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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