Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bradley Named To Kicker's Flop List

German soccer weekly Kicker has just put out its annual mid season list of "Tops and Flops" and Borussia Moenchengladbach's Michael Bradley made the list - the wrong one.

The annual list is complied based on interactive results from the magazine's fantasy soccer managerspiel but the results are usually pretty reliable. This week, Bayern Munich's French international Franck Ribery was named the best midfielder in the Bundesliga (the Tops) followed by Bayern Leverkusen's Renato Augusto and Hoffenheim's Sejad Salihovic.

The list of the three most disappointing midfielders (the Flops) was "led" by Hamburg's Jonathan Pitroipa, followed by Roda Antar of 1. FC Köln, and Gladbach's Bradley in third.

Bradley's ranking is largely due to his Kicker rating average of 4.75 (on a scale of 1-6) in 11 league appearances, including a match against Energie Cottbus in which he was given a seldom awarded 6 - the lowest score possible.

In the grand scheme of things, these ratings are basically meaningless since they are highly subjective and have no bearing on what a player is capable of doing in the next match. That said, consistent low ratings can help apply greater public pressure on a player to step up their game.

Over the years, less than half of the Americans playing in the Bundesliga told me they paid attention to the Kicker ratings while the rest said they ignore them altogether. Either way, let's hope Bradley can kick it up a notch this spring and re-capture the mojo he seems to have left in the Eredivisie.


chuck said...

When will US players come to the realization that their development will not be enhanced by playing in Germany. There is a reason that the Bundesliga is not listed among the best leagues in which to play. How many of the top names in the game set their goal of playing there versus the EPL, Serie A, or La Liga? Outside of Steve C., what US player has benefited to any material extent by going to Germany. Let it be the haven for the Germans, Eastern Europeans, and a few Brazilians. US style of play is not a fit there. What a waste of time to commit your future to a league that doesn't want you or can provide the environment to advance tactical and technical capabilities.

djc.1979 said...

Overreact much, chuck?

If Bradley is as good as people (you?) seem to think he is, Germany will be a part of his journey, not his destination.

It's a much better league than Holland. Give him some time, he'll either prove himself or he won't. Are you trying to say that he's too good for the league?

And, as an aside, Claudio Reyna benefitted pretty well for starting his career in Germany. If Bradley can become as good of a center mid as Reyna was, I think we'd be a lot better for it.

Chris Courtney said...

I agree that the Bundesliga isn't quite what it used to be but they still seem keen to sign a few American players (and they pay well).

My issue with German football is that they place a higher value on playing what they call "mistake-free" football (fehlerfrei) rather than placing value on taking some risks to do something exceptional.

There are still some creative players in the Bundesliga but its become increasingly more athletic and less technically creative.

That said, until more American players are ready to play in Spain, Italy, France, and England, we should be thankful that they have options in Germany.