Friday, January 16, 2009

Is this the end of the Hoffenheim fairytale?

The Bundesliga is still on their winter break for a couple of more weeks. The teams get back into action on January 30th. When play resumes, Hoffenheim, the club from a small town of about 3000, will look to maintain their improbable run at the top of the table. As of yesterday, though, that looks increasingly improbable.

On Thursday, Hoffenheim took on Hamburg in a friendly. While the game did feature a mildly entertaining slap fight, the only reason anyone outside of these two clubs cares is because of an injury. Vedad Ibisevic, current Bundesliga leader in goals and cause célèbre among UFers who are bothered by the US Soccer's inattention to players who could really help the National Team, went off late in the match with an apparent torn ACL. If the ACL is indeed torn, Ibisevic will be out for at least the rest of the season, and may miss the start of next season as well.

This will be tough for the Bundesliga leaders to overcome. While Hoffenheim do lead the league in scoring, much of the credit must go to Ibisevic, who has scored 18 of the team's 42 goals. When you factor in that Carlos Eduardo will probably be sanctioned for his slapping antics from above, then it becomes easy to picture this team sliding down the table. Just in time for the new 30,000 seat stadium due to open next week. A sliding team will have a tough time filling that up.

1 comment:

jjf3 said...

I think they'll be fine, ultimately. After a climb like they've made, anything more than surviving their first season SHOULD be thrilling. The fact that they're in 1st in January raises hopes unreasonably, but if they slide all the way to 10th, what do they really lose? They're still in the Bundesliga, and as far as I can tell, they're the only serious league team in their "region" of Germany (Germans feel free to correct me). Which would imply that, following their "Cinderella" story history, they truly might be able to get 30K at games...