Monday, February 28, 2011

Midweek TV Preview: 28 February - 3 March 2011

Monday 28 February

19.45 AC Milan v Napoli, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
In the second half of the 1980s, Milan and Napoli fought out some of the most exciting title races in modern memory. The Vesuviani have brought all that back Mazzarri style this season, and Inter will be keeping a close eye on this crucial clash at San Siro. Napoli will be without the suspended livewire Ezequiel Lavezzi.

20.00 Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
One win in the last five Premier League games has seen Stoke City, while apparently sitting pretty in 11th, being pulled closer and closer to the vortex that is the bottom half of the table. They're now just five points clear of the drop zone and will be desperate to keep Albion at bay with a win at the Britannia.

Tuesday 1 March

19.30 Everton v Reading, FA Cup, ESPN/ESPN HD
With Everton squeaking past Chelsea in their fourth round replay, this belated fifth round clash pits them against Bryan "Eddie Hitler" McDermott's Reading at Goodison. Shane Long's winner saw the Royals past Stevenage in their fourth round meeting back in January. The winner here plays Manchester City or Aston Villa in the quarter final.

19.45 Chelsea v Manchester United, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2/3D
15 points separate the two early season title favourites and Chelsea currently sit outside the Champions League places without a win in two Premier League matches. A win for United would take them seven points clear of Arsenal, and Chelsea have already been beaten at Stamford Bridge in 2011. The days of Jose Mourinho must feel like a distant memory.

Wednesday 2 March

19.00 Villarreal v Hercules, La Liga, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Both of these sides drew at the weekend, Villarreal with Racing Santander (2-2) and Hercules with Getafe (0-0). Villarreal, who defeated Napoli to remain in the Europa League last Thursday, haven't won in four league games, while Hercules have won just two of their last ten.

19.30 Bayern Munich v Schalke, German Cup DFB Pokal, ESPN/ESPN HD
Bayern's title challenge is all but over after their home defeat to Dortmund, so it's cups in Louis van Gaal's crosshairs from now on. They lead at the halfway stage in Europe, and on Wednesday they host Schalke in the semi-final of the DFB Pokal. Die Knappen have won just once in all competitions in the last six.

19.45 Manchester City v Aston Villa, FA Cup, ITV1/ITV1 HD
Manchester City's somewhat flattering 5-0 victory over Notts County in their replay on 20th February set up this fifth round tie with Aston Villa, who defeated Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers to reach the last sixteen. As mentioned, the winner of this game will face Everton or Reading in the next round.

19.45 Arsenal v Leyton Orient, FA Cup, ESPN/ESPN HD
They might have beaten Barcelona, but things haven't gone so well for Arsenal in cup football since that win. Yesterday, Obafemi Martins scored the goal that beat them in the Carling Cup final. And on 20th February, Jonathan Tehoue's last-gasp equaliser set up an unwanted replay against Leyton Orient. Not that O's fans had any complaints.

19.45 Celtic v Rangers, Scottish Cup, Sky Sports 1/HD1
The Old Firm sides couldn't be separated in a feisty fifth round meeting in early February, with Fraser Forster and Steven Naismith both given their marching orders during a 2-2 draw. Celtic seem to have the upper hand this time out: as well as gaining home advantage, they also have the psychological edge of their 3-0 mauling of the Gers on 20th February.

21.00 Valencia v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 2/HD2
It was business as usual for Pep Guardiola's Barcelona on Saturday, with goals either side of half time from Lionel Messi and David Villa sweeping aside Mallorca before Pedro added a third. That win took them 20 points clear of Valencia in third, so Los Che are simply looking to hold position rather than make up ground on the duo above.

22.00 Santos v Cerro Porteno, Copa Libertadores, Premier Sports
Group 5 of the Libertadores continues with the meeting of Brazilian giants Santos and Cerro Porteno of Asuncion in Paraguay. The exciting teenager Juan Manuel Iturbe scored two second half goals as Cerro Porteno got the group underway with a 5-2 win over Colo Colo. Santos had to settle for a goalless draw in Venezuela with Deportivo Tachira.

Thursday 3 March

21.00 Real Madrid v Malaga, La Liga, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Barcelona's 3-0 win over Malaga on Saturday leaves them seven points ahead of Real Madrid and possibly ten ahead by the time Malaga visit the Bernabeu. That's because Real dropped points for the first time in four games when they drew with Deportivo la Coruna at the weekend.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekend TV Preview: 25 - 27 February 2011

Friday 25 February

19.30 Wolfsburg v Borussia Monchengladbach, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
New Wolves manager Pierre Littbarski has until the end of the season to secure the role permanently. It's not got off to a good start losing his first two games. Anything but a win here at home to the team at the bottom of the table will pile even more pressure.

19.45 Grimsby Town v Darlington, Blue Square Premier League, Premier Sports
Mid-table scrap between that teams that have drawn a total of 26 times this season. When these two met here in League Two last season the result was - yes, you guessed it - a draw.

19.45 Notts County v Charlton Athletic, League One, Sky Sports 2/HD2
While Charlton sit just outside the the play-off zone, they still have very realistic ambitions of automatic promotion. County weren't anywhere near as bad as the 5-0 scoreline in last weekend's cup exit to Man City suggested. Neither are they as bad 18th, which due to their piling fixtures is where they currently sit.

Saturday 26 February

12.00 Aberdeen v Hearts, SPL, ESPN/ESPN HD
Getting to the top half before the split is certainly not impossible for Aberdeen. They'll need to get something here though to stand a chance.

12.45 Swansea City v Leeds United, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
With Leicester closing in on the play-off places, Leeds can't afford many slip ups. United are never short of goals but will find it tough against a Swansea side that's conceded just once in their last five home games.

17.30 Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
The sternest test yet to BVB's remarkable away record this season. Should be an absolute belter - game of the weekend.

19.00 Real Mallorca v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Barcelona have beaten everyone in the league this season except one. Mallorca managed a 1-1 at the Nou camp in October making them one of only three teams to take points from them.

21.00 Deportivo La Coruna v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Real's away form is reasonable enough but hasn't stood up to any stern tests. Their last three away matches in the run-in are Valencia, Villareal and Sevilla which should put paid to any faint hopes of catching Barcelona.

