1) The battle for the unlucky world championship
To contrast the 10th of January with another day, I will describe another, completely normal, day from my life. The perspective: The gambling. The betting. Gambling. Freaking out. Screaming. Whining. High-fiving. Cheering. Despair.
We had come up with a new strategy a week ago. We. That’s Christian, Detlef and me. Christian has been my partner for 12 years now. We have even known each other (today) for almost 14 years. And Christian was recently reminded of our first encounter, which I am happy to tell you here in my usual self-congratulation: It was 1995. My first daughter was born. I practically didn’t play backgammon any more. All that mattered was family and football betting. But one day I heard about two things: 1) there was a quite big backgammon tournament. The advantage: it was in Berlin. And 2) there was a young, talented Berlin player who was well on his way to the elite. I felt challenged. Plus Berlin and there was also some money to be won. So I decided to take part. My path to the final this time was really only and exclusively hindered by a considerable lack of bad luck. And once I play tournament, I don’t occupy myself with anything else but my games. So I was in the final and met the young, talented junior player. His name: Christian Plenz. Further bad luck played me to victory effortlessly. Why Christian was recently reminded of this? He saw the trophy on my office cupboard: “1st place Championship – Berlin Cup 1995”. But we’ve been friends ever since. Because in the rush to win, it’s easy to accredit talent to the underdog.
Christian works absolutely reliably and does what he is asked to do. That makes him extremely valuable to me. In addition, he can bear my moods stoically. So, despite all my efforts, this partnership simply can’t be broken. Since we both profit from it, there is even less reason to change anything.
With Detlef, on the other hand, I share a much greater unity of thought. We have known each other for over 25 years. He was one of the players who accompanied me on my numerous Black Jack gigs. He himself was once world champion in Skat, plays many other games very well (including Rummy, Billiards) and has been a professional player for over 35 years. He has figured out all the games, invented new games that offer an advantage to him that is not obvious at first glance, and so on.
On the other hand, Detlef has just as many rough edges as I do, so there can be arguments here and there. Detlef is the poker man (not to be confused with Pokemon). He has been playing poker regularly and persistently on the internet for about 4 years. Our partnership essentially relates to the poker accounts that all three of us have in common. So profit (and loss) goes through three. His winning strategy is so sophisticated that it is enough to support himself. However, it also requires practically daily effort.
Furthermore, we are united by the certain knowledge of having bad luck. This may sound strange. How one can be convinced of bad luck when consistently following my (our) world view. That’s beginner’s luck and stupid. Above all, virtually every player is convinced of having bad luck. The only small difference is that we still win in the long run. My argument then is always that this allows us to make the statement with some justification. We have a sufficiently good power of judgement, which is proven by our results. Those who win nevertheless are allowed to make a judgement, aren’t they? We win, but too little. One sees often enough what went wrong this time, what stood in the way of even greater success. And we try, with all objectivity, to take into account the counter-events that went in our favour on the other side.
In terms of football betting, I could always take such phenomena as examples: Goals in injury time, converted penalties for one’s own team, missed penalties for one’s own team, the two things exactly the other way round (penalties against one), sending-offs for and against one, lucky goals, unfair decisions (correct goals disallowed, incorrect goals recognised) and whatever else can move one. And you compare things with each other. That’s the objectivity you’re trying for. Was there more of it for/against you? And if you find a deficit, you call it bad luck.
In poker, by the way, the comparable things are simpler: there, it’s about showdowns in which you concede a “bad beat” or deal one out. A showdown always takes place when two or more players can no longer bet, i.e. they are “all-in”. The cards are then all turned over, including those of the players. A “bad beat” is then a sequence of cards in which one party is the overwhelming favourite and the weaker party still wins. Sometimes you concede one, sometimes you have to deal one, win a pot with the weaker hand. If this happens rarely or obviously too rarely, then it was bad luck. No ifs, ands or buts.
