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Dortmund – Arsenal: the German view on Arsenal and Wenger

By Walter Broeckx

As this game was played in Germany and those of us living in Belgium have the major German TV stations in our basic media package it was very interesting to have the view of German football pundits concerning Arsenal, the game and of course Mr Wenger.

First of all the club. I think people in Germany see Arsenal as the best run club in England. People in Germany respect Arsenal for what they have achieved over the last 8 years. Unlike pundits in England who cannot repeat the 8 year mantra enough, this is not an issue at all in Germany. People in general respect the fact that Arsenal has build a completely new stadium where everyone can have an perfect view on the pitch. And more they totally admire the fact that Arsenal paid this stadium with their own money.

The fact that Arsenal is running at a profit is also something that people in Germany like. It is the way they think that football clubs should operate. Arsenal would be a perfect team that could operate in the Bundesliga and be in line with their financial fair play rules. That is what is important for  them.

And the fact that Arsenal has a growing German influence is something that makes them feel proud.  They consider Arsenal London (as they usually call us with the addition “London”) as a club that with the bigger German influence is helping to develop the German players. In particular before the game they couldn’t hide their pride about the fact that the 3 Germans won the land a plane contest against the English players.  They adore their players very much and are extremely proud about the fact how players like Per, Podolski and Özil have made an impact at Arsenal.

About the game I listened to the match commentator and the talk after the game. And the general feeling was that Arsenal did what Dortmund did to Arsenal 14 days ago. In that game they felt that Arsenal was on top for a long period in the game but couldn’t put that advantage on the score sheet.  And this time when Dortmund came racing out at the start of the second half it was this time Arsenal that caught them and scored a goal. Just like Dortmund did it at the Emirates.

They said that Arsenal soaked up the pressure, were very focussed and strong in their defensive work (praising Per most of course) and were waiting for Dortmund to make a mistake, to get tired and then punish us. A very mature performance one could say. And maybe that is what it was.

They didn’t make a big fuss about the penalty shouts in favour of Dortmund. Both correctly handled by the ref.  Arteta made no foul at all and Per was having his hand on Lewandowski but didn’t pull him back. So no fouls, no penalties was the conclusion.

Immediately after the game they interviewed a Dortmund player and he couldn’t understand the questions as us Gooners were singing too loud. Sorry, gentleman of the TV but well we were a bit happy at the time.  They also interviewed Per and he was glowing with pride. I think the Germans at Arsenal know even better what a great win this was for Arsenal. Dortmund at home is a game most teams fear and I remember Werder Bremen with Mertesacker (I think) getting a big defeat around their ears a few years ago.  So now being the winner of this game was very meaning full and important for our Germans in the team.

Arsenal getting their revenge for their not fully deserved loss 14 days ago was the verdict about the game.

Let us move on to Wenger. We all have heard the friendly words from Klopp about Wenger. Or should I say Sir Wenger?

Before the game the German TV showed an interview he gave to them in the stadium before the match. And it was amazing to hear how fluent Wenger speaks German. I am familiar with English, French and German and know something of  how accents sound when one speaks one of them speaks another language. And my god if anyone watched that interview he would have had no doubt that Wenger was a German manager.

No foreign accent that I heard. The questions in German and the answers came out in fluent German apart from the normal Wenger hesitance to not say it all. And when the interview was finished the host of the game mentioned what an amazing chap Wenger is for giving an interview in such fluent German.

You could feel the way they hold him in high regards. Not just for his managerial status and competences but for the way he behaves himself in the world of football. And the more German players he has under his guidance the more his good name and fame is being spread in Germany.

You could feel the respect from all in Germany not just for Arsenal as a club. But most certainly also for the fact that this club has a manager like Wenger.

Of course for some this will be no reason to change their opinion on Wenger. After all….what do football experts, other managers and football pundits know about football and Wenger. Because  our Wenger-haters know much better than all of them.

Of course if you look at the level of success German football has known over the years why should we believe and  trust those Germans? Well I do believe them a bit more than the ordinary Wenger-Out fan from Arsenal.