Sunday 27 February

12.45 Motherwell v Celtic, SPL, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Motherwell still have work to do if they are to remain in the top half. After this defeat they'll have just five games before the Clausura starts.

13.30 West Ham v Liverpool, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Liverpool go in search of yet another 1-0 win.

16.00 Arsenal v Birmingham City, Carling Cup Final, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D/BBC1/BBC1 HD
Arsenal will be without captain Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott. This could be the lynch-pin for the rest of the season for Arsenal as it's the start of 13 day period where they could play five games across four competitions.

16.30 Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Werder have just one win from their last nine. With the teams either side of them at the top playing each other, Leverkusen will be looking to either cement second place or put pressure on runaway leaders BVB.

18.00 Racing v Villarreal, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Luckily for Villareal the chasing pack have failed to capitalise on their recent wobble and they still sit eight points clear inside in the Champions League places. Racing have gone from the relegation zone to mid-table making this game tougher to call than it would have been a few weeks ago.

19.45 Sampdoria v Inter, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Samp are plummeting down the table and have failed to score in seven of their last eight. Should be a formality for Leonardo's side

20.00 Athletic Bilbao v Valencia, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Fifth versus third. Bilbao need to shake off last week's narrow defeat to Barcelona and get back to winning ways. A tough prospect against in form Valencia.

Friday List of Little or No Consequence #177

Never satisfied
17 Football Managers And The Number Of Results You Get When You Append The Word "Bemoans" To Their Name On Google

1. +alex +ferguson +bemoans = 102,000 results
2. +jose +mourinho +bemoans = 79,500 results
3. +arsene +wenger +bemoans = 74,900 results
4. +harry +redknapp +bemoans = 60,800 results
5. +carlo +ancelotti +bemoans = 60,100 results
6. +fabio +capello +bemoans = 58,500 results
7. +avram +grant +bemoans = 50,100 results
8. +roy +hodgson +bemoans = 36,500 results
9. +kenny +dalglish +bemoans = 33,400 results
10. +steve +bruce +bemoans = 25,700 results
11. +walter +smith +bemoans = 23,700 results
12. +ian +holloway +bemoans = 18,800 results
13. +mick +mccarthy +bemoans = 17,700 results
14. +neil +lennon +bemoans = 9,830 results
15. +phil +brown +bemoans = 8,900 results
16. +neil +warnock +bemoans = 6,300 results
17. +billy +davies +bemoans = 3,350 results

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Green Soccer Journal: Neither one thing or the other

These days it’s not difficult to find a football magazine that suits your specific tastes. You might have a penchant for Champions League football, and if so, that’s covered. You may pride yourself in taking a global view of the game, and if so, that’s covered too. Even if you’re under the age of 12, you’ve got a wide range of magazines to choose from.

The thing to note, however, is that none of them veer away from the well-trodden path they’ve walked for years and years. Whether it’s World Soccer, FourFourTwo, BackPass or Shoot, they all stick to what they know best – talking about football. That, of course, is exactly what you’d expect, but one new magazine is taking a different approach by mixing football with art, fashion and lifestyle.

Can it work? Can a football magazine competently mix such diverse subjects?

The Green Soccer Journal aims to prove that it can. It also aims to set the bar high by using quality photography and distinctive design to provide an altogether glossier offering for the masses. Put simply, Green Soccer Journal (in its two issues so far) looks like a pet project hatched between the editors of Esquire and The Guardian’s football section.

Issue 1 of the new magazine recently hit the shops (the first edition was Issue 0, published in Summer 2010) and in it we’re treated to interviews with Clarence Seedorf, Steve Rider and Bryan Ferry amongst others. The interviews themselves tend to run for several pages and are moderately interesting without ever being revelatory or heavy with sensationalism. Seedorf comes across as serious and studious, Rider as someone more interesting than his TV persona suggests (and more into F1 than football) and Ferry as a fair-weather supporter who spiritually left the game behind in the 1950’s.

As well as interviews, there’s also a selection of essays to digest. Of these, Robert Szmigielski’s piece on the New York Cosmos is thorough and factually satisfying (despite a few typos). Jonathan Paxton’s retrospective on playing Subbuteo as a child was reasonable without adding any new insights to an already well-covered subject. The six-page piece on the life of Justin Fashanu by Daniel Tickner, however, was insightful and painted a wonderful picture of the highs and lows of the former Norwich and Nottingham Forest striker.

But that (and many other written items) only accounts for part of the Green Soccer Journal. The remainder of the magazine is a mixture of photo-based features and items showcasing the latest fashions for football fans on an annual income that’s probably double what you or I earn. Male models wearing the latest Tim Shaw overcoats and Fred Perry polo shirts aren’t what you’d normally find in your average football magazine, but then Green Soccer Journal isn’t trying to be.

Of the more ‘arty’ features, there’s a page devoted entirely and exclusively to the Nottingham Forest club badge and two pages showing a close-up detail of the Hannover 96 home and away shirts. Much as I’m a self-appointed connoisseur of club badge and football kit design, I found the need to include them purely for artistic reasons alone rather baffling.

To my mind it would have made more sense to talk about the designer of the classic Forest badge or what the public thought of it when it was launched in the mid-70’s, but there was none of that. Page 75 of the Journal contained only the badge and a title, presumably imploring us to view the badge as a work of art. That it may be in its own small way, but one can only stare at it for so long before turning the page to look for something more substantial and stimulating. As for the Hanover shirt close-ups, ‘work of art’ really doesn’t apply.

A selection of photos taken in and around Manchester City featuring various people associated with the club (the tea lady, groundsman, Wayne Bridge, etc) did a good job of showing the work of an expert photographer but ultimately felt a bit limp as an interesting feature in its own right. I’m sorry to conclude that this, too, was how I felt about the magazine in general.

The Green Soccer Journal is an admirable attempt to provide something new for the discerning football follower and for that reason alone it deserves to do well and be popular. Whether it will or not could come down to the fact that it is, by its very nature, half reading matter and half eye candy. On the basis of what I saw in Issue 1, it doesn’t appear to excel in either respect.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 12 - Uli Hesse talks Borussia Dortmund

In this week's edition of the Bundesliga Show, Jon and Terry are joined by freelance journalist, Soccernet columnist and author of Tor: The Story Of German Football, Uli Hesse.