Our new strategy was this: Detlef used his ability to “radiate”. Radiate simply means he sits in and brings luck. Playing himself, i.e. betting on football matches, would not help with him. He would lose, of course, due to bad luck. But “shining”, bringing luck to others, that works, according to our idea. Apart from that, he could play poker on the side while beaming. This brought another advantage: I “threatened” with paper and pencil to write down all the “bad beats” and bring it out in book form afterwards. “Six days in the life of a plague bird” or something like that. Fate responded to this threat: The last week passed without any major “bad beat” damage, the poker account balances grew considerably. And the effect of “beaming” also had an effect. We had much less bad luck than usual.
In chess, there is a constellation in which one party still has the king, a bishop and a pawn left and the other only the king. Nevertheless, the bishop+pawn party cannot win. The bishop and the (marginal) pawn whose conversion square is not the same colour as the bishop are also called the “impotent pair”. That’s why I gave Detlef and myself the nickname “the impotent pair”. By the way, the alternative book title for our poker book was still “The unlucky Expert”.
For this week, the old mathematician’s law “minus * minus equals plus” was conditionally valid. However, we also had the super newt (lucky guy in gambler’s language) Christian on our side. He is always lucky, as long as he does not play together with us. If we do play together, there is a tough competition between his luck and our bad luck, from which Detlef and I clearly emerge as the winners, that is the rule. However, there is an annual battle for the, unfortunately only unofficial, title of “World Champion of Bad Luck”. The title is also only for real masochists. Because the first prize in this competition is a 10000 euro fine. Second place is only 5000 euros. To win the title, however, you have to “submit” some pretty wacky bad luck stories. Will you take part in the next final?
Saturday took its usual course. Optimism is usually gained over night while sleeping and struggling too little. In case of doubt, other philosophies have to be applied, such as this one: “What are you growling about? Others only have one leg. Or cancer.” Well, the phase wasn’t all that bad, so my nightly sleep was also restful, even if it was too short. Friday to Saturday 2am to bed and at 7:30am the kids wake me up. Then spent the morning playing with the kids, how else? The emphasis here: playing! In the process, they both show a decent talent in our backgammon matches. And I don’t think I’ve won a single match against either of my children yet. However, this story would be rather unsuitable for submission to this year’s unlucky world championship. I’m being accused, quite wrongly, of bias. Okay, I’ll take another one, I understand. But I really didn’t lose on purpose!
Then I went for a short ride on my bike to blow my brain and keep my body going. While doing so, I had an abstruse idea: I fantasised, like someone dying of thirst in the desert who sees the famous mirage, whether I could possibly manage to play a team today, this team would score a goal and actually win as a result. As I said, I quickly had to put this mirage to one side. Reason and ratio are called for, not fantasies and reveries. This distant event is scheduled for June, that will have to do.
So from noon onwards, I watch the games. Too late, actually, but it’s the family’s turn too. Christian, however, has already placed some bets on the “Early Market”, so that my omissions should have less unpleasant consequences. The first game was to be Aston Villa – Chelsea. Christian was in my office shortly before kick-off, i.e. at 13:40.
3) Game 1: Aston Villa – Chelsea
The game started. According to numbers, “my team” Aston Villa was shown anyway. In addition, the “under”, i.e. few goals. The “line” for the under was 2.25 goals. That means, with 0 or 1 goals full profit (stake * odds), with exactly 2 goals half profit (stake/2 * odds), with more goals loss. The line on Villa was +0.25. That means half profit on a draw, full profit on a win for Villa. But Aston Villa were playing at home, had a great season so far and were in 3rd place, even ahead of Chelsea. Under these circumstances, a +0.25 at home sounds good. In addition, I had already rated Aston Villa “good” throughout the season and had been successful with a few wins. So Villa and the under were played.
Christian revealed to me, however, that he had only played the under with 600 euros. It was clearly indicated and the performance, which we then still consult, was also clearly in favour of the under. I was on the verge of swearing at him. Said I would have bet such a game with at least 2500 on under. He calmed me down and said we could still replay it live. However, the prices, especially on an under, go down quite quickly live. Time passes and no goal is scored, of course.
