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Der Monday Meister!

All the Bundesliga and Bayern action gets recapped. See who's climbing up the table and who's falling. FIFA gets skewered, and of course, the real reason you're here: The Beer Of The Week!

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Match Day Recap

Bayern Munich 4 TSG Hoffenheim 0

Hoffenheim attempted a very high line (think the basketbll equivalent of a full court press) to try to throw Bayern off their game and steal a win at Allianz. However, it was to no avail. They deserve some credit and for about 20 minutes or so, it looked like it might actually work. Bayern, however, were having none of it and their sheer immense amount of talent broke through Hoffenheim's normally fairly solid defense. Chalk it up to another workmanlike performance from Bayern's superb attacking quartet of Mario Götze, Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. Oh also, Bastian Schweinsteiger returned! BFW's own Ryan Cowper wrote a great full recap, which you can read here. Now, on to the awards.

Tip O' The Cap: Mario Götze. His 30 yard stunner of a goal would get him the Meister of The Match on most days, but for today, he'll have to settle for a hat tip. Aside from that goal, he was great on the attack and was constantly in or around the box trying to make something happen.

Golf Clap: Mehdi Benatia. This is the first appearance for the Moroccan international on the awards section, but it has been long overdue. He was great all game long and is slowly but surely becoming one of Bayern's most dangerous pieces on the back line. He was Bayern's best arial threat and he made Anthony Modeste a non-factor

Standing Ovation: Arjen Robben. The Warden Of The Right Side was at it again as that entire side of the pitch was on lockdown. He makes it look so easy that every week I struggle with whether to even include him in the awards. His newfound chemistry with Lewandowski has been a really pleasant development.

Meister Of The Match: Robert Lewandowski. The respect other defenders give him is amazing. There were several times where he would touch the ball and draw about two or three defenders over to him, freeing up a teammate. That is the kind of respect players like Messi, Ronaldo, Kobe Bryant and Sidney Crosby get. The fact that he rarely gets mentioned in the same breath as some of the top players in the world is a shame, but he will be. Just you watch. He is every bit the sensational, dynamic target striker Bayern thought they were getting when he signed with Munich. Oh, and he came for free.

Bundesliga Roundup

VFB Stuttgart 0 Augsburg 1

Daniel Schwaab got Stuttgart into a hole early with back to back yellow cards less than seven minutes apart to put his side down to 10 men with 60 minutes to play. Stuttgart keeper Sven Ullreich, who had actually been benched earlier this year due to poor form, was spectacular in making several saves on some quality chances from Augsburg. A handball in the 71st minute from Adam Hlousek in the right side of the penalty area gave Augsburg a chance to break the deadlock. Augsburg captain Paul Verhaegh easily converted. From there, Augsburg continued to attack and Ulreich continued to swat away all the shots. However, with only 10 men, Stuttgart couldn't find the equalizer.

Hamburg SV 2 Werder Bremen 0

Two teams who desperately needed a win to start their climb out of the relegation zone clashed at Imtech Arena in Hamburg. It was Hamburg, however, who breathed the final sigh of relief when in the 84th minute, off a massive throw in, Artjoms Rudnevs slid into the box and knocked one just past the keeper. In stoppage time, a cross from Pierre-Michel Lasogga found Tolgay Ali Arslan who's shot went just off the inside of the post. Bremen keeper Raphael Wolf attempted a save, and was officially given an own goal, even though it LOOKED like the ball was going to go in anyway. Even if it hadn't, there wasn't a Bremen defender for miles and about 4 Hamburgers waiting to bang it home, so Wolf can't be faulted too much.

Borussia Monchengladbach 1 Eintracht Frankfurt 3

Gladbach got off to a quick start when in the fifth minute a shot by Havard Nordveit from the top of the penalty area deflected off of Frankfurt defender Bastian Oczipka which totally fooled the keeper and gave them a 1-0 lead. From there, Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer would be tested as Frankfurt took the game by the horns. The Swiss international stood tall and made a spectacular double save just after the restart, but he couldn't save them all. Frankfurt's Marc Stendera opened his Bundesliga scoring account with a great strike from the top left corner of the penalty area that caught Sommer out of position and evened up the match. Three minutes later, it was Frankfurt again on the counter attack with Alexander Meier who tapped in a rebound off a shot by Stefan Aigner which Sommer couldn't corral. Just for fun, Takashi Inui made it 3-1 off a fairly pedestrian strike from outside the penalty area to seal the full three points for visiting Frankfurt.

Hannover 96 1 Bayer Leverkusen 3

A scoreless first half that saw Leverkusen have several scoring opportunities squandered paved the way for a very eventful second half. A low cross from Leverkusen's Gonzalo Castro found Stefan Kiesling who banged it home from close range inside the box to make it 1-0. Twelve minutes later, it was Heung-Min Son who fired a beauty of a shot through traffic after executing the "Reverse Robben" of taking the feed, and then cutting to his right. Hannover would show some life and get one back in the 60th minute after a free kick from Hiroshi Kiyotake found the head of Ceyhun Gulselam who went near post to bring Hannover back to within one. Hannover had a chance to equalize off of a great shot from Joselu but was deflected wide by Leverkusen keeper Berndt Leno. The two goal lead would be restored as Roberto Hilbert's perfectly placed cross found Karim Bellarabi one on one with the keeper whom he easily beat to seal the deal for Leverkusen.

