March 23, 2017

Hinrunde 2.Bundesliga Review

As the Hinrunde winds down, it’s time to take a look at where the 2. Bundesliga’s club have settled into the table. Starting from the table bottom first (hello, St. Pauli), we’ll work our way to the Zweite Bundesliga‘s first place club.

18th – FC St. Pauli

Wins: 2  Draws: 5 Losses: 10

Goals: 10:24

There is one word that very specifically describes St. Pauli’s season; disappointment. The Hamburg-club has failed to deliver, despite making a couple of interesting signings during the summer transfer window. Head-coach Ewald Lienen is staying put for the time being, but sporting director Thomas Meggle has been axed.

St. Pauli managed to win for the first time since September the 10th on Sunday when they defeated SpVgg Greuther Fürth away, 2-0. It’s left to be seen if the club can reach new heights in the spring, or if they are to battle for their survival in the 2. Bundesliga yet again.

17th – FC Erzgebirge Aue

Wins: 3 Draws: 4 Losses: 10

Goals: 17:32

The fact that Pascal Köpke has scored seven goals for Erzgebirge Aue is not bringing too much happiness to the club, since their defense is the weakest in the league, by far. Aue has already conceded 32 times, making them the easiest team to score against in the 2. Bundesliga. No other club has conceded more than 28 times.

Aue did, however, keep a clean sheet on Saturday as they managed to clinch a point away to 1.FC Kaiserslautern. Will the luck turn for the only viola club in 2.Bundesliga when Sören Bertram gets back to full fitness? Only the Rückrunde will tell …

16th – Arminia Bielefeld

Wins: 3 Draws: 5 Losses: 9

Goals: 19:30

Order was restored in Ostwestfalen-Lippe again this season as Arminia Bielefeld once again cemented their position as the regions number one football club, ahead of SC Paderborn 07. Bielefeld hasn’t been too lucky this campaign though. They have already been defeated eight times and it took them eleven match days to win for the very first time.

Arminia can still save some honor by going far in the DFB-Pokal. Regionalliga-side FC-Astoria Walldorf awaits the club in the last-16. Bielefeld should win that game, even without too much of an effort.

15th – Karlsruher SC

Wins: 2 Draws: 8 Losses: 7

Goals: 11:21

Not only has Karlsruher SC gone six games without a single win, they have also been defeated by fierce-rivals VfB Stuttgart this season. It’s easy to assume that the Wildparkstadion-faithfuls are far from happy right now.

Markus Kauczinski led the club to a seventh place finish last year, before signing a contract with FC Ingolstadt 04 that was terminated after just ten games. Can he be the man to save Karlsruhe?

14th – TSV 1860 München

Wins: 4 Draws: 4 Losses: 9

Goals: 20:25

Hasan Ismaik wants to invest enough in 1860 München to bring them back to the top flight of German football, but that is sure not to happen this year. The club is once again languishing in the bottom of the 2. Bundesliga table, and a promotion looks more like a dream than reality.

1860 fell head-first down the table after the opening four match days, and they haven’t looked like anything but a relegation-threated club ever since. Michael Liendl might be able to save the club if his goal-scoring continues to be productive, but the lions might be in for a new playoff if it’s not.

13th – 1. FC Kaiserslautern

Wins: 4 Draws: 7 Losses: 5

Goals: 10:13 *

FC Kaiserslautern made a major overhaul of their squad this summer, and it looks like the players needs more time to gel. Kaiserslautern are stuck in the bottom of the 2. Bundesliga table, and will have to start scoring more goals if they are to start climbing.

Summer signing Osayamen Osawe has been productive, but that is too very little use since his five goals are half the goals his club has managed to score. His team mates have to step up in order for the luck to turn.

12th – SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Wins: 6 Draws: 3 Losses: 8

Goals: 17:27

Greuther Fürth’s reality in the 2. Bundesliga could be more charming. The Bavarian outfit lost all their games in October and fell like a rock in the table. One reason of many is the lack of a prominent threat in front of goal. Sebastian Freis and Serdar Dursun are the club’s best goal scorers right now, with three goals each.

Fürth even managed to lose at home to St. Pauli, a club that not only went through October without a win, they even went through November without a win. János Radoki and his men will have to up their game if they are to avoid relegation battle.

11th – VfL Bochum

Wins: 5 Draws: 7 Losses: 5

Goals: 24:28

VfL Bochum’s season started alright, but the club has moved dangerously close to the relegation battle after they failed to win all their four games in November. A win against 1860 München on Saturday restored some joy to the fans, but it doesn’t stop Bochum from entering the winter break pretty close to the bottom three.

Peniel Mlapa has shown some good signs during the season. The 25-year-old has scored five goals in 15 games this campaign, just as many as he managed to put into the net over the course of 28 games last year.