Even on Aston Villa there were “only” 600 euros. I struggled again, explained to him that live betting follows completely different laws. And if I was watching, I would wait until I saw something before betting.
My patience lasted until the 14th minute. Then I said, “Now play 1000 on Villa and 1000 on the under, then we’ll have peace.” Christian did as he was told. The bets were placed a minute later and then we really had “peace”. And that was nearly 3 minutes Then came a Chelsea attack, a dribble by Lampard through two men, Anelka goes into space, a perfect deadly pass Lampard to Anelka, Anelka lobs it over the rushing out goalkeeper Brad Friedel, the ball is in. 0:1….
It can’t get any worse. We’ll lose Aston Villa and we’ll probably lose the under as well. And it’s almost impossible to win. 1-1, we could, but that would be almost witchcraft. Me and a jackpot result? Apart from that, it wouldn’t be one at all, because our live under was already at under 2 goals, the one before the game at under 2.25, so in the best case only half a win, and Villa at +0.25, in the best case also only half a win. So quasi hopeless. Makes watching football fun, doesn’t it? There is almost only one question left, and that is 3 minutes after the live betting and 14 minutes after the start of the game: How much will we lose? The question of whether we will lose (or even win???) has been answered.
Detlef, the man with the smile, wasn’t there yet either. So it went on as usual. Nevertheless, I continued to watch the game. Aston Villa were strong, working on the equaliser, a couple of good chances, a shot on the crossbar, the follow-up shot, missed. Chelsea had almost nothing left of the game. I bravely decided to play Aston Villa live again. With 1000 euros, for a now small rate, but still with +0.25 (from this score; so with 0:1 final score, I would still win half of the re-set bet). I also explained to Christian that I would like to make such bets much higher because they are good. It’s just that when you’re tilting at windmills like that, you can sometimes lose heart. You then see in the daytime nightmares “Bet is confirmed? Yes. What about the ball? Oh, it’s in. The 0:2.”
The second half began. The game was unchanged. Aston Villa pressed, created a few small chances and also a few bigger ones. But they then moved up so energetically, plus the coach brought on two more attacking players, so I gradually had to “insure” the under bet a little. So now live play an over. The horror scenario remained: Villa presses, Chelsea succeeds in a counterattack and the score is 0:2. The line on the over was meanwhile, around the 60th minute, a 0.75. That means one more goal and you already win half of the bet. A good insurance, justified by the course of the game (one team very offensive) and on top of that there was a dream result: 1:1. No jackpot, but still a profit overall.
My worry and excitement gradually turned into despair. The goal for Villa wouldn’t come, the counter-attacking opportunities were increasing. So I took out my phone and dialled Detlef’s number: “Detlef, what’s your excuse for being late? We need you to shine urgently.” Detlef was on his way, 7 minutes to go he said. Would the 0:1 last that long?
Chelsea got their huge chances just as Detlef stepped over the threshold, so to the 84th minute. Aston Villa had failed to equalise, no question, defence open, Ballack with a giant, Friedel held. Another chance, once more blocked, final whistle. Thank you, Detlef! What a miracle! The checkout showed: almost nothing lost on the game, almost exactly par. The under won completely, the live bets on Villa showed: the first completely lost, the second half won and the bets before were also almost at par. Under won, Villa lost. Plus the live bet on the over lost. But it was small, an insurance policy. It was worth it against the win on the second live bet on Villa.
Saved, but one thing I know: luck is somehow different.
4) Game 2: Karlsruher SC – Eintracht Frankfurt
I had already looked through the Bundesliga games beforehand, a kind of duty. Of course, I know Germany best, or at least I should. The match of the day was a rather strange one: KSC – Frankfurt. But I couldn’t understand these courses for the life of me. Frankfurt was ahead of KSC in the table. In addition, it was a kind of derby for me. Karlsruhe – Frankfurt = 124 km. And you could play Frankfurt +0.5 or +0.25. The course to the +0.25 was absurdly high. Well over 2.0. I played 6000 euros, the most expensive game of the day.
