Championship Sunday focus: Hull City

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Story so far… Thankfully for the Tigers, Hull City’s return to the Premier League has featured more drama off the field than on. Steve Bruce has kept his team clear of significant relegation concerns — a strange thing to say about a team that could still finish 17th — but nine days before the team returns to Wembley with hopes of claiming its first major honor (the FA Cup) , Hull’s guaranteed its survival. Amid the threat their owner would change the club’s name, supporters have been able to take solace in a relatively stable campaign, as promoted teams go.

That’s not to say there haven’t been struggles; most notably, finding goal scorers. Nobody on the team has scored more than four goals (Nikica Jelavic, Shane Long), making it all the more remarkable Hull’s had games where they’ve scored six and four.  Throwing numbers at the problem, Hull has 12 players who’ve scored at least two league goals.

RELATED: Head here for all things Championship Sunday

Who do they play and where can I watch it: Hull City welcomes Everton to the KC Stadium, where the Tigers have gone 7-4-7 this season. Watch the game at 10am ET on Bravo or live online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

Form guide: With one eye on May 17’s FA Cup final, Hull is winless in four:

March 29 – at Stoke City, L 1-0
April 5 – vs. Swansea, 1-0
April 20 – vs. Arsenal, L 0-3
April 26 – at Fulham, D 2-2
May 3 – at Aston Villa, L 3-1
May 6 – at Manchester United, L 3-1

What’s at stake: Purely preparation for next week, if that qualifies as stakes. Steve Bruce’s only priority between now and the FA Cup final is giving his team its best chance to claim that cup. Everton is secondary.

When the final whistle blows: Hull will thank its supporters, who they’ll see again in one week’s time at Wembley.

In “pretty good listener” Klopp, Liverpool has breath of fresh air

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
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In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.

But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.

[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]

In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.

For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.

From JPW on Merseyside:

“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”

The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.

And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.

Kreis, Schmid dismiss Messing’s job switch comments

Sigi Schmid
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Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.

If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.

Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.

Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.


“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”

So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.

As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.