What We Watched This Weekend: Borussia Bundesliga Shocker, Dempsey Hat-Trick, USMNT in Phoenix, Super Sunday in Spain & England

January 23, 2012 — by Suman



What We Watched This Weekend: Borussia Bundesliga Shocker, Dempsey Hat-Trick, USMNT in Phoenix, Super Sunday in Spain & England

January 23, 2012 — by Suman

We’ve semi-regularly tried to post a Friday “What to Watch this Weekend” (WtWtW) viewing guide. Starting today, we’ll aim to bookend that with a companion “What We Watched this Weekend” (WWWtW) summary–pulled primarily from weekend email chatter among the CultFootball crew, maybe spiced up with some video highlights.

(If you’d like to contribute, hit us up with a message on Twitter or a comment/wall post on our Facebook page as you’re watching matches over the weekend–or just comment here on the site. Our comment sections have been mostly lying dormant since that initial burst of activity and enthusiasm following our launch for the 2010 World Cup–see the “most popular” list in the right side-bar–but we’re working on a resurrection.)

Using this weekend’s “WtWtW” posts as an outline (atypically, there were three this weekend, one each for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), here’s what we watched:

Friday, Jan 20

Germany,Borussia Moenchengladbach 3 – 1 Bayern Munich: This one was a bit of a random pick–just to have something on Friday, and since we’d been hearing lots about Marco “Rolls” Reus. But it turned out this was a great pick–a stunning upset by Moenchengladbach of the Bavarian giants. Back in the fall, some were saying the Bayern had wrapped up the Bundesliga title after their hot start. But with this victory, Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke all have 37 points, and Moenchengladbach is remarkably just a point behind. From’s match report (headlined “Herrmann & Reus run rampant as hosts move second:
Young attacking duo accounted for all three goals as hosts repeated their first round success with a victory over the leaders”):

Amid a first-half chess match, Marco Reus scored into an empty net to put the hosts ahead on 14 minutes. Patrick Herrmann made it 2-0 shortly before half-time, and completed his brace on 71 minutes. Bastian Schweinsteiger, in his first competitive game since early November, pulled a goal back in the 76th minute, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.

Saturday, Jan 21

England, Norwich 0 – 0 Chelsea: We didn’t get to see any of this one, but our correspondent Edhino did:

Miserably snowed out of me own game, came home just in time to watch Torres give away the ball twice in a row and then frantically try to get it back like a kid whose lollipop got taken away. Sad really. Norwich were impressive in the concentration and discipline, with good signs of competency in control; in particular Pilkington who showed great skill (I was going to add ‘for his size’, but the awkward incongruence of big blokes with good control is more illusion than correlation) and speed, making huffing Cole look old and tired. Overall Chelsea looked tired and Kalou-like (i.e. Sumit speak for clueless) in attack. I haven’t watched a Chelsea game in a while and it was surprising to see them so toothless sans Drogba or even Shanghai-bound Anelka.

We’d also picked the Fulham-Newcastle match as one to watch, but had mostly focused on Newcastle in our preview. Imagine our surprise at seeing this scoreline–and as mildly patriotic Americans, pleasant surprise at seeing who did the scoring:

England, Fulham 5 – Newcastle 2: Newcastle took an early 1-0 lead but then collapsed in the second half–and American Clint Dempsey banged in three of Fulham’s handful. From the Washington Post’s SoccerInsider (who in general does a great job of covering Americans playing abroad):

For the second time this month, Clint Dempsey has recorded a hat trick for Fulham. And this time, during a 5-2 victory over Newcastle on Saturday, he became the first American ever to post a three-goal performance in an English Premier League match.

Two weeks ago, he accomplished the feat in an FA Cup game against third-tier Charlton.

Dempsey’s goals against Newcastle came in the 59th, 65th and 89th minutes, increasing his haul to nine in league play and 15 in all competitions. He is among the top 10 scoring leaders in the EPL this season. In his five-year career at Fulham, he has scored 52 goals overall.

PL Highlights: Fulham/Newcastle

Spain, Real Betis 1 – 1 Sevilla: We had this game–the Seville derby–on in the background as we lounged around on a snowy afternoon.  From what we saw, it was an exciting, open match.  One that Sevilla mostly dominated, but they found themselves down a goal for most of the match after conceding on a set play.  But they equalized on a late great header by one of the players we told you to watch–striker Álvaro Negredo.  Read this great match report on Fox Soccer by freelancer Andy Brasell: “Class prevails in renewed Seville derby.”

Int’l Friendly, USA-Venezuela: See our match report on the Germanic flavor of this largely positive performance by the Americans (and check back in mid-week, as the US boys travel down to Central America for another friendly in Panama City on Wednesday.)


Super Sunday, Jan 22

Super Sunday lived up to the hyperbole–not only in England, but in Spain as well:

England, Manchester City 3 – 2 Spurs: What a game!  Match of the season? So much drama. City goin up 2-0 (Nasri 56′, off a superb thru ball from Silva, after Nasri had got inside of Kyle Walker; then Lescott 59′, off a Nasri corner flicked on by Dzeko that caught the Spurs defense standing still on the back post), then Spurs responding resoundingly (Defoe 60′ after a Savic blunder, though great finish by Defoe; and Bale 65′–goal of the weekend? after Lennon came inside-out..or rather outside-in).  And then, of course, Super Mario–on for Dzeko at 66′, probably should have been sent off a few minutes later (but how does one infer intent from a video replay?), and then won the game with a well-deserved and coolly taken penalty in extra time–and that after Defoe had been but a few centimeters from earning Spurs a few more points than they did:

England, Arsenal 1 – 2 Manchester United: See Rob Kirby’s latest rant, which despite its title is not primarily about Pier Morgan.  And watch these BBC MotD highlights before they’re taken down:

Spain, Real Madrid 4 – 1 Athletic Bilbao: Read Sid Lowe’s epic column about palace intrigue in Mourinho’s court–and something about the match as well, which Athletic led 1-0 before ultimately losing 4-1:

Spain, Malaga 1 – 4 Barcelona: More from Sid Lowe’s column: “Messi: bloody hell. He’d only scored once away all season – now he has scored four times thanks to an astonishingly good hat-trick away at Málaga. AS gave him four stars (well, aces) out of three, while Roberto Palomar in Marca finally saw sense and said: ‘there are no longer any words, except swear words.'”