Aston Villa kicked off at 13:45. Including injury time, it went on until 15:40. But I had to see the end. When I switched to Karlsruhe, where the kick-off was at 15:30, I thought for sure it would be 1:0 for the home team. But I was surprised: it was still 0-0. I watched the game. It was a bad game. But if one team was still good, it was Karlsruhe. Frankfurt, mine, couldn’t do anything. I had to resign myself to having the wrong ones this time. But I thought to myself that I would lose often enough with the right side, surely the wrong side could win once if I had them? Besides, the thing is that you don’t “come out” of bad bets well. That means that all the people see that Karlsruhe is “in the driver’s seat”. So bets on Karlsruhe go in, so the price on them doesn’t go up. To get out of the bet, however, I would have to play Karlsruhe. You could get out, but you would have to take a loss.
It is a common stock market mistake for people who have bought a security and it falls below the purchase value to then not sell it for that reason. The decisive factor for the decision to sell or hold must be the expected future development and not the purchase price. But: I also make such decisions, only the price still has to be right. And in football it’s usually the case that favourites who look better live are “overbet”, so the price is not right. So don’t sell, it’s bad. Better to wait and be patient.
Along the way, Christian looked through all the English leagues. They start at 4 pm, there are 5 leagues, so a lot of work. I always have to decide: These play, these don’t. This one I like, that one more expensive and so on. To this I said that we would play one game more expensive. A random one, but nevertheless well chosen, so indicated and recommended by the computer. My choice was Hereford. It was the so-called “plague test.”
Frankfurt just didn’t get any better. Several times I had the resolution on my lips, “Get out of the bet. It’s bad.” But the course on Karlsruhe just didn’t go up. You just can’t play it there. I had to survive some more time. The game was now rippling along a bit. Frankfurt then got a bit better.
The plague test, which ran parallel, showed the following: The games started at 4 pm, we had Hereford at home against Peterborough with +0.5 goals. So just don’t lose applied to Hereford. At 16:03 the first goal in the whole of England: Hereford – Peterborough 0:1. The final result, by the way, for those who still have doubts, was 0:1. So in this sense the epidemic test was successful: epidemic confirmed. But is that enough for an application? A little side story: As an alternative to Hereford, I had thought of Leyton Orient for the 4000 Euro game. Leyton Orient won 1:0…
Half-time was approaching. My motivation to sell the bet was diminishing. Frankfurt was now better in the game. In addition, the other results were not so bad. We had Cologne in Munich and the over. Cologne led 2:0, at Bayern! We also had Hoffenheim in Stuttgart and the over. Hoffenheim took the lead, Stuttgart turned the game around to 2-1 and Hoffenheim equalised, just before the break, to 2-2. The over completely won, already in the first half. I didn’t have any champagne in the fridge. Who could have expected “an over won in the first half” so early in the year? It was meant to be in April.
The second half began. Frankfurt really started to get better. After 55 minutes, the decision: “Now we’re going to replay Frankfurt. What is the handicap and the course?” The handicap was still +0.25, the course was 1.84. But this was a very typical case of “bet over”. One team, Karlsruhe, had a good start. A couple of live players see that. They play Karlsruhe and have done their job. They don’t sell the bet anymore. Because that would mean taking a loss. This phenomenon always applies when you play a favourite and the favourite does not take the lead. Now the game was even and the price on Frankfurt remained too high. Another 2000 on Frankfurt. With courage, of course, I would have played higher. The mistake was obvious. But for that you need a “good run”. So it is: first win at all.
Then the one Frankfurt attack actually came from the right. Everybody moves forward. The cross into the penalty area from a good position, the ball is blocked, the substitute Caio takes the ball out of the air and smashes it into the corner of the net.
At first you can’t believe your eyes. Then, from experience, you look at the referee and linesman, no flag, the referee’s gesture was clear: the goal counted, 1:0 for Frankfurt! Then the explosion. I did a lap of honour through my office. I high-fived Detlef, high-fived Christian, then continued through the cheering crowd, quickly went up the fan fence and got a yellow card for taking off my jersey. Phew, ridiculous. That was no mirage!
