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Köln:The untold game, food and parking report; How to say goodbye to a hero

By Walter Broeckx

As promised, Untold reports from the first and last real preparation game of Arsenal in Europe.

Let me start with the parking report first. It is unbelievable maybe but there is an amazing lot of parking lots in the very near neighbourhood of the stadium of 1.Fc Köln.  There are 2 parking lots almost in touching distance of the stadium. I think there are even more but you can drive with your car to the parking lots and walk 5 minutes and you are inside the stadium.  And that just for  the price of  3,25 euro. That is very car friendly but I must add that the stadium is not in the town centre but in a nice green environment just outside the city.

Over to the food report.  Can you visit Germany, seeing a football game without eating a Bratwurst? Well you could but then my food report would be very short. But it really wasn’t a big task to eat a bratwurst you know.  And the bratwurst was exquisite.   It had the perfect baking time, it was round and most of all it was looooooong. But now I must be critical. Even though I like Germany and the German people are all very friendly, I must point at something I cannot understand about the German Bratwurst tradition.

Why on earth do they put such a long bratwurst in such a small sandwich? The result is that 2/3 of the bratwurst  is hanging outside the sandwich. And then you have to put some mustard or ketchup on the bratwurst. But that is so difficult to do as the bratwurst is hanging outside and you must have some skill to put it on and not spill it on the floor. And then you have to eat it without spilling the mustard or ketchup on your cloths. And most of it could be made so much simpler if they would put their Bratwurst in a longer sandwich.

Where is the German efficiency in this!!!??!?!??!!!!? Ok Rant over as this is the only negative thing I can say about my visits to Germany in the last year.

Over to the match report.  A little bit fewer supporters in the stadium than I would have liked, but then again the 1.FC Köln is a club in a bit of a slump. The Gooner section was nicely filled and a special mention to the Gooners from Brno who had travelled with 2 buses and in good spirits. In both senses was my impression.

The sun was shining, it was a hot summer day in Cologne as both teams took to the field.

Arsenal with their new players in the starting line up. Yennaris at right back was maybe a bit of a surprise. Cazorla in midfield with Cocquelin and Oxlade-Chamberlain. But they did an excellent job. But please Francis a bit more careful with some passed in dangerous positions.  Mertesacker together with Vermaelen and they paired up rather well I thought and not just in defence.

Walcott, Giroud and Podolski up front. And they carved up some chances.  The first Arsenal goal was a well worked corner and a new routine where they are using Per Mertesacker as a target or a decoy. After some 5 minutes Per used his head to divert a corner from Carzorla in to the path of Vermaelen who headed home.  When Arsenal had a corner they were rather dangerous. Per Mertesacker being very influential in this.

Another corner from Cazorla was the introduction to the second goal. Oxlade-Chamberlain got the ball was almost tripped but stayed on his feet, then was tripped again and my eye of knowledge immediately saw that the assistant on the far side waved his flag to give a penalty.  He listened to the assistant (good teamwork) and Podolski of all people stepped up to open his Arsenal account.  He converted it faultless and then he didn’t celebrate his goal. A nice gesture to “his” home town fans.  No need to say the Gooners in the stands did celebrate.

The attack was very fluent at times and we got another handful of chances to score a few goals but the keeper was determined to not let us score too many. Well that is why they pay him. But there was nothing he could when we scored our third goal. Vermaelen intercepted a ball, played it to Podolski in the middle. Podolski saw Gibbs running his flank and delivered the ball and then followed up on the attack. When Gibbs cut it back it was Lukas who was on hand to hammer it in goal.

The first chants of ‘he scores when he wants, he scores when he wants, Lukas Podolski, he score when he wants’ came out of the Gooner corner. At half time we discovered that Arsène Wenger was amongst the Arsenal supporters incognito. Much to the amusement of the travelling Gooners.

A new team on in the second half and but not much changed on the playing field. Arsenal well in control and Podolski looking sharp and eager  to score a few more goals. But it was Gervinho who made the 4th goal. He worked his way passed a few defenders and then pretended to cross the ball and when the keeper made a step he shot it in the short corner. In das kurze ecke as the Germans would say. Good finish.