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33 comments to Dortmund – Arsenal: the German view on Arsenal and Wenger

  • Spottheerror

    Arsene Wenger comes from an area of France which is very close to the German border and which, in fact, has been part of Germany in recent history. I believe I am correct in saying that his father was called up for the German Army in WW1. It is likely that both languages are fairly extensively used.

  • Forny

    @Spottheerror Source?

  • Walter wrote:

    “Of course if you look at the level of success German football has known over the years why should we believe and trust those Germans? Well I do believe them a bit more than the ordinary Wenger-Out fan from Arsenal.”

    I see your hesitance to say: “Well I do believe them a bit more than the pundits from a country that hasn’t won anything since 1966”

    Well, I am not as civil or diplomatic as you, so I just said it! You see English pundits ramble on about lack of trophies in X years like their country ever wins anything. Since 1996, England has won nada, zilch, nothing. Not Euro cup, youth cup of any kind or even any female international competition of any kind.

    It’s ridiculous hearing this nation of perpetual losers in international football talk like winning is everything. it is particularly irritating when they insult a man like Arsene Wenger, whose achievement most of them can only dream of.

    The Germans know quality because they have quality. The English? Not so much.

  • Damn, that should be since 1966 and not 1996. Of course the Germans won the Euro cup in 1996 on English soil 🙂

  • Mick

    Great article Walter. It is indeed gratifying that our club and manager are held in such high regard in Germany and other countries. If only it were so in the UK.
    I am ashamed that so few people in Uk give Arsene Wenger the respect and credit he deserves for his achievements in football, and I commend him for the dignity he displays in the face of so much criticism from the media and many others. He is a true gentleman and matches in every way the qualities and values that Arsenal FC expect of their manager.

  • colario

    Spottheerror

    From wiki
    The historical language of Alsace is Alsatian, a Germanic (mainly Alemannic) dialect spoken in Lorraine and across the Rhine, but today all Alsatians speak French, the official language of France. 23% of the adult population, and 3% of children (3–17 years old), stated in 2012 that they speak Alsatian.[5][6]

    I believe Arsene speaks the local Alsatian. I would be surprised if he didn’t. He is of course fluent in French and German and Spanish and of course English. His English is now such that he often speaks it in an England culture context. This means you have to watch out for he is liable to knowingly say one thing and mean something else. This is in contrast to a learner who will say something and not know they have said something else.

    He claims a working understanding of Japanese, but may be he is being modest on that one! 🙂

  • nicky

    “A football manager is not without honour save in the country in which he manages”.

  • people respect him because he is intelligent, articulte and knows his football. people blaim Wenger for the last 8 years or so, but i believe his done great job with his hands tied. this year he seems to have added the best defence in 10 years’bouldy’s influence maybe’ and grounding out results. ithink. this is the first time Wenger has ever done this since he has been at thr Arsenal

  • para

    Arsene Wenger is respected most places except England. After all, he is a very respectful person himself, and i really feared for him when he used to give English interviews before he understood the way English can be used, especially when the reporters baited you, but he has now also mastered that, and does sometimes turn it around on the reporters too.
    In time they will all respect him fully, not just because of what he has done, but also because of how he is as a person.
    A genuine person many of us can look up to.
    //
    On the match Sunday. i hope Rooney is kept in check by the refs, as he can become very angry when losing and i really do not want him to damage any of our players, as he tends to do some horrendous tackles, barging in like a battering ram. I have seen so many tackles by him that should have been carded, but weren’t, any other player would have been sent off many times.

  • colario

    Walter.

    Thanks for this Walter. I have seen a video of Arsene where he says that he used to watch Munchengladbac as they were the nearest team to him. As I write this so my memory is telling me we played Munchen shortly after Arsene arrived. I must check that out. It would have been interesting for Arsene.

    It would also be similar to Glen coming to Highbury as manager of spuds and later manager of England. Emotional moments for Arsene I would think.

    Back to your blog. The whole of the English football world should read your report. It might not convince them they are wrong about Arsene but you never know.

    As a fan you want the best for your club. From the day Arsene started to direct (from Japan)and then manage Arsenal we have not had the best manager possible but the greatest manager possible.

