What happened in the Hinrunde in the 2. Bundesliga? What can we expect from the Rückrunde?
You have to go a long way back to see all the teams in a 2. Bundesliga being so close to each other, from top to bottom. This first part of a three-part series deals with the teams in the lower regions of the table. Why are they down there and who has the best chances to avoid relegation?
Being already 8 points behind the teams ahead, they definitely seem to be most likely for the drop in what has been a very disappointing first half of the season for them. Surprisingly,the start to the season was not bad, as Cottbus recorded three victories and four draws after the first 11 matches, leading to believe that a mid-table finish for the winter break was possible. Unfortunately for them, they were not able to get a single point after that. They lost all the last eight matches and only scored three goals whilst receiving a devastating 16 goals. They tried the usual trick by installing a new head coach, but that hasn’t helped them so far. During winter break they have attempted to strengthen all positions by signing 33-year-old journeyman defender Ahmed Madouni (unattached), defensive midfielder Fanol Perdedaj from Hertha Berlin and strikers Mathias Fetsch (25, loan from FC Augsburg) and Sven Michel (22, from B. M’Gladbach ). The fact that the league is so close is the only motivation for Cottbus to survive, even though their chances are quite slim.
Like many other teams, Dynamo Dresden also had a change of coach during the season. Under new boss Olaf Janßen Dresden is playing solidly. Nothing more, nothing less. Dresden have a quite good chance to stay in the league. Their football isn’t great but they have a solid base. After quite an inconsistent start to the season, they managed to deliver points as the season continued. If striker Mickael Poté (29) finds his way back to form, Dresden will have what it takes to stay above the relegation zone. Next to Poté will be new loan-man Vincenzo Grif0 (20), an excellent addition from Hoffenheim, a very talented youngster with great ball control. Another point is not to underestimate that Dresden know the drill of relegation fights from last season, where they only managed to stay in the 2. Bundesliga after beating VfL Osnabrück in the relegation playoff.
Well, honestly, there is not much to say about Aue, as they alway seem to be in the same situation. Striker Jakub Sylvestr (24) was a fantastic purchase last season and is Aue’s life insurance. Except for him and perhaps attacking midfielder Guido Kocer (25), they don’t have much to offer in order to compete in higher positions than the one they’re in and, in all likelihood, they are most definitely destined for a relegation scrap. Like Dresden, one advantage that they have compared to teams like Bielefeld, is the experience in recent years battling relegation in the 2. Bundesliga.
After an outstanding start to the season, Bielefeld had a really rough time. Including the DFB-Pokal match against Leverkusen, they endured an eight-match losing streak, which they broke with a gritty 2-1 victory at FSV Frankfurt which finally allowed them to bounce back. It was a particularly important result since Frankfurt is one of their direct rivals against relegation. After that, they finally showed more of the image that we got to see at the start of the season, attractive style of play and great team effort. It won’t be easy for them, but if they keep going like the last few matches and don’t fall into such a losing streak again they have a good chance of playing 2. Bundesliga football next season once again.
For years, it has been hard to grasp where Ingolstadt are at. They have a strong backer in Audi, have put together a good and talented squad for the last few years but have never really delivered great results. This year’s biggest problem has been scoring goals. In 19 matches they’ve only scored 18 times, a tally they will have to improve upon if they want to climb up the table but, looking at the squad, it’s hard to see who will come up with those goals; that will be the key to their survival.
Good forwards, shaky defense. That could be Frankfurt’s headline for the Hinrunde. With Edmond Kapllani (31) and Matthew Leckie (22), Frankfurt have two really good strikers. The problem is the defense, as Frankfurt conceded too many goals. If they can manage to be more disciplined in defense and in the general defensive duties of the whole team, starting from attacking midfield/strikers, they should be able to avoid relegation comfortably.
As we can see, out of these six teams, any of them is a potential candidate for relegation. And it’s not just those six teams who are in danger; within the next 7 (!) points there are 6 (!) more teams. As was said at the beginning, it has never been this close in 2. Bundesliga. In the next part of the series, we’ll take a look at the six teams above, who could equally be staring at the face of promotion or relegation.
Header courtesy of bild.de
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