This wasn’t supposed to be about football this week, but all I’ve seen are Strikers and Miners, Miners and Strikers. Mario Gomez is freed from his underground hell in Chile to universal love and brotherhood, as his namesake at Bayern Munich finally bored out of his own darkened existence under the radar with a hat-trick against Hanover. The news of his release will not be as gladly celebrated as that of the miners’, or as widely reported as that of the French strikers’ – and I’m not talking about Karim Benzema (a striker with problems relating to minors, boom boom). Gomez’s goals may just have secured him two extra working years at Bayern anyway, which is what the French are protesting against, but it’s a fair bet that even as a perennial bench warmer he won’t be slogging out a living at 62.
This is of course a naturally tenuous introduction to a piece about strikers, and effectively the only way i could shoehorn in a strikers/miners/strikers/minors gag. Still, Hertha’s Adrian Ramos and 1FC Union’s John Jairo Mosquera are having very different seasons, that’s for sure. Ramos found himself as a multi-million rated player in the second division this year, I was just waiting for him to throw his toys out of the pram, but it hasn’t happened. Despite having played for Colombia midweek, he struggled through to the end of a tough match and scored the 88th minute winner against FSV Frankfurt to keep Hertha top of the league, in a win which, although wasn’t terribly pretty, is the sort of thing that is done by the good sides.
‘Winning ugly’ it’s called, and Man Utd didn’t get all those championships by not knowing how to do it. Juventus used to do it all the time too, but Hertha didn’t need six dodgy minutes of injury time for this one. As a signpost for their ambitions this season it is telling. They have got a head of steam up, and will take some stopping.
Across the city, it hasn’t quite gone to plan for Mosquera. Even as he finally scored his first of the season on Friday he missed enough chances to have had a bagful.
Union are stuck at the other end of the table. Erzgebirge Aue didn’t look like a team having their best ever start to a season, but they were 1-0 up after a minute due to a Jan Glinker error that was about as characteristic as Arthur Scargill giving Maggie Thatcher a well-deserved pat on the arse for a diplomatic job well done (please note, the sports desk does not condone this sort of behaviour – the imagery was just, er, irresistible in a weird sort of way).
Aue’s one man attack left them looking like it would take more than a specially designed pod to help them break through, but they were well organised. Mosquera’s fragile confidence in front of goal deserted him despite his first goal of the year, Karim Benyamina was doing all he could not to end up in a fight, as part of Erzgebirge’s plan seemed to be just to wind him up like a French trucker and see what happens in the aftermath. It should have been a spanking – Aue’s keeper did well – but then it’s easier when it comes straight to you. Once the goals start to go in Union will reap the advantages.
But they still have to go in. The tabloids are saying Herr Neuhaus is running out of time, but this seems unnecessary to me. An extra two points would have put them 12th now, and one can only presume that the goals are flying in in training.
The new kid, striker, Steven Skrzybski started on the bench, and if he could save the gaffers job then it could be the first positive introduction by a minor into football for a long time. We need one, the bad news of the week came in the announcement of Düsseldorf’s beating Berlin to host the Eurovision song contest, (imagine inserting a switched on iron into yourself whilst whistling “Satellite” – that’s what it will be like). Though I’m glad it’s not here, Unions away game against Fortuna next year has had to be moved across the city to accommodate this spectacular parade of entrails. It’s a disgrace. I’m going on strike.