Managerial Changes and International Break Recap

Klopp for the Kop

It is official; Jurgen Klopp is the next manager of Liverpool FC.  His announcement was made official today.  The German brings a great track record to Anfield.  He previously managed at Mainz 05 and most recently at Borussia Dortmund.  With Mainz, Klopp was able to get Mainz to the top flight of German football for the first time of their history.  With him, they had a 40.37 win percentage in 270 games.  In 2008, he was approached by Borussia Dortmund to take over as manager.  The club was in 13th place the season before he took over.  In his first two seasons, Dortmund finished 6th and 5th.  Then, Klopp won back to back Bundesliga titles, knocking Bayern Munich off their perch.  In 2011-12, Dortmund amassed the most points in Bundesliga history.  In 2011-12, he also won the DFB-Pokal Cup.  In 2012-13, he led Dortmund to the final of the Champions League, only to lose to rivals Bayern Munich.  Will he be able bring his style and winning ways to Liverpool?  He starts off with a tough stretch of games with a trip to White Hart Lane.  His first home game will be against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.  Then his first home league game will be against Southampton.

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photo (LiverpoolFC.com)

Sam Allardyce aka Allardici is back!

The Former Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Roves, and West Ham United manager has taken the job with Sunderland.  Allardyce has a career 39.31 win percentage.  He has a lot of success in the lower leagues.  Will he be able to turn around this team that has had 6 managers in the last four years?  He has a tough job on his hands and will need to turn around the club by getting the players to perform at their best.  They have not won a game all year and sit just one goal above the bottom of the table.

European Championships Update…

Group A, Iceland and the Czech Republic have automatically qualified in the top two spots.  The third place spot is down to Turkey with 12 points and the Netherlands with 10 points.  With two games to play, it can go either way.

Group B, Wales and Belgium have qualified for the tournament in the top two spots.  The third place spot is down to Israel (13), Bosnia Herzegovina (11), and Cyprus (9).  With two games, the three teams will look to get maximum points.  Israel and Cyprus face off tomorrow as Bosnia and Herzegovina host Wales.  On the final day, Cyprus hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina and Israel travels to Belgium.

Group C, Spain has qualified for the tournament, while Slovakia and Ukraine are tied with 19 points and one game to play.  Slovakia travels to Luxembourg and Ukraine hosts Spain.  Whoever gets the most points will advance.  If they get the same, then Slovakia will advance to the tournament and Ukraine will go to the playoff round.

Group D, Germany, Poland, and Ireland are all guaranteed a top 3 finish.  Poland faces off against Ireland in a winner goes automatically to the tournament and the loser goes to the playoff round game.  Germany plays Georgia in the final game.

Group E, England and Switzerland have qualified.  Slovenia and Estonia are both alive for the playoff spot.  Estonia faces Switzerland and Slovenia travels to San Marino.  Estonia needs a win and a Slovenia loss to advance.

Group F, Northern Ireland has qualified for their first-ever tournament.  Romania (17) and Hungary (16) sit in second and third.  They are both guaranteed to finish in the top three.   Romania travels to Faroe Islands, while Hungary travels to Greece.  With both teams likely to win, Romania will return to the Euros for the first time since2008.

Group G, Austria has qualified for the tournament going 8 wins and a draw in their nine games.  Russia (17) and Sweden (15) both host games that they must win to automatically qualify.  Sweden has their work cut out for them, as they need Russia to drop points against Montenegro.  Sweden meanwhile hosts Moldova.

Group H, Croatia is sitting in third place, trying to hold off Bulgaria.  The two teams face off tomorrow in Zagreb.  A win for Croatia will mean Bulgaria is eliminated.  Italy and Norway have guaranteed they will finish in the top 3 spots.

Group I, Portugal qualified by beating Denmark 1-0 yesterday.  Denmark is guaranteed a top 3 finish as they sit one point above Albania.  Denmark is done playing games, so it is up to Albania.  Albania travels to Armenia.  If Albania wins, they will advance to their first ever tournament.

The race for the best third place team is really heating up.  Hungary is currently in the lead.

On October 13, all of the games will be finished.  The draw for the play-offs will be held on October 18, 2015.  The playoff rounds will take place during the November International Break.

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