The German side came close with a shot from distance that came off the cross bar. Arsenal came close on a few occasions but the real drive to go forward was not there anymore. Podolski then left the field and received a standing ovation from the whole stadium. Van Persie entered. A few cows were heard in the stands. Stupid cows I would say. There will be one person in Manchester very happy with the noise those stupid cows made… It will have sounded like music in his ears.  Do you really want to boo him to Manchester?  But some others sang his name but it never is a pleasant sound to hear fans booing their own players.  And certainly when some stupid cows booed when he missed a control and a pass. Yeah that sure does help the team, doesn’t it?

It somehow threw a shadow over a good afternoon. I have seen very promising things from our new signings, all of them. Carzorla looks a great player (not in height) with great vision and control and he was everywhere on the field.  Giroud was a bit unlucky and could and will score a few goals this season. Being in the right position is just the first step for any central striker at Arsenal.  Once the first goes in the rest will follow. And the home town boy Podolski did what I knew he would do: work his socks off and score a few goals.

If you want to know how fans react when a player leaves the club and goes to another country this was a great example. Lots of home fans had shirts on saying: “Do blievs in uns’rem Hätz: Danke Lukas!”  And I will translate this as it is written in the local dialect from Cologne: “You will stay in our hearts, Danke Lukas”. A real classy goodbye from his home fans for their local hero.  And when he came out for a final salute at the end of the game, he went to where the diehard home fans stand in the stadium and like a maestro he orchestrated their movements.  A warm farewell from his home supporters. And that while Van Persie (and Chamakh) where watching and doing some extra runs as their game time was rather short.

Did you see that Robin? That is what happens to real legends at a club. Will you end up like Lukas or… The choice is yours.

Untold Arsenal

 Ordinary is Pointless

 

45 comments to Köln:The untold game, food and parking report; How to say goodbye to a hero

  • It was also a joy to hear the commentary on Arsenal TV – with that fellow in the studio whose name I have now forgotten but who played seven times for Arsenal…

    He was so ENTHUSIASTIC. He could have been born into Untold.

    I have to admit I normally watch on TV if a game is on TV and on line with Arsenal simply because my laptop screen is not very good, and of course in the past we had that Robson doing his rampant negativity.

    Now Arsenal TV is well worth it. Farewell ESPN.

  • Another Fan

    Never approved of fans booing their own players while they where on the pitch reprisenting The Arsenal. But I must say that RvP has not been totally honest and it should come at a no surprise to him that fans are not happy.

    If, and it’s a big if, he is sold we need to invest that money straight away in a new stryker. managers own words that Podolsky and Giraud where not replacements for RvP but there to strengthen the squad.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Didn’t get to watch the game but hoping to catch a repeat later tonight.Hope this win spurs on the team to a good start next weekend.
    Up the Gunners !

  • naked goon

    Well, the corner routine was certainly a new one for this team, but think back to, Merson with the corner, Bould at the nearpost with the flick-on and Smith/ Wright/ Adams with the finish, ahhh!..takes me back. good to see.

  • Stevie E

    Walt
    Re. the bratwurst, could you just ask the vendor for an extra piece of bread, snap your bratwurst in half, and just have 2 hotdogs? Anyhoo, good result yesterday, missed most of the game cos I thought ko was 5.30 but all reports are positive. Can’t wait for the season to start, with or without certain players

  • Did you enjoy that bratwurst? LOL It kept slipping out.

  • Tristan

    The best bit of this article was the constructive criticism of the bratwurst..

    I have to say by the end of the first half, I was thinking, ‘this side is going to be great, we’ll be right up there..’ Some of the interchanges in midfield between AOC, Coqelin and Cazorla were right out the barcelona to be honest.. Walcott played like like an elder statesman (I was very impressed, he’ll be starting many games this season I believe).. Giroud looked very dangerous, he had 4 or 5 opportunities and all were on target, just quite unlucky.. Podolski looked clinical. It all bodes well. We now have a mix of players in their prime, and younger players who will be great cover. I’d actually say we’re second favourite for the title behind city.

