Borussia Munchengladbach vs Sunderland
And so to the final game of the Germany tour, Munchengladbach were todays hosts with the game being played in the 54,000 Borussia Park Stadium. Somewhere, sometime during this week we had been informed that well over 30,000 tickets had been sold which proved to be utter rubbish as the official 16,000 plus crowd figures showed.
Our pre match drinking took us to the fan house which served a decent altbier, white wine in PINTS but refused to serve vodka "until after the game". They (the football team) appear to have a strong bond with Liverpool with various references to the bin dipping stereo nickers and judging by one of the photos on the wall they want "Justice for the Purple Bins"...hmmmmm
The team for this game was another experimental one but Mig kept his place in goal with Elmo and Rico as fullbacks, Turner and Titus at centre half, Larsson and Vaughan right and left wing with Gardner and Cattermole the two in centre midfield and Dong-Won and Wickham up front together.
The game started with the home side kicking towards our fans and they looked the more dangerous, thanks in part to some shambolic defending, especially from Turner. They created a couple of good chances but failed to convert either and gradually we gained a share of control, with both Wickham and Dong-Won going close, the former dragging a left foot shot marginally wide following good build up from Larsson and Dong-Won, whilst the latter had claims for a penalty waved away, despite the ball clearly striking an arm on its way towards goal...the Liverpool connection suddenly became a bit clearer.
The only other action involved the entire Munchengladbach team doing their own repetoire of Swan Lake, hoying themselves round like pansies - fucking embarrasing lads man, gerrup for crying out loud, oh Turner and Bramble were booked for, well...tackling it seemed!
Second half started without the usual flurry of substitutions and we took control of the game virtually from the off, Vaughan looked tidy, Dong-Won showed some lovely touches and seems to be progressing quite nicely, Cattermole was busy and effective, Rico looked a good threat down the left (at the risk of repeating myself, when he runs at defenders they shit themselves) Elmo looked good in stages and Bramble looked solid again.
When the substitutions did appear, Sess and Steed in particular impressed with some neat interpassing and we seemed to be destined to score when, out of nowhere, their right winger burst clear and cut inside Bramble, who blew on him, causing the lad to throw himself ten feet, ending in a triple somersault with pike - Titus, to the utter busement of all within the ground was sent off...now I know I've joked about it in my last sentence but for Gods sake referee, why send the lad off and potentially cause a ban when he could just as easily have given him a warning or asked Bruce to substitute him? Pathetic - and it ruined the game for both teams, we sat back, they couldn't break us down and the game finished as it started - 0-0.
From a personal point of view I've enjoyed the tour immensely, loved the German food, drink and all round culture (say it quietly if you like but we're dead similar nations). As far as SAFC goes, its early days but I'm not going overboard with excitement just yet - we need a spark, a catalyst, something different...
Man of the Match: Kieran
Best on Tour: Kieran/Sess/Colback
Moan of the Match: The tit of a referee whose constant willingness to blow his bloody whistle spoiled the game
Cheers and all the best