Now, of course, we had to react. 8,000 euros on Frankfurt is no small feat. Insurance is the magic word. But what is the most sensible way to insure? Of course, after the 60th minute at the latest, you can safely insure with an over. But the line was still “over 1”. That meant we needed one goal for par, two for a win. Nevertheless, the order: 2500 euros on the over.
On the side, I also had the opportunity to show off my gigantic, superhuman, alien football knowledge in front of witnesses. The announcer said, after the Brazilian Caio had sunk the ball: “The first goal of the newcomer, who had come for 4 million euros and was almost considered a bad buy”. I said in front of the whole team: “That’s not true, he already scored a goal last season. Obviously there was another outraged and genuine Frankfurt and Caio fan who then picked up the phone and called Premiere. Because two minutes later the correction: “Caio has already scored a goal in a competitive match, of course I meant his first goal of the season. Just don’t admit a mistake. But I’m not really going to talk about football and its reporters until the next one…
Of course Karlsruhe came up a bit now. They also had chances, real chances. But Frankfurt was not idle either. It was an open game. The equaliser would have hurt. You could also say it would have been deserved, for all I care. But what does that matter? How many times have I “deserved” a goal and it didn’t happen? But there was still a dream: Frankfurt scores the 2:0. And if it fell, we could “cope” with both the 0:3 and even the 1:2. That would be a real jackpot!
I told Detlef the following little story: “Detlef, imagine someone comes to you on Monday and tells you about Bundesliga Saturday. He says if you thought it was possible that there was a Bundesliga match on Saturday that was 0:1 after 60 minutes. And the final result would have been 1:2. You wouldn’t believe him, would you? Nah, there’s no such game.” What are you not going to do in your desperate search for a jackpot result…?
And there wasn’t one for today either. Frankfurt had two more goals shortly before the end, but didn’t really want them anymore, or so it seemed. Even the 0:2 would have “saved” 2500 euros. The game ended 0:1.
Well, you can live quite well with a profit of 5700 euros. But a jackpot looks different. Of course, but who wants to complain? I!!!!
5) The other Bundesliga games
The Bundesliga results also only come in via livescore if you watch a selected match on Premiere. The development was dramatic in that once again one of our teams fell behind early. On top of that, we had the under in the game. So another “antijackpottor” like at Villa. The pairing was Bielefeld – Bochum. We had home and under and it was 0:1. But Hoffenheim was favourable again with the equaliser at the break. With Gladbach, I had refused to play Hannover, which was recommended by the computer. There we had only one over. The game went like this: 1:0, 2:0 for Gladbach. Lucky not to have played Hannover, with +0.25. Then 1:2, 2:2, oh, would we have? Then the happy ending with the 3:2 for MG. Over in, Hannover saved. Everything done right.
Hoffenheim fell behind again. The 2:3, we had Hoffenheim +0.25. But then the equaliser, the 3:3. I didn’t know anything like that. Then I saw in the summary afterwards that Hoffenheim got a penalty in injury time. That would have been the full win, but Salihovic into the evening sky….
Hertha had to go to Wolfsburg. I decided to play Hertha. My computer was erring a bit on this game, so for once I consulted intuition. And sure enough, Hertha managed to take the lead in the second half! The handicap was also a +0.25. Then the equaliser fell there and I placed another small bet on the live over and … Wolfsburg managed the 2:1.That costs, insurance saves something. Only: As we saw in the summary afterwards, Hertha had scored an absolutely correct goal, which was not given, while Wolfsburg’s goal for 2:1 was irregular, as seen by all sides. So Hertha had plenty of reasons to complain about losing the lead in the table. Just like us about the lost money. But it was at least reasonably “cheap” thanks to the live over….
