Cologne - Off The Ball, bundesliga.com's quirky periodical, offers a selection of the offbeat stories to have emerged in Germany's top flight in the past few days.
In this edition, we look at the recent Bambi awards, a lanky Brazilian who has found a home away from home, a unique opportunity for some Bundesliga youngsters and two former top-flight stars making names for themselves away from the pitch...
Lifting trophies and receiving awards are anything but a new phenomenon for members of FC Bayern München’s star-studded squad. However, being honoured at Germany’s most prestigious awards ceremony, the Bambi, which are to recognise excellence in international media and television over the course of a calendar year, was certainly not to be expected for Philipp Lahm (l.) and Co. Yet winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup breaks precedent, leading to the Bayern skipper and ex-Germany captain as well as former club-mate Miroslav Klose (r.) being recognised in the ‘Honorary Prize of the Jury’ category for their triumph in Brazil last summer. To make it even more special, Bayern star Bastian Schweinsteiger had the honour of presenting their awards.
When Bundesliga fans think of big, lanky Brazilian centre-backs, there is likely to be one name that comes to mind: Naldo! The VfL Wolfsburg defender, however, who has spent the majority of his playing career in Germany’s top flight, is set to become a citizen of his adopted nation. “I’ve heard that I’ve passed the citizenship test. I don’t have the passport yet, but it will come soon and I’m eagerly waiting for it,” said the 32-year-old, who joined the Wolves in 2012 following a seven-year spell with SV Werder Bremen. But, having already made four appearances for the Brazilian national team, some might regret the classy defender is ineligible for a surprise call-up from Germany head coach Joachim Löw.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Day truce held in the World War One trenches, a 60-strong backing choir made up of under-12 schoolboy footballers from the Bundesliga and English Premier League have banded together to re-record the song 'All Together Now', a smash hit from The Farm. The kids sing on the track in both German and English and will appear in the video in their respective clubs' shirts. Furthermore, the boys were given the opportunity to train at both the Liverpool FC and Everton FC academies. Choirmaster Ian Davidson claimed the youngsters “were an absolute credit to all their clubs". The re-recorded version will be released on 15 December.
And finally, two quirky stories involving former Bundesliga players, starting with Levan Kobiashvili. Not known for being the most diplomatic of players, the former SC Freiburg, FC Schalke 04 and Hertha Berlin hardman has thrown his name in the hat to become the next president of the Georgian Football Federation. Think that's strange? Well, it gets a lot stranger yet! Ex-SV Werder Bremen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tim Wiese (r.) has opted for an interesting change in career path after making his debut appearance for American professional wrestling organisation WWE during an event in Frankfurt (see below). bundesliga.com wishes them well in their new endeavours!