It is crunch time in Bundesliga.

Who will be the Bundesliga champions this season ? It is a question followers of German football league have been asking. The top contenders for the title are Schalke 04 and FC Bayern Munich. Both teams are tied with 64 points. Bayern is presently in pole position because of superior goals difference.

Schalke manager, Felix Magath is confident,“Bayern will not win the remaining two matches.” Uli Hoeness,FC Bayern Munich president countered, “ they are trailing behind us and only hope that we stumble.”

As usual the Bundesliga is exciting because anything can happen. It is crunch time.

The remaining two matches for Bayern are against VFL Bochum and Hertha BSC. Bochum and Hertha are battling against relegation. They are not willing to go down without a fight. Time will tell if both matches would be easy as Arjen Robben, opined that Bayern needs to win both matches and they are champions.

Schalke will face Werder Bremen and 1.FSV Mainz 05. Bremen will try to defend their present third place when they play in Gelsenkirchen. Mainz 05, definitely aim to round up a good season under manager,Thomas Tuchel, at home against Schalke.

Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund and VFB Stuttgart have their eyes set for Europe league.

On another note, Hamburg, sacked Bruno Labbadia yesterday. Hamburg lost woefully against Hoffenheim 1-5 last weekend. It was clear after the match that Labbadia had to go. Dieter Matz, a Hamburg expert, believes the players do not have an alibi anymore. Labbadia is gone but the problems remain the same.

Hamburg is a team without consistency in leadership both on and off the field. May be they should take a cue from next door neighbor St.Pauli. Holger Stanislawski, the manager of St. Pauli is a symbol of stability. St.Pauli look poised to play in the Bundesliga next season.

It is a given that Kaiserslautern are back in the Bundesliga. The other teams have to wait for at least one more match to know their fate.

David Alaba’s poor judgement rob Bayern of victory.

In football a single game can make or break a star. David Alaba, the “wunderkind” of FC Bayern, did not live up to the hype about his talent in the game against Eintracht Frankfurt. Bayern despite leading in the early minutes of the game through Miroslav Klose, let victory slip away from their hands because of David Alaba.

Alaba let Eintracht Frankfurt score two decisive goals in the dying minutes of the game. The disaster for Alaba began in the 87 minutes when he gave a faulty back pass to FC Bayern keeper, Hans-Jörg Butt. Juvhel Tsoumou of Frankfurt quickly exploited the situation to score the equaliser. Two minutes later, Martin fenin, outclassed Alaba in the 18 yard box through body movement to score the decider.

FC Bayern players in show of solidarity with Alaba have not publicly criticized his woeful performance. Even Sport director, Christian Nerlinger, said “the chap is only 17!” However, Udo Lattek, Bundesliga veteran manager and analyst in his column believes that Alaba is too inexperienced. Louis van Gaal , manager of FC Bayern admitted, “i think in the game against Frankfurt, i made the substitution too late.”

Some analyst believe that Alaba’s best position is in the midfield. Diego Contento, who normally plays left full back was reserved. Edson Braafheid another left back alternative is on loan to Celtic Glasgow. Bayern have problems in defense.

It is too early to ascertain if Alaba’s inexperience was the sole reason for his lapses against Frankfurt. In the mean time, he has a lot of work to do in preparing both physically and mentally for the next game.

Science meets Bundesliga.

Each time the Bundesliga season begins, FC Bayern Munich is always the team regarded with the potential to win the league. It is a star studded side with players of high caliber. Not surprisingly, many people seem to loath the club for its bragging rights as champions.

A Physics professor, Andreas Heuer of the University of Munster, not to be left out in the business of predicting potential winners has come up with a formula after 20 years of studying Bundesliga history. The good news for Bayern Munich fans, is that there is a probability of 55% that Bayern will be champions. The professor did add that it is not full proof. It is based on mathematical probabilities.

Bayer Leverkusen are also potential league champions this season. It is not a given that Bayern will be champions. The race to determine the winner has become interesting with different twist and turns.

Is it a coincidence that history and science seem to favor Bayern Munich to win the league this year ? Time will tell.

Oliver Kahn suggests Gianluigi Buffon for FC Bayern.