  • Manuch

    Brilliant article,
    Those of us who love this club and its manager regardless of recent lack of trophies, recognise and can identify with this view from outside.
    Driving back yesterday I was listening to TalkSport and the presenter (Adrian something) was so dismissive about what Arsenal has achieved so far this year that was bordering on sheer nastiness. To prove his point, he went as far as saying that Dortmund did not have a successful season last year because they ultimately lost the Final to Bayern. Wining is everything and the only thing. Context does not matter. The end justifes the means so spending a billion and buying trophies is on par with actually running a successful club.
    It’s great to hear that German sports media has a different set of values and it does explain their success on the field.

  • Alex

    Arsene speaks French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and some Japanese. His village does not speak German, but it is close to the German border, so he travelled to Germany often as a schoolbuy and started to learn German seriously when he was very young. Hense no accent. If you want to know more – find a YouTube video “Arsene Wenger on Languages” or something like it – his lecture for kids in an English school. You will see what an amazing person he is.

  • BILL FROM MANHATTAN

    Bootoomee, Great analysis about England. Your country has won absolutely nothing in damn near fifty years and the English pundits and newspapers are gonna talk about our club’s eight year barren spell. They should get off their high horse and clean up their own filthy backyard before starting on our backyard. The heights of sanctimony. They are nothing but fucking hypocrites. The past World Cup I was at my soccer bar watching the matches, Lots of expat English and Americans in the house. I found it hilarious to see both sets of supporters arguing about which team was the better one. The main thought in my head was that they both were looking at the football world thru rose-colored glasses. One country a never-was and the other a has-been. When I said England is no longer a world power in football, The expat English took me to task. They told me it is their game, That they invented it. Wake the fuck up, It is the world’s game. The last time I checked, You motherfuckers don’t hold the patent on it.

  • kaius

    You’re right Colario, we did play ‘gladbach soon after he arrived and that ol’ midfield general Stefan Effenberg played for them and had a great couple of games just before he signed for Bayern (i also hope my memory is reliable!).

  • BILL FROM MANHATTAN

    Bootoomee, I wrongly assumed because you reside in England that you consider yourself English. I meant no slight against your Homeland, I was pontificating about English media and about certain shortsighted supporters of English football.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @kaius

    Off topic but wasn’t Effenberg a bit of a nutter?

  • Bill from Manhattan,

    You are half right. I reside in England but I am not English. I like the country very much and I respect most of her institutions but I hate England when it comes to football. Their arrogance and condescension can be maddening, especially in context of their perpetual failures at EVERY stage and in every FORMAT of international football.

    You are absolutely correct “about certain shortsighted supporters of English football”.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    A very interesting piece by Patrick Barclay on the origins of the modern game, written to celebrate 150 years of modern soccer. English fans are not too pleased with it…..

    http://tinyurl.com/lnbq32z

    Jimmy Hogan, son of Irish immigrants started the more technical approach to football in Hungary. The English didn’t like him much either

    http://tinyurl.com/pqqhkyh

  • soglorious

    @ Botoomee, only people who has tasted victory knows how hard it is to be achieved and thus, hardly will U hear them pulling others who could not down. But the reverse is the case for hypocrites. If wishes were horses, I would love to name the stadium after Arsene Wenger after he has gone( after the next 10years).

  • AL

    Another interesting read Walter. Arsene really is the true gentleman; does not swear, doesn’t chew gum with his mouth open through an interview live on telly, does not rant at referees, does not hold any player against their will if they want to leave, never walked away from a contract, never resorts to dirty tactics despite him being at the end of such almost always, never bullies or ban anyone from the media or dodge any question from the press, I could go on and on…. but sure you all get the point.