Mainz 2 SC Freiburg 2

Mainz got on the board first in the 27th minute. A free kick from Johannes Geis found the right foot of Junior Diaz who made a nifty move to tap it past Freiburg keeper Roman Burki. Freiburg answered back three minutes later with authority when a long cross from Admir Mehmedi found Jonathan Schmid who let loose a powerful header to level it up at one apiece. The Mehmedi, Schmid duo would combine again for a goal to put Freiburg up 2-1. This time it was a corner from Schmid that found the head of Mehmedi. A crazy sequence of events would fortuitously give Mainz the equalizer in the 88th minute. A long (and I mean, LOOOOOONG) cross into the box found star striker Shinji Okazaki who fired a shot from short range. The ball JUST bounced off the crossbar and landed right at the feel of Stefan Bell who tapped it in to save a point for Mainz.

SC Paderborn 2 Borussia Dortmund 2

Dortmund came out of the gate firing on all cylinders as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an easy tap in in the 12th minute off a great assist from Erik Durm. They doubled their lead right before the end of the half with a great display of how to attack and break down a defense. All four of their attackers touched the ball before Aubameyang found Marco Reus who's grounder just beat Paderborn keeper Lukas Kruse. Being down 2 goals to one of the most talented clubs in the world at the half would be enough to break just about any teams spirits. Not Paderborn. They fought right back and in the 60th minute notched a goal to make it 2-1. It was Lukas Rupp who zigzagged his way through Neven Subotic and Kevin Grosskreutz and fired a shot past Roman Weidenfeller who looked like he got caught napping. Then the controversy started. Marvin Bekalorz came in with a very dangerous tackle on Marco Reus which was late and right on the ankle. Reus went down and had to be subbed off for Milos Jojic and now looks to be out until at least 2015. Dortmund took charge and had several scoring chances fall JUST short. Grosskreutz had one go off the post and another goal waved for offside. To make it worse, a minute later Mahir Saglik scored the equalizer off a a corner from Suleyman Koc. You gotta feel bad for Dortmund, as it felt like they deserved to win this one, but all credit to Paderborn. They never gave up.

Schalke 04 3 VfL Wolfsburg 2 (Der Monday Meister Game Of The Week)

Wolfsburg came into this game looking to keep pace with Bayern at the top of the table. Schalke was looking for a statement win under new skipper Roberto Di Matteo. It was Schalke who came out of the gate looking strong. In only the 10th minute, Marco Höger fired a great long range pass to Eric Chuopo-Moting who's great first touch allowed him to gather himself a fire a shot from the left side of the box just past Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio. Just 12 minutes later, Chuopo-Moting doubled the lead for Schalke after Kevin Prince Boateng somehow made a pass off the outside part of his right foot that went perfectly to Chuopo-Moting who managed to split three Wolfsburg defenders before beating Benaglio....again. The craziness continued for Schalke as a free kick Christian Fuchs was swung at and missed by everyone before bouncing into the back of the net to whip the Nordkurve of Veltins Arena into a frenzy. Wolfsburg didn't blink however, as Ivica Olic pounced on an Ivan Perisic shot which Ralf Fährmann couldn't corral to make it 3-1. Some poor defending from Schalke as Benedikt Höwedes and Felipe Santana seemingly couldn't agree on who was going to clear a cross from Aaron Hunt. Nicklas Bendtner snuck in behind them and took the ball himself and calmly beat Fährmann for his first Bundesliga goal and brought VfL within one. That was all they could get however, as Schalke came away with a much deserved win.

FC Koln 1 Hertha Berlin 2

Roy Beerens from Hertha opened the scoring here when his shot went JUST inside the far post after he made a great cut through the middle of the penalty area in the 28th minute. Koln answered back in the 58th minute as Anthony Ujah showcased his speed and finishing ability with a brilliant solo run of about 50 yards to beat just about everyone on the Berliner back line. Koln looked to be in control of the game as Ujah had a few more chances to net the winner, but it was Hertha who came through in the 86th minute when a free kick from Marcel Ndjeng took a really unfortunate bounce off of Ujah of all people to beat the keeper who was diving to the near post. Soccer can be a cruel mistress. Especially if you're Koln.


