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It’s Jancker-time for Shanghai Shenhua

Carsten Jancker is expected to make his CSL debut for Shanghai Shenhua tonight against Dongbei side Liaoning FC.

The charismatic 1.94cm tall former Germany international striker signed a one-year deal with Shenhua last week, but due to some last minute niggles with the contract he was not able to make his debut on Sunday night. His absence turned out to be a blessing in disguise – Shenhua beat Dalian 2-1, thanks to a late goal from much-criticised Luis Ramirez, to secure a victory on their biggest rivals home turf, and move into sixth place in the league.

So, with Shenhua seemingly starting to get it together after a rather mediocre season so far, Shanghaiist spoke to Frank Ding of the Blue Devil fan’s club on what he thought of proceedings, at the half-way point in the season.

He said, “So far the fans haven’t been happy, for a lot of reasons. Some of the players have not been giving 100 percent — some have been giving only 50 percent, according to the manager.

“The most important thing the fans want to see is all 11 players on the pitch trying their 100 percent best, unfortunately too many matches have not been like this.”

Frank also said the fans were less than impressed with the club’s close-season foreign signings, in particular, Honduran Luis Ramirez, who, apparently, was not signed at the behest of popular manager, Wu Jing Gui.

“Ramirez was not selected by Wu. The club signed him because they needed someone quickly.

“I think we should say bye-bye to Ramirez though, he was supposed to be going to Qingdao, but he turned down the move, apparently. We need him to leave because we can only have three foreign players and need a new midfielder.”

He also said that the fans, after many years of colourful celebrations with flares and fireworks, were extremely unhappy that the police had suddenly decided to start clamping down on flares being set off in the ground. But he complained that after-match celebrations outside the stadium were also now being targeted.

“After the last match, some fans tried to set off flares outside Hongkou, but the policemen still stop them. It’s stupid, we have done this for years with no problems why stop us now?”

He gave new signing Jancker a cautious welcome, but was weary of the fact that he had not played many matches last year at Kaiserslautern. “Wu Jin Gui’s idea of overseas players is not bad. But we will wait and see if Jancker he is any good or not.”

Frank said he doubted Shenhua would win the league this year, now that the team were 13 points behind runaway leaders Shangdong, who are only up there because they have “spent serious big money.”

But despite this, Shenhua have the chance to made amends outside normal domestic business. Frank said the Asian Champions League, whilst not enjoying anything like the same profile as its European counterpart, still matters to the fans, because Shenhua, who are through to the quarter finals, have the opportunity to be the first Chinese team to win the competition in its present form.

Shenhua play Liaoning tonight at Hongkou Stadium, kick-off 7:45 pm. Tickets: cheap and readily available.


This post originally appeared on Shanghaiist.

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.

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