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We need a Hull or a Hoffenheim in the Champions League

November 4, 2008

It’s been a great season so far for people living above Germany’s white sausage equator, as fearless Hoffenheim and classy Bayer Leverkusen continue to make Bayern Munich look very ordinary, and very worried, indeed.

Bayern have won their last four games in the Bundesliga but that run has merely been enough to prevent them falling any further behind Hoffenheim, who have won five in a row, scoring 17 goals in the process, and Leverkusen, who have racked up four successive 2-0 victories.

There’s a long way to go, of course, but it looks like these two sides could mount serious challenges for first Bundesliga titles. Even if they fail, it’s fun watching them threaten to upset the established order.

Meanwhile, Hull City are enjoying a great season in England, despite a couple of recent defeats, while second-placed Udinese are worrying the favourites in Italy, AZ Alkmaar are top in the Netherlands and Rubin Kazan have just won the Russian championship.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see some similar upstarts doing well in the Champions League?

Alas, a look at the tables sees the eight groups headed by the same old names: Chelsea, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Juventus and Liverpool (joint top with Atletico Madrid).

The last time the Champions League had a first-time winner was in 1997, when Borussia Dortmund upset Juventus in the final.

We’ll have to wait until next season (at least) to see if Hoffenheim can repeat the trick, but for now … Come on CFR Cluj!

PHOTO: Hoffenheim’s Vedad Ibisevic celebrates a goal with Chinedu Obasi during their Bundesliga victory over Karlsruhe in Mannheim, Nov. 1, 2008. REUTERS/Thomas Bohlen

Comments

Only problem, they wouldn’t last a second in Europe either Hull or any of the other teams who have suprisingly started off well this year. Just look how Millwall performed when they played in Europe via reaching the FA Cup final a few seasons ago. It will only be a matter of time until Hull start to drop points, nevertheless, they have provided great entertainment.. Wasn’t happy when they took the game from us at the Emirates…!

Posted by Benjamin King | Report as abusive
 

HI Benjamin. I agree Hull would probably not last long in the Champions League. What I’m really keen on seeing is a newcomer, the equivalent of a Hull or Hoffenheim in the CL, doing well — not necessarily those teams.
For a couple of years I thought Werder Bremen might just be good enough to cause some trouble but they were never consistent enough. I’m also surprised to see Zenit doing pretty badly after their brilliant season just gone.
And Sevilla were so good in Spain and UEFA Cup under Ramos … shame it didn’t happen for them in the CL.
The last team to really shake things up was probably Valencia, reaching the final two years in a row under old Hector Cuper.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

I love surprises, so i would like small clubs like Hull and Hoffenheim at Champions League.

 

And perhaps we have on in Anorthosis Famagusta. great game against Inter last night, and they have a real chance of qualifying now. http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldFootb allNews/idUKL422731020081104

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

Problem is if they get anywhere near providng a real upset then the referees step in and help the big boys along. From a bitter Atletico fan.
On another note…Usually a modest team who does well has a small spirited side that performs on big days maybe, but then cannot keep the pace back home.
A midtable finish or even relegation follows and then for financial reasons (club cashing in/players looking for career step up) the side breaks up and the moment is gone. Alaves, Leeds where are they now.
Come to think of it don’t Villarreal class as a Hoffenheim or a Hull? A much-overlooked side.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive
 

No one wants to see Hull or the Hoff in Champions League! Let them enjoy their 15 minutes of fame for now..we’ll see where they finish in the table come what may!

Posted by Loginoffski | Report as abusive
 

I can only hope against hope… today will tell… if Fiorentina can pull it off this year. Forza Viola, ale!

Posted by Al | Report as abusive
 

The Hoff?!
The Hoff?!

‘The Hoff’, or Hoffenheim to be precise, will definitely be in the Champions League next season.
Better still, we will beat Hull in the final!
I have 100 Euros riding on it!

Posted by Hans Moman | Report as abusive
 

Ha that 100 Euros is a definant loss..just like the hoffenheim come the end of the season in das league

Posted by Loginoffski | Report as abusive
 

Well, we shall see Loginoffski.
When I get my winnings, we’ll see who has the last laugh.

I might even put some more Euros on winning the Bundesliga.

Posted by Hans Moman | Report as abusive
 

I’m usually not for minnows succeeding; it’s just me. But it would be lovely to see the Milans and Portos of the world on the outside looking in of next year’s Champions League.
http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2008/ 11/european-soccer-tables-turned-upside. html

 

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