Not sure how much interest Rob Elliot takes in the Bundesliga but guessing it isn’t very much.
After scheduling three UK friendlies, Newcastle have followed those with two in the space of five days in Germany against Mainz and Wolfsburg, but decided to travel back in between.
Looking at the two matches, Rob Elliot has talked up both opposition teams.
With the first of the German friendlies, Elliot says ‘Mainz did really well last year and they had a good season’. I don’t think many Mainz supporters would agree after only staying up on the final day of last season.
As for Wolfsburg, they finished a place below and had to win an all or nothing play-off against Eintracht Braunschweig, which they managed to do and survive in the Bundesliga for at least one more season.
Rob Elliot says about Wolfsburg that they ‘have been up there at the top for a long time, in the Champions League’.
The truth is that in recent times they qualified for a one-off Champions League campaign in 2014/15 and then finished eighth and sixteenth (of eighteen). Only twice in eight years have they finished higher than eighth.
As the two lowest ranked German sides to survive in the Bundesliga last season, Newcastle have picked a half-decent standard of opposition but they aren’t anywhere near top class. Bth clubs finished 45 points off champions Bayern Munich and that is in a league season of only 34 games where you are playing for 102 points.
After getting the run around on Saturday for much of the game against Mainz, Rafa Benitez will be hoping for much better this afternoon.
When the Premier League kicks off in 11 days time, Tottenham will be far far better opposition than this pair.
I just hope as well that somebody tells Rob that today’s match is this afternoon (4pm local time, 3pm UK time), not tonight.
Rob Elliot talking to NUFC TV:
“Wolfsburg are a massive club, it will be a great challenge and Germany is always a great place to play football – they are just as passionate about it over there.
“A great challenge for us but hopefully a good trip for the fans and a good test for us.
“(Didn’t go to Mainz because) There was a bit of a bug around the family and I must have picked it up.
“In pre-season it is not worth the risk of me giving it to the other lads.
“I think Mainz did really well last year and they had a good season.
“But obviously Wolfsburg have been up there at the top for a long time, in the Champions League, so you know it is going to be a tough game.”
‘Up against (32 year old) Mario Gomez?’
“You want to put yourself up against the best.
“Also, you can say when you look back, you got the chance to play against these great players.
“So hopefully it is a good night for us.
“You just have to go out there and enjoy it (this season), do what you can do, and enjoy playing for Newcastle.
“After the injury I just want to enjoy myself.”
Today’s friendly is being shown live on various TV channels around the world, go HERE for details.