Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A day of goodbyes! Thanks, King Kahn!

It was swell of Solar Sports to air the game between Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin which was Oliver Kahn's final game after 21 years of great football. At the end, Bayern won another title -- Kahn's eighth Bundesliga title to go with six German Cups. It was an emotional match from start to end, Bayern's manager, Ottmar Hitzfeld also bade goodbye and couldn't hold back the tears when he was introduced. The cheers from the Fussball Arena Munchen were deafening. Luca Toni's hat trick (24 goals for the year that gets him the Golden Boot award) along with magnificent play from the midfield by Frank Ribery (watch out for him in the Euro 2008 with Les Bleus) saw the German giants romp with a 4-1 win.

After the match, it was also the turn of head referee Markus Merk to say goodbye after his own distinguished service. The dentist from Kaiserslautern who is a three-time FIFA Referee of the Year traded jerseys with Kahn, himself a three-time winner of World Keeper of the Year, after the game.

Despite his on-field success, I'll always remember "the Tragedy of Camp Nou" when Manchester United stole the game from Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League (also David Beckham's last win the Red Devils) after injury time goals by Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. That was a won game for Bayern. The same thing would happen to Germany when they played Italy in the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup except that it was Kahn's longtime nemesis Jens Lehmann of Arsenal minding the net.

If there was a penalty in the game awarded to Bayern, Hitzfeld would have asked Kahn to take the spot kick. Nevertheless, Kahn has had a great career. Great way to end a career as the whole of Germany and the footballing world bid goodbye to an all-time great.

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