Author Archives: Anthony Craig

Noah Sarenren Bazee is back!


By Anthony Craig

Not much has been heard from Noah Sarenren Bazee since his contract extension because of injuries. In the past 6 months, he has paid more visits to doctors than tapping the round leather.

The long wait for him to recover has come to an end. The 21-year-old attacker made it to the bench in Hannover’s game against Hoffenheim on Sunday.

Prior to the game some days earlier, coach Andre Breitenreiter said,”We are all happy that he passes through the training sessions without injury and that he makes leaps forward and gets closer to the team” It is a statement of faith by the coach for the highly talented German-Nigerian.

If he is injury free and consistent in training, it would be a matter of time before he sets the Bundesliga on fire with his trademark sprints.

Serge Gnabry does not want to return to Bayern Munich.

Serge Gnabry

Serge Gnabry is back in the spotlight after his superlative performance in Hoffenheim’s defeat of RB Leipzig last week(4-0). He scored two goals, and one of the goals was from 44 meters.

Gnabry has everything to be thankful for. After recovering from numerous injuries that were on the verge of blighting his career, he has found playing for Hoffenheim a relief.

However, the 22-year-old German-Ivorian is on loan to Hoffenheim from Bayern Munich until the end of 2017/2018 season. And according to an article in Sport 1, Gnabry does not relish going back to Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

Because he knows what it feels like to be a permanent reserve player or second option. He had such experiences with Arsenal and West Brom years ago until he came to Werder Bremen last season.

Also, it was the reason why Gnabry did not want to come to Bayern from Bremen in the first place! But in his last contract with Bremen last season, Bayern had an option to purchase agreement with Bremen in the neighbourhood of eight million Euro.In return, Bayern Munich helped to secure that Gnabry left Arsenal in 2016 to Bremen despite higher offers from other Bundesliga clubs like Schalke, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Leverkusen or Hertha Berlin after his stark performance at the Rio Olympics.

Gnabry prefers to play for Hoffenheim. After Bayern activated the clause, and he became a Bayern player, in frustration, he went to Bayern Boss, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to ask for a loan move to Hoffenheim. At the time, Rummenigge said,”It was Serge’s wish to be loaned for another year so he could get more match practice.”

It is alleged that Gnabry has the same argument for him to continue his loan until 2019 season. Officials in Hoffenheim seem to tag along with his reasoning.Hoffenheim’s sports boss, Alexander Rosen, said, “I have great hope that he will stay another year.” And Coach Julian Nagelsmann thinks in the same direction:” He is far from where he has to be if he wants to play at the club he belongs to.”

Bayern fans would love to see Gnabry and Kingsley Coman replace ageing wingers like Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. It could be a mirage if Gnabry has his way.

Salif Sané and the future with Hannover.

salif sane

Salif Sané is a Senegalese central defender with an eye for the ball and defends his territory with precision. His forays upfront is dangerous for his opponents. He is a master of positional play. Sane’s performance has been gathering momentum since he joined Hannover.

Sané joined Hannover from French first division AS Nancy in summer 2013. Through the years, he has experienced the pain of relegation and the joy of coming back to the Bundesliga with Hannover.

Sané is loved and respected in Hannover. However, his change of agent has made people speculate about his next move.

Sané has a contract with Hannover until 2020. He has an exit clause to leave in summer 2018 for 8 million Euro in the Bundesliga or 11million Euro for England or China. Based on market trends, Sané is undervalued.

Some scouts were at the stadium to watch Sane play against Stuttgart in their last Bundesliga match. The word on the street is that Tottenham is interested in his services.

Despite all the speculation surrounding Sané, he has been able to re-assure Hannover fans in the club’s magazine Kopfsache, „I have been here for five years now, I feel very well, have found good friends and a club in which I feel at home.“

In the business of football, there is nothing like loyalty or trust. But Sané has proved that he is a man of his word. Hannover and Bundesliga fans should enjoy the ride with Salif Sané while it last.

Tunisia seek Rani Khedira for the world cup in Russia.

rani khedira

Tunisia is one of the five countries from Africa that is representing the continent at the world cup in Russia next year, and they are looking around the globe for their illustrious sons to represent them. At the moment, the searchlight is pointing at Rani Khedira of FC Augsburg.

Rani Khedira has both German and Tunisian nationality and has played for Germany in various age grade competitions.

This is not the first time that Tunisia is interested in Khedira. Tunisia came calling two years ago as the midfielder was playing for RB Leipzig but he rejected the offer. This time around, with prospects of playing at the world cup, the offer to play for Tunisia sounds attractive.

Khedira is an integral part of FC Augsburg since his transfer from Leipzig and his performance so far have been quite impressive.

