Bundesliga Preseason: Spotlight on Dortmund, Gladbach, Freiburg and Hannover

Upbeat Mood at Borussia Dortmund

This summer, as seems every summer, Dortmund Coach Jurgen Klopp will have to find a way to replace a key member of last season’s roster.  This year, striker Robert Lewandowski is the departed star, following in the line of Mario Gotze, Shinji Kagawa and Nuri Sahin who left after obtaining great success with BvB under Klopp.  (Sahin returned to BvB on a loan from Real Madrid,and now is permanently re-signed with Dortmund).

Despite the loss of such an outstanding striker, there are many reasons for fans of the yellow-blacks to be happy with a club that, despite numerous injuries, were able to finish second in the Bundesliga table and make a good run in the Champions League last year.  One bit of good news is that Marco Reus, who missed the World Cup because of injury, is back in training, starting to run for the first time since his injury in Germany’s pre-World Cup friendly against Armenia.  Although he’s not slated to be playing until September, just the sight of the talented midfielder up and running is good news for the BvB faithful.

More good news on the injury front sees defender Neven Subotic return to action after missing more than eight months from injury.  Subotic laced up his boots and played 16 minutes last Saturday in BvB’s test match with 3. Liga side Heidenheim.  The 25 year-old defender commented

My mind was everywhere. I wanted to help the team as good as possible but I have to get accustomed again to play against opponents hurling themselves into tackles. It’s impossible to create this competitive environment in training. It’s a great feeling to be back. It was great fun and I hope I get the opportunity to play a full half in the next game

Subotic played the first half of BvB’s next friendly, a 1-1 draw with VfL Osnabrück.  That match also saw the Dortmund debuts of newcomers Ciro Immobile and Dong-Won Ji, two players, along with fellow newcomer Adrian Ramos, who will try to replace the firepower supplied by Lewandowski.  Henrik Mkhitaryan scored the 65th minute equalizer after Osnabrück had taken a first half lead on a PK.  Jakub Blaszczykowski, Sahin, İlkay Gündogan and teenaged central defender Marian Sarr were unable to suit up for the game because of injury.

BVB 1st Half v Osnabrück: BonmannPiszczek, Subotic, Stankovic, Schmelzer – Kirch, Bender – Hofmann, Ji, Gyau – Aubameyang
BVB 2nd Half v Osnabrück:  
Alomerovic – Narey, Hornschuh, Zimmermann, Bandowski – Kehl – Jordanov, Jojic, Mkhitaryan, Harder – Immobile

In other Dortmund news, their Signal Iduna Park is already sold out for the upcoming DFL SuperCup clash with Bayern Munich on August 13.  A crowd of over 80,00 will witness the two Bundesliga giants slug it out two weeks before the season’s official opening weekend.

Dortmund also announced the contract extension of Lars Ricken, the coordinator of BvB”s youth program, for another two years.  Ricken 38, featured in over 300 matches for the yellow-blacks as a player and began his current role with the club in 2008.  Sporting Director Michael Zorc said

Lars is doing remarkable work. He has produced players who have gone on to win the Champions League. His own example shows any aspiring youngsters that dreams really can come true. He is a true role-model

Borussia Mönchengladbach Gear Up for Upcoming Season

Borussia Mönchengladbach finished fifth in the table last year, good enough for a place in the Europa League competition.  Their biggest losses this summer from last year’s roster have been topnotch goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen (FC Barcelona) and spot kick specialist Juan Arango (Xolos de Tijuana), players that have been key to the club’s success under Swiss coach Lucien Favre, who begins his third full season at Gladbach.

But the club has brought in a lot of talent for the upcoming season.  World Cup participant Fabian Johnson signed on from Hoffenheim while Andre Hahn joined Die Fohlen following a breakout season with FC Augsburg.  FC Basel’s Yann Sommer was inked to replace ter Stegen in goal and former Stuttgart man Ibrahima Traoré will bring speed up the flanks.  But the most intriguing addition to the club is Chelsea loanee Thorgan Hazard, younger brother of Belgian international Eden Hazard.  Thorgan, 21, played the last two seasons with a great deal of success on loan in the Belgian Pro League for Zulte Waregem, and Chelsea felt that he needed more of a challenge, hence to loan to Gladbach.

Hazard displayed his promise as Gladbach ended their training camp with a friendly against Stoke City.  After a scoreless first half, Hazard broke the deadlock only minutes after coming on as a halftime substitute.  The young midfielder got onto an errant Stoke pass and, keeping his cool, deposited a shot into the top left hand corner of the Potters’ goal.  (Stoke’s Peter Crouch scored the equalizer in the 1-1 draw).  Max Kruse, Havard Nordveit and Traoréalso had scoring chances for the Foals.

In Gladbach’s previous friendly July 19, the Foals defeated Ligue One side Stade Rennes 1-0.  Oscar Wendt was the goal-scorer, taking advantage of an exceptional diagonal pass from Raffael to net in the 66th minute.  Gladbach have also defeated 1860 Munich in the preseason, winning 3-2 over the Lions on a first half goal by Traore and a second half brace from Branimir Hrgota.  Unfortunately,Hrgota will miss at least three weeks after suffering an ankle injury, while veteran Gladbach defender Roel Brouwers took a blow to the head against 1860 and missed the Rennes and Stoke City matches.