Uli will be talking about the trials and tribulations of his beloved Borussia Dortmund from Champions League glory in 1997 to their almost crippling financial problems and subsequent resurgence under Jurgen Klopp.

Plus there's the usual looking back and forward to another exciting round of fixtures in the Bundesliga.

Click here to listen to the podcast or right click on the link to download it.

Alternatively, subscribe to the podcast feed here or the iTunes feed here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Midweek TV Preview 21 - 24 February 2011

Monday 21 February

19.45 Crusaders v Glentoran, Northern Irish Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Only goal difference separates these two teams. The home side is the form team with a run of four straight wins. However, Glentoran have won their last two matches away from home.

20.00 West Ham v Burnley, FA Cup 5th Round, ESPN/ESPN HD
Burnley seem to be back on track with new manager Eddie Howe. I saw them earlier in the season when Brian Laws was still the coach and they tossed a weak Palace team around like a rag doll. The Hammers are fighting for their lives in the League and may not have the stomach for this battle of the Claret and Blues. However, the Cup has been kind to Avram Grant and the East London club have reserved their best displays for the knock out competitions so the Happy Hammers may well progress, despite themselves.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

17.00 CSKA Moscow v PAOK, UEFA Europa League Round of 32, ESPN/ESPN HD
It's forecasted to be -19 (девятнадцать) degrees in Moscow on Tuesday which should guarantee a chilly reception for the Thessaloníki club who are 1-0 down from the second leg and enter the game on the back of three straight defeats.

19.45 Copenhagen v Chelsea, Champions League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
This is real test of mettle for both Chelsea and FCK. The Danes were unbeaten at home in the Group stage and are in impressive form, in their domestic league but face a very different proposition in the rarefied environs of the Champions League knockout stage. Chelsea meanwhile, have been anything but impressive. Player for player, the Blues should have the pedigree to win the tie but they may have to settle for a draw in Kobenhavn if not a narrow defeat.

19.45 Lyon v Real Madrid, Champions League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
The Madrid club came unstuck against the same opposition last season, as you well know. It's possible that the French have a psychological hoodoo over Real. Having said that, this season they have a particularly special coach and Lyon have not been that convincing in European or domestic competition, their last two wins notwithstanding.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

17.00 FC Porto v Sevilla, UEFA Europa League Round of 32, ESPN/ESPN HD
Porto with two away goals just have to hold their nerve in order to progress and play the winners of the CSKA/POAK tie.

19.45 Marseille v Man Utd, Champions League, ITV1/ITV1 HD
I don't think it's too controversial a statement to suggest that United are succeeding because of their competitors shortcomings rather than their own brilliance. Their current away form is, by their very high standards, not great. This gives Marseille an opportunity in the first leg to press the home advantage.

19.45 Inter Milan v Bayern Munich, Champions League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben should be fit for this one and Bayern coach Louis van Gaal would be wise to utilise them to the full. The Bavarians defence is vulnerable to top class attackers of which Inter have a few.

00.50 (Thursday morning) Estudiantes v Deportes Tolima, Copa Libertadores, Premier Sports
Estudiantes were walloped 5-0 in the Copa Libertadores by the Brazilian side, Cruzeiro. As I type this they've just taken the lead against Quilmes in the Clausura. Tolima were not good away from their native Columbia last year in the Cop Sudamericana. The odds on a home win should be pretty narrow. One for the accumulator, perhaps.

Thursday 24th February 2011

18.00 Liverpool v Sparta Prague, UEFA Europa League Round of 32, Five/Five HD
King Kenny's player owe their fans and coach a performance after that awful display in Prague last week. They will almost certainly be favorites but an early away goal should liven things up.

18.00 Sporting Lisbon v Rangers, UEFA Europa League Round of 32, ESPN/ESPN HD
Sporting haven't won a football match in February but do have the advantage of the away goal in a 1-1 draw from the first leg. Still and all, the Glasgow club have given themselves a decent chance.

20.05 Man City v Aris, UEFA Europa League Round of 32, ESPN/ESPN HD
I'm no Greek football expert but I'd be willing to bet that City have a clear edge in terms of quality. Aris will be ruing their chances and should be coming to Manchester with at least a goal in their pockets. Mind you, City fans could argue the same, I suppose.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new...

For any of you that have been lingering on this website hoping for new Jeu Du Jour podcasts, this has probably been a barren couple of months for you. I can only apologise for this, but never fear - the Jeu Du Jour podcast was merely spending time in a cocoon before re-emerging as the beautiful new butterfly that is French Football Weekly.

French Football Weekly is the bigger, brighter podcast in which Andrew Gibney joins me every seven days to update you on all the latest happenings across the Channel.

Like me, Andrew's no stranger to podcasting on French football - he presented Le Beau Jour via his website GibFootballShow for quite a while - so we thought it would make perfect sense to combine our 'talents' to produce a French football podcast to really reckon with.

We've already recorded two shows - both of which are available via iTunes - and we'll be recording Show 3 tomorrow, so if you liked Jeu Du Jour, why not check out French Football Weekly?

For more information about the podcast, plus news updates, videos and more, visit the French Football Weekly blogsite.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday List of Little or No Consequence #176

Faces in the frame
48 Players Who Appear In The Opening Title Sequence For The BBC's Match Of The Day *

1. Bobby Moore
2. David Beckham
3. Tony Cottee
4. Geoff Hurst
5. Paolo Di Canio
6. Charlie George
7. John Terry
8. Ricardo Carvalho
9. Peter Osgood
10. Cesc Fabregas
11. Steven Gerrard
12. Neville Southall
13. Gary Lineker
14. Ian Rush
15. Alan Hansen
16. Luis Suarez
17. Trevor Francis
18. Kevin Davies
19. Paul McGrath
20. Colin Bell
21. Richard Dunne
22. Gabriel Agbonlahor
23. Carlos Tevez
24. Tony Adams
25. Kevin Keegan
26. Peter Beardsley
27. Jurgen Klinsmann
28. Rio Ferdinand
29. David Ginola
30. Glenn Hoddle
31. Wayne Rooney
32. Rory Delap
33. Stanley Matthews
34. Tom Finney
35. Dennis Bergkamp
36. Joe Hart
37. Thierry Henry
38. John Richards
39. Bobby Zamora
40. Alan Shearer
41. George Best
42. Eric Cantona
43. Jay-Jay Okocha
44. Asamoah Gyan
45. Cyrille Regis
46. Peter Odemwingie
47. Didier Drogba
48. Gianfranco Zola

* as at 18 February 2011.

