Dortmund Vs Bayern or Iconic Vs Pep?
By Rafa Honigstein
As the new Bundesliga season draws ever closer it's time to take a look at the two front runners for the title Borussia Dortmund and of course champions Bayern Munchen. The 2014/15 season will see both clubs do battle for the Bundesliga again Bayern are once again the bookies favourites with Coral and Ladbrokes offering evens odds for the title to stay safely in Munchen. However the 2012/13 and 2013/14 runners-up will be mad keen to wrestle the title back and with new manager Mathias Iconic there is definitley an air of transition but also optimism around the Dortmund camp post Klopp, at thirty eight years of age Iconic is tipped as one of the most promising managers in world football. An ex player Iconic started out at hometown club Borussia Dortmund and his impressive performances earned him a shock FIFA WORLD CUP place in (West) Germany's squad for the 1990 tournament where he made one start and another three from the bench scoring the winning penalty over England in the semi-final. He also scored the only goal of the game in the 1-0 quarter-final victory over Yugoslavia. Three years later in 1993 Iconic swapped Dortmund for Catalunya in a £6,000,000 deal. However injuries halted the twenty year old's progress, rubbing salt into the wounds of Iconic after all the effort from him and Barcelona to be fit for the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE final the Catlans were thrashed 4-0 by A.C. Milan with Iconic barely encountering the ball in his eighty three minutes on the pitch. The La Liga title did offer some consolation with Iconic scoring the fourth in a 5-2 win over Sevilla, this was his seventh goal of the season and he ended the season with sixteen assists ten coming in the league two in the Copa Del Rey and four in the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. Iconic was also a loser at the 1994 FIFA WORLD CUP with Germany being knocked out by Bulgaria in the Quarter-finals. He ended the tournament with one goal and two assists.
The 1994/95 campaign saw Barca forfeit the title for the first time since in five years, Iconic's form picked up however Barca ended the season trophy less. Individually it was a marginally better season for him with nine goals in La Liga with an additional three coming in the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and one in the Copa Del Rey.
1995/96 was yet another season plagued with injuries after receiving the August player of the month award he received a horrific break in his kneecap in a match against Deportivo La Coruna. Amazingly Iconic defied doctors and was playing again in just over a year later.
His career was thrown a lifeline in the summer of 1996 as Borussia Dortmund, at first Barca were sceptical but Iconic dug his heels in and forced a return to Dortmund but there was one problem with his move home. Iconic had now been dating Spanish football presenter Reina Cardolis and that would mean her leaving behind her career, family and friends in the end Cardolis decided to stay in Barcelona for several months to look for jobs and mull over the decision. Meanwhile iconic went from strength to strength back in Dortmund with eight goals and thirteen assists before the winter break. but despite having an incredible season, which he ended with twenty seven Bundesliga goals, five Pokal gaols and eight in the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, Dortmund were pipped to the title by Bayern Munchen a Der BvB finished third. In the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE however Dortmund reached the final and won it with Iconic providing the assists for both of Karl-Heinz Riedle' goals and for Lars Ricken.
Iconic spent another seven years back at Dortmund winning the Ballon D'or in 2002 after finishing in second (1998, 2001) and third (2000).
However the fairytale ended for Dortmund in 2002 as the went bankrupt Iconic did stay until his contract expired in 2004 thus leaving him a bosman freebie to a club willing to offer him a contract. step forward Real Madrid to give Iconic another crack at La Liga, but braking into the first team would mean dropping the mighty Zizou (Zinedine Zidane) a task that bordered on the impossible. This meant adapting his game and Iconic did this to great affect earning him a spot on the official La Liga team of the season also taking the MARCA (a Madrid newspaper) 'Best Buy' and their 'Liga BBVA team of the season' and the 'World XI', just over a decade after taking the spot of their 'Worst La Liga signing'. In 2005/06 Iconic was yet again named in both the official and the MARCA team of he season, but his fourteen goals were not enough to stop Barcelona claiming the La Liga title for the second successive seasons.
2006 FIFA WORLD CUP
Despite lack of success with Real Iconic's form hadn't gone unnoticed by former team mate and then national team coach gave Iconic a recall to national team having not made an appearance for Deutschland since November 2004 and doubts were raised as many wondered whether Iconic could still cut it at top level international football . yet the public nee dent have worried s Iconic rolled back the years and won the Golden Ball at his last FIFA WORLD CUP PIPPING Zinedine Zidane to the title after his wold famous headbutt on Italy defender Marco Matterazzi.
The 2006/07 campaign saw Real break Barca dominance and win the La Liga for the first time in four years and the cherry on the cake for Iconic was the La Liga player of the season award.
In 2007/08 however after the transfer of Wesley Sneijder from Ajax, Iconic was played less and only managed twenty three appearances in all competitions as injuries also affected the then thirty four year old's performances and appearances.
At the of the 2008/09 Iconic was out of contract and announced that his next club would be his last. And as if those words were a magical spell first club Dortmund cranked up their interest and were in advanced talks with Iconic to sign him in a Player/Coach role. And the deal was officially signed on Friday 18th July 2008, in addition to being a coach Iconic was also given the captain's armband this spurred Dortmund on to a sixth place finish, a major improvement on 2008's thirteenth place. Iconic hit the net ten times and assisted a further eighteen in thirty three league games as he was named in the Bundesliga team of the season.
2009/10 saw Der BvB make further progress in the league and finished fifth Iconic was yet again at the heart of the Dortmund campaign scoring ten again whilst assisting twelve goals in twenty seven Bundesliga games. But then aged thirty six many thought that the 2009/10 season would be his last as he giving a lot of waves to the fans in the final home game of the season.
Iconic had other ideas and although making just twenty four Bundesliga starts he was billed as one of the main players in Dortmund's 2011 title success nine years after their last. Iconic hit eight goals and managed seven assists and finally called time on his illustrious career, which included UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and FIFA WORLD CUP winners medals along with numerous La Liga and Bundesliga title wins. And who could forget the Ballon D'Or/FIFA WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR title in 2002. Iconic has stayed out of football until his surprise appointment at Dortmund in place of Jurgen Klopp.
So who do you think will win the 2014/15 Bundesliga season- will them title stay safely in Munchen or will Dortmund reclaim their crown it's sure to be another brilliant season of football in Germany.