In addition, we even have 20 euros on “Hertha will be German champion” for odds 170. Could be 3400 euros. The bet was just for fun, but at least it was the only long-term bet and it would have really come to life if Hertha won…
Bielefeld even managed to equalise, the 1:1, so that we still won the under and Bielfeld only lost half. So of all the bad possible results, the best, especially after the intermediate score.
Cologne held the lead in Munich. The over was small, but also on over 3.25 goals. The 1:2 for Bayern saved us half the bet on over. Cologne were full winners. All right, bearable. Ok, yes, all right: it was also favourable.
Werder still lost 2-1 at Cottbus. I had bravely trusted my computer and played Cottbus. But they were lucky, it has to be said. But even a 1:1 would have been enough for a full win.
The shining man had done his job. The bottom line was a solid plus for the Bundesliga afternoon.
6) AC Bologna – Inter Milan
The game kicked off surprisingly early for an Italian game. Like the English, at 4pm. The market went a little crazy on this game. Inter’s win away (Inter with -0.5 goals) went up and down. It was indicated by a house. But there are obviously the “Champions League bettors” who just play on principle against teams that have to play in the competition next Wednesday. The coaches often spare a few players or the motivation is not quite as great, plus: nobody wants to get injured. Besides, Inter already had a lead in the table. Nevertheless: the victory was clearly indicated. The price suddenly went down again. The decision was made: 2800 euros on Inter.
The game was on Internet TV. I tried to watch both games, Frankfurt and Inter, but then left the game to Christian at the PC. He reported here and there about a good chance for Inter. In addition, he observed that the price did not go up for Inter. So we had the “right ones”, clearly. And indeed he was able to report, shortly before half-time: 1:0 for Inter!
I was too busy with other things and couldn’t make any decisions on the game. Apparently, Bologna was getting better and pressing. Above all, they had dangerous corner kicks. Surely at some point I would have encouraged the over live. But like this, without watching? After 75 minutes again the shock: Nothing insured, but the 1:1 was called.
But Inter could actually strike back again. 79th minute, 2:1 Inter, Trezeguet, and despite more good chances for Bologna the final whistle. Another game won! I don’t believe it!
7) The English
At the moment we only follow the English games via Livescore, my Sky Box doesn’t work. Another expensive game was also 0:1 after 4 minutes (West Ham at Bolton, the goal against us) and 0:2 shortly afterwards. But the rest was bearable. If only it wasn’t for Hereford….
The games finish around 6pm. The intermediate results will then be called. A little live betting here and there for insurance.
The results were also tolerable overall, despite the loss of the “plague test game”. Rather a small minus overall, of course. But nothing terrible.
8) AS Roma – AC Siena
At 6pm, the most important game of the day. But not in financial terms. “My” team, AS Roma, were in contention for the Champions Leauge places. A mixed season for them. But they had caught up with the top through a small winning streak. Last week, however, a bitter 0:3 defeat in Bergamo.
Today Roma was clearly on show. But I had read the long injury list. At least eight players were “out”. So I wasn’t that brave. Only 1500 euros on Roma. Handicap: -0.75, one goal win half profit, higher win full profit.
The game was only to be seen on Internet TV, but now I was watching. Absolute and sacred duty when Totti plays. Roma struggled, hardly created any scoring chances. Nevertheless, the price still fell a little live. What was that supposed to mean? Even later, when they didn’t manage to score and there was no real pressure, the price didn’t want to rise. At half-time, however, there was a push. I used my football knowledge (in truth, of course, the game obsession) and predicted a “changed” Roma for the second half. Another 1500 euros on Roma. By the way, the pre-match handicap was -0.75, so half profit on a 1-goal win. The live bet at the break was -0.5, but at a good rate. Any win brings full profit for the live bet.
The changed Roma looked like this: A player swap. “I told you: changed.” The game itself didn’t get any better. They couldn’t generate any pressure. The outstanding Mexes in central defence also got injured, but was then able to continue.
