We had the first of this seasons "English weeks" where league games took place during mid week. There was a few surprise results, particularly in Spain, where both Barcelona and Real Madrid lost to Leganes (bottom of the league) and Sevilla (who've made a shit start to their season as well). Villarreal got a brilliant 3-0 win away in Bilbao, the yellow submarine are definitely no mugs. Monaco also lost at home to Angers, who have clearly moved on from Heart and Hand's own Lassana Coulibaly and no longer need him so he can just stay at Ibrox!! Borussia Dortmund beating Nurnberg isn't a shock, but 7-0...that's a hammering if ever I saw one. Serie A didn't provide any shock results, plenty of standard 2-0 wins on show, but Roma beating Frosinone 4-0 was incredibly important for Eusebio De Francesco, but he's a long way away from feeling comfortable in his job.
We also had some cup games in some of the smaller nations, and shout out to a couple of 9-0 results! KF Laci got nine in their home win against KS Naftetari in the Albanian cup, and Rijeka got the same result against Krizevci in Croatia, although Rijeka were away. However, there was an outright winner in the highest scoring game of midweek, where Fastav Zlin won away against TVD Slavicin in the Pohar CMFS (Czech cup) by a score of 9-3.
The Dutch Destroyer, Scot van den Akker, is back to give the latest on his beloved Benelux:
In Holland, PSV continue to set the pace...a ferocious one. They have maximum point after 6 games and are 5 clear already with a fairly benign game this weekend away to lowly NAC Breda. Tied in joint 2nd with 13 points are Ajax, Feyenoord and surprise package Heracles, from Almelo in eastern Overijssel. Tucked in behind are AZ and VVV on 11 points. All the top clubs have fairly straightforward ties this weekend.
Meanwhile, in Belgium, Club Brugge remain top, but only just ahead of Genk. Already with ground to make up are Anderlecht, surprise package Antwerp, and Gent. The most interesting fixtures are the Brugge derby where mid table Cercle hope to derail Club. And in among the diamonds 4th placed Antwerp hope to dazzle against 5th placed Gent. Royal Antwerp might be best known for being thrashed by a great but not yet glorious Parma team in the ECWC Final at Wembley in 1993.
Finally, in Luxembourg, Jeunesse Esch stay in front of the chasing pack although Dudelange won their games in hand and are moving higher up the table....within 4 points of the leaders. No crucial games this weekend involving the top clubs.
Scott McKenzie previews a highly anticipated derby in Germany, one that hasn't been played for a very long time:
Was not planning an HSV update this week giving the humiliating events at the Volkspark Stadion last Sunday against Jahn Regensburg but as I quickly realised it’s derby day this Sunday against FC St Pauli aka one of the filths favourite team’s. So as I write this which is just after Thursday’s poor draw at SpVgg Greuther Fürth, (another team the filth seem to like) HSV had dropped to third place in the 2. Bundesliga three points behind leaders 1.FC Köln. So to the derby then FC St Pauli is now in a run where they are looking for their third win in a row after consecutive wins firstly at FC Ingolstadt 04 last Friday where they won 1-0 then won 2-1 at home to SC Paderborn 07 on Wednesday night which leaves them currently in sixth place just below HSV on goal difference.
As this is the first season that I’m actively following the 2. Bundesliga mainly because of HSV’s relegation I have to confess I don’t know about too much our opponents on Sunday but they are a solid 2. Bundesliga team with their biggest stars including Arsenal reject Ryo Miyaichi & former Hertha BSC & 1. FSV Mainz 05 forward Sami Allagui. Not a squad that should give HSV major issues but the last season that they met in league business was a few seasons back in 2010/11 took place when FC St Pauli took four points from both meetings. HSV had the last laugh as FC St Pauli were relegated. Nur der HSV!
Craig Murray returns to review another derby, but this one is even more feisty:
A little birdie tells me a rather dense smokey cloud was spotted over Belgrade which could mean one thing, the 158th edition of the Eternal Derby between Red Star and Partizan took place at the weekend. Another instalment of the most intense , passionate derby in European maybe even world football taking place in that slightly unhinged corner of Europe. Before the game there was great deal of tension, in addition to the usual derby day jitters as a result of a “civil war” within the Partizan ultras with they were three separate “ultra” sections within the home support , This has come about due to alleged ties to organised crime between the main group on the south stand at Partizan , Alcatraz and local criminals as well as a behind the scenes struggle for control of the south stand.
From when the ref blew the whistle neither keeper was really troubled as the attempts on goal went way off target and defences dealt with the oncoming attackers very easily. That was to change when Ricardo Gomes scored with a rather nice finish from 18 yards on 33 minutes which I only found out about two hours after because the stream I was viewing the game on decided to buffer before the ball arrived at Ricardo’s feet only for it unfreeze and for there to be a rather dense pyro cloud hanging above the Red Star goal with playing going on like it was perfectly natural thing to do , one can only imagine the powers that be over here would be like if that was happen here. Nothing of note would happen bar the odd firecracker exploding until 60 minutes where Red Star would treat us to a bakljada (more on that later) and again one of those moments where you can’t help but think what would happen if that was over here. On 72 minutes we got treated to a controversial equaliser scored by Richmond Boakye which was judged by the official behind the goal to have crossed the line having watched the replay ten or twelve times and I still don’t have the faintest idea if it crossed the line, however as someone with a slight soft spot for Red Star I was more than happy for them to get the benefit of the doubt on this one.
With the game ending 1-1 Red Star maintained their two point lead (with a game in hand) over Partizan and with the money they’ll have earned from Champion’s League participation they will have a good chance to establish a hegemony over Serbian football for years to come. The aforementioned refereeing controversy looks likely to rumble on for a while when Serbia’s very own “Mo Johnston” Vladimir Stojković found the officials performance so embarrassing that in the heat of moment during the post-match interview that he was renounce his Serbian passport out of shame. To cap off some rather bizarre events there was a small fight at the end in the Red star end which occurred after the players came over and handed over their shirts and some of the Delije had a disagreement over who would get who’s shirt.
But now for the real reason most people watch this fixture the bakljada , there is no straightforward translation for the word but the easiest way to explain it would be, going wild with the flares and smokebombs , firecrackers etc and whilst it isn’t unique to Belgrade It does produce some of the most spectacular displays of football support in existence.
Finally, we have some cracking fixtures coming up this weekend, as I mentioned in the latest Hangover pod. Juventus v Napoli at 5, followed by the Madrid derby at quarter to 8 makes for a wonderful Saturday evening, and on the Sunday, following us celebrating a win at Livingston (you would like to think) you could stay Italian with a tasty tie between Sassuolo and AC Milan, or go all French and witness Marseille (boo) take on Lille.
James Forrest (@No_Not_That_1)