Twenty-year-old Jose Paolo Guerrero making his mark; Freiburg's Finke enjoys support of management; Bielefeld's coach Rupolder -- from unemployment to redemption; Bremen breeding ground.
Bayern Munich always finds talent -- or it knows where to buy it
The management of Bayern Munich has found a new striker star in Jose Paolo Guerrero. Coach Felix Magath has only compliments for the 20-year-old, "Paolo is a striker with a lot of instincts." The instincts came in handy on Wednesday as he helped Peru in its victory against Chile in an important World Cup qualifier in Lima. He came into the game in the 71st minute for Bayern teammate Claudio Pizarro and put Peru up 2-0 in the 85th minute. It would turn out to be the difference as Chile scored in the 90th minute, making the final score 2-1.
Before showing his potential in his home country, Guerrero had made a statement in Germany in the week prior. The goal scorer struck five times, three times in the Bundesliga with the pro squad and two times with the amateur in advancing to the quarterfinals, the first time ever in DFB history that two teams from the same club has come so far. In Peru, he has already garnered a great amount of attention. The press has given him names such as the "new Pizarro" and "el Commandante."
With front-line talent like Roy Makaay, Roque Santa Cruz and Claudio Pizarro it is hardly fair for the rest of the Bundesliga that Bayern now has Jose Paolo Guerrero. The good just get better.
The not so good don't get better
Freiburg has always had to contend with relegation. The Black Forest club's highpoint was a third-place finish in the 1994/5 season. Since then, the club has dropped down to the second division twice and has yet to finish in the top 10 in the top league. Since 1991, Volker Finke has coached the team through both good and bad times. Club President Achim Stocker is already talking about relegation--and sticking with Volker Finke. In the German sports publication Sport-BILD, Stocker underlined his support, "It's definite that Finke will stay on as coach. He is the best man for the job."
If that is the case, then Volker Finke will be celebrating the record as the longest-serving coach in one stint in the Bundesliga, and that in the second league. There, Finke has been very successful at rounding up the troops and returning to top-level soccer. In his second year in Freiburg, the team went on an offensive rampage in the second Bundesliga, scoring 102 goals in 34 matches.
If you're good, people should know it
Bielefeld is reaching dizzying heights in the Bundesliga.
Being unemployed in the coaching profession can take its toll. Arminia Bielefeld's coach Uwe Rapolder knows this first-hand. After more than a year outside of the soccer world, Rapolder was beginning to feel uncertain about himself as he told in the recent issue of kicker, "I couldn't understand that I was jobless for 14 months. You start to have your doubts at that point." The ascent of Bielefeld directly after the team's promotion is no great surprise to Rapolder. "Arminia brought me back into the business but I know what I can do. I am a top trainer."
Bielefeld is in seventh-place on 20 points and has also made it through to the quarter-finals of the German Cup. Now if Rupolder, a self-proclaimed discipline fanatic, can survive the rest of this month, his job should be secure for another year. In his last two positions as coach at LR Ahlen and Waldhof Mannheim, Rupolder was fired in November.
Good players go elsewhere
Werder Bremen will have to do without the services of Fabian Ernst after this season. The team's midfielder has decided to leave Bremen after five years with the team. Money was not the reason for the desire to seek out greener pastures, according to the national player, "I made a fundamental decision and am looking for a new environment. I'm not partial to playing abroad. That's still up in the air." Both Schalke and Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona are supposedly interested in gaining the rights to Ernst. The 25-year old said that he would begin negotiating with teams during the winter break.
Werder Bremen has proved to be a breeding ground for other Bundesliga clubs the past few years. Bayern Munich took Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro (2001), Borussia Dortmund nabbed national midfielder Torsten Frings (2002, now with Bayern) and, Schalke got goalie Frank Rost (2002), along with striker Ailton and midfielder Mladen Krstajic following last season. For club manager Klaus Allofs, the loss will be a challenge, but is at the same time a feather in his cap, "We have proved that we always been able to continuously produce good young players."