giovedì 27 febbraio 2014

Topps Handball 2011

We present here the first and so far only sticker album of the Handball Bundesliga (German League). This album has been released by Topps for the season 2010/11 and it includes all the teams of the Bundesliga plus the German National Team. The album has a thick cover and an excellent graphics and it can be considered similar to the Topps album of the Football Bundesliga of the same season. The album opens with an index, a foreword and the first two stickers: the HBL logo (shining sticker) and the League trophy. The album continues with the stickers of the 18 Bundesliga teams (big size stickers) displayed over 4 pages. Afterwards, the 18 are showed following the order of the final position achieved in the previous season by each team. Therefore, the title owner of THW Tiel are the first presented. The team are showed in the following order: THW Tiel, HSW Hamburg, SG Flensburg-Handewitt, Rhein-Neckar Lowen, VFL Gummersbach, Frisch Auf! Goppingen, TBV Lemgo, TV Grosswallstadt, Fuchse Berlin, TUS N-Lubbecke, SC Magdeburg, MT Melsungen, HSG Wetzlar, TSV Hannover-Burgdorf, HBW Balingen-Weilstetten, DHC Reinland, HSG Ahlen-Hamm, TSG Ludwigshafen - Friesenheim.
Hamburg won the 2010/11 title with 62 points, in front of Tiel and Berlin (both with 55 points). This is surprising because Tiel literally dominates the Bundesliga since the 2004/05 season. In fact, the 2010/11 season is the only they missed!

Each of the main four teams (Kiel, Hamburg, Flensburg-Handewitt and Lowen) is displayed over 3 pages and includes 19 stickers: the club logo (silver shining), the superstar player (big size shining sticker), the trainer and 16 players. Each of the other 14 teams is placed on two pages with a total of 14 stickers: club logo (shining), superstar player (big size shining) and 12 players The Bundesliga is an international league that includes some of the main handball stars; here we find many players from Scandinavia and France, that are some of the countries with more tradition in this sport. 

In the center of the album there are two special sections. The first concerns the team uniforms (Die Trikots): 18 stickers displayed over 2 pages. The second is "Traninig Mit Uwe Gensheimer" that shows 5 stickers over two pages about Handball moves with the player Gensheimer. 

At the end of the album, after the 18 Bundesliga teams, there is a special section dedicated to the German National Team with a total of 21 stickers over 5 pages: the DHB logo (shining sticker), the coach, the squad, the captain, the superstar, 14 players, and two action stickers.
The last page of the album includes the last sticker: the retired German player Stefan Kretzschmar.

Album details:

Full name: Topps Handball
Publisher: Topps
Sport: Handball
League: German Bundesliga
Number of teams: 18
Stickers per team: 19 for the top 4 teams
                              14 for the other 14 teams
Special section: Introduction (2 stickers)
                          Die Teams (18 stickers)
                          Die Trikots (18 stickers)
                          Training mit Uwe Gensheimer (5 stickers)
                          Deutsche Nationalmannschaft (21 stickers)
                          Stefan Kretzschmar (1 sticker)

Total number of stickers: 337

sabato 8 febbraio 2014

Merlin's Premier League 2008

This is the last Merlin's Premier League album before it became Topps in 2009. The season 2007/08 was an exciting competition until the end of the season, when Manchester United won the title (87 points) with 2 points more than Chelsea (85) and 4 more than Arsenal (83). Cristiano Ronaldo was the top scorer of the season with 31 goals The album opens with the table of contents, Richard Scudamore's foreword and the first two silver shining stickers: the Premier League Logo and the Premier League Trophy.

The 20 Premier League teams are showed as usual in alphabetical order: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton, Chelsea, Derby County, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester UTD, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Reading, Sunderland, Tottenham, West Ham, and Wigan.
Each team is displayed over 4 pages with a total of 32 stickers. A new feature is the starting line up of the team: eleven stickers of players in action  placed in the first two pages of the team, together with the club badge (silver foil), the squad and the home uniform stickers. In the other two pages there are 18 stickers of player portraits, each including the player signature.
Arsenal includes the stickers of  Van Persie, Fabregas, Adebayor and Walcott. Chelsea has Shevchenko, Drogba, Ballack and Makelele. Liverpool shows Torres, Xabi Alonso and Mascherano. Manchester City was very different from nowadays, if we think that the forwards were Mpenza, Samaras, Bianchi and Bojinov. The title winners, Manchester United, had on their side the forward trio Tevez-Rooney-Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the center of the album there is a double page about Sticker Stars. Six stickers were chosen by asking to the collectors their favourite stars: Top Goalkeeper (Van der Sar), Top Midfielder (Gerrard), Top Winger (Cristiano Rolando, but the selected sticker is Aaron Lennon who got the second place), Top Striker (Rooney), Top Defender (Terry), and Most Wanted (Cristiano Ronaldo).

 Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlitos Tevez, together at Manchester Utd

The action sticker of Ronaldo

As for the previous edition, this 2008 collection has also a binder for the sticker album. Here we show a picture of it.

Album details
Full name: Merlin's Premier League 2007/08
Publisher: Merlin
League: English Premier League
Number of teams: 20
Stickers per team: 32 (2 big, 1 silver foil, 29 normal)
Special sections: Sticker stars (6 stickers)

Total number of stickers: 648

domenica 2 febbraio 2014

Panini Football 2014 - Belgium

We present here the new Panini Football 2014, published by Panini for the current season of the Belgian League. As usual for Panini Belgium, the quality of the album is very high: stickers are thick and with high resolution. Compared to the previous edition, this album includes only the Premier League, but there is a special section with 32 stickers dedicated to the club stadiums and portrait stickers are back to full size with squared shape. After the index and the introduction, the album shows the Premier League teams in alphabetical order: Anderlecht, Cercle Brugge, Club Brugge, Charleroi, RC Genk, AA Gent, KV Kortrijk, Lierse, Lokeren, KV Mechelen, RAEC Mons, KV Ostende, Oud-Heverlee Leuven, Standard, Waasland-Beveren, Zulte Weregem.
For each team there are 20 stickers: the club badge (shining sticker), the squad (double sticker), the coach and 16 player portraits. The Belgian League is a growing competition that in the recent years has produced some great talents that make now Belgium one of the best European National Team in the next World Cup. Also in this album we can find stickers of young prospects that are already in the scout radar of the big European teams. In Anderlecht we find the defender Mbemba (1994) and the miedfielder Youri Tielemans (1997!) that made their debut in the first squad this season. In particular, Tielemans impressed for his confidence and class despite the young age (16 years old) when he played in the Champions League last autumn. This is a rookie sticker to keep! The main striker is the Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic (1994) that arrived last summer from Partizan Beograd. In the 11 regulars we find also the talented midfielder Praet (1994) and the wing Massimo Bruno (1993) who scoared already 9 goals this season.

First sticker of the 16 years old Tielemans

In Club Brugge eyes on Maxime Lestienne (1992, already 8 goals this season) and the defender Brandon Mechele (1993), regularly employed in the squad.

Jordan Lukaku (1994), the younger brother of Romelu Lukaku

Standard Liège is the leader of the league since the beginning of the season. They can count on a young team and above all we have to mention the striker Michy Batshuayi (1993, already 17 goals in 24 matches this season) who will be transferred to a top team at the end of the season (Arsenal is the most interested). Other top talents in the team are the midfielder Mpoku (1992) and the Nigerian striker Ezekiel (1992, 9 goals so far).

Two younger brothers of two famous Belgian talents are included in this album: Jordan Lukaku (KV OOstende, brother of Romelu Lukaku) and Thorgan Hazard (Zulte Waregem, brother of Eden Hazard). Thorgan has already a contract with Chelsea and he is on loan to Zulte. He is doing very well (9 goals so far) leading Zulte to the top 3 of this season. In Zulte we find also the sticker of Junior Malanda (1994) that signed already a contract for Wolfsburg for next season. The Belgian league confirms to be a springboard for many talented players!

Thorgan is the younger brother of Eden Hazard

After the Premier League teams, the album includes an interesting section dedicated to the 16 club stadiums, with a total of 32 stickers (2 stickers per stadium) displayed over 4 pages. For each stadium there are details about capacity, age and property. The largest stadium is the Jan Breydelstadion of Brugge, with 29.042 places, while the smallest are the Freethiel of Beveren and the Albertpark of Oostende with 8200 places. The newest is the Ghelamco Arena of Gent (opened in 2013) and the oldest the legendary Stade Maurice Dufrasne of Liège, dated 1909!

Last section of the album is for the referees, with 9 stickers on one page

Album details
Full name: Panini Football 2014
Publisher: Panini
League: Belgium Premier League
Number of teams: 16
Stickers per team: 20
Special sections : Stadiums (32 stickers)
                            Referees (9 stickers)

Total number of stickers: 361

Young prospects included in the album (1992 or younger)
Mbemba, Praet, Bruno, Acheampong, Mitrovic, Tielemans (Anderlecht), Monachello (Cercle Brugge), Mechele, Wang, Lestienne (Club Brugge), Thiaré, Habib Daf, Houdré, Vervoort (Charleroi), Van der Bruggen, Gonzalez Pirez (Gent), Raman, Mahau (Kortrijk), De Jonghe, Vercauteren, Menga (Lierse), Scholz, Patosi, Despotovic, Trompen, Vanaken (Lokeren), Michalski, Rits, Trajkovski (Mechelen), Novillo (Mons), Canesin, J. Lukaku (Oostende), Cerigioni, Sawaneh (OHL Leuven), Ozturk, Mpoku, Ezekiel, Batshuayi (Standard Liège), Coosemans (Waasland-Beveren), Godeau, Verboom, Malanda, T. Hazard (Zulte Waregem)