While researching this list, we noticed that Fernando Torres has recently been replaced in the MOTD titles by Luis Suarez while Darren Bent has been replaced by Kevin Davies. If anyone has any good conspiracy theories as to why this is, do leave us a comment below...

Weekend TV Preview: 18 - 20 February 2011

Friday 18 February

19.45 Port Vale v Bradford City, League Two, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Last Saturday's home win over Wycombe Wanderers ended a six-game winless run for Peter Taylor's Bradford that has left The Bantams looking over their shoulders. Jim Gannon's men are far closer to the right end of the table, but have won only twice in nine games in the league since the turn of the year.

19.45 Cambridge United v Kidderminster Harriers, Blue Square Bet Premier, Premier Sports
Times are tough at Kidderminster, but three consecutive league wins might have slightly lifted the mood. Tonight they travel to Cambridge United, who haven't won a league match at home since November.

Saturday 19 February

12.30 Chelsea v Everton, FA Cup, ESPN/ESPN HD
The first attempt at this Fourth Round tie ended one apiece at Goodison Park thanks to goals from Louis Saha and Salomon Kalou, so Everton head to Stamford Bridge for the replay knowing that Carlo Ancelotti's side haven't been beaten in the FA Cup since they were beaten by Barnsley in March 2008.

17.15 Manchester United v Crawley Town, FA Cup, ITV1/ITV1 HD
It's Glaswegian v Glaswegian in the dugout at Old Trafford as Crawley's supposed fairytale Fifth Round match against Manchester United is finally upon us. Crawley's controversial boss Steve Evans adorned the front of a local paper a couple of weeks ago alongside the headline "We're going to Old Trafford to win." Course you are.

17.30 Mainz v Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
After collapsing against Koln, Bayern dished out the punishment to Hoffenheim thanks to goals from Mario Gomez and Thomas Mueller and a brace by Arjen Robben. If Mainz can shrug off their wobbly form and secure an unlikely win, they'll leapfrog their opponents on Saturday.

19.00 Real Madrid v Levante, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Despite two teams running away with it, this remains a fascinating Spanish season because of the sheer quality of Real and Barcelona. The former face Levante on Saturday with a five-point gap above them to the champions. Good luck with that.

19.45 Internazionale v Cagliari, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Giampaolo Pazzini's winner against Fiorentina on Wednesday put Inter into third, five points behind city rivals Milan. Cagliari, meanwhile, remain resolutely mid-table, and lost 1-0 in the reverse fixture thanks to a first half strike by Samuel Eto'o.

21.00 Real Zaragoza v Atletico Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Zaragoza sit just one point and one place above La Liga's relegation zone, and won't be looking forward to the visit of Atleti. Perhaps they can spring a surprise, though - the boys in red and white have lost their last five and won only once in 2011.

Sunday 20 February

11.30 Lecce v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Brescia's win over Bari recently pulled Lecce back towards them and the gap either side of the relegation threshold is now down to just two points. Luigi Di Canio's Giallorossi face a stern test in the lunchtime kick-off on Sunday with the visit of sixth-placed Juve.

12.30 Celtic v Rangers, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
This is the third SPL Old Firm derby of the season and with the title on the line it could be the most tense yet. The spoils are even so far, with Rangers winning on enemy territory in October and Celtic returning the favour thanks to a brace from Georgos Samaras in January.

14.00 Manchester City v Notts County, FA Cup, ITV1/ITV1 HD
Another Fourth Round replay this weekend and this time it's Manchester City versus Notts County after a 1-1 draw back in January. Edin Dzeko's equaliser cancelled out Neal Bishop's opener at Meadow Lane, so they go again with the lure of a Fifth Round clash with Aston Villa no doubt egging them on.

14.45 St Mirren v Hibernian, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
This basement battle sees St Mirren hunting for their first league win since Boxing Day, a run that stretches back for eight SPL matches. They face a disappointing Hibs side, but one that ended a 10-game run without a win on 2nd February - against St Mirren. They followed up with another home win, but haven't won on the road since stunning Ibrox in November.

16.30 Leyton Orient v Arsenal, FA Cup, ESPN/ESPN HD
Drawing Arsenal in the Fifth Round of the Cup is a welcome boost at a difficult time for Orient, on top of whom West Ham United will move in 2014. They had to work for it: two games against Dagenham, two against Droylsden (including an extra time six-goal glut in the replay) and wins over Norwich City and Swansea City makes Orient's FA Cup run already remarkable.

18.00 Sevilla v Hercules, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
We all know only
one team
two teams can beat Barcelona, and their first conquerors this season have had some travails of their own of late. Hercules defeated Zaragoza with a stunning turnaround at the death on Sunday and in doing so ended their run of four consecutive defeats. David Trezeguet got the winner - standard.

19.45 Napoli v Catania, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Napoli are brilliant: brilliant to watch, brilliantly unpredictable... just brilliant. But Vesuviani bias aside, the title-chasers will need to be on their game to secure three points after their European tie against Villarreal in midweek.

20.00 Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
After defeat to Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League tie, Barcelona face the not inconsiderable task of inflicting their redirected revenge on Athletic Bilbao. The Basque side had been in great nick before losing to Mallorca last weekend and gave Barca a real test in the Copa del Rey either side of Christmas.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bundesliga Show Episode 11 -James Richardson and Derek Rae

Terry and Jon are delighted to be joined by ESPN commentator Derek Rae and James Richardson of the Guardian Football Weekly podcast to the Bundesliga Show.

Jon talks to James about Bayern Munich's trip to the San Siro for their clash with European Champions, Internazionale. Terry has a chat with Derek about the trials of Borussia Monchengladbach and Werder Bremen.

We also look back on some key games in the Bundesliga, last weekend and look forward to the big northern derby between Hamburg and Bremen.

Click here to listen to the podcast or right click on the link to download it.

Alternatively, subscribe to the podcast feed here or the iTunes feed here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Midweek TV Preview: 14 - 17 February

Monday 14 February

20.00 Fulham v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
This Valentine's West London derby is probably being touted by Sky as "Love thy neighbour". Though given their recent troubles with out-moded 1970s attitudes, that's probably a title best steered clear of.