Gladbach v Stoke City:  Heimeroth – Brandenburger, Dominguez (Hazard 46′), Schulz (Korb 46′), Daems – Sezer (Wendt 82′), Nordtveit – Hahn, Traoré – Dahoud, Kruse

Gladbach v. Rennes:  Blaswich – Korb (Brandenburger 79′), Jantschke (Nordtveit 3’/Dahoud 69′) , Dominguez, Wendt – Marx, Schulz – Herrmann (Hahn 79′), Ritter (Traoré 69′) – Raffael, Hazard (Sezer 79′)

In other recent Gladbach news, 23 year-old striker Peniel Mlapa was loaned to 1. FC Nurnberg for the upcoming season. The native of Togo has featured 31 times for Die Fohlen since arriving in 2012, but only made five appearances last season for the club.

SC Freiburg

Coach Christian Streich’s Freiburg club are currently training in Schruns, Austria, a small town in the Montafon valley.Playing their first test match in their training camp, the Breisgau-Brazilians defeated nearby Swiss club St. Gallen 1-0.  French midfielder Charles-Elie Laprevotte, 21, scored early in the match on a play involving Christian Günter and Jonathan Schmid.  Laprevotte has had one Bundesliga appearance for Freiburg but has spent the majority of his time at the club on the Freiburg reserve side, making 56 appearances while scoring twice and providing seven assists.  Newly acquired goalkeeper Sebastian Mieletz, a former starter at Werder Bremen, kept the clean sheet.  Newly acquired Serbian central defender Stefan Mitrović, signed from Benfica, came into the game in the 65th minute.  The 24 year-old played in 16 matches for Real Valladolid after joining the Spanish club on loan last January.

Last week, SCF played a 1-1 draw with second-division side VfR Aalen.  Pavel Krmas scored the equalizer in the 81st minute, pouncing on the rebound from a free kick.

Freiburg v St. Gallen: Mielitz – Schraml (65 Riether) Krmas (65 Höhn), Diagne (65 Mitrovic), Günter (65 Sorg) – Schuster (65 Darida), Stanko (65 Höfler) Laprevotte (65 . Kerk), Schmid (65 Klaus) – Philip (65 Frantz), Guédé (65 Zulechne

New-Look Hannover

Hannover Coach Tayfun Korkut begins his first full season leading the 96ers.   He will start the 2014/2015 season with a radically different squad than the one he inherited after being appointed to replace Mirko Slomka last December.

Gone are strikers Mame Biram Diouf and Didier Ya Konan, who combined for 77 goals in all competitions for the 96ers over the last few years as Hannover experienced unprecedented Bundesliga success and European play.  Also departed is Hungarian midfielder Szabolcs Huszti, who scored 25 times in the last two seasons and had seven assists during the 2013/2014 campaign.    Hannover did bring in Hoffenheim striker Joselu to help fill the void caused by the trio’s departure.  Playing on loan for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, Joselu netted nine times in league play.

Despite the departure of so many key attackers, Hannover were easily able to handle FSV Frankfurt in their latest preseason test match, winning 4-1.  The 96ers got goals from Christian Schulz, Edgar Prib, Lars Stindl and Jan Schlaudraff.

Korfut commented on the match

We had full concentration and didn’t let much get by us. It was a well-earned victory for the team. We are now in the middle of preseason and I am really pleased with everything, but there are a few things that we need to improve on

Hannover v FSV Frankfurt: Königsmann – Sakai (45. Rankovic), Marcelo (64. Thesker), Schulz (45. Felipe), Albornoz (64. Wilton) – Schmiedebach (64. Hirsch), Andreasen (64. Pietler) – Bittencourt (64. Bähre), Stindl (64. Ernst), Prib (64. Schlaudraff) – Sobiech (64. Sulejmani)

Two days earlier, though, Hannover  were unable to get on the scoreboard in their match with Arminia Bielefeld, which they lost 1-0.  Hannover received a call for a penalty when Florian Dick hauled down Christian Pander in the box, butLars Stindl missed the golden opportunity for a goal when his penalty shot to the right corner was saved by Bielefeld GK Alexander Schwolow.  Bielefeld was demoted to 2.Bundesliga in the Spring, but will probably be one of the strongest clubs in Germany’s third division this upcoming season.

Hannover did announce a new player signing on Thursday,  as they have acquired defensive midfielder Ceyhun Gülselam on a free transfer from Galatasaray.  The 6’4″ Turkish international played in the Bayern Munich youth system and began his senior career with SpVgg Unterhaching before joining Turkey Super League side Trabzonspor in 2008.  Born in Munich, the 26 year-old played in 31 matches for Galatasaray last season and has earned six international caps.  He signed a two-year deal with the 96ers and will wear shirt number 6.


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Gerry Wittmann

Gerry is the founder of the Bundesliga Fanatic. Besides loving German football, he also enjoys the NBA, collecting jerseys and LPs, his pets and wishes he had more time for fishing, bicycling and learning the bass guitar.

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