Dictators and Soccer Short: Hitler Fandom Rejected by Schalke

July 10, 2014 — by Rob Kirby


Germany in the Brazil World Cup 2014 finals. The Brazilians are all rooting against the Argentinians, so there’s a core fan base. But then word gets out Hitler once supported the German national team. Then people bring up the old taboo of Nazis hiding out in Brazil and then counter allegations of Nazis in Argentina. Public opinion sways rapidly against Germany (amnesia or foolish forgetful forgiveness had set in at some point over the last 60 years) and the country’s PR department has to act fast.

[Editor’s note: The ongoing Dictators and Soccer series includes other installments on Kim Jong-il of North Korea, the Military Junta of Argentina, Nicolae Ceau?escu of Romania, Pope Benedict XVI of the Vatican and Mobutu Sésé Seko of Zaďre.]

The German spin doctors swiftly publish incontrovertible evidence that Hitler never actually supported the German side. Far from it. In fact, in the one known Fürher appearance at a soccer match, the 0-2 defeat to Norway at the Berlin Olympics, humiliation at his own doorstep, he left at halftime muttering one choice obscenity or other, a distasteful experience that put him off the sport for good.

This is fact. May the press conference enter into evidence Exhibit A. [[shuffled papers]]



Fun fact about Adolf Hitler and soccer, also true (the PR machine and the German press conference, not true). Word on the street and a 1998 article “The 50 Worst Famous Football Fans” in The Times had it Adolf was a fan of Schalke 04, six-time German/Austrian champs during the Nazi era. Modern-day Schalke went so far as to launch an investigation and issue formal response that no photographic evidence whatsoever existed linking him at any club matches. The letter to The Times from Schalke PR is hilarious for the use of “bugger,” if nothing else. Exhibit B:



Formal refutations of previous past unassailable der diktator fandom. Now that’s up-to-the-minute unpopularity.


First 14 into Last 32 of Europa

December 2, 2011 — by Rob Kirby

Betting sites had tipped Tottenham to take home the silverware, but the odds are now against them even exiting the group stages.

With two weeks until the final matches of the Europa League group stages, 14 clubs have clinched spots in the knockout rounds of the cup with a game to spare. With the eight teams that finish third in their UEFA Champions League groups transferring over to Europe’s second-tier competition, that leaves 10 spots.

Anderlecht, who alone won all 5 of the first 5 group matches, FC Twente and Sporting Lisbon had already qualified even before Thursday’s matches kicked off, as had PSV Eindhoven and Legia Warsaw before Wednesday’s matches.

Meanwhile, former frontrunner Tottenham’s loss to 10-man PAOK Thessaloniki at White Hart Lane puts makes them unlikely to join the last 32. As punishment, perhaps Jermaine Defoe should write “Panthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Konstantinoupolitón” 100 times on the blackboard.

First 14:

Anderlecht (Belgium)
FC Twente (Netherlands)
Sporting Lisbon (Portugal)
Atlético Madrid (Spain)
Braga (Portugal)
Hannover 96 (Germany)
FC Metalist Kharkiv (Ukraine)
PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece)
Standard Ličge (Belgium)
Stoke (England)
Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia)
Legia Warsaw (Poland)
Schalke 04 (Germany)
PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)

At the beginning of November, Tottenham had been tipped to take home the silverware, but their loss to PAOK on Wednesday made it such that while it’s still mathematically possible if they go on a goal spree against Shamrock Rovers and Rubin Kazan loses, it’s unlikely. For one, Redknapp may not even truly wish to progress. One school of thought says exiting the competition would help them finish in the top 3 or 4 in the Premier League, not playing weekend matches on the heels of Thursday nights in Europe and avoiding overall fixture congestion with all the two-leg showdowns to come.

Currently, odds are on Atlético Madrid to hoist the trophy on May 9 in Bucharest. Other frontrunners include Schalke 04, PSV Eindhoven, Paris Saint-Germain and Athletic Bilbao, despite the latter two having not yet qualified.


Raul leads Schalke into Spain

February 14, 2011 — by Sean1

Champions League knockout action is upon us, so let’s take a look at what might be the most evenly matched tie of the round: Valencia CF vs FC Schalke 04.

Valencia CF

Valencia made their way into the tournament this year on the strength of their two Davids: Villa and Silva. Both moved on at the end of last season, but Valencia hasn’t missed a beat, sitting third in the table at this point and with a fantastic home record (thanks in no small part to the screaming maniacs sat up in the Estadio Mestalla). Still, Los Che don’t have a great record against German teams, having drawn five and lost one in their last six home encounters with teams from der Fatherland.

Who to look out for from the side in orange, you ask? Éver Banega, 22 yr old Argentine in the center of the pitch will look to start the forward movement with well-placed balls into the wing channels. In back the Dutch/Portugese duo of Hedwiges Maduro and Ricardo Costa (respectively) hold down the back line, while 29 yr old Frenchman Jérémy Mathieu likes to attack from his position at left back. Mehmet Topal (aka the Spider) hasn’t seen much love from his Turkish national side of late, but he’s a mean defensive midfielder who will be responsible for breaking the wave of the German offensive movement.

Up the right wing we’ll see the crafty Spaniard Pablo, who is always looking to lob a keeper he spots off his line (his matchup with Schalke’s left back Schmitz will be key). And at the point of the spear are Soldado and Aduriz (the later tending to come off the bench of late, but he’s also the teams top scorer this season). Soldado is particularly fired up, “This is the most important match of our lives and we must go for the jugular in order to try to take the tie.”

FC Schalke 04

Schalke sit at 10th in the Bundesliga, but that position is a bit deceiving. They have arguably one of the top goalkeepers in the world with the young world cup hero Manuel Neuer (sure to be in the running at Man United when Van der Sar wanders out to pasture at the end of the season), and a back four anchored by Christoph Metzelder, who, though almost always injured, has still managed to pick up 50 caps for his home country while also playing in two World Cups.

In midfield we hope to see Anthony Annan, a recent transfer into the squad during the mid-winter break, and a standout for one of our favorite World Cup sides: the Black Stars of Ghana! Also in midfield, where he should really keep his width on the left but instead tends to duck inside, exposing his left back to waves of overlapping attacks, is Jose Jurado, who plied his trade at Atletico Madrid before moving to Die Königsblauen. His opposite side is occupied by the Peruvian Farfán (there’s your line hugger).

Up top is the off-again/on-again dutchman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, once a fixture at Real Madrid, alongside another fella a lot of folks may know from his time at Los Blancos — Raúl González Blanco. Obviously the team is more than one player, but this one in particular has struck at the heart of many a Spanish side over his sixteen years with Real Madrid (323 times to be exact). He’ll draw quite a few marks, and if fit we may see him play a full 90 minutes, a luxury he didn’t often receive with the young challengers on rotation in the Spanish capital.


A balanced game but the key will be Pablo up the right wing for Valencia. Put history aside for this one as the men in orange will work themselves a 2-0 victory to take into the second leg.