The Telekom Cup is a yearly pre-season tournament and this season’s rendition was to be contested at the Borussia-Park in Mönchengladbach.
Telekom Cup Review
For the ninth edition of the Telekom Cup, Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen joined record Champions Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach for the title. The rules are modified for the tournament; 45 minute games and if the scores are level at full time, then penalties will decide the contest.
The opening contest featured hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach and Werder Bremen in a mouth-watering opener. However, in an equal contest in which neither side was able to break the deadlock and penalties were required.
All sides were prefect until new Gladbach signing Mickael Cuisance’s penalty was saved by new Bremen keeper Jiri Pavlenka. Former Gladbach player Max Kruse scored the winning penalty to send Bremen into the final.
Bayern opened their Telekom Cup against Hoffenheim and it didn’t take the record champions long to score the one and only goal of the contest, with Hoffenheim offering very little in the way of attacking pressure. The ball came in from Juan Bernat and a beautiful finish by Robert Lewandowski opened his pre-season account.
Borussia Mönchengladbach looked to give their fans something to cheer about as they played Hoffenheim in the third place play-off, but like their first encounter, Gladbach couldn’t find a way past the stubborn Hoffenheim defence.
The shootout was required again and it was an identical result for the hosts, this time with Florian Mayer failing to convert his spot kick, producing a good save by Alexander Stolz. Ermin Bičakčić secured the win for Hoffenheim as he coolly placed his spot kick past Tobias Sippel.
The final featured Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich with both sides making a few changes from their first encounters. James Rodriguez made his Bayern debut, but it was his new teammate Thomas Müller that stole the show as he opened the scoring with a peach of a goal, as his curling left-footed shot beat the out stretched fingertips of Michael Zetterer.
Bremen should’ve equalised through Max Kruse, but he was unable to connect on the shot. Bayern made Bremen pay for that costly miss as the record champions doubled their advantage, an excellent exchange between Müller and Bernat that ended with the Spaniard scoring. The 2-0 win sees Bayern win their first trophy of the season and their fourth Telekom Cup.
Bayern Munich: Thomas Müller Stamps his authority
Thomas Müller was sensational, arguably the player of the Telekom Cup. The German international scored a goal and produced an assist in the Telekom Cup final to help the record champions add to their trophy cabinet. More importantly for the stand-in captain, Müller sent out a message to manager Carlo Ancelotti that his position as a number ten isn’t up for grabs after two clinical displays.
His rival for that position is James Rodriguez, but the Colombian was placed on the right of midfield and produced a meaningful contribution on his Bayern debut. After a poor season last year, Müller will look to fend off James as Bayern’s starting attacking midfielder.
Werder Bremen: Jiri Pavlenka will be number one
With the departure of Felix Wiedwald to Championship side Leeds United, Werder Bremen were in need of a new option between the sticks. Enter Slavia Prague product Jiri Pavlenka, who joined for a measly €3 million. In his first major appearance for Bremen, Pavlenka performed beautifully against Borussia Mönchengladbach and produced the match-winning save in the penalty shootout.
In the second encounter, Bremen manager Alexander Nouri drafted in Michael Zetterer to play between the sticks. However, Zetterer was very shaky early on and would’ve been disappointed with his effort especially with the spot for first choice keeper up for grabs. With Bremen set to play Würzburger Kickers in the first round of the DFB Pokal in a month’s time, expect to see Pavlenka in goal for Nouri’s side.
Hoffenheim: New players settling in
The Telekom Cup gave us our first look at new Hoffenheim signings Harvard Nordtveit (West Ham), Nico Schulz (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Justin Hoogma (Heracles). Nordtveit is no stranger to the Bundesliga where he plied his trade for six seasons with Borussia Mönchengladbach. He is set to replace Sebastian Rudy in the heart of the Hoffenheim and looked relatively comfortable as the loan defensive midfielder.
Schulz featured in their opening Telekom Cup game against Bayern Munich and was solid for the most part, though his direct opponent Kingsley Coman burnt him multiple times. He will provide plenty of competition for current left wing back Steven Zuber.
However, Hoogma was thrown into the deep end marking Thomas Müller and, at times, the Dutchman really struggled with the tempo of the game. Multiple times Hoogma was caught out of position with Müller and even Robert Lewandowski allowed way too much space inside the penalty area. It might be a friendly tournament, but if Hoogma is to establish his place as the replacement for Niklas Süle, then the young Dutchman will need to be much tighter defensively.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Jonas Hofmann’s season
The former Borussia Dortmund has taken a while to rise to prominence, but this season could be the year Jonas Hofmann finally showcases his potential. We saw glimpses of what he could do last season, especially when Dieter Hecking took over as Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Hofmann could’ve opened the scoring against Bremen in the opening Telekom Cup match-up, though a good save from Jiri Pavlenka kept the scores level at the time. That was the only blemish in what was a solid all-round performance throughout the Telekom Cup from Hofmann and manager Dieter Hecking will be hoping for a similar level of production from the 25-year old German.
What did you learn from the Telekom Cup? Let us know in the comments section below.
Want to share your opinion? Why not write for us?