Tuesday 15 February

17.00 Aris Salonika v Manchester City, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, ITV4/ITV4HD
Aris boast a 40 year unbeaten home record in European competition - surprising considering they've lost three in their last five games domestically. City may feel unlucky they didn't come away with a point from Old Trafford at the weekend but were undone by a couple of fantastic goals - and just for the sake of being controversial - I thought Nani's was better than Rooney's.

19.45 AC Milan v Tottenham Hotspur, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Harry will be hoping for a repeat of their spirited second half comeback from their previous trip to the San Siro rather than a repeat of their first half dismembering. Their hat-trick scorer that night, Gareth Bale, is on a lengthy list of injuries that includes Modric and van der Vaart (though Nico Kranjcar is taking full advantage of rare starting opportunites). Milan have injury troubles of their own and new boys Cassano and Van Bommel are ineligible.

19.45 Valencia v Schalke, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Schalke have kept two clean sheets in a row - certainly worth shouting about considering how shambolic their defense has looked sometimes. Valencia have had a very steady campaign both in Europe and domestically, seemingly easily coping following the departures of David Silva and David Villa. The last time Raul scored in Valencia, Real Madrid won 5-1, can't see the same happening this time.

Wednesday 16 February

17.30 Fiorentina v Inter, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Slightly disappointing choice from ESPN considering they could have shown the Derby della Lanterna instead, but bonus midweek Serie A is nothing to complain about.

19.45 Arsenal v Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, ITV1/ITV1 HD
Last season's 2-2 at the Emirates between these two was one of the most entertaining in the whole of the competition. It will be interesting to see if Wenger starts with Walcott on the left, to attack any frailty Pique may have with pace - with Puyol out, he was left horribly exposed for Gijon's goal in their draw at the weekend. If Arsenal can go to the Camp Nou in touch and have Van Persie, Fabregas and Song playing - all sorely missed in the return leg last season - they have every chance of getting through.

19.45 Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Shaktar are in the middle of their huge winter break - their last competitive fixture was in early December: their Champions League win over Braga which saw them finish top of their group above Arsenal. Roma's form seems to have deserted them recently seeing them drop out of the Champions League spots in Serie A to mid-table.

00.00 Cruzeiro v Estudiantes, Copa Libertadores Group 7, Premier Sports
The start of the group stage and this one's a cracker, with the Argentinian Apertura Champions playing the Brazialian Serie A runners up. Juan Sebastian Veron is still a regular for Estudiantes just short of his 36th birthday.

Thursday 17 February

18.00 Benfica v Stuttgart, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, ITV4/ITV4 HD
On paper this looks pretty straight-forward; Benfica go into this having won their last 13 in all competitions while Stuttgart sit in the relegation zone in the Bundesliga. Benfica's last defeat though was in the Champions League at home to Schalke who themselves were near the foot of the table at the time.

18.00 Napoli v Villarreal, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, ESPN/ESPN HD
Defeats to Levante and Depor have removed Villareal's faint chances of catching Real Madrid. Napoli's season just continues to gather momentum with Edison Cavani on an unprecedented scoring streak. He's already scored 27 goals in 35 appearances this season.

20.05 Sparta Prague v Liverpool, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, FIVE/FIVE HD
No excuses for Liverpool not to get through here across two legs. Under Roy Hodgson, they drew all of their away group stage fixtures to get here and a similar result will suit them fine ahead of the return leg at Anfield next week.

20.05 Rangers v Sporting Lisbon, UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg, ESPN/ESPN HD
With cup ties and postponements Rangers already have four domestic games waiting to be rearranged - a fixture pile-up that could seriously affect their title run. With an Old Firm derby sandwiched in between the two legs of this tie memories of 2008 can't be too far away from most fans.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bundesliga Week 22 - Novice v Expert

Terry the so called expert and Phil the alleged novice try to win back the money they lost last week with yet another ill conceived accumulator.

Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayer Leverkusen


The home side are without a goal in 2011 and while Leverkusen came a cropper at Nurnberg, last week, the Werkself should have enough to get their Champions League challenge back on track.
Away Evs

Initially I was going to go for a Home Win, but then something said DRAW. So I did (with a big X in the Draw column).
12-5 Draw

Wolfsburg v Hamburger SV

Pierre Littbarski's first chance to stake a claim for the Wolfsburg gig full time versus the team coached by the guy before the recently sacked Steve McClaren. Possible new coach bounce on the cards but I'm lumping for a nervous point between two unhappy sides.
Draw 23-10

I'm banking on a post McClaren bounce, based on nothing other than it often happens once a coach leaves. Home Win all the way.
Home 12-5

Bayern München v Hoffenheim


These games tend to be ding dongs. Hoffenhiem can get amongst the goals but don't have a great record at the Allianz (who does). Always best to put your money on the Bavarians at home, even with their shonky defense.
Home 4-11

Even though the Bavarians let me down last week, I'm not bitter, it's unconditional, my love for the area and consequently the club. Plus, I met a very nice lady in Munich once, she gave me bratwurst. Home win!
Home 4-11

St. Pauli v Borussia M'gladbach


St Pauli are now three games unbeaten which amounts to a hot streak by their relatively lowly standards. Mind you a quick look at 'Gladbach's recent form shows that the away side are due a win. I don't think so though and am betting on Holger Stanislawski's player edging further away rom the drop zone.
Home Evs

My brother-in-law has this really cute way of pronouncing St Pauuuuuuli, so I'm going for a Home Win!. It was also against 'Gladbach that Liverpool.......
Home Evs

Schalke 04 v Freiburg


Die Knappen should take encouragement from their hard fought 0-0 draw against the hated BVB. However, they're finding wins tough to come by. Freiburg, on the other have have drawn three of their last four games.
Draw 13-5
Schalke aren't so very good this season, so says Terry. Although, I'll nod to his superior knowledge, I'm going for a home win all the way.
Home 8-13

Stuttgart v Nürnberg

Stuttgart are a good attacking side but I'm banking on them to continue to struggle to find the net at home. In theory this should play into Nurnberg's hands. At least in theory.
Draw 5-2

I love Nurnberger sausages. So, on that basis, I'm plumping for an away win.
Away 7-2

Kaiserslautern v Borussia Dortmund


BVB should bounce back from difficult and I think they're happier away from the hothouse that is the Westfalen. 'Lautern are full of goals at either end of the pitch.
Away 8-13

My eyes tell me Dortmund are top of the league. The odds suggest an Away Win. This makes my hand tick the AWAY WIN box.
Away 8-13

Phil says: So, can I do any better than last week's 4 out of 6? If all seven predictions are correct, with my £1 accumulator, I'll get back £258.60.