    Yesterday I copied and pasted on here a post from the Sky news website, from a Southampton fan who was wishing us and Arsene some silverware this season. They said we deserve it, and added Arsene was undoubtedly one of the best managers who is respected the world over but massively unappreciated ONLY in England. They went on to say all the big clubs in the world have offered him a job at one point or another, but unlike most managers who would have jumped at the chance, he refused to leave Arsenal, to soldier on against all adversity, doing what is right, the right way. It touched me, coz here we had a fan from another club who clearly values our manager very highly while some so and so’s seem to be unable to wait to direct unwarranted abuse at Arsene at every opportunity they get. Because Arsene doesn’t give back any of the abuse he gets, everyone thinks its open season with regards to abusing him. Any tosser wanting to get a bit of mileage in the press thinks by having a go at Arsene they will rightfully claim/reclaim their spot in the limelight. And they do. All because of the stupid media and their equally moronic fans. I do take it personal when it comes to any attacks against Arsene because to me he represents the values I want and wish for in life; honesty, dignity, and unquestionable integrity.

    I have always believed the reason Arsene and Arsenal are hated by almost all rival fans across the country is because of the way they conduct themselves; doing what is right, the right way, with class & dignity. Unfortunately most rival fans can’t identify with that, and as a result it turns into jealousy and them wishing for the demise of our club. They want a manager who is like them, who is one of them, who thinks like them. They don’t like that Arsene is articulate and speaks 5 languages, and is well-versed on almost any subject. No, they’d rather have a foul-mouthed, unscrupulous, classless dimwit for a manager. That is why mourinho is revered in England as if he is God-sent. Madrid are the team that command most positive reporting in Spain(just like utd here), and mourinho could’ve had them eating from his hand but the Spanish press never took him to their hearts. They saw him for what he really is, a fake. The same thing happened in Italy, they saw through all his acts that he was nothing but a clown at best. Only in England are his foolish and classless antics cheered and applauded. He has split dressing rooms & fans (pro & rival, alike) wherever he went, but the English press still thinks very highly of him. Mourinho could do the most outrageous thing you could think of tomorrow but the English media will still find a way of making it look normal & acceptable. But if Wenger just did something as simple as stating how he has belief in his team or such and such a player, that is twisted, scrutinized and goodness knows whatever else to make it look ridiculous, crazy & laughable. Wenger has done more than any other foreign or English manager to improve the game in England, has brought some of the best players the premiership will ever see, but they never stop trying to make a fool out of him. If he was such a rubbish manager, why then is he respected the world over? Its not a secret that while they keep repeating the 8 years without a trophy mantra over and over, Wenger has the ability to walk into almost any football manager’s job in the world right now. England will appreciate Wenger when he is long gone from the scene. It’s just a pity there isn’t many smart enough to see it right now. Rant over.

  • Soglorious,

    Congrats on today’s victory. World champions for the record 4th time. Enjoy!

  • OMGArsenal

    I lived and worked in Germany (Stuttgart) and also officiated there and so I understand what Walter is pointing out. The entire view about Football in Germany is diametrically different from the UK:

    1)It is promoted as part of a bigger sports effort both at the local, provincial and federal level. Almost everyone belongs to a sportsverein (athletic & sport club) and even the officials have to belong to one.The SV offers every athletic activity and a few social ones as well. Normally they don’t officiate games from their parent sportsverein.

    2)The Clubs must be financially sound and at least break even each year but almost all have one corporate sponsor, ie: Bayern (pharmaceuticals), Stuttgart (Mercedes & Opel), etc.

    3)German organization and discipline are present in every football activity, from the youngest to the oldest groups. As well, their coaching,managerial and referee development programs are fantastically structured and very educationally oriented. For example, as a referee, I was obliged to attend a monthly meeting of the Stuttgart officials where a Bundesliga official, who was also an administrator of the association, would review the BL games of the past month.

    4)Their admiration for Wenger and Arsenal are boundless. Stuttgart VFB had quite a few dealings with Arsenal (Lehmann, Hleb, etc.). They consider AAA types as being mentally handicapped about Football and can’t understand criticizing and booing your own team.

    When German media and football pundits compliment Wenger,they are offering the highest praise as they generally refrain from such activities when talking about foreign Football. Wenger’s father was forced to serve in the Wehrmacht during the 2nd WW. Wenger grew up speaking Alsatian, French and German and is equally at ease in all three.I have heard him speak German on German TV as well and he is perfectly fluent….just like in French.

