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July 2021

My first game of the season: Zuruck in die Heimat (Back home)

By Walter Broeckx

One thing that I like about our new pre-season build up is that Wenger has chosen Germany to do the final preparations for the season. A few seasons ago we went mostly to Austria but last season it was in the neighbourhood of Köln and this season they have taken the same place.

And as a result they have also taken on a preparation game against the local team also known as the 1.FC Köln.   On a side note, this happens a lot in German football names where they call a team “First FC Köln” or “First FSV Mainz05  – 1. FSV Mainz05”. As if they expected that a second team would come that would call itself FC Köln. That team then would be name 2.FC Köln maybe? (2nd FC Köln).

Anyway the good thing for me personally about picking Germany and Köln is that  it is rather close to where I live.  And by close I mean less than 2 hours away with my car. Last year I went over there and saw a great Jack Wilshere being the master of the field making sure that Gervinho could score a brace in his first game. Little did we know that it would be his last real  game up to now. From Jack I mean. He was majestic in that game.  I can only hope he will recover.  But don’t rush him Arsène, please don’t rush him.

I also witnessed the freakiest own goals from Jenkinson in that game. We won 1-2. The Gooners present over there were full of hope that Cesc still would be an Arsenal player in September. And Nasri also would stay. Well things didn’t work out that way. Dein’t they. (This is not a typo!) (Glad you told me – Tony)

As a result of a few uncertainties (a wobbly knee that maybe needed some fixing in this period) I didn’t know if I could go this year. But even the knee is still a bit shaky I got confirmation that they will not perform any surgery so I could order my tickets.  And as there still were tickets available I ordered them last week.

And after last year seeing the début from Gervinho I now probably will have the pleasure of seeing the début of Podolski, Giroud and our latest signing Cazorla. Ooh what a lucky man I am.

I know that those games are just what they are called “friendly pre-season games” but it is my first live game of the season and so it means a little bit more to me.  It’s just a two hours drive but still would love to see some good football from the boys and if possible a good result. Not that the result matters but well you know I do like to see them win the game. And as it is the last preparation game before the start of the season it would be a nice feeling to win this game.

Our opponents who were a Bundesliga team last year around this time, couldn’t avoid relegation to the 2nd Bundesliga. I heard some rumours of them being in financial turmoil and that this was one of the reasons they had to sell Podolski.  So we could use the idiom that is known in my language as: someone’s dead, is someone’s bread.  Or their loss is our gain. Lukas Podolski is something of a real cult hero/figure in Köln. Despite his Polish background he is one of the local boys and very much adored by the local fans. Last season it was amazing to see how many Podolski shirts were out there worn by the home supporters.

It will be interesting to see how they react to him in a way. Will they turn against him as he has left them (for a second time)? Or will they wish him the best in this new chapter in his career? Maybe the fact that he went to a real European top club will make it easier for the latter possibility.  I could imagine that seeing him play for Dortmund or Borussia Monchengladbach would make it more difficult.  But as Arsenal is a team that is very much respected in Germany I think they will want their local hero/boy to do well. I guess.  Just imagine the RVP case. And the difference it would make between him going to Juventus or to any other rival team in the PL. Or would we boo him anyhow?

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But let us return to the game we have in front of us. The 2nd Bundesliga has already started (Köln losing their first game btw) last week. So they are in league form but on the other hand we are one week away from our start so we also should be almost ready. So two teams ready to go I would think.

An excellent chance to give the new signings a first run out against a decent opponent and maybe a rather difficult opponent. German teams are never easy to beat and they will run and try to play their game and make it as difficult as possible. I think we will see almost 2 different teams play unless Wenger really wants to see how a team does for more than 45 minutes and wants to move on to a somewhat strongest starting eleven and let them play for 60 minutes or so.

It will be interesting to see. That is if Arsenal will send me the tickets in time of course.  Writing this on Wednesday I still haven’t got my tickets. Despite my mail saying they will send it to my home address. That is the only obstacle between feeling very excited and the ‘will they arrive on time”-feeling that still throws a shadow.