    And anyone who disagrees, stop moaning and think about it this way:

    Last season we started horrendously due to the cesc and nasri departures close to the end of the transfer window. When we got in our stride we were for form right up there, finishing eventually 3rd. Now we have many young players a year older and wiser, as well as 3 world class additions to our squad. I think we’ll do very well this season. And that’s not optimism, THAT’S LOGIC.

  • Our new signings were a delight to watch yesterday. I wish arsenal an injury free and lucky season

  • Gunner89

    Tony ,

    I think you were referring to Stephen Hughes, RVP looked like he didn’t want to be their, his body language was all over the place and his play was sloppy to say the least, Chamakh well he’s is Chamakh nuff said. The first goal reminiscent of the 90’s spot on Naked Goon

  • nicky

    Apart from showing Ferguson that Van Persie is still alive and ready to be bought, I could not see the point of his appearance on Sunday.
    It must be clear to all but the doziest that when Utd pull their communal finger out and cough up the asking fee, RVP will be on his way.
    There is neither rhyme or reason why we should hold on to the guy. He cast his die some months ago and nothing has changed since then. Arsenal are moving on at a rapid pace and new tactics and game plans cannot be halted or even diverted because of his presence.

  • The font

    Excellent post

  • joe

    The bread on a bratwurst is just like giving you an edible napkin 🙂 It protects your fingers from the hot and grease and after you can still eat it!

    Finnish ice cream vans sell ‘makara’ in the same way but you get a small pot of mustard/ketchup to dip into. Unlike the Finns to be a leading force in anything by as you describe your bratwurst then our funny Finnish brothers (and sisters) most certainly rule on the hot, meaty, phalic shaped snack front.

  • Shard

    Thanks for the report Walter. I was wondering what you’d make of Van Persie’s performance. My stream kept jumping so I couldn’t make out. Some reports say he did ok. Others said he didn’t look interested at all.

    About the booing. As far as I could hear, it wasn’t when he first touched the ball. It was a little later, and only for one specific instant. Don’t know what brought that on. It was funny but the Arsenal commentary team tried to cover it up by saying the German fans are booing Van Persie (since he’s Dutch). I don’t believe that of course.

    Speaking of funny, but I just read Le Grove (I know I know) but THEY are criticising booing Van Persie, and say that’ll cause him to leave. Who would have thought..Le Grove actually agreeing in principle with what UA has been saying all along. Were the Mayans right about the world ending?

  • colario

    It can never be right to boo an Arsenal player when on the pitch. He represents us. To boo him, means we boo ourselves.
    We may not be happy with Robin off the pitch but on the pitch Robin has always given 100% when on the pitch this is a second reason and more personal reason for it being wrong to boo him. I note that he was doing extra runs after the match

  • Barndoor Bendtner

    There are times when you can boo, but the guy is just trying to fish for his last big contract, wherever he ends up.
    Its in everybody’s interest to play him if he’s fit and support him.
    I know we all feel he owes AFC some loyalty, if only to pay back the medical bills, but its business and only the ££££s speak. I’ll always have a warm feeling when I see that goal at Charlton many moons ago.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Shard, you of all people… 😉 😉
    About Van Persie I think he had … a first game hangover. Or a first 20 minutes hangover in fact as he only played 20 minutes.
    Van Persie has always been a slow starter of the season, on his come back, …. he needs games to get in the rhythm. I just thought he was trying to play his game like he always does.
    And if you would analyse his game a bit you would notice that he loses the ball a lot because he tries to make things happen and it doesn’t work all the time. It didn’t work yesterday. Only games will bring that back.
    Will he get games? I must say I was impressed with the new boys and I really think that once Giroud gets a goal and gets game time he will score lots of goals. The same goes for Podolski. And if Theo gets his runs started on time he will get lots of assists from Cazorla who has the eye for the ball over the defence.
    About body language of RVP. I once wrote an article about body language and got criticized for it. 😉 What did I know. 😉 But here we go. It was the body language for me of a person who has realized that he has done something stupid. He tried not to show that too much but you could see that there was a weight on his shoulders. The weight of a wrong statement. A man in doubt. I really wonder if the boos from the cowboys will have been decisive. Or will he have been persuaded by the Robin Van Persie chants that also were sung by the Gooners?