Then a corner kick, which came in a roundabout way and by chance to the Brazilian Taddei (yes, the Brazilians), who stopped the ball, looked up briefly and flicked it perfectly into the triangle. 1:0! Jubilation, of course, in the Lichterfelder Ring! But why am I telling it like this? An hour earlier, a Karlsruhe player had an almost identical situation. He hammered instead of shot, accidentally gave the ball the wrong spin and the ball spun out of the triangle, not the equaliser. I immediately said, “Yes, you have to see a striker from the Italian Serie A in a situation like that. He’ll put it in.” And so it happened…
Then immediately the obligatory insurance. It was also justified by the minute of the game. The goal was scored in the 63rd minute. So you could already bet live over 0.75. And my football mind told me that a goal changes a game often enough, in the sense of being “more open”. Besides, I had the faint hope that Roma might also get another opportunity and then make use of it…. 800 euros on the over were placed. Another goal would mean half the profit. In addition, half of the stake from before the game was still on Roma, since we had played it with -0.75. Another 750 euros, which would bring a dream result of 2:0.
I was lucky in this game in that Siena actually had three more good chances. And on the last one, the biggest, a Siena man had entered the penalty area, was still putting the ball in front of him, when suddenly Mexes rushed in with a straddle and … absolutely fair, just tucked the ball away… Sometimes a defensive action can also be perfect. Thank you, Phillip, for playing on.
Roma came forward two or three more times, but they didn’t manage a goal either.
The final result was 1-0. No more drama, no more jackpot. But not lost either, even a decent win.
9) Manchester United – Blackburn Rovers
At 18:30, parallel to the Roma game with a 30-minute time delay, ManU – Blackburn started. The computer had advised us to ManU, with -1.75 goals. You would need a 2-goal win for half the winnings. But at least we had ManU.
They started furiously, immediately put Blackburn in their place. They should be able to do that. And indeed, already the fourth goal chance was converted. Rooney alone in front of the goalkeeper, he makes it, yes, in! That’s how it can go on. Ok, it could go on like that. On top of that, ManU had gone 22 hours without conceding a goal in the Premier League. A European record was in the offing, they just have to hang on until the final whistle.
The final whistle did come, but after just 30 minutes. But it was not the final whistle of the match, but of the goal-less streak. Roque Santa Cruz appeared in front of the goal, played around the goalkeeper and scored from an acute angle. Typical again: My team has 6 chances and scores one goal, the opponent has one chance and also scores one goal. The normal ratio.
After that, ManU were transformed. Nothing more. Even Blackburn came forward dangerously again and again. I then watched more Roma, because at least it was favourable. Every live bet on Blackburn would have been justified. But I didn’t. Because you could have hit the anti-jackpot by now. I play live Blackburn, with +0.5, have ManU – 1.75, ManU wins 2:1, all bets lost. I have anti-jackpots often enough, I don’t need to “provoke” them.
In the middle of the second half there was another “goal chance”. But it was only a direct free kick, and from an awkward position. Christiano Ronaldo, World Footballer of the Year, totally unjustifiably ahead of Lionel Messi, again had a huge scattering in his shots this season. Nevertheless, he was allowed to play. I said, “Look where he shoots it, into the clouds for sure.” And that’s exactly what happened: the clouds were the triangle. 2-1.
So we had unjustifiably “inherited” 25 minutes of hope that we could win the bet after all. At least half. However, I was so disappointed with ManU that I put a bet through immediately after the goal; “750 euros on Blackburn +0.5.” So we took a loss on the bet. But only half. 3-1 would still be better.
Only it went to 8pm. And at 8pm the Barca game started. FC Barcelona – Espanol Barcelona. And I had to watch that.
Just this much: the 25 minutes of hope turned out to be an illusion. The game ended 2:1. We are still waiting for a perfect result. But this game “only” cost about 750 euros.
10) FC Barcelona – Espanyol Barcelona
This season, I’m playing Barca in almost every game. They are the best in Europe, there is no question for me. And this year it’s really clear. Evidence: they lead the table very confidently. Still, it’s an obligation to keep playing them. It is regularly displayed Barca and over at their games. Of course, the lines are also accordingly. The one on Barca was -1.75, the one on the over 3.25. We had 5000 euros on both chances. So it was a really expensive game. The small to medium concern I had to have with this game: it was a derby. And derbies follow different laws. My conviction remained: this is what Barca do.
