A broken fax machine scuppered the last-minute sale of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting from Hamburger SV to 1. FC Köln on Monday night. A sizable number of Schalke 04 supporters wouldn't have been too upset if a similar malfunction had occurred in their club's office. Alas, the Royal Blues communications equipment was in perfect working order and enabled manager Felix Magath to push through a bewildering amount of deadline deals. Greek striker Angelos Charisteas, 30, and Iranian midfielder Ali Karimi, 32, (both out of contract) were brought in, alongside Ghanaian international Anthony Annan, 24, from Rosenborg, and Brazilian left-back Danilo Alvear, 21, from Karpaty Lviv. Magath only just missed out on Eintracht Frankfurt skipper Patrick Ochs, who turned him down.
Revenge, according to Felix Magath, is a dish best served frozen. The Schalke 04 coach had promised "immediate consequences" in the aftermath of the disastrous 5-0 defeat at Kaiserslautern on Saturday and didn't disappoint: The strict disciplinarian had his team training in shorts on Tuesday morning in 25-degree weather. Gloves, hats, scarves or snoods were implicitly forbidden, too.
VfB Stuttgart's early-season woes are nothing new. For the last few years the Swabians have started the season lethargically, only to look like a different, stronger team in the second half of the season.
The most explosive match on the German soccer calendar has seen its fair share of scandals and shenanigans over the last few years -- from hundreds of inflatable penises in the stands, to stolen fan banners, to cyberattacks on Schalke 04's official club Web site, to even mass brawls between rival supporters in provincial train stations.