Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bayern München-Arsenal London

A miserable evening in Munich ends 3-1 for the hosts amid some dodgy refereeing (penalty not given to Arsenal) and the feeling that football is the last place in Europe where unapologetic nationalism remains normal.

This nationalism can take some pretty odd forms. Anyone watching German coverage of the game soon came to feel that - as far as the announcers were concerned - it all boiled down not to an epic struggle between two major sides, but a showdown between the two German individuals: the respective goalkeepers, Kahn and Lehmann.

Not nationalism as we know it, then. But what with international transfers, none of the sides in the top flight are dominated by the nationalities of their home countries. It doesn't seem to bother the supporters, who have got used to it over the years. The only British player on the pitch, for example, was Owen Hargreaves, and he was playing for München!

The next leg will be in two weeks in Highbury, London, where Arsenal, once they've recover their form, should be able to put things right and "the Germans" behind them.

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