maximum effort, occasionally score the 1:2 and maybe even equalise, but the possible return is not in any reasonable proportion to the effort. At some point, you come to terms with the result. The fact that parallel to this, spectators and Paderborn players become more and more confident and slowly “celebrate the victory” is also nothing particularly sensational for a home game. That’s how it happens every day. It’s really hard for the away team to do anything about it. Home advantage is real, it exists, statistically demonstrable.
2) Now the commentary
For the speaker, after the 1:0 had been scored, “the opponent was simply overrun”. From this goal onwards, every Paderborn action is praised to the skies, a bad pass is graciously concealed, while a KSC attack that does not lead to a goal-scoring chance is mercilessly talked out of all proportion. There is talk of a “mispass festival”, there is a “lack of ideas from the midfield”, there is “no movement in the game”, there are “simply too many ball losses in the build-up play”, there is “no play-off station” and, last but not least, there are “too many individual mistakes”. So every single action is commented on with exactly the same tenor. This speaker is sitting on what he considers to be a very stable branch. This branch is the intermediate result he knows. If he did not know it, then every comment would crumble to dust, every action could be turned into exactly the opposite (in terms of commentary), he would fall completely helplessly from his tree and hopefully then land with his snout in the dirt so that it could no longer babble.
He then, after the fourth great chance, simply could not miss what would have been the deserved result. He surely already had the then appropriate comment in mind: “Of course, the equaliser has long since been deserved after the multitude of chances. But the Paderborn team has also been too passive lately’.” Ouch, now it’s getting really painful. Especially for Freund Sprecher, when stupidity would hurt…. Fortunately for him, things turned out differently.
Because: this one was also missed. Then he had the following thought: “It’s not that Karlsruhe doesn’t have any chances to score. But they either come from standard situations or from individual actions.”
Wow, a true expert. Because: If Karlsruhe had scored from one of these chances, it wouldn’t have counted, would it? In this context, remember the Paderborn goal and how it was scored. Apart from that, four points worth mentioning: 1) the statement is not true, 2) how do other teams get their chances? 3) what does it matter anyway? and 4) how many chances did he expect for KSC?
to 1): The one chance for Karlsruhe came after a corner, so actually by standard, the header landed on the crossbar, an almost sure goal though. A good action, a huge chance. Standard or not.
Another chance was beautifully played out when the player ran alone towards the goal to finish. Whether this should have been considered an individual action? But it wouldn’t really matter. A goal-scoring chance either way, why “devalue” it, why try to do so?
The third, which should have led to a penalty (the referee gave a corner kick, pretending that the defender had played the ball from behind; the replay shows that it was exclusively the leg; all this went unrecognised by the commentator). Also not a standard, but a goal-scoring chance.
A fourth goal-scoring chance came from a splendid direct shot, with the ball hitting the bottom bar and the follow-up shot also missing the goal after the rebound. Was this a solo effort? Or was it a standard? It is simply a successful action, a long-range shot in perfect execution.
So: the statement is definitely wrong, at the same time pejorative, as if the chances created in this way had less value. Based on the deficit anyway. False and negative. But fulfilling each of these criteria individually would have to be enough to put a stop to it.
2) Yes, please think in unison: How else do goal chances come about? Crosses where the ball lands dangerously in front of the goal, a successful dribble, if you like, but hardly possible today (if we were talking about “individual action”). A shot from a distance or a standard or a combination play. By moving forward decisively and being very sure of the ball, you create a situation somewhere where you are outnumbered, which can then be used. But it’s also very difficult nowadays. KSC made use of all four opportunities, everything was represented. Nothing was missing except the famous bit of luck.
to 3) exactly, who would have asked after a Karlsruhe victory whether they brought about the goals “only by two standards” or by “two individual actions”? That’s ticked off. They would have been better and deserved to win, had they been lectured.
4) The five chances they created are well above average in the league. KSC was good, that’s for sure, a team from the top third of the table. What did he expect? According to the best possible assessment of the far-sightedness and depth of his mind: nothing at all.
The speaker’s final verdict did not really come as a surprise. For one thing he certainly mastered at school: How much is 1+1? And the easier task too: How much is 0 + 0? Which of the two numbers is greater after addition? He got it! 1+ with an asterisk!!!
“The victory was deserved.” Who can argue with that? 2-0. The goals count.