Belfast Telegraph

Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Higginbotham?

By Billy Weir

You can only imagine the scene at BT Sport when they were looking for someone to co-commentate on the Der Klassiker clash between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Let's see, we need someone who is British with a working knowledge of the German game or a German who has played in England and has a good grasp of English. I know the very jungemann, Danny Higginbotham.

I've checked up, Herr Higginbotham started at Manchester United before spells at Derby, Southampton, Stoke and Sunderland and even a small stint in Belgium with Royal Antwerp and the only possible link to Germany is that they were all bombed by the Luftwaffe.

Things weren't just as intense in Munich but presenter Paul Dempsey set the scene for a Teutonic tussle alongside journalist Raphael Honigstein and Steffen Freund, a German with a good grasp of English who played for Dortmund. He's no Danny Higginbotham…

He was joined in the commentary box by Adam Summerton, who teed up his new colleague .

"It's also fascinating tactically wise, Dortmund's 4-2-3-1 isn't working," he said. I rang it too, I got only got through to a Frau Higginbotham who was livid as Coronation Strasse was on.

"Bayern, on the other hand (who speaks like this normally?), are adaptable and it's a 3-4-2-1 that when attacking ends up 3-3-3-1." I didn't ring those numbers, just in case someone as boring as Higginbotham answered.

In fairness, he wasn't the only one number crunching as Summerton got in on the act.

"We've become used to both these clubs breaking records and they did it today before a ball was kicked with this game being broadcast live in 208 of the 209 Fifa member nations," he informed us and then didn't tease us at all at guessing who the oddballs out were by telling us it was North Korea.

A shame for the gathered masses of Bayern and Dortmund fans huddled around a 14inch black and white TV in Pyongyang. Still, they had no electricity anyway, they'll just have to sit down with Danny Higginbotham's Das Buch Des Grossen Jungen de Deutscher Fussball.

A cracking encounter ensued, Summerton waxing lyrical that it was 'always going to be one of those games you can't take your eyes off', unless, of course, you're in Hamhung and not Hamburg. Wikipedia's brilliant, isn't it?

Which was maybe just as well after some startling revelations about Thomas Muller.

"He's been making headlines in Germany just recently, not for his football but for the fact that in a trailer for a movie that's been made about Germany's World Cup win he, rather inexplicably, appears in a pink dress," explained Summerton. Is it any wonder Kim Jong-un pulled the plug?

Despite this Muller almost opened the scoring although slipped at the vital moment when his slingback caught in the turf before Marco Reus upset the odds by scoring for Dortmund.

At the break old boy, or alten jungen, as they say in the German quarter of Higginbotham's home town of Altrincham, Freund was showing stereotypical neutrality when discussing how close Bayern had come.

"At the moment they are unlucky, but I am happy," he sniggered, but the laugh was wiped off his face in the second-half as just when Dortmund thought it was all over Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben scored.

A great game, they'll be dancing in the strasse of Bayern tonight, as Higginbotham might have said, but there will be strictly no dancing in Kaesong.

Belfast Telegraph

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