‘Exciting, but weak’ – Is the Bundesliga in decline?

first_imgBayern Munich crowned Bundesliga champions. PHOTO via @FCBayernENBerlin, Germany | AFP | Bayern Munich may have wrapped up a seventh successive Bundesliga title on Saturday, but their domestic dominance was severely tested in one of the most exciting German league campaigns in years.Perennial champions Bayern, who have romped to the title every season since 2013, finished just two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund, as the title race went down to the final day of the campaign for the first time in a decade.Yet while the excitement was higher than ever at home, German clubs fared surprisingly poorly in European competition, raising concerns the Bundesliga is a league in decline.Dortmund’s title challenge, though ultimately unsuccessful, provided welcome respite from the hegemony Bayern have enjoyed in recent years.Since 2013, the Bavarian giants had won six titles in a row by a margin of 10 points or more, and finished 25 points clear of Dortmund in 2013.Forced to claw back a nine-point gap to retain their crown, even Bayern welcomed Dortmund’s newfound strength.“We are happy to have such opponents, and I hope it continues next year because the Bundesliga and the fans in Germany need that,” Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic told broadcaster Sport1 after Saturday’s triumph.“It was nice to have an exciting title race for once.”Nor was it just the title race which provided entertainment until the end. On the last day of the campaign, three clubs were still in the running for Champions League qualification, while six sides still had hopes of a Europa League spot.For all the excitement, however, there is growing concern the Bundesliga cannot keep up with other major European leagues.Frankfurt-based FAZ newspaper wrote on Saturday the German top-flight was “exciting, but weak”, adding the league produced “masses of losers”.It was certainly true in the Champions League this year, as all four Bundesliga clubs were knocked out by the last 16.Bayern, Dortmund and Schalke were all convincingly beaten by English opposition, meaning there was no German team in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006. Eintracht Frankfurt’s fairytale run to the Europa League semi-finals aside, it was a barren year for the Bundesliga in Europe.– ‘Internationally meaningless’ –In 2013, former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld called the Bundesliga “the best league in the world” after both clubs reached the Champions League final.Now, many are warning it has become a “second-class” league behind Spain’s La Liga and the English Premier League.Last January, Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert warned the league could soon become “internationally meaningless” if it did not adapt and keep the pace with its competitors.Most Bundesliga clubs run on a model of no debt and financial responsibility, and even mighty Bayern struggle to match the huge transfer sums paid out by Europe’s biggest sides.The “50+1” rule, which ensures fan power by guaranteeing club members majority voting rights, means most German outfits are unlikely to attract from wealthy foreign investors, as teams in England and France have done.The once sacrosanct rule has become increasingly contested of late, with calls for it to be reformed or even abolished.“I hope the league gives up on 50+1,” Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told GQ last year.“I think every club should be able to decide for itself whether it is open to investors or not”.League CEO Seifert, meanwhile, said in January that the Bundesliga had to find the balance between domestic and international success.“We need our top clubs to keep the pace in Europe while also offering exciting competition at home,” he said.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Balfour, Granite host tournament week

first_imgIt’s tournament week at the Granite Pointe at Nelson and Balfour Golf Courses.Balfour tees off on the week by hosting the annual Senior Men’s Open Wednesday at the Les Furber designed course.The 18-hole tournament attracts players from throughout the Kootenays.The scene remains in Balfour for Ladies Open Thursday.Once again players from around the regions will be in Balfour for the 18-hole tourney.The scene shifts to Granite Pointe for the 2011 Selkirk Paving Labour Day Open.This event is broken into three separate tournaments — men’s, seniors and ladies — all played at the same time.The men’s tournament, beginning Saturday, is a 36-hole event while the seniors and ladies play 18 [email protected]last_img

FAVORED SAM’S SISTER RALLIES WIDE TO WIN MONDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 SANTA MONICA STAKES BY 1 ¼ LENGTHS; HOLLENDORFER, TRUJILLO TEAM FOR SEVEN FURLONG VICTORY IN 1:22.42

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2015)–Favored Sam’s Sister rallied wide-out to take Monday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths at Santa Anita, as the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee covered seven furlongs in 1:22.42 under Elvis Trujillo.By 2006 Santa Anita Derby winner Brother Derek, Sam’s Sister employed tactics similar to those used in an upset win in the Grade I, seven furlong La Brea Stakes on Dec. 26. Fourth into the far turn behind a three-horse duel comprised of eventual runner-up Sweet Marini, Dancinthenightaway and My Sweet Addiction, Sam’s Sister pounced on the leaders midway around the turn and wrested the lead from Sweet Marini inside the sixteenth pole.“It was the perfect trip,” said Trujillo, who has been aboard for all six of Sam’s Sister’s career starts. “I knew there was going to be a lot of speed in there and I knew it would be fast early-on (22.10, 43.87 and 1:08.71). But I knew that sooner or later they would have to stop. She’s a nice filly.”Off at 6-5, Sam’s Sister paid $4.40, $2.60 and $2.20. Owned by Mark Dedomenico, LLC, Hollendorfer and George Todaro, she picked up her fifth win and with the winner’s share of $120,000, increased her earnings to $427,450.“We got a 22 and 43 (quarter and half mile fractions), so it makes it a little easier to close ground,” said Hollendorfer, who registered his meet-leading sixth stakes win. “We thought that might happen, but then when Dancinthenightaway kind of shook loose a little bit, it looked a little bit risky. But we were able to sustain and run her down in the end.“I’m just taking these races one at a time (when asked if she might stretch out next time). We thought she would run long (entered and scratched out of this past Saturday’s La Canada Stakes at 1 1/16 miles), but we thought this was a more advantageous race, so that’s why we went here.”Ridden by Martin Garcia, Sweet Marini slugged it out on the front end and was second-best, finishing 2 ¾ lengths in front of Harlington’s Rose. Off at 5-1, Sweet Marini paid $3.40 and $2.80.Off at 10-1, Harlington’s Rose ran from well off the pace under Joe Talamo and paid $4.60 to show.Live racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.last_img read more