Hoffenheim’s new coach enjoyed a winning start as his team beat Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-0 today to keep alive their faint hopes of avoiding relegation.
The German club booted coach Marco Kurz and general manager Andreas Mueller on Tuesday and brought in Markus Gisdol, a 43-year-old who used to coach their reserves.
Kurz replaced former Germany, Liverpool and Bayern Munich defender Markus Babbel at the helm in January but lasted only ten matches, collecting just two wins and two draws. When he left, Hoffenheim were nine points adrift of safety. Thanks to this afternoon’s victory, they’ve cut the gap to six as Duesseldorf sit fifteenth, one place outside the drop/relegation play-off zone. But Hoffenheim have only six matches left.
Left back Fabian Johnson started for Hoffenheim but his fellow U.S international, midfielder Daniel Williams, was left out of the line-up.
Relegation after five seasons in Germany’s top tier would close the chapter on a remarkable rise that’s both romantic and routine.
The club from near scenic Heidelberg in south-west Germany were minnows playing fifth-level soccer as recently as 1999-2000, and everybody loves to see an underdog thrive. But how much of an against-the-odds tale is it? After all, much like Wigan Athletic in England, the club has been bankrolled and cultivated to a size far beyond its natural limits by a generous benefactor. In Hoffenheim’s case, that’s Dietmar Hopp, one of the founders of software giants SAP.
The Internet exploded at around 12:50 p.m. ET on Saturday after Jamie Vardy — yes, Jamie Vardy — broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record for most consecutive games with a goal.
[ WATCH: The goal | The game — Leicester City vs. Manchester United ]
Yes, an Englishman is back atop the charts. An Englishman who was playing for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before heading to Leicester.
He’s perhaps the reminder, as Rio Ferdinand Tweeted below, that the most unlikely of scenarios is still not impossible.
He did it. He actually did it.
Jamie Vardy made Premier League history on Saturday, scoring for the 11th consecutive game to become the first player in history to achieve that magnificent feat.
[ MORE: Twitter reacts to Vardy ]
Tied with Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy heading into Leicester’s clash against United on Saturday, it took Vardy just 24 minutes to set the new record as Christian Fuchs played a delicate ball in-behind United’s defense and Vardy did the rest.
[ MORE: Can Vardy, Leicester achieve unthinkable? ]
Watch the video below to see the King Power Stadium erupt as a truly memorable moment arrived.
Now, the next record for Vardy to break is from the 1931-32 English top-flight season, before the PL was formed. Sheffield United’s Jimmy Dunne scored in 12-straight games way back then.
Anyway, congratulations Mr. Vardy for making PL history.
This was an all-timer.
Bournemouth came back from a 2-0 halftime deficit only to watch Ross Barkley hand Everton a one-goal lead with a score in the final minute of stoppage time.
[ MATCH RECAP: Bournemouth 3-3 Everton ]
But after fans were cleared from the field, Junior Stanislas provided the dramatic answer for Bournemouth to force a 3-3 draw at Dean Court.
Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew tried hard not to throw shade on his former side, or at least put in a post-match press conference that choked down his passive aggression.
The Eagles thumped Newcastle United 5-1 on Saturday at Selhurst Park behind braces from Yannick Bolasie and James McArthur, as well as a tally from Wilfried Zaha.
[ MATCH RECAP: Crystal Palace 5-1 Newcastle United ]
And the former Newcastle boss held back, mostly, from further embarrassing his old side, instead heralding the starring role of former Sunderland forward Connor Wickham, who put in a Team of the Week performance despite not scoring himself.
“We caused problems everywhere,” Pardew said. “Connor Wickham gave a centre forward’s performance we always hoped he would. We were irresistible today.”
“We are sixth in the division because we are a good team, it was not about the opposition today. I have a lot of friends and family at Newcastle but I don’t want to say a lot about them because I get criticised whatever I say.”
Newcastle, for its part, was mostly useless after scoring early on a classy chip pass from Daryl Janmaat to Papiss Cisse. Could Steve McClaren be fired after just 14 games in charge? Newcastle’s 19th place status says it wouldn’t be unfair.
And after losing to Sunderland last week, Pardew doubled-down on his status as a Newcastle plague in the Northeast.