Freaky Friday: The Marco Kurz Derby highlights Friday’s 2. Bundesliga action

I’m not one to pat myself on the back, but you have to admit I had that first week of action down COLD in my week 1 preview. If only I’d put some money on those outcomes, I’d be retiring to Tahiti right now. I’ll have to settle for basking in the admiration of all those who read Bundesliga Fanatic regularly.

What’s that you say? There was no preview of the first match day of 2. Bundesliga action?

Huh.

Well, it must have been some sort of glitch in the space-time continuum that prevented anyone from actually seeing my genius at work. Hopefully, you can all just take my word for it.

But look at all the Freaky-Friday action we have in store for you!

Fürth is in first-place?

Fashionable favorites Union Berlin seek points away from the comforts of home.

Marco Kurz returns to the scene of the crime in Kaiserslautern to face his former club and the man who ultimately replaced him: Franco Foda.

Grab a Bier and settle in for some Friday Fußball fun!

VfR Aalen : SpVgg Greuther Fürth

When Aalen welcomes Gruether Fürth to their stadium Friday, it will be for the first-ever match between the two clubs who had very different experiences following their individual promotions going into the 2012-13 campaign.

Fürth famously failed to win a single match last year, their debut in the Bundesliga, while establishing themselves early as a clear relegation favorite.

Aalen, in their debut season in 2. Bundesliga, won 46 p0ints to finish smack in the middle of the table at 9th place, making them the second tier’s most-pleasant surprise story outside Braunschweig.

While Fürth clearly had troubles making the grade in Germany’s top flight, they wasted no time announcing their return to the second league would be a completely different story, ending the first match day atop the league thanks to their being the only team to win their opener by two goals, keeping a clean sheet in the process thanks to Wolfgang Hesl turning away all 16 Arminia Bielefeld shots.

The man who may make the difference in the match, however, may be Nikola Djurdjic, the Serbian striker purchased from Norwegian club FK Haugesund last winter, who became Fürth’s leading goal scorer for the season, despite playing in only 15 of the club’s matches. Before arriving in Germany, Djurdjic was well established as a man with a nose for the goal, with 12 goals in 18 matches in Norway’s Tippeligaen  and 10 goals in 11 matches in Swedens Allsvenskan. He’d even managed four goals in six group-play matches for Helsingborgs IF in Europa League action last year before his loan expired, making him available for transfer to Fürth.

Djurdjic is starting to heat up, which may be bad news for 17 other teams.

Aalen also opened their season with a clean sheet. Unfortunately for Aalen, however, the sheet was a little too clean, as the VfR also failed to collect a goal, forcing them to split points with SV “Holy cow, I thought we were in the third league” Sandhausen, in what was a fairly sloppy match. Similar effort against Fürth is unlikely to leave any points for the hosts.

Arminia Bielefeld : 1. FC Union Berlin

Arminia Bielefeld received a rude welcome to the second league last year, as the newly promoted club found themselves down two goals inside of 11 minutes to Greuther Fürth. Perhaps a return home to play in front of an enthusiastic crowd can lift Bielefeld to their first points of the season and give them a little space from the floor of the 2. Bundesliga table, which might seem a little too close to the 3.Liga they only recently left through promotion.

Union Berlin entered the 2. Bundesliga season as a bit of a trendy pick for promotion. Either nobody told VfL Bochum or Peter Neururer’s group simply didn’t care, sending Union to their first home loss since November 2012. Now, the Eisernen will have to take points on the road in order to avoid falling too far out of favor with those who’d made them a dark-horse contender for the league this season.

After trailing most of the match, Union equalized in the 86th minute on a Damir Kreilach goal, before a Marcel Eggiman handball two minutes later allowed Marcel Maltritz to provide the final margin though a penalty kick and give Bochum the victory.

That’s not legal!

Bielefeld is led by center forward Fabian Klos, who tied for the most goals scored last year in 3. Liga with 20.

Union maintains their top-scoring trio of Adam Nemec, Torsten Mattuschka, and Simon Terodde, while adding Sören Brandy, ex of MSV Duisburg to their portfolio of offensive weapons.

1. FC Kaiserslautern : FC Ingolstadt 04

Though the history consists of only four matches, Kaiserslautern has never lost to Ingolstadt.

Undoubtedly, the fans in Kaiserslautern are looking forward in eager anticipation of extending that streak by one Friday when they welcome their former coach Marco Kurz to town.

About sums up Kurz’s first week back on the sidelines.

Kurz was in charge of a Kaiserslautern squad that suffered a 26-match run without a win, taking only six points in that stretch, leading to their eventual relegation from the Bundesliga. Now he returns as the trainer of Ingolstadt, who are coming off a bit of a false start, dropping a 2:1 decision to Erzgebirge Aue at home last Friday, despite playing up a man from the 44th minute and a decided advantage in shots.

Ingolstadt was a very poor home team last season, however. Perhaps a trip to Kaiserslautern is just what they need?

The Red Devils have seen a fair share of talent leave their club this summer, with Itay Schechter, Adam Baumjohann, Benjamin Köhler, Mitchell Weiser, and Erwin Hoffer all headed elsewhere to play this fall, forcing trainer Franco Foda to do some personnel shifting if he will repeat or improve upon last season’s third-place finish.

One acquisition that already has paid dividends is the purchase from Vfl Osnabrück of Simon Zoller, who provided the only goal in Kaiserlautern’s opening-week victory at Paderborn. Despite the shot total being nearly even, Kaiserslautern proved themselves strong on the ball, winning nearly 60% of their individual on-ball battles. Even so, it took an outstanding performance from keeper Tobias Sippel to deny the home crowd reason to celebrate and allowing his team to leave town with all three points.

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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