10th – SV Sandhausen

Wins: 6 Draws: 6 Losses: 5

Goals: 23:17

SV Sandhausen failed to deliver at the start of the campaign, but that have all changed. The club is currently located safely in the middle of the 2. Bundesliga table, with no worries about relegation in sight. Sandhausen has only been defeated three times in the last thirteen match days.

Aziz Bouaddouz left Sandhausen ahead of the season to represent league rival St. Pauli, but Andrew Wooten has stepped up ever since, and is currently standing at eight goals. SVS are also strong in defense, and have only conceded 17 times.

Sandhausen’s best placement in the 2. Bundesliga since the club’s promotion to the second tire five years ago are double twelve place finishes. It seems like Sandhausen can set a new record this season.

9th – 1.FC Nürnberg

Wins: 4 Draws: 7 Losses: 6

Goals: 28:28*

FC Nürnberg begun the season as one of the worst teams in 2. Bundesliga. Der Club drew their opening two games, before losing four games in a row, including a 6-1 trashing against Eintracht Braunschweig. Nürnberg woke up after that embarrassment, though, and they have only lost twice in their last ten games.

Nürnberg-forward Guido Burgstaller has alone scored more goals than three of his club’s league rivals, and he is the top scorer in the 2. Bundesliga with 13 goals. The 27-year-old has scored in every Nürnberg game but four.

If the Bavarian-outfit can continue to rely on Burgstaller’s impressive goal scoring, while also continuing to win on a regular basis, they might challenge for a spot in the top three. The slow start to the season has made that journey unnecessarily long, however.

8th – Fortuna Düsseldorf

Wins: 6 Draws: 7 Losses: 4

Goals: 20:16

Fortuna Düsseldorf’s season is hard to categorize. The club is located in the middle of the table, with a safe distance to the bottom, but some of the fans probably want more. Düsseldorf is a former DFB-Pokal and Bundesliga champion, and they should feel like the 2. Bundesliga is not really where they belong.

Düsseldorf has struggled against the teams that has promotion in sight. 1. FC Heidenheim, 1.FC Nürnberg and Eintracht Braunschweig have all come out victorious from their encounters with Düsseldorf. Fortuna will have to up their game when they are up against clubs from the upper half of the table if they are to start climbing.

Only three of Düsseldorf’s rivals has conceded fewer goals than them, though, so Fortuna has obviously found a successful way to protect their goal. The best goal-scorer in the club is Rouwen Hennings, with five goals. That is probably not good enough if Düsseldorf hopes to pose a serious threat to the clubs above them in the table.

7th – SG Dynamo Dresden

Wins: 7 Draws: 6 Losses: 4

Goals: 25:20

Dynamo Dresden is performing surprisingly good considering that this is their first season back in the 2. Bundesliga after a two year spell in the 3. Liga. Dresden did what few German clubs have done before when they borrowed a player from the second division in England, Akaki Gogia. The move has been a success this far, and Gogia has scored seven goals.

Former Bundesliga player Stefan Kutschke has also found a productive place in Dresden’s ranks. Kutschke has scored five goals this season, and assisted one. It’s left to be seen whether Hannover decides to bring him back to northern Germany in the summer or not.

6th – FC Würzburger Kickers

Wins: 7 Draws: 6 Loses: 4

Goals: 22:15

Würzburger Kickers sure deserves way more attention than they get. Kickers won promotion in the Regionalliga two years ago, and competes with the likes of Fortuna Düsseldorf, VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 today. That is surely a remarkable uprising that few, if any, could see coming.

And if you expected Würzburger to be another struggling new team in the second division, you were wrong. Kickers were one of the best teams in the league at the start of the season, but they haven’t been able to keep that up and they are currently located in the middle of the table. That is much better than expected, though, and the fans are probably more than satisfied at the Flyeralarm Arena.

Elia Soriano left Stuttgarter Kickers to represent Würzburger Kickers in January, and the move has proven fruitful since the center-forward has scored five goals this season. Würzburger are eleven points ahead of the bottom three, so they can afford a couple of losses in the spring, and still stay up in the second division.

5th – 1.FC Union Berlin

Wins: 8 Draws: 4 Losses: 5

Goals: 26:20

Union Berlin couldn’t have wished for a much better start to the season than the one that they got. The capital-based club won four and drew two of their opening seven games, and quickly became a promotion candidate. Union has lost some ground to the clubs above them since then, but they will still be in the fight for promotion if they can keep up their fine performances.

Attacking duo Collin Quaner and Steven Skrzybski have been in impressive form this autumn, scoring 13 goals combined. Plenty of clubs in the upper half of the table, like Dynamo Dresden, Hannover 96 and Eintract Braunschweig, have all been defeated by Union.

