Lokomotiv Lipp-Zig 2: Mein Englisch ist unter aller Sau

“Is that…is that Fernando Torres?”. It was rude to point but Justin was doing it anyway. He and Herr Lipp had wandered down to the training ground, a glorified set of fields baked hard by the summer sun, after breakfast. Justin wasn’t one to socialise but Lipp was very insistent that they at least ‘take fluids’ together before work.

A knowing smile crept across Lipp’s face. It wasn’t much of a walk to the ground from the coffee shop that Lipp favoured but he was already dripping in sweat. Probably had something to do with the neck scarf he was always wearing.

“Ja Justin, isn’t that a treat? Mhmm?” As the words left Lipp’s mouth they were punctuated by the sound of Torres putting his laces through a shot and breaking a window in the changing room just wide and behind the goal.

Justin winced, “He’s still got it right?”

“I believe the doctor said the rash was gone.”

“Erm, no…” Justin did a double-take, “I mean he’s still got the knack? For scoring. He’s going to be able to teach the lads how to finish right?” Another wayward shot demonstrated by Torres scattered a collection of water bottles.

“Of course meine Justin, he still has the knackers for it. But if he does not then there is always Arjen.”

Justin managed to drag his eyes away from from the sight of Fernando Torres scuffing another shot. “Arjen?”


“As in Arjen Robben.”

“Ja. He is working with the Jugendmannschaft. A real good role model for the kinder! Mhmm!” Lipp was rubbing his hands together like a praying mantis with OCD.

The Youth

This seemed a little extravagant to Justin. Last time he checked they only had a few serious prospects in the youth team. Hardly worth whatever they were paying Robben. He couldn’t be cheap. “Isn’t that a little over the top. We’ve never really spent much on the youth side.”

Lipp gave Justin some serious side-eye. “Things change Justin. I must put myself in the hands of these jung boys. We will cover ourselves in the glories. Here…”. With a flourish, Lipp took out what looked like a crumpled page of an underwear catalogue, “Excuse my mess. I made a list for you. These are the kinder arriving tomorrow.”

Gingerly Justin took the page of what was indeed an old underwear catalogue between his thumb and forefinger. It appeared to be a page with gut girdles on. In spider script along the margins was a list of names.

Justin recognised a few names, but not many. “Anyone for the first team or are we opening a creche?”

“Don’t be silly Justin.” Lipp laughed shrilly, “We will break these kinder in like the raw stallions they are. With them engorging our ranks we will explode up the liga!”

“Something like that I guess, yeah.” Justin handed the limp page back to Lipp, “Shall we go watch them train? I think I’ve seen enough of Fernando and the senior squad.”

Another changing room window smashed.

The Formations

“So you see Justin if he enters him, here. And if he penetrates nice and high it will look like this…” Lipp was leaning uncomfortably close to his assistant manager on the bench they both sat on. The bench looked out at the new recruits as they went through their training drills with Robben. Lipp finished scribbling on the back of his notepad. Alongside the hastily drawn formation was what looked like a self-portrait of Lipp, with much more hair and many more muscles.

“It looks interesting I’ll give you that.” Justin sighed.

Yes give it to me.”

Another sigh from Justin as he attempted to skip over Lipp”s non-sequitur, “It’s very attacking though. And we are only recently promoted. Do we have a more defensive back up?”

Lipp laughed shrilly and slapped a hand on Justin’s thigh, “Oh Justin, Justin, Justin. My very own Justin. That is the defensive formation. This… this is the attacking one.”

Over on the pitch Robben was twisting and turning, megging the youth players one by one. He was starting to shout ole everytime he left one of the young players dizzy and flat on their arse. Justin could maybe see this formation working with 11 Robbens but not in the 3. Liga. “What even is this? It’s not a standard formation. We played a 4-4-2 all last season.”

This Justin,” Lipp slapped his assistant’s thigh one last time before burying the fist of his right hand into the open palm of the other. “This is our piston. Our pump. Our battering ram.” With each new description, he smashed his fist into the open palm again. “We will be the train, Justin. Ja? They will be the tunnel. We will play with passion and sow chaos. Durm und strang Justin. Durm und strang. Alles klar?”

Justin was not convinced. But he counted to ten, visualising his mortage and bank balance at each number.

Lipp tore off the page with the battering ram formation. “Here. Take the next training session with the older boys and get them to try this. Become the train. We need to be ready to ram the opposition when the season starts.”

“Are you not going to take the training sessions?”

Lipp shook his head, dislodging the neck scarf. “You must lead and be tough on the kinder for me. You are the iron fist, I am the latex glove.”


“Ja. You can be bad cop. I will be the kinky cop.” Lipp’s mouth curled into a smile. He lifted himself from the bench. “We play Jena in 20 days. Prepare them for me Justin.”