Big Poppa Uli Hoeneß spoke to the media today, and the topic was one dear to our hearts: the strange decision to schedule international matches right before the club season begins, and then again after only a few weeks of club play.
Uli tells Sky Sports Germany ...
"It is a joke that we are only in mid-September and have only played two league matches but have already had to play three internationals. It's ridiculous."
Uli clearly wants the club to keep the momentum going. After starting 3-for-3 in domestic matches (one Pokal win, two in the 1. Bundesliga), Bayern was hitting on all cylinders. An(other) international break not only creates the risk of injury, it gives some of the players travel fatigue and throws off the normal training schedule. While the World Cup qualifiers need to happen sometime, the added "friendly day" in August (Germany played Argentina) was crammed in there out of nowhere. If anything, we could have started the FIFA qualifiers then and then allowed the club season to run uninterrupted for a little longer once it started.
I'm not saying (of course) that the break will hurt Bayern once the season re-starts this weekend. You can never tell exactly how things will unfold. Last year, the winter break really seemed to throw us off - we came back in January and won only once in our first three matches, including that awful loss to Borussia Monchengladbach. It was March before the boys really found the stride again, especially on the offensive end. But you can also look to situations like last October, when we looked work out in a scoreless draw vs. Hoffenheim, but then the international break seemed to refresh everyone and we came back to a 4-0 beating of Hertha. I guess my bigger problem is that everyone gets so excited for the club season, you do all the previewing and analyzing the schedule and reading interviews (and laying bets, if you're into that), then you come back for two or three games, and then there's another long break. Seems like a poor series of decisions on the marketing front.
But, in related good news, UEFA has increased the size of payments that are given to clubs for releasing players for international play. Starting in 2011, UEFA kept track of clubs that allowed players to take part in Euro 2012 qualifiers and the tournament itself, and agreed to pay compensation to clubs. Bayern came in first on the list, with 12 Euro 2012 players on the roster, and therefore picked up 3.1 million Euro in compensation money. Real Madrid was second with 11 players; surprisingly, Man U only had 7.
In other news, KHR is worried that UEFA won't have the guts to enforce Financial Fair Play once the rules kick into effect. He's particularly worried about PSG, who paid astronomical fees to bring aboard Zlatan and Thiago, and are certainly going to lose money on this season. UEFA has reiterated that the rules are for real and that violators will be barred from continental play, but several observers are unconvinced.
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Earlier, this post contained an additional paragraph that, upon further reflection, was probably in bad taste. I'm therefore removing it. The first few comments in the thread were written in response to this now-removed paragraph. Thanks.
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Mainz preview coming by tomorrow night. Thanks for reading.