But if all goes right and why shouldn’t it go right, I will be on my way to Köln next Sunday. On my way for my first game of the season.  And that is always a great feeling. If you go to Köln next Sunday and you see me, just say hello and if possible we will have a drink, eat a bratwurst, and look forward to the new season together.

PS: Yes Tony, of course I will write a game report, a food report and a parking report. Not sure about that last one…

[Oh come on Walter – we agreed – a parking report is the key essential to an Untold match review.  What will our loyal readers think if we start letting the standards drop? – Tony]

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15 comments to My first game of the season: Zuruck in die Heimat (Back home)

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    About the 1.FC Koln thing, I think this is a German tradition where the ‘erste’ used to refer to the first choice club, rather than the first established. As with all German traditions, it’s somewhat obscure and not easily explained. So in the German parlance, Liverpool could call themselves 1.FC Liverpool to wind up Everton, who spawned them.

  • colario

    Can we expect a ‘ref report’?

  • nicky

    How about asking Walter for a consignment of “eau de” while in Cologne to spread around the Lesser Dein?

  • bob

    now that’s a Song worth imbibing!
    Wouldst that Lesser Dein would imbibe said “eau de” 🙂

  • bob

    What think ye about the Belgian striker Mirallas, superstar at Olympiakos? Can he do the business?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Last year when we went we had some “eau de Cologne” after the game. As soon as the game finished it starting raining. No, it started pouring, it was a late hot afternoon thunderstorm with water coming down like in my shower.
    We were wet till the flesh when we got in the car and there was no more time to have a drink or a bratwurst after the game. We went in the car, put the heating on and when we got home some 2 hours later we were just about dry. If you don’t mind I will settle for the usually known eau de Cologne…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well we have seen Mirallas play last season with our own eyes.
    Other than that he was two times top scorer in Greece now. Came from France where his career didn’t have any progress any more after a fine start.
    I think he is a bit underrated maybe even in Belgium but that is also due to the fact that the Greece league is not the most appealing of the foreign leagues.
    He is some kind of dribbling striker on his day great when in form. Very frustrating when things don’t work out.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ok Tony, will do the parking report don’t worry 😉

  • slugboy

    Sorry to change subject….Any comments on the Song to Barca rumour?

    I get the impression, that whilst he is one of the best players in the team that we might cash in and get rid of the Dein influence from Arsenal (get some stability amongst the senior players).

    Does anyone know if any other players are with Dein?

  • Axel

    Hi Walter, we will be at the game. A German and an Indian Gooner. Can’ t miss us 🙂

    I’ll be wearing the shirt of the Invinceables….

    Cheers, Axel

  • I think English clubs should be named according to the year they last entered the top division.

    So we are 1919 Arsenal.
    Man U from memory would be 1975 Manchester

    I quite like the sound of that.

    Have to say Walter I have already started looking forward to the first match at the Ems. It seems like centuries since I sat in my seat in Block 99.

  • Dec

    Enjoy the game Walter, just another week or so until the boring season is over and normality will return to the world.
    Thank God for the Olympics (Well done London, by far the best best games ever, so nice of you to organise all that just to allow the world’s finest ever athlete – Katie Taylor to show her skills to the world).
    Can I ask what might be a silly question please? is there any liklihood RVP will play on Sunday and is he still the Arsenal Captain or has the armband been given to TV5 officially yet?

  • ARSENAL 13

    @ TONY,

    Waiting for the 100th anniversary eagerly. ONE question?…….ARE we the only club in history to achieve that feat (when we do it)?

  • Arsenal 13 – Arsenal are way ahead of any other club for longevity in the top division. Sunderland managed about 50 odd years (I ought to know how many as I wrote about it recently but my brain is slow this morning) – then they got relegated in the 1950s I believe. No one else comes anywhere near us.

    So two big parties: 100 years since we moved to Highbury (we’re already celebrating that on the Arsenal History Site, following each event as it passes the 100 years mark) and then 100 years in the top division in 1919.

  • colario

    Let’s not forget 1979 Spuds. Can we ever leave our fiends from down the road out!!!