  • WalterBroeckx

    If I may bring up one negative point: Arteta didn’t play but he was running before the game with a physical coach. So I think it will just be a minor muscular injury I think and hope.
    Back to positive! Just think of it that we can add to the boys from yesterday in a few weeks/months: Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, Wilshere. My god that is a midfield that would make most PL managers drool all over it…

  • Droid

    Booing is bad…. but patronizing is not apparently!

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Walter, thanks for the report.

    I watched the game live.

    I thought Giroud was very, very sharp even though he didn’t score.He got his shots out fast from dangerous area. The shots were also mostly accurate – forcing the goalkeeper to make good saves in order to keep his balls from the net and the scores down.

    I was disappointed he didn’t get a debut goal as his game deserved one. On the other hand I felt it was a good omen he didn’t. Gervinho did last season; see where it all went thereafter. Better if Giroud’s luck is being reserved for the enitre season.

    Yes, I was also excited with Podlsky and Carzola’s games. as I was with Diaby and, certainly, Walcot has moved up a notch. To think Arteta was on bench and unused!!

    If van Persie stays voluntarily or to complete his contract, it will be great for the team but if he leaves, fans have no business moaning – even before we see what Wenger does with the money we get for selling him.

  • ARSENAL 13

    reports of RVP promised me he will play 45 mins as quoted by Van Gaal was every where.

    Mr Wenger showed the stupid dutchman who the boss is.

    BUT overall positive signs….

  • Shakabula Gooner

    After the match, the press reported that on van Persie, Wenger said:

    “Our fans want him to stay so you can understand they are excited. Anything I could say about Van Persie would be a lie because he’s our player and that’s it. Robin scored 30 goals last season and you want to keep your best player.

    He was player of the year in England. We want to keep him. I cannot tell you more at the moment because I don’t know more.”

    It seemed like Wenger giving justification as to why his valuation to ManU will not be a penny less than £25million and why an ambitious club that Van Persie thinks we are not will prefer that he plays out his current contract if he will not be signing a new contract with us.

    Very much a win-win to me.

  • Shard

    Walter,
    It seems the press reporting, and the boos we heard, aren’t reflective of many. RVP even walked to the crowd and gave his shirt away, and was cheered and applauded by many.

    http://www.101greatgoals.com/blog/booing-robin-van-persie-eye-witness-videos-show-arsenal-fans-cheering-their-dutch-striker/?

  • bob

    Tony
    The enthusiastic Arsenal TV studio guy is Adrian Clarke, who played 7 games for AFC in the early 90s, some on loan. He’s smart and enthusiastic, and it’s real because last season he was critical (constructively) at appropriate times. Really refreshing and, one hopes, could be a viable replacement for SR.

  • bob

    Walter, All,
    One reason RVP was played (classy by AW), and I’d wager why he got in more running after the match, is because he needs to have played to get into shape enough to satisfy the Dutch national coach as a criteria to be chosen for an upcoming friendly. That coach said so in yesterday’s press, that he usually will not pick a player who is not playing or near match fitness, but as long as he played in this match he’d be satisfied (as he needs RVP, he said). Another press report said that RVP was then headed straight away by car for a shortish trip to the Dutch training area.

    I agree with your take on RVP’s body language (and heavy growth of beard). Not a clear rejection of AFC and immediately on the way out; but of a stressed guy who’s in or placed himself in a tormented position and is not doing well mentally under the circumstances. From the Arsenal TV broadcast, he seemed to do Ok, not sharp but did play with some (not max) conviction in the last 20 minutes.

    The naughty media/press is trying hard to portray a big rift between him and the away fans at the stadium. Many of them really want to see him go to United. I’m truly surprised and shocked by this, of course. 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    Interesting Shard,
    I noticed RVP and Chamakh doing extra runs after the game. But then went out in search of our Bratwurst. But we heard some extra ‘noise’ when leaving the stadium and that must have been it.