They started with their usual aplomb and superiority. The opponent simply doesn’t get the ball and they create their own chances to score. Of course, after the third missed chance, you start to get restless. The third one was also the best: Messi easily breaks through on the right, crosses the goalkeeper, Henry is three metres in front of the empty goal. The cross is right on his head. It has to be in. And it was. The stab in my heart. The ball itself flew over…. Ouch!!!
Even though I don’t get along with the (German) reporters’ jargon, they talk unbearable nonsense. But here one of the famous sayings was true: It was harder not to put it in… (I was lucky and was spared it; I was listening to the Spanish commentator).
Detlef had already said: “You’re going to lose this game. They can still have 10 chances. I quickly explained to him that I knew and was aware that I would lose this game, the previous 10, 100, or even 1000, and the following 10, 100 or 1000. But he was not engaged as a toad but as a spotlight and he should please resume his work. But it was too late. As Goethe so eerily and beautifully put it in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice? “Those I called, the spirits, I cannot now get rid of…”
The game changed its face. And in typical Derby fashion. It became a “battle”, a small war, not a game. How it could come to this was thanks to the theatrical Espanyol players, who initially stayed permanently on the beautifully manicured green turf. Detlef had the question ready for the rushing helpers: “Did you bring the suntan oil?”
The flow of the game completely ceased. Nix over, nix Barca. Every 3 minutes they had possession of the ball. Whenever the Espanyol players lying down were smeared, they carried forward an attack and during the attack about another three or four defenders were lying down. An abomination, an indictment, for football but also for the match officials. That they simply cannot stop such behaviour. At some point it happened: a Barca man lost his nerve and was sent off.
After that, the line on Barca was still -0.5! They were still favourites, even with one man less. That could hardly be. And to the 2000 already insured, 1000 on under and 1000 on Espanyol, we insured another 1000 on Espanyol. All with the worry that Barca would now win after all, and by exactly one goal, and that exactly three goals would be scored. That would be the anti-jackpot. Practically every bet lost, but as a consolation: quite a few only half.
Well, our luck started in the second half. Because Espanyol took the lead. 0:1 through “Little Buddha”, Ivan de la Pena. The absolute anti-jackpot moved further away. And when the same player scored the 2:0 for Expanyol after a catastrophic clearance by (my favourite) goalkeeper Victor Valdez right at his feet, I could really breathe a sigh of relief: we were heading for a loss of exactly 7500 euros. But there could have been worse results….
Well, Barca continued to be prevented from playing football. There were only provocations, no play. Messi as a lone striker couldn’t turn the game around either, although at least he tried. I was also absolutely convinced that the ref would send off another Espanyol man. For every (rude; but there were plenty of them) he drew a card. And surely one of them must have already been cautioned? All of them were rubbed with suntan oil, double and triple…
Then the miracle: Barca was allowed to attack again, the ball was in play, for a whole minute, and then even in the net. 1:2! Now our deficit was only 7000 euros! And on top of that, each additional goal could save much, much money. But for that to happen, football would have had to be played. And that didn’t happen. Not at all. Unbelievable. The worst game I’ve seen in 10 years. The referee also kept my cynical announcement for the 3 minutes of injury time. He finally wanted to leave the pitch himself. Justified would have been, and I mean this without any exaggeration, at least 15 minutes. In fact, the whole game should have been replayed. Which “game” actually? The evil game with my health and every other footballer’s heart? But the TV stations probably wouldn’t have played along…
What a conclusion: such luck again! This game was not the worst possible result either. Three goals were the worst possible, but the distribution was only the second worst. That’s something to celebrate.
Once again, I went to bed like a beaten dog. Although the final look at the final result should have given me more pleasant thoughts with 9300 euros plus?!?!