Bayern Munich - 30 points

Wolfsburg - 23 points

Gladbach - 20 points (+7)

Leverkusen - 20 points (+4) Champions League Qualification

Hannover - 19 points Europa League

Augsburg - 18 points Europa League Qualification

Bayern Munich continue to widen the gap after Wolfsburg's loss and Leverkusen are slowly but surely sneaking their way back into the Champions League. Keep an eye on them. Also, hey there, Augsburg! We see you creeping your way in. Good on ya, champ

Borussia Dortmund - 11 points

Werder Bremen - 10 points

Stuttgart - 9 points

Oh Dortmund...Just when you were free of the relegation zone, you go and play your way right back into it. Dortmund desperately needed a win against a Paderborn and just couldn't deliver. Meanwhile, Bremen continues to be stuck in neutral after losing to not-very-good Hamburg and Stuttgart continues to toil in mediocrity.

Rant Of The Week

Let me ask you an honest question. How much is enough? I mean how much can you possibly stand before you finally say "enough" at say, any given situation? After giving the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, many questions were raised about the fairness of the bidding process. Clearly a country that gets to 120 degrees in the summer couldn't possibly be granted the World Cup without of "wheel greasing", right? Especially after the first ever "water break" was used in several matches in Brazil. Almost immediately after the announcement, there were concerns about corruption including bribes paid to FIFA members to vote for them. The FIFA vice president from the Carribean was forced to resign after it became known that he took nearly a million dollars from a FIFA board member from Qatar. That same Qatari member, Mohammed Bin Hammam, was later forced to resign himself for charges of bribery. But yet, somehow, a country where migrant workers make up a vast majority of the population (but yet are not granted the full rights of citizenship), and despite being the only country to submit a bid to be named a high risk, despite having a national team that has never qualified for the world cup (and has never been ranked in the top 50), despite proposing the construction of 12 stadiums 9 of which will be dismantled after the tournament due to their superfluousness, won out.

Despite all of this, I still had faith in FIFA. When Sepp Blatter announced that he had tagged Michael Garcia, the same former US Attorney who had been in charge of the investigation of former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, to lead a probe into corruption allegations into Qatar's bid, I was pleased. Was this 430 page report which took 18 months to complete going to be the smoking gun that would bring some transparency to the bidding process? I don't know, and neither will you because FIFA has decided to keep that report under wraps. Instead, FIFA has given a 22 page summary of that report which Garcia himself has criticized as inaccurate. This is like asking a school kid to review his own report card and determine his own grades. Thankfully, there will be a third party review of the full report and the handling by FIFA, but the full report will remain locked away under some mountain in the Swiss Alps. In fact, FIFA has become so obviously and laughably incompetent on this matter, that UEFA is threatening to secede from FIFA if changes aren't made. Believe me, FIFA needs UEFA a hell of a lot more than UEFA needs FIFA.

But let's forget about the corruption for a second. Let's move past the issues of which billionaires paid which millionaires to let them host a game and look at the human side of this. How is a tiny gulf state possibly going to make money off of building a massive infrastructure for a sporting event they would not be able to fill on their own? Well it's easier than you think when you treat your workers like medieval indentured servants. Human Rights Watch wrote a full report of the realities that migrant workers face in Qatar. This includes having your passport seized upon arrival in Qatar by your employer, not being able to change employers without your current employers' permission, being at a high risk of labor exploitation and trafficking due to Qatar's refusal to prosecute employers for violations of their labor laws and being unable to leave the country as it is your boss who has control of your exit visa. This is to say nothing of the fact that there are projected to be 4,000 migrant workers who WILL DIE under the current working conditions. This, plus the abuse that women domestic workers face (yes, it's worse) and the fact that homosexuality is punishable by five years in prison and you ask yourself: Is this really a country that you would want your organization attached to on such a massive global scale?

Thankfully, I am not alone in my righteous indignation. Coca Cola has now become the first "Tier 1" sponsor to publicly criticize FIFA's handling of the corruption investigation. They join Adidas, Hyundai, Visa, Sony and Budweiser who have all come out and expressed some reservation about the 2018 and 2022 world cups. If you really want to see change in the way FIFA handles these kinds of decisions, you can write a letter to FIFA. Sure, you can sign a petition to have them charged criminally as well. All will be laughed at because as FIFA is headquartered in Switzerland, they are essentially immune to any kind of prosecution from entities outside of Switzerland. Hit them where it really counts: the pocketbook. Turn your attention to the sponsors who tacitly allow this corruption to happen. Going back to the question posed in the first paragraph, I have had enough. This whole process has made a laughingstock of FIFA and brought an ugly stain on the greatest sporting event in the world and I can't personally support it. One guy like me isn't going to make a lick of difference when it comes to the billions that the World Cup brings in, but I won't be a part of it. Rant over.

Beer Of The Week

This week, I have finally given in to the fact that it is pretty friggin cold outside and thus, it MIGHT be time to crack open some winter beers. One of the best ones that I tried during the extended international break was from Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York. It's one of my favorite breweries on the east coast and they've hit another one out of the park with their Old Man Winter Ale. It is self classified as an "old ale", and while I'm not exactly sure what that means, it's fantastic. It has some cocoa and smokiness to it that gets balanced out by a mild hop bitterness as well as nice warm nutty aroma. At 7.0% ABV it's not to be taken likely, but to be enjoyed at a nice leisurely pace.

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