  • bob

    Shard,
    Thanks for that link. The 101 Goals blog calls out the English press for making the exclusive story the booing of RVP by our away fans. To quote 101 Goals:
    “Amateur footage taken by YouTuber RozpedAFC captured the moment Van Persie came off the bench in Cologne. Whilst there were some negative sounding noises in the background, far more prominent was a chorus of chants supporting the Dutchman as he entered the action.
    “Fast forwarding to the end of the match, RozpedAFC recorded a second video showing fans showering Robin van Persie in further song. At the full-time whistle, RVP threw his shirt and captain’s armband into the supporters section, and the striker was again given a far from hostile reception.”

    Here’s a further link to the RozpedAFC visuals of the crowd: http://www.youtube.com/user/RozpedAFC?feature=watch

  • bob

    p.s.
    The 3rd (last) of the three links show RVP tossing the shirt/armband into the supporters section after the match”
    http://www.youtube.com/user/RozpedAFC?feature=watch

  • Ong Bing

    Very good report Walter, thanks.

    One thing make me happy, Gerv is back. In Asia tour he also did well. So really hope he can scores 10-15 in EPL this season.

    Ox has problem, I hope only minor.

    Hope we have good start this season. We really need it.

    Damn, the fixtures is crazy:

    – week 2, away to Stoke
    – week 3, away to Pool
    – week 5, away to MCity
    – week 6, Chel$ki at home
    – week 10, away to MU
    – week 11, Fulham at home
    – week 12, Spud at home

    I still don’t know when CL game will play.

  • Going GoingGooner

    Professional footballers play in a bit of a bubble. The ones that have been around a bit tend to choose the level of interaction they have with the supporters. Of more importance is their relationship with the coaches and other players. I have a feeling that the other players do not take RvPs bargaining stance personally because they see that they could be in that position vis-a-vis the club (or any other future club). As for Wenger, he is not new at the player bargaining thingo and I would be very surprised if he took these things personally.

  • bob

    Going GoingGooner,
    How can anyone not take personally the loss (taking, tapping up, revolt) of players – Cesc, RVP, maybeSong – that you’ve spotted early on and developed to world class standing? Especially when these three (and potentially others, you’re right) are being represented by the very agent/advisor who makes his meal by serially asset-stripping his father’s former team of these three world class players? In June, Arsene used the word “destroy” when referring what others had been doing to his work. Do you think that word is without personal roots? No one is without feeling, as you well can appreciate. So perhaps consider feeling surprised that he might take these personally, even as he shows the capacity to act professionally in spite of them. Surely, when he writes those memoirs, you’ll be seeking the personal side of the story that we only have partial glimpses of.

  • FinnGooner

    Great report Walter but when will I learn to go and get some bratwurst before reading report from German match (I really want some now like last year).

    @Joe Makkara (sausage) is great after night in bars/nightclubs (or well always) Finnish national food (one brand was once awarded as “vegetable of the year”). Now I’m really hungry and need to go to buy some bratwurst (or other sausage).

    @Tony I love Adrian Clarke because he really shows that he loves Arsenal and I don’t think i have ever heard him slag off a player (when he critize a player he explains why and it’s constructive as Bob said). Stephen Hughes is great commentator too. I always listen the commentating from Arsenal player no matter if i’m watching match on TV or streaming. Hopefully one of them will be doing highligts commentating next season (not SR).

    I can’t wait for season to start. I’m sure we will be higher on table by May 2013 than we were on May 2012.

  • Matt Clarke

    Walter,
    I think that AFC can provide the solution.
    You have to mix a bit of French with a bit of German – so for the Bratwurst dilemma it’s simple:
    buy a baguette!

  • Mahdain

    its Chris Foy for us vs sunderland

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    We’ll never know if Sneijder was something United dangled in front of the fans but where RvP is concerned it looks like it’s going to bite them in the arse this time.
    Two things I expect:
    RvP to still be an Arsenal player come deadline day (interest in him has cooled since Arsene decided we aren’t a selling club anymore).
    A press conference where SAF attacks both Arsenal and RvP for being unwilling to negotiate.