Oliver Kahn, the ex keeper of FC Bayern, is in the news lately. In an interview with Sport Bild, Kahn, thinks FC Bayern should start searching for an alternative keeper because the present keeper,Hans-Jörg Butt, is not getting any younger. He praised Hans-Jörg Butt, for a wonderful season so far.

Top on his list of Goalkeepers that is world class and good enough for FC Bayern is Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus Turin.

He thinks German keepers have immense potential but can not classify any as World class.

Buffon, is not the long term solution for FC Bayern. I am not surprised that legendary Bayern keeper,Sepp Maier, said Buffon is too old. I agree.

Kahn was not a World class keeper, when he came to FC Bayern. He had the potential to be one of the greatest German keepers during his days at SC Karlsruhe. He finally blossomed at FC Bayern. I am taking aback, when he said, “Bayern has the highest goals. If you want to achieve the goals, you need the best keeper of the world.”

Manuel Neuer, keeper of Schalke 04, is highly rumored to be the next keeper of FC Bayern. I expect Christian Nerlinger, manager of FC Bayern to look for a keeper in the mode of Neuer or Rene Adler. Micheal Rensing was a failed experiment. But Neuer or Adler could be the panacea for the Munich giants.

If Hans-Jörg Butt, continue to shine with every game, he could be in goal for another year. Then FC Bayern has enough time to search for a suitable replacement.

Wrong call in Hoffenheim renew debate for modernization of football

The highlight of the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich in Hoffenheim was the scene that occurred in the 10th minute. Josip Simunic’s potent header had crossed the line but FIFA referee, Babak Rafati and his assistants allowed the game to continue.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw with goals from Ivica Olic and Chinedu Obasi. But the reverberation from the referee’s wrong call still lingers on.

The coaches of both teams, Louis van Gaal of Bayern Munich and Ralf Rangnick of Hoffenheim are of the opinion that modern technology should assist referees in their job. Even Babak Rafati, agree that it would be a welcomed relief.

In other sport like Ice Hockey, Tennis or American football, video is part of the integral officiating process. However, in football, there are mixed views for technology like goal camera, football chip or none at all.

The last time video evidence was used in the just concluded CONFED cup in South Africa raised eyebrow. The match between Brazil and Egypt in the CONFED cup could have ended differently if the ‘human factor’ as propagated by UEFA president, Michelle Platini, was used instead of video.

The match in Bloemfontein was 3-3 for both sides. During extra time, the referee, Howard Webb, awarded a conner kick for Brazil but changed his decision. Suddenly, he gave Egyptian, Ahmed Al Muhammadi, a red card and a penalty for Brazil. Kaka converted the penalty and Brazil won the match.

It is alleged that the fourth official saw through video that Ahmed Al Muhammadi obstruct a goal bound header with his arm in the cross line. Ahmed Al Muhammadi acted like the ball hit his face to confuse Howard Webb. Egypt filed a protest after the match but justice was served.

Officially, FIFA does not support video or the much acclaimed chip in football. UEFA, on the other hand is going an extra mile, in an experiment to increase the number of officials to six. In other words, two extra officials at the goal posts. While some argue, that we should leave football the way it is because the game is all about emotion.

The pros and cons of modernizing football is a reminder of how technology is at loggerheads with a conservative sport like football. There should be a global consensus through FIFA to effect change that could lead to fair officiating.

Goodbye Lucio

Lucio, the versatile captain of the Brazilian national team has left Bayern Munich for Inter Milan. Uli Hoeness, general manager of Bayern Munich, announced details of the move today. He will sign a three year deal with Inter. According to Kicker, Bayern Munich received €8 Million for the transfer.

Lucio had a contract till 30 June 2010 but under Louis Van Gaal, he was surplus to requirements. Bayern Munich have Martin Demichelis,Holger Badstuber,Breno, Edson Braafheid and Daniel van Buyten vying for two places in the team.

He is a defender par excellence. In his five year stint with Munich, he played 144 times and scored 7 goals. He won the league and DFB Cup in 2005,2006 and 2008. His trademark is his astute judgement in defence and offensive orientation in attack.

Bundesliga will miss the God fearing defender for his demeanour on the field. Goodbye Lucio.