UPS AND DOWNS
PREVIEWS
EXTRA TIME
Friday, September 7, 2007
I've spent much of these past few weeks helping the club staff search for a new apartment in the area for me. Although I'm currently living in a nice apartment in a small village outside Meppen with two other players, I've decided I'd be happier living closer to the training grounds and stadium. The search continues...

We were scheduled to play BV Cloppenberg in a cup match that I was looking forward to since I had trained with Cloppenberg before signing for Meppen. Training was light, and since I had bruised my knee diving for a header a few days before in our league opener, I just jogged and stretched.

The day before the match, I went to see the club physio and he confirmed the knee was only bruised and I would play against Cloppenberg.

We lost the match 0-2, but I played all 90 minutes. Although we lost, I feel that the most important thing for our season is the league, and maybe it's best we don't have the extra distraction of being in the cup. Nevertheless, it was an opportunity to see how good Cloppenberg are and size them up for when we meet them in the league.

Our attention then turned to our next league match, at home against league newcomers TuS Heeslingen. As always, the coach did his scouting and drew up his usual poster of our opponents. On the poster are small details about each player: how they play, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Mathias gives me the translation and some tips here and there.

I was really excited for this match as it was our first home game of the season. The night before, I did a lot of stretching, had a big meal and hot bath. I played out how the match would go in my head and thought about what I could change.

When we all arrived at the stadium the next day, we gathered for the team talk in the lounge/VIP room. I was set to start on the right wing as a wing-striker. The plan was to exploit Paul Weerman's height with long balls and I would make runs off his flicks.

The match started and they looked strong in areas. They have quick defenders and a few flare players who can cause problems. Both teams had their chances, but, before the end of the half, we were awarded a penalty. Paul took it, scored and we went in at the half a goal up.

In the second half, the left back's hamstring started to cramp up. In the first half, I noticed he was very quick, but after he started cramping up, he couldn't catch me. So, every time I got a ball on the wing, I just ran at him. Maybe it was the angle, but I must have had about five or six shots that the keeper kept from going in. I really wanted to score and knew one would come.

I finally ended up scoring on a nice chip over the goalie off a perfect through ball by Endre Varga, who also scored. I was taken off to a big applause and chants of "MAX CREAM! MAX CREAM!”

We won the match 3-0, and, after the game, I stayed out on the pitch to interact with the fans, sign autographs and take it all in.

In the past few weeks, a lot has happened - good and bad. The good is that despite the small knee injury I got in the first league game of the season, it wasn't serious. I saw a specialist, and an MRI showed that the injury was only minor. The bad was when the coach decided to rest me for the derby against heated rivals VfL Osnabrück II, a game we lost 3-4.

Also, in the same week, I thought I had pretty much secured moving into a new apartment, but, somewhere along the line, it just didn't happen.

My birthday was on August 29, and I spent it at a teammate's house. His friends all threw a small party for me and it was very welcoming.

Recently, we played a friendly against Bundesliga team Schalke 04. We lost 0-3, but I got to play in the second half and was pleased with my overall performance. The player assigned to defend me was Dario Rodriguez, who has 50 caps for Uruguay, and I felt I caused him problems at times.

This weekend, we have a home match against Hannover 96 II, and we very much need a win. I'm feeling 100 percent, so, hopefully, the coach starts me!

I'll let you know what happens soon.

Until next time,

Max
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