Terry says: You’d think that, being the expert, my picks would be safer but know. My £1 stake will (not) be returning me £366.37.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Bundesliga Show Episode 10 -The Revierderby and Steve McClaren's sacking

Welcome to another edition of the Bundesliga Show. This week, Jon and Terry look back on the weekend's action and talk to BBC Radio Kent's Matthew Gerrard who reports back from the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.

We also ruminate on the dismissal of Wolfsburg coach Steve McClaren and look ahead to an exciting weekend of Bundesliga fixtures.

Click here to listen to the podcast or right click on the link to download it.

Alternatively, subscribe to the podcast feed here or the iTunes feed here.

Friday List of Little or No Consequence #175

Top of the Swaps
8 Well-Known Managers Depicted On Football Stickers During Their Playing Careers

1. Louis Van Gaal (Sparta Rotterdam, 1982)

2. Guus Hiddink (NEC Nijmegen, 1978)

3. Dick Advocaat (Den Haag, 1970)

4. Fabio Capello (Juventus, 1974)

5. Vicente Del Bosque (Real Madrid, 1981/82)

6. Joaquim Low (Eintracht Frankfurt, 1981/82)

7. Marcello Lippi (Sampdoria, 1975)

8. Raymond Domenech (Olympique Lyon, 1974)

Weekend TV Preview: 11 - 13 February 2011

Friday 11 February

22.00 Estudiantes v Newell's Old Boys, Argentinian Primera Division, Premier Sports
The Clausura gets underway with the Apatura Champions playing host to the club with the best name in football. If you don't have Premier Sports then the Primera Division matches are streamed live and legal on the Bet 365 website.

Saturday 12 February

12.45 Manchester Utd v Manchester City, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2/3D
The big one. The reverse fixture was a bag of nails, last year. Hopefully the neutral will be in for more of a spectacle, this time. Given Roberto Mancini's penchant for keeping things tight at tough grounds, we'd better hope for an early United goal.

17.20 Derby County v Leicester City, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
A tasty derby, scheduled to tempt you away from the Premier League on ESPN. Form favours the away side as Sven's men are on a hot streak, while Clough's Derby haven't been the same since their trip to Steve Evans' place.

17.30 Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Meanwhile, on the other side, the Stratford Wannabes travel to an out of sorts Sunderland with a grumpy manager in Steve Bruce. The Champions League is just around the corner for Spurs and that fourth spot is tantalisingly close so it's busy busy busy for Harry.

19.00 Sporting v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Last week's defeat to the Bilbao club upset Sporting's winning run. They're pretty tasty at home although form is of little consequence when the mighty Barca come to town.

19.15 Mansfield Town v Newport County, Blue Square Premier League, Premier Sports
Just the two points separate these two and both only have an outside chance of the Play Offs. Not much to entice the neutral, to be frank.

19.45 AS Roma v Napoli, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The home side are not having a vintage season but are unbeaten at home. Napoli are dreaming of the Scudetto, what with leaders Milan faltering slightly.

21.00 Racing v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Both teams have drawn their last two games and could use all three points given their positions in the table. Sixteenth and seventh, respectively.

21.45 Colombia U20 v Argentina U20, U20 South American Football, British Eurosport 2
"Yeah hi, I have a question for Tim about the Colombian Under 21 left back. I've heard Chelsea are in for him."

Sunday 13 February

13.15 QPR v Nottingham Forest, Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
First meets second. Forest have the slightly better form but Rangers should be favorites based on the fact that they're at home. QPR have a seven point gap over Billy Davies' team so an away win is only likely to cause psychological damage. Still, one of the games of the weekend, in my book.

14.00 Dundee United v Celtic, SPL, ESPN/ESPN HD
Only one defeat in all competitions since October for United although most of the games have been draws. So Neil Lennon's players not only have to face a team that's hard to beat but the referee, to boot. Because, as we know, all the referees in Scotland hate Celtic and are conspiring against them.

16.00 Bolton Wanderers v Everton, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Everton face a second consecutive Lancashire derby. If they defend the way they did against Blackpool then the Trotters are going to hammer them.

18.00 Deportivo v Villarreal, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
One point in seven games for Depor. Should be straightforward win for Villarreal

19.45 Juventus v Inter Milan, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Hurrah for the Derbi D'Italia. Juve are perhaps a spent force these days but this is still a fixture that demands attention. Inter are rejuvenated under Leo but a point each is not out of the question, he said, stating the obvious.

20.00 Espanyol v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
The last time Real went to Barcelona they got humped, 5-0. Fortunately, for the Madrid club, they are playing the other Barcelona club. Espanyol are sixth in LagerLiga but have lost their last two games.

22.10 Boca Juniors v Godoy Cruz, Argentinian Primera Division, Premier Sports
Finish the weekend as you began it, scrabbling around for a feed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Midweek TV Preview: 7-9 February 2010

Monday 7 February

19:45 Exeter v Brentford, Johnstone's Paint Trophy Southern Area Final (2nd leg), Sky Sports 1/HD1
With both teams locked at 1-1 from the first leg, it's The Bees who enter the second leg in better spirits. They ended their recent 7-game run without a win by beating Plymouth at the weekend, a considerable achievement that won't have been lost on caretaker boss Nicky Forster. Exeter, meanwhile, suffered a 4-1 thumping against Huddersfield Town. Amid gusty conditions, Grecians boss Paul Tisdale bemoaned his team's inability to play well with the wind. The rest of this review pretty much writes itself, really...

Tuesday 8 February

17:00 Cyprus v Sweden, Cyprus Cup, British Eurosport 2
Yes, that's right - the Cyprus Cup. It's a four-team friendly tournament involving the hosts along with Romania, Sweden and Ukraine. All drawn matches go straight to a penalty shoot-out and teams can make up to seven substitutions per game. That last point is quite important as FIFA 'A' matches only allow six, so technically this game and any ohers that Eurosport 2 chooses to show from this competition are effectively worthless.