  • Mandy Dodd

    The Germans are one of the great footballing nations, that they are AKBs and appreciate wenger so much means a lot, great to have a few of their finest in our team as well

  • burtsagooner

    I’ve said it a thousand times over. When sir wenger eventually finishes as manager, and only then will people (in england) fully realise the complete and utter football genius he is.
    Like others I’ve wobbled over the last few seasons with my complete belief in the grand plan, but never really believed another manager was the answer.
    Arsene eats, sleeps, drinks and craps football!
    He is unparalleled in bringing on youngsters, improving older players and getting the best from average ones.
    He has bought duds but who hasn’t?
    For me hes the most humble, polite, courteous and above all best manager ive known in my 35 years, so I side with z’germans on this (sorry english media scum!)

    I’ve waited patiently for the good times again, and its comforting to know that even if the trophys don’t arrive this season, I’ll have allies just over the border from me here in holland. But they will.

  • nicky

    @soglorious,
    The re-naming of the Emirates in honour of Arsene Wenger would be a just tribute. Unfortunately it will never happen. Professional football is now big business and the accountants in their dark grey suits would never allow such a financial nil return.

  • rantetta

    Superb article, Walter.

    Hear, hear, AL@12.24

    Spot on, OMG@1.50

    Arsene Wenger on Languages:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSWnNRrtfw0

  • Pat

    @rantetta

    Just watched Arsene Wenger on Languages via your link.

    What a great little lecture! Thanks for that , rantetta, it’s set me up for the day!

  • Gooner S

    Nice post.

    This is good to read but for most people that read UA (me included) it is preaching to the converted.

    Interesting that Germany refers to us as Arsenal London. I like that. I would like us to add Royal back into our name. That would be cool ‘Royal Arsenal’ and my word would it p**s most fans off especially Tottenham fans – they still struggle with a Tube station being called Arsenal just imagine 🙂

    To some degree I have to disagree with @bootomee – you don’t have to come from a country whose national team has won lots of tournaments to appreciate class. You just need to have an open mind to new things and recognise good things when you see them. Some people struggle with that regardless of where they are from. And don’t forget English football dominated the European scene for many years.

  • Gunnfan

    Superb article. Ditto for comments. Bravo Gooners.

  • Gooner S,

    Your premise for disagreement with me is unfair as I never said what you based it on. I agree that “you don’t have to come from a country whose national team has won lots of tournaments to appreciate class” but if your country is a perpetual loser at every stage and format of international football for half a century, you don’t get to lecture others about the importance of winning.

    All major European countries have clubs that have dominated Europe at one time or the other. That is not a biggie.

  • please guys, I read this blog everyday but I dont know the meaning of AAA and AKBs. I love arsene for who is he and what he did to football in General but I dont know why pundit hate he in doing what is right especially in England. Walter, you are a good reporter. Thank you all.

  • Valentin

    The alsatioans language is closer to German than French. Alsatians of Arsene Wenger generation speak both French and German fluently. Before the 1st world war, Alsace was German. Then during the WWII Hitler reattached Alsace to Germany. In some village people older than Wenger only spoke Alsatian.
    Moreover after WWII, France had some soldiers posted in Germany, one of the requirement was to speak German. Anybody doing his military services could be sent there. Nobody really volunteered for those assignments. Alsatians were assumed to speak German so they were more likely to be posted there. Also because of the German connection, most of the infrastructure was between Alsace and Germany and not Alsace and France.The result was that in most Alsace the school mandatory foreign language was German.
    Also culturally Alsace is more Germanic than the rest of France. Money wise, people tends to be much more conservative. None of the usual southern/Latin bling attitude. Discipline both in your personal life and in your work life. Build the foundation. Grow organically. Be self sufficient. No debt or at least only debt for proper investment not lifestyle.

  • Stuart

    Adamuanjugu,
    AKB is the abbreviation of Arsene Knows Best which is used to describe people such as myself who believe Arsene is the right man for the managers job at Arsenal.

    AAA is the abbreviation of Anti-Arsenal Arsenal which is a term used to describe both Arsenal supporters and those who claim to be Arsenal supporters, who seem to have an agenda against the club or portray the club in a negative light.