Union was dealt a hard blow last weekend as they failed to continue to build on their fine form against top-rivals as they lost to Heidenheim, 3-0. The loss was Union’s fifth this season, more than any of their rivals in the top-8. Union will have to find more consistency if they are to put in a serious challenge for the promotion spots.

4th – 1.FC Heidenheim 1846

Wins: 8 Draws: 5 Losses: 4

Goals: 25:14

FC Heidenheim has put in a whole lot of impressive displays since they entered the second division three years ago, and that is not about to change this season. The Voith Arena-outfit are currently the biggest promotion contender outside of the top three, something very few could see coming ahead of the season.

Heidenheim knows how to handle their resources, and the football knowledge within the club appears to be fantastic. A lot of people expected FCH to struggle in their second year in the 2. Bundesliga because of the loss of top-scorer Florian Niederlechner, but they were barely even involved in the relegation battle that year. That appears to be the case this year as well, as the club had to sell Robert Leipertz to FC Schalke 04 in the summer, but continues to impress on the field of play either way.

Frank Schmidt has been the Heidenheim coach since the current day club was formed in 2007, and if things continue like this, that journey might bring him and his club to the Bundesliga.

3rd – VfB Stuttgart

Wins: 10 Draws: 2 Losses: 5

Goals: 30:21

VfB Stuttgart sure have a fair share of ups and downs in the 2. Bundesliga. Two out of their first four games ended in defeat, and a 5-0 loss to Dynamo Dresden awaited not long after. That hasn’t stopped Stuttgart from reaching the top two, however. Die Schwaben holds second place currently, and hopes to preserve that going into the winter break.

Stuttgart made up for their disappointing start by going through November without losing. Not even Karlsruher SC could stop Stuttgart from winning when they faced in a historical Baden-Württemberg-derby at the Wildparkstadion. The game ended as a 3-1 win for Stuttgart.

Simon Terodde was signed in the summer and has returned the transfer by scoring eleven goals for the the big Swabian club. If things continue to go well for Stuttgart, it might prove to be Teroddes first real chance to prove his worth in the Bundesliga, after scoring 75 goals in 169 games in the second division. Terodde represented FC Köln five times in the 2010/11 Bundesliga season, but has never gotten a new chance to shine at the big stage since then.

Plenty of players with Bundesliga routine represent Stuttgart this season, like Kevin Großkreutz, Mitchell Langerak and Timo Baumgartl. Can they be the key to promotion? Only time will tell…

2nd – Hannover 96

Wins: 9 Draws: 5 Losses: 3

Goals: 31:19

The fact that Hannover 96 is up there with the best of the best in the 2. Bundesliga is no surprise to anyone. The HDI-Arena-outfit hasn’t lost anything in their last six games, leaving them third in the standing. Hannover clinched an impressive 2-1 win away to promotion-rival VfB Stuttgart on Monday, sending them to a playoff-spot in the table, three points ahead of Heidenheim. Hannover are currently only one point below Stuttgart and two points behind Braunschweig.

Summer arrival Martin Harnik has been the offensive star in Hannover, scoring eight goals already. It’s evident that Hannover is strong on the wings too, Felix Klaus and Kenan Karaman have scored ten goals together.

The two time German champion have a game against SV Sandhausen coming up before the long winter break, and a win can theoretically send them to the top of the table. FC Kaiserslautern and Greuther Fürth awaits after the break, and if Hannover lives up to expectations and takes nine points out of a possible nine in those three games, they might very well cement their place in the top three, or even better, top two.

1st – Eintracht Braunschweig

Wins: 10 Draws: 4 Losses: 3

Goals: 29:18

The Eintracht Braunschweig-faithfuls have sure waited for this day a long, long, time. They are finally better than Hannover 96! The blue and yellow fans might also enjoy the fact that they are top of the league, but being better than their antagonist from Hannover is probably the most important thing.

Jokes aside, Braunschweig’s start to the season is clearly not a joke. They won all their first five games, before losing to Stuttgart. Braunschweig refused to be discouraged by the defeat, though, and a new losing-free streak of four games followed after the game against Stuttgart. Braunschweig is 2-2-1 in their last five games, and has shown Germany that they have what it takes to battle with Stuttgart and Hannover all season long.

Domi Kumbela has been the most prominent goal-scorer with his eleven goals, and midfielders Onel Hernández and Christoffer Nyman have scored eight goals combined. But Hannover are not just impressive in attack, they are pretty decent at defending, too, and have kept a clean sheet at four times this season.

Braunschweig has struggled a little bit against teams from the upper half of the table. Union Berlin, Stuttgart and Dynamo Dresden are the teams that have managed to beat them this season, and Heidenheim and Hannover both left their respective game against Braunschweig with a point.

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Linus Vedmar

Linus is a 20-year-old Swede who follows all Bundesliga clubs but have a soft spot for FC St. Pauli. You can follow Linus on Twitter @LinusVedmar.

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