19:45 Republic of Ireland v Wales, Carling Nations Cup, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D and S4C
It's back! The Home International Championship! (* Caution: Does not include England.) Much has been made of this event, not least by Sky, and many a nostalgist will welcome a return to an inter-Britain contest. Sadly the speight of last-minute "injuries" and player withdrawals gives a truer indication as to how seriously the top clubs of the home nations will treat this glorified trip down memory lane.

Wednesday 9 February

19:15 Denmark v England, International Friendly, ITV1/ITV1 HD
A largely meaningless game, but it may at least provide a rare chance to see West Ham's Scott Parker in an England shirt, along with Michael Dawson of Spurs and Gary Cahill. Not the same shirt, obviously...

19:45 France v Brazil or Germany v Italy, International Friendly, ESPN/ESPN HD
Well this is a bit of a turn-up. ESPN are holding a viewer's vote to decide which match they show on Wednesday evening which, you have to say, makes for an interesting take on the whole 'interactive TV' thing. If you want to influence the vote, click here and visit the ESPN website - and you may wish to know that at the time of writing this TV Preview, the France/Brazil match leads with 53%. Edge of the seat stuff, we think you'll agree...

19:45 Northern Ireland v Scotland, Carling Nations Cup, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
So this competition will be played every two years in a single location, this one taking place in Dublin. After this week's games, the competition concludes in May once all the domestic fixtures are over and done with. Seems a bit silly if you ask us, but then again we are English.

00:00 (Thursday morning) Fluminense v Argentinos Juniors, Copa Libertadores, Premier Sports
Group 3 of this year's tournament is a strong one. Aside from the Brazilians and Argentineans featured here, there's also Nacional of Uruguay and América of Mexico. This opening fixture could likely provide us with the eventual group winner, but then again we could be wrong. Tim Vickery we ain't.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday List of Little or No Consequence #174

Going for bronze
The Only 5 Third/Fourth Place Play-Offs Ever To Have Taken Place In The FA Cup

1. Man United 2-0 Watford (Highbury, 10 April 1970)
2. Stoke City 3-2 Everton (Selhurst Park, 7 May 1971)
3. Birmingham 0-0 Stoke City (4-3 on pens) (St Andrews, 5 August 1972)
4. Wolves 3-1 Arsenal (Highbury, 18 August 1973)
5. Burnley 1-0 Leicester City (Filbert Street, 9 May 1974)

Weekend TV Preview: 4-6 February 2011

Friday 4 February

19:30 Borussia Dortmund v Schalke, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Schalke have shuffled the pack a fair bit during the transfer window, but not enough (we suspect) to take any more than a point at best from the team leading the Bundesliga by eleven points.

19:45 Reading v QPR, Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
A match to decide who are the best hoop-wearers in the Championship. Strangely enough, you might just go for Reading given that they're eighth in the Form Table, four places ahead of QPR. QPR's away form in the league isn't too chipper: their last win away from home was at Coventry on December 28th.

Saturday 5 February

12:45 Hamilton v Dundee Utd, Scottish Cup 5th Round, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Two wins out of 22 all season. Accies fans won't need us to remind them of that statistic, but sadly we already have.

12:45 Stoke City v Sunderland, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2/3D
A match to decide the best red stripe-wearers in the... oh never mind. Stoke hope to see John Carew sticking a few in the net following his recent loan move from Villa while Sunderland hope to give Sulley Muntari his debut at the Britannia Stadium.

15:45 Newtown v The New Saints, Welsh Premier League, S4C
Second-from-bottom plays Second-from-top, and contender for 'Most One-Sided Fixture in Football History' if recent form's anything to go by. We'll just say one thing - Newtown's last win in any competition was on August 31 2010. Go figure.

17:20 Peterborough United v Southampton, League One, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Our good friends at the Mostly Football podcast were pleased to see our ringing endorsement of Southampton in a recent TV Prevew, but it's not hard to see why we said what we did as The Saints are top of the Form Table having picked up 13 points out of the last 18. They also wear arguably the best home kit in British football at present. We dare you to suggest otherwise.

17:30 Wolves v Man Utd, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
So let's get this straight: Man United have been considerably unconvincing at times yet they're still unbeaten in the league and didn't bother buying anyone in the transfer window? Well why would you want to when you've got Rooney, Berbatov and Owen banging them in for a change?

19:00 Villarreal v Levante, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Levante finally ended their three-game losing streak last weekend by beating Getafe but they'll really need to up the ante if they're to beat third-placed Villareal. The Yellow Submarine have won seven of their last nine in the league.

19:45 Cagliari v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Old Lady's on a bit of a slide at the moment and are down to 8th in the table. Cagliari, on the other hand, have put together an unbeaten run of four games to reach 9th. Juventus could do with a morale-boosting win here - their next match is at home to Inter next week.

21:00 Barcelona v Atletico Madrid La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Atleti have snapped up midfielder Juanfran from Osasuna in the hope he can turn their fortunes around. He has every chance... but not until next weekend at the earliest.

Sunday 6 February

11:30 Bologna v Catania, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
An early kick-off involving two teams hoping to smash their recent poor run of form, and not in the Richard Keys sense either.

12:15 Rangers v Celtic, Scottish Cup 5th Round, Sky Sports 1/HD1
An old man hands over 50 quid to the turnstyle operator at Celtic Park. "Two please" says the old man. "Will that be Defenders or Strikers?" says the turnstyle operator. No, we're not anti-Celtic - we're just running out of useful things to say about these Rangers v Celtic matches. Be assured there'll be an anti-Rangers joke next time...

13:00 Swansea City v Cardiff City, Championship, BBC1/BBC1 HD
The equivalent fixture over the last three seasons has garnered on average four goals each time. Neither team will worry about the goals here, though - just the three points they need to keep within useful range of leaders QPR.

13:30 West Ham v Birmingham City, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Episode IV: A New Hope (of Avoiding Relegation). Yes, it's the fourth thrilling encounter this season between these two teams in the bottom four and so far the records show one win for The Hammers, one for Brum and one draw. Neither team is capable of playing well in both halves of a match - let's just hope they don't pick the same one here otherwise everyone will waste 45 valuable minutes of their lives.