He is thinking about the offer and he said in Kicker, “I have not decided yet. First of all, I want to gain a foothold in the Bundesliga and develop myself further. I want to play the next ten games and then we can sit together sometime in the spring and see if it fits for both sides. That’s the state. ”

Playing in the world cup is a privilege and Rani must have heard from his elder brother Sami, who is a world champion with Germany about the feeling.

As the world cup gets closer, decisions need to be made and Khedira is only trying to be conscientious. It is understandable for a player who does not speak French or Arabic. There would be lots of communication ahead in the language that both sides understand. It is my fervent wish that he does the right thing.

Victor Osimhen takes stock of his journey in Wolfsburg

Victor Osimhen

It is almost a year since Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen arrived Wolfsburg, and based on his statements in a German paper, Wolfsburger Nachrichten, Osimhen still has big dreams.

Osimhen is satisfied with his personal development, like his adjustment to training and the coming winter. He witnessed his first winter last year fresh from Ultimate Strikers academy in Nigeria to Wolfsburg.”I know what to expect. To witness snow, in reality, was an unusual feeling.”

Taking a look back at his first days in Wolfsburg, he says”I was well received, especially from Joshua Guilavogui(team mate).I have never been to Europe for a long time and have had many wonderful experience over the past few months. I feel good here.”

The U-17 world cup top scorer, decided to play for Wolfsburg because he saw better chances to develop.”I am learning how football in Europe functions.” However, he is not totally satisfied,”I did not achieve all the goals i had set myself.”

Osimhen had wished for more appearances in the Bundesliga, one or two goals in the statistics in his first months. “Sometimes you plan something, but then it does not work out that way. I’ll keep going on with my work.”

Osimhen has to contend with strong competition from the likes of Divock Origi and captain Mario Gomez.He says, “I know my qualities and know how to help the team. But i’m in no hurry at all. I am patiently waiting for my chance. And when it comes, i want to grab it.”

Osimhen wants his chance as soon as possible because he dreams of the World cup with Nigeria. “If I improve, i could get a call.” He admits that he is in regular contact with the coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr.

He dreams of a great career, wants to make himself indispensable, and promises to fight on, “If i stop working hard, my dream will surely die. But if i give everything every day, I ‘ll go where i want to go. I want to make the people who believed in me proud “, he says.

Osimhen remains positive and believes hard work pays. Given the competition in Wolfsburg, his orientation is quite interesting. because it is easy to be negative and forceful with his goals, and in the process, it will derail his ambition. Osimhen has the right character as a professional to survive any obstacle that comes his way. And in the long run, it will eventually pay off.

Video assistant referee still a subject of controversy in the Bundesliga.

Video assistants

The video assistant referee(VAR) was introduced to mitigate the human factor in officiating during this Bundesliga season.However, it has been mired in controversy.

There was the premise that the video referees would bring justice to the game. In a sport, where much is at stake, it is important for technology to assist the human limitation in officiating, some argued.The video assistant referees operating from Cologne would aid the officiating referee on the pitch.

Unfortunately, there have been some hiccups in the implementation. The officiating has not gotten better but worse according to some.

Dennis Aogo, a Stuttgart player has called for the eradication of video evidence in games. He said in Zweierkette, a Podcast from Amazon “basically, I am of the opinion that we should scrap the video evidence and let the sport be. I buy the idea that the human factor is important and they could lead to a mistake.” Aogo added, “I can not live with the fact that despite the video assistants, faulty decisions are being made.”

The video assistant referees are expected to work in the background and give insight into strategic decisions but it has led to slow gameplay and rise in emotions. Recently in the game between Schalke and Bayern, the referee on the pitch did not find an infringement from Naldo as handball, but the video assistant informed the referee on the pitch that it was a penalty.

Another incident, where the intervention of the video assistant referee was uncalled for was in the game Stuttgart versus Freiburg on Sunday. Caglar Söyüncü of Freiburg was sent off the pitch after 12 minutes of play. His offense was handball and preventing a goal chance. The referee of the match, Tobias Stieler, gave the red card after he was informed by the VAR, Felix Zwayer, and he watched the video replay

The decisions of the referees on the pitch could be reviewed at any time during the game and it has brought insecurity on the pitch. The players and managers try to intimidate the officiating referee on the pitch.

It is not all negative report about the use of VAR in the Bundesliga. In the Rhein derby between Leverkusen versus Cologne, the referee Manuel Gräfe, disallowed the third goal of Leverkusen based on instructions from the VAR in charge, Günter Perl, because Leon Bailey scored the goal with the assistance of his hand.

The VAR played a decisive factor in the match Bayern versus Leipzig in Munich, where Willi Orban of Leipzig committed a professional foul against Arjen Robben in the early minutes of the game.

