Werder win ‘scared rabbit’ final

June 2, 2009

Unless you happen to be a Werder Bremen fan, you’d probably agree with the rest of Germany that Werder’s 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Saturday’s Cup final made for a deflating end to the season.

Germans have a term for it: “Angsthasen Fussball” (scared rabbit football) — an appropriate description for a fear-filled struggle between two of Germany’s biggest underachievers this year, doing everything they could to avoid one last defeat before the holidays.

That was a shame because Werder and Leverkusen are both capable of lighting up the scoreboard when they stay true to their attacking styles.

I’m an unabashed fan of the “DFB Pokal” (German Cup) and the atmosphere for the final each May in Berlin’s Olympiastadion in the company of 70-odd thousand fans is something I really look forward to. (It’s a wonderful stadium when it’s sold out, which rarely happens for Hertha Berlin.)

The final two years ago between Nuremberg and then-Bundesliga champions Stuttgart, won 3-2 by Nuremberg in extra time, was a classic Cup final — arguably the match of the season. But the 2009 final was a real dud.

“We’re all deeply relieved,” said Bremen sporting director Klaus Allofs, whose team were considered among the pre-season favourites for the Bundesliga but finished 10th. “There would have been a very bitter after taste if we had also lost the German Cup final after losing the UEFA Cup final.”

Bremen’s fears were understandable after the pain of their defeat by Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk in Istanbul and Bayer Leverkusen fans would have know just how they felt (see the post from Karolos below).

So Bremen fans got to chant “Bayer Vize-Kuzen” as they celebrated victory this was one occasion when it was really hard to say “the better team won”. More accurately, the better team managed not to lose.

AND THIS IS HOW THE WINNERS REACT: Werder keeper Tim Wiese celebrates his side’s German Cup final win over Bayer Leverkusen in Berlin, May 30, 2009. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

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[...] the two posts below, Erik Kirschbaum reflects on Werder Bremen’s victory in the frightened rabbit final, while Karolos Grohmann considers the record of Bayer [...]