14:00 Genoa v AC Milan, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Isn't it funny how no-one seems to use the 'AC' bit anymore? Anyway, Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri is having to do a lot of re-jigging amongst his squad what with injury worries, new signings to fit in and an abundance/shortage of people for certain positions. All things taken into consideration though, this should be a comfortable outing for Milan as they aim to maintain their five point lead at the top of the table.

15:00 Aberdeen v Dunfermline, Scottish Cup 5th Round, BBC1 Scotland
Aberdeen brushed aside East Fife 6-0 in the last round while Dunfermline needed a replay to get past Montrose. If they can force a replay against The Dons, they'll have made a decent fist of it, wethinks.

16:00 Chelsea v Liverpool, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
Man City must be fair old quaking in their boots at the free-spending antics of these two clubs. Unfortunately they're looking like a couple of wasted old farts at a casino throwing their last pile of chips on a final spin of the roulette. No matter - football is sure to be the winner after this game, be in no doubt.

16:30 Freiburg v Eintracht Frankfurt, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Eintracht have lost four of their last five in the league, yet they still remain only three points behind 6th-placed Freiburg who are doing tremendously well. A home win looks entirely likely.

18:00 Real Madrid v Real Sociedad (1st 30 mins via Red button), La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
For heaven's sake, Sky: How are pub landlords supposed to show Spanish football on their imported satellite TV feeds when you keep fecking around with this 'red button' nonsense?

19:45 Inter Milan v AS Roma, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Two teams in fabulous form right now and difficult to separate, so we won't even try. Draw?

20:00 Valencia v Hercules, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Just one win in six for Hercules, but they'll have seen Valencia's draw against lowly Racing Santander last week and will no doubt take some succour from that.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bundesliga Week 21: Novice v Expert

Terry is a Bundesliga blogger and podder with an in-depth knowledge of the Bundesliga.

Phil is a 35 years a Liverpool supporter but largely ignorant in matters of the Bundesliga, apart from the fact that he once watched Dortmund play in the company of Jurgen Klopp.

Together they are predicting the outcome of the six Saturday matches in Week 21's Bundesliga fixtures.

The desired outcome? To prove that know matter how much you think you know about the Bundesliga, you've as much chance of winning any money as a newbie.

Koln v Bayern Munich

Terry (4-9 Away win)
Bayern's away form was patchy leading up to Winter Break. Since the restart, the only points thay have dropped have been at Wolfsburg. However an away win at Bremen is not absolute confirmation that they are over the hump, on the road and it’s possible that Bayern are still vulnerable to a good side. Having said that, Koln are not a very good side, unless you count their performance v Bremen and most don't.

Phil (4-9 Away Win)
Having spent many an enjoyable summer holiday in Bavaria as a teenager, I have a great affinity for the area and oh what a beautiful city Munich is, especially the Englischer Garten. This bet's for for you my Murnau friends!

Mainz v Werder Bremen

Terry (11-8 Home win)
Forget the head to head. These are two teams who’s World has been turned upside down this season. Saying that, both teams have won only once since the restart. Mainz, could argue that they have played well and were unlucky, while Bremen have deserved everything they have received. Neither team is well disposed to the draw so the likelihood is for a positive result for one team.

Phil (9-5 Away Win)
On paper, it's Mainz all the way but my gut feeling tells me that it will be a pleasant journey home for the Bremen boys on Saturday evening.

Nurnberg v Leverkusen

Terry (Evs Away win)
Der Club are pretty tidy at home and boosted by a surprise win against Hamburg last weekend. Leverkusen have a excellent away record, however and their current form is brilliant.

Phil (5-2 Home win)
At evens Leverkusen would be the wise man's choice. However, my wife's best friend comes from Nurnburg. It just feels wrong to bet against her team and 5-2 for a home win makes sense (to me)

Hannover 96 v Wolfsburg

Terry (23-10 Draw)
Another Head to Head buster with a twist. High flying Hannover have lost their last two games. Die Wolfe, while having lost to Leverkusen, are showing signs of life. Nevertheless, I’m not sure either team have it in them to produce a result.

Phil (7-5 Home Win)
My brother-in-law and his frau are season ticket holders at Hannover and as my wife is oft to say 'they were really shit when I lived there'. They're better now, apparently. This can only be a home win.
Hoffenheim v Kaiserslautern

Terry (3-4 Home win)
Quick look at the form guide tells you all you need to know. Hoff are rejuvenated with their new signings and 'Lautern are going through a mid season slouch. However, Srjdan Lakic is back and 'Lautern are a better team with the baby faced assassin in their line-up. Nevertheless, the Red Devils don't travel well so an away result seems unlikely, I think.

Phil (3-4 Home Win)
This is my sure fire banker based entirely on the short odds for Hoffenheim. By the way Terry, based on the great man's German popularity is there a Hoff tie in with the home team? Perhaps this is something for next season.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Stuttgart

Terry (23-10 Draw)
'Gladbach for fortunate last time out against Frankfurt and there is not much to suggest that they are on the way back. However, results beget confidence and Stuttgart are awful. Still and all, this looks like a horrible game destined to end unsatisfactorily for both teams.
In fact, if you’re looking for a side bet, consider 0-0

Phil (7-5 Away Win)
Any fool can see that Gladbach are bottom of the league. This has an away win written all over it and what a great moment to reminisce again about the 3-1 win against BM in 1977 that started our run of five European cups...

The Bundesliga Show Episode 9 - Andrew Gibney and Stuart Dykes

Join Jon and Terry for another edition of the Bundesliga Show. This week the chaps are joined by European football expert Andrew Gibney of the Gib Football Show and Stuart Dykes (@Schalke_UK on Twitter) of the Schalke UK Fan Club who joins Jon to regale him with anecdotes from his time spent as a translator for Bundesliga managers, including Steve McClaren and Mirko Slomka.

As usual there is plenty of Bundesliga chat including the Transfer Deadline Window and we look ahead to the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke plus the big city derby between Hamburg and St Pauli.

Click here to listen to the podcast or right click on the link to download it.

Alternatively, subscribe to the podcast feed here or the iTunes feed here.