Bibiana Steinhaus, the first female referee in the Bundesliga, said in Sportbild,”even though I act on the field like there is no video referee, I feel secure in the knowledge that a colleague uses lots of TV angles to review my decision.” She believes its an advantage for football.

It will take some time before the video evidence becomes commonplace. However, it is not a guarantee against wrong calls as it was envisaged. Because despite the tools in possession of a VAR, his/her judgment sometimes is subjective and mixed with a cocktail of time constraints and pressure to act.

Therefore, one should expect to see some heated debates between innovators about the usefulness of using a VAR in matches, and purists who want the beautiful game to remain as it is without technology playing a decisive role.

It does not matter the camp that you belong. One thing is clear-justice in football should not be elusive.

Wolfsburg interested in turning Marcel Tisserand’s loan deal permanent.

Marcel Tisserand

Marcel Tisserand was signed as a temporary solution for the injured John Anthony Brooks. According to Kicker, there are indications that Wolfsburg is interested to make the loan move of Tisserand permanent.

Tisserand has played five matches for Wolfsburg so far, and the Sports director of Wolfsburg, Olaf Rebbe, said, “Marcel has performed very well.We have decided for him because he has a persona of performance and development capabilities in him. It means we are not interested to do away with him.” It is a statement of faith in Tisserand from Wolfsburg.

Brooks is back in training but it will take time for him to break the pecking order. in the interim, the combination of Tisserand and Felix Uduokhai as center-backs have been a consistent feature of Wolfsburg this season.

With the latest signals from Wolfsburg, Tisserand has achieved his dream of playing in the Bundesliga. It is a testimony to the adage that hard work pays.

Bundesliga players and a coach join the common goal initiative.

Common goal

Footballers are known for their flashy lifestyle. They live a life of luxury but many lack meaning in their lives. Enter Juan Mata, the Manchester United player, who pledged on social media, that he would donate one percent of his salary to high-impact football charities around the world, as part of the common goal initiative. Mata’s gesture has resonated with many players and a coach in the Bundesliga.

Mats Hummels of Bayern Munich was the first Bundesliga player to commit to the common goal initiative. Hummels said in the common goal initiative website, ” I have a feeling that we can do more with the increasing earnings in football connected to a deeper meaning. This is a chance for football to better the world and i want to be part of it.”

The next Bundesliga player to join is Serge Gnabry of Hoffenheim, who said in Kicker, “I have thought about the topic for a long time. My father comes from Africa, whoever has experienced at close range the problems, knows how necessary help is needed.” Gnabry has not forgotten his African roots.

Dennis Aogo of Stuttgart, joined the initiative with a mission to donate more than one percent. In fact, he is donating two percent of his salary. Aogo: “I’ve been looking for a way to feel purposeful and effective for some time now and Common Goal meets all of these criteria. Above all, the collective approach is what inspires me.”

Another important figure to join the common goal initiative is Hoffenheim’s dynamic coach, Julian Nagelsmann, who is destined for great things.

There is so much money circulating in football and it is quite impressive and worthwhile for players to give back to causes they find interesting. Come to think of it ,one percent might be infinitesimal to some, but it goes a long way in assisting in projects, leading to common goals and ideas.

Victor Osimhen impresses Wolfsburg coach

Victor Osimhen

The long wait for Victor osimhen to make his debut this season is over. Wolfsburg played at home against Mainz and Osimhen came in the 84th minute for Divock Origi.

The coach of Wolfsburg, Martin Schmidt, decided to feature Osimhen in the match because of his dedication and abilities in training. Schmidt espoused Osimhen’s skills in Wolfsburger Allgemeine, ” it was a decision for Victor. He trained very well and scored the most goals. He is the most effective runner and i wanted to reward him.”

It appears that Schmidt is now a fan of Osimhen. The 18 year old Nigerian is still learning the ropes but Osimhen has been able to break the pecking order in Mario Gomez’s absence. Landry Dimata who is contending for the position did not make it to the bench against Mainz.

It is still unknown, if Osimhen will play in Wolfsburg’s next match against Bayer Leverkusen. Because the injured Mario Gomez could make his comeback in the match.

If Osimhen is injury free and continues to work hard with dedication, he will definitely see his dreams come to fruition in the Bundesliga.

Naby Keita is a fashionista!

Naby Keita

Naby Keita is currently facing a three match ban from Bundesliga matches after a rough tackle on Christopher Krammer of Borussia Mönchengladbach two weeks ago. However, the ban did not stop him from watching RB Leipzig play.

The Liverpool bound player came to the stadium against Eintracht Frankfurt in style. Sportbild reported that he was the center of attention.

It is estimated that the clothes costs €2880. Ranging from Breuninger to Louis Vuitton.

Leipzig will be playing Cologne during the weekend, and do not be surprised, if Keita, comes to the stadium with another eye-catcher.