    If we were a less noble spirited club, I’d be in favour of us putting in a semi-serious bid for Rooney (say £15 million – a fair price if he weren’t England’s Great White Hope…) and then watching the fallout.

  • Ong Bing

    Now is not strikers era, in 433 formation, only need 1 middle striker.

    Barca only has Villa (and Messi), they played without central striker like Spain in Euro when Villa injured.

    Madrid only has Benzema and Higuain.

    So now midfielder has more bargain, specially when they can play in few position like Santi and Ox. Besides played in left and right wing, Santi and Ox can play behind striker, Theo and Gerv can’t do that.

    Again, Robin choose the wrong moment.

  • bob

    Woolwich,
    Yes!, exactly. I’d wish that Arsene would wind up Lord Self-Entitlement while lodging a bid for Vidic or Chicharito and watch the fallout as you say. I think Rooney would be too pricey because he’d have lost his ref-protected status and surely that’s worth a bushel of points too many for Don Fungus to give up.

  • nicky

    I’m surprised so little has been said of late about our hero Arsene becoming a “specky”. Both during the Asian tour and in Cologne, he looked very distinguished as, armed with his small piece of yellow cloth, he took his seat on the bench.
    My Gran (who cleans at the Ems) tells me that now he’s 60, she persuaded him to go to Specsavers to enable him to get a second pair free.
    These are rose-tinted to wear when his boys accidentally slip on ropey pitches, brush against the opposition and the ref gives a foul.
    (Hope Dame Mary gives me a third free pair after all this free publicity).

  • merkin

    bob, don’t bid for Chicharito, Fregie would probably call your bluff and let you have him. I think that the bloom is off that rose, one of the reasons that they are trying to so hard to get RVP.

    I was suitably impressed with the match against FC Köln, even if it was the second string of a midtable Bundeslige 2 team. I can’t wait until the season starts this weekend.

    The Guardian picked us to finish fourth after losing the one man off of our one man team. I fancy us finishing much higher after going back to being an eleven man team.

  • merkin

    I lived for four years in Köln, a very delightful city in which to live. No local would ever call the stadium anything but Müngersdorfer Stadion, named after the western suburb in which it is located. It was built on the site of the western fortifications protecting the city that they had to tear down after the first world war. But it is a very nice stadium, a very English style stadium. They still even have terraces, so you can say that it is more English than the English stadiums.

    They stadium wasn’t full for two reasons, some people boycotted the match because of bitterness toward Podolski. Also the ticket prices were quite high for the German fans, the top ticket was 40€. They don’t know how lucky they are.

  • bob

    Merkin,
    Yeah, I see your point about Chicharito not cutting it. He looked the business for a while, then I lost track of him. You’re right, RVP is needed even more so as a result.

    As for the Manchester Guardian football department picking us fourth, well there’s so little analysis of our changed prospects – and, as you suggest, it’s all based on our losing RVP and how we’ll be unable to compete at the top in his wake.

    One thing that did surprise me was that both Hytner and Amy Lawrence wrote/said respectively that well maybe Wenger deserved a bit more credit than he received for finishing 3rd. They did. Not that I’d blow a trumpet for either of them now, being too little too late and covering their asses by stating the obvious after having contributed their damage last year at this time (especially Hytner who was rabid, while Amy did nothing to defend us) to Arsene’s and Arsenal’s future prospect.

  • bob

    Merkin,
    Was a large section of the Koln fanbase calling Podolski a traitor in the same/a silmilar way that Gooners are calling RVP a traitor?

  • novicegooner

    Santi has impressed me the most in the game. He fills that missing creative link behind the main striker while at the same time keeps the ball moving. I’d say, offensively, Santi is better than Mikel.

  • goonermichael

    The boos were from English gooners. Behind me were a lot of German and some Scandinavian gooners. They were cheering Robin

  • bob

    goonermichael,
    Yeah, and who proved to be right?