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Daily Schmankerl: Rafinha back at Bayern Munich for Schalke, Nagelsmann annoyed, Haaland strikes twice, Rudy hits back at Schalke, and more!

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Bayern Munich’s beloved Rafinha will be taking in the game from the stadium today. He had a lot to say about his love for the club and the success he has enjoyed in Brazil.

FC Bayern Muenchen - Training Session
We here at BFW love this guy, and so should you. He’s a good Bavarian.
Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern

Happy Chinese New Year from Bayern!

Rafinha swings by Säbener Strasse: “I’m a winner — I win everything!” (FCBayern.com)

You might have noticed that I am a BIG Rafinha fan. To my mind, he was the perfect team player. And even after leaving Bayern for Brazil, Rafa does not disappoint: “For me, it’s my second home!” he said of Munich. He was at Säbener Strasse yesterday to take in practice and catch up with his friends. He gave an interview while he was there, and he will be cheering for Bayern in the stadium today.

Rafinha is still in touch with everyone, he says, and is delighted by the good vibes in the locker room:

Yes, I’m still in touch with every one of them. We always had a lot of fun in the locker room, the atmosphere was always good. And I’ve seen that the atmosphere now is also very good. That’s awesome!

A good many of you BFW readers might be amused to know that Rafinha is watching the games in the morning like us. And he is a serious Bundesliga diehard. Asked whether he keeps up with Bayern, he said,

Definitely, I watch the Bundesliga every Saturday. On account of the time difference, the games are on at 10:30 AM. Since we always play in the evening in Brazil, I can watch the Bundesliga. I follow not only the games of FC Bayern, but all the games. But especially FC Bayern; that’s my club.

We reported earlier how Rafinha had joined a super-elite group of players who had won both the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores. Rafinha is very much aware of the significance of that accomplishment. He said, “beaming” as the official transcript notes,

It means a lot to me to stand in line with such great players. The guys here already said, “Rafa, you’ve won everything here in Europe; now you go to South America and are winning everything there too.” It’s good for me. In that brief time — only five months — I won everything. The Brazilian championship, which is very difficult, and the Copa Libertadores. Flamengo had not won it for almost 40 years! I’m a winner, I win everything. (Laughs) I’m delighted.

Be winners like Rafinha! He’s such a model player.

Bayern II hits the slopes for some biathlon fun

Skiing and shooting, skiing and shooting!

Haaland strikes twice as BVB rout FC Köln 5-1

BVB’s new monster is the first player in Bundesliga history to score five goals in his first two appearances. The total time he needed to do so — just 57 minutes — is also a new record.

Julian Nagelsmann lays into will-away youngster Hannes Wolf;
or, “How not to impress your genius coach” (kicker)

Twenty-year-old offensive midfielder Hannes Wolf arrived in Leipzig from Salzburg just this past summer and he already wants out. There obviously is a lot of competition for a starting place in Leipzig’s midfield. Wolf, who is afraid he might not make Austria’s team for Euro 2020, has put in a request for a loan. Nagelsmann is not impressed, or amused:

That’s a current trend — that every player who’s not a regular starter always wants to leave right away.

Nagelsmann instead wants to see young players make “a virtue of staying with something, even when a phase of your career isn’t going so well.” Nagelsmann explained,

Basically, we cannot release and loan out every player who’s unhappy he’s not playing. First, you can’t play a Rückrunde with only 11 or 12 players, and, second, it’s normal to go through a valley in your career.

Asked whether he had spoken with Wolf, Nagelsmann answered, “I’m far from always having to explain every last detail. It’s a performance sport society. Many things are simply obvious.” His advice for Wolf?

Simply work. Simply train six, seven weeks, absorb the things that I want to see.

And he better “burn” to get his chance.

Sebastian Rudy criticizes Schalke for failing to protect him, hopes to play for Germany in Euro 2020 (t-online.de)

After his brief stint at Bayern Munich, central midfielder Sebastian Rudy played a season to forget in Schalke’s royal blue before returning to his preferred blue with TSG Hoffenheim. In an extensive interview with t-online.de, that touched on his troubles.

Rudy had intended to “give his all” in the new season at Schalke, “But then I noticed relatively quickly that things simply didn’t fit.” Fortunately, he was in touch with Hoffenheim, who were happy to bring him back.

As if taking a cue from his former coach above, Rudy said, he did not regret the move to Schlake: “I’m taking things with me from this difficult year that will shape my future career. It’s also good to have bad experiences. You can learn from them for the future and grow through them.”

As for Schalke, though, Rudy was not pleased that the club did nothing to defend him after he became the public scapegoat of their crisis:

I definitely had the impression that I had been chosen in the public eye as the face of the crisis. Even if I always first look for mistakes on my own part and certainly made some — Schalke missed the opportunity to protect me as a player.

Rudy was puzzled at Schalke when former coach Domenico Tedesco (now with Spartak Moscow) seemingly wanted to reinvent Rudy’s game, with disastrous results:

At Schalke, suddenly other virtues were asked of me. They tried to turn me into another player. It had to have been clear though, that it was to late to change me with my 29 years.

Despite his struggles, Rudy was still invited Germany’s camp. “It did me good,” Rudy acknowledged. “I will continue to present myself in the Rückrunde, because the Euro is a big thing for me. I absolutely want to be there.”

Good luck, Basti Rudy!

“First touch!” If you don’t follow Liv Cooke, you should

There are freestylers, and then there’s Liv Cooke. She is the boss — and freestyle football world champion! She’s a champion personality, too, a good follow on Twitter.

A Fußball map to appreciate

If you are fond of maps, Simon Kuestenmacher is also an excellent Twitter follow. And if you want a global look at who plays what where, have a gander at this collection of maps (Zeit).