WSV Blog: Finally a result

In the 2nd round of the Oberliga Niederrhein, WSV finally showed what they are capable of. It was a “regional derby” against SSVg Velbert, for supremacy in the Bergische Land. And of course Velbert is now under patronage of Friedhelm Runge, who was WSV boss for some 21 years. (The chief sponsor, Runge’s company EMKA, is actually based in Velbert, so it’s actually not too illogical.) Needless to say, Runge is not the most popular man in Wuppertal, as his “leadership” basically ruined the club. So there was some fear of poor fan behaviour, but in fact in turned out to be nothing. The only acknowledgement was the constant chant of “Nie wieder Runge!” (“Never again Runge”).

Some 2,500 fans showed up in Velbert, which is a pretty decent crowd for Oberliga standards. (If you look at numbers, the average club draws around 300 per game, although for WSV it’s usually closer to 2,000).

This turned out to be a dominant WSV performance, as they shook off their horrible opener against Sonsbeck and crushed Velbert 4-0, perhaps one of the best performances in over a year. However, it’s too early to say what team is the “real” WSV, since they’ve sucked for so long, you never know what to expect.

If you’re interested, highlights and interviews on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwuAkBq0StQ. They did screw up the microphone on the interviews, but this is the Oberliga Niederrhein, not the Premier League, so cut them some slack. Not quite “Match of the Day” quality. Perhaps some day “WSV-TV” will be right up there with those crappy “Milan-TV” or “Barca-TV” shows…certainly more interesting!

DFB-Pokal: Round 1

The 1st major round of the German Cup, one of the premier cup tournaments in Europe. All 36 Bundesliga and 2.Liga clubs are automatically qualified, with the top 4 from the 3.Liga. The remaining 24 clubs are winners of their regional cup tournaments, and can range from “traditionals” on hard-times to amatuer sides you’ve never heard of. One nice feature of the German Cup is that the amateur side *always* gets home field advantage, which can sometimes lead to upsets, or at least a nice pay day. Given the tough competition, the Bundesliga sides generally show up with close to full strength sides as well, and tend to take the Cup fairly seriously. However, some didn’t take it seriously enough, as no less than five Bundesliga clubs don’t get past this 1st round.

The craziest match was in Chemnitz, as the 3.Liga club upset Mainz after penalties. The match was a crazy see-saw that ended with amazing scoreline of 5-5 after extra-time. Mainz thus becomes the first Bundesliga side to fall. Stuttgart also failed to advance, although they were vanquished by a Bochum side that has started well in the 2.Liga and has hopes for promotion. They were soon followed by Augsburg, who were upended by 4th division Magdeburg. The Fuggers had 80% of the possession, but really didn’t threaten the host’s goal. FCM fought well and took advanatge in a defensive mistake to grab a historic win. Paderborn was the 3rd Bundesliga club to fall, losing at RedBull Leipzig. This isn’t so much of an upset, as Paderborn has yet to actually play a Bundesliga match, and Leipzig has RedBull money. It was a pretty even match, but Leipzig pulled it out in overtime.

However the biggest Bundesliga fail happened on the closing game of the round, on Monday night. Schalke went down at 3.Liga side Dynamo Dresden.
The Blues played horribly – coach Jens Keller spoke of 6 “total failures” in the lineup – and were falt throughout the match. Dresden didn’t have much either, but energetically fought for every ball and were rewarded with a famous victory.

Wolfsburg was on the verge of getting knocked out by Darmstadt, but eventually prevailed on penalties as a couple of the Darmstadters lost their nerves. Eintracht Frankfurt didn’t do much at all at Viktoria Berlin, only finishing the match off in the closing minute. Hamburg had a rough time at Cottbus, but Rene Adler stopped two penalties as HSV prevailed on spot-kicks.

Another upset was 4th division Würzburger Kickers taking down 2.Liga Fortuna Düsseldorf. A similar result was last year’s Cup success, 4th division Kickers Offenbach, dumping 2.Liga side Ingolstadt.

There were a few wipeouts. Hoffenheim had little mercy for Paloma Hamburg as they ran up a big score. Stuttgarter Kickers had the biggest crowd in years, but it was little help against overpowering Dortmund.
Stefan Kiessling warmed up for the coming Bundesliga season as he scored the first 5 goals for the Aspirins against the battling 6th division Waldalgesheim side. Bayern München really had no problems against Preußen Münster.

 	
Chemnitzer FC	     -   1. FSV Mainz 05	5:5 (5-4 p) 10,287 
Alem. Waldalgesheim  -   Bayer 04 Leverkusen	0:6 (0:4)    7,524
MSV Duisburg	     -   1. FC Nürnberg	        1:0 (1:0)   18,108
FC 08 Homburg	     -   Bor. Mönchengladbach	1:3 (1:2)   17,000
Optik Rathenow	     -   FC St. Pauli	        1:3 (0:2)    4,500
Bremer SV	     -   Eintracht Braunschweig	0:1 (0:0)    2,901
VfL Bochum	     -   VfB Stuttgart	        2:0 (1:0)   22,694
FC Viktoria Köln     -   Hertha BSC	        2:4 (0:2)    5,239
Stuttgarter Kickers  -   Borussia Dortmund	1:4 (0:1)   37,000
FC Astoria Walldorf  -   Hannover 96	        1:3 (0:1)    3,400
FT Braunschweig	     -   1. FC Köln	        0:4 (0:0)    9,067
SV Waldkirch	     -   SpVgg Greuther Fürth	0:3 (0:0)    3,820
SV Wehen Wiesbaden   -   1. FC Kaiserslautern	0:0 (3-5 p)  9,496
Viktoria 1889 Berlin -   Eintracht Frankfurt	0:2 (0:1)   10,514
Sportfreunde Siegen  -   FSV Frankfurt	        3:3 (4-5 p)  4,226	

BSV SW Rehden	     -   VfR Aalen	        1:1 (3-4 p)    900
Holstein Kiel	     -   1860 München	        1:2 (1:0)    8,408
FV Illertissen	     -   Werder Bremen	        2:3 aet     10,205
Carl Zeiss Jena	     -   Erzgebirge Aue	        0:1 (0:1)    8,745
USC Paloma Hamburg   -   1899 Hoffenheim	0:9 (0:7)    4,750 *
Eintracht Trier	     -   SC Freiburg	        0:2 (0:0)    5,292
Preußen Münster	     -   Bayern München	        1:4 (0:2)   16,797 *
Würzburger Kickers   -   Fortuna Düsseldorf	3:2 aet     10,500
1. FC Neubrandenburg -   Karlsruher SC	        1:3 (0:0)    3,000
Arminia Bielefeld    -   SV Sandhausen	        4:1 (1:0)    7,305	
1. FC Magdeburg	     -   FC Augsburg	        1:0 (0:0)   17,854
RB Leipzig	     -   SC Paderborn 07	2:1 aet     24,348
SV Darmstadt 98	     -   VfL Wolfsburg	        0:0 (4-5 p) 13,900
	 	
1. FC Heidenheim     -   1. FC Union Berlin	2:1 (0:0)    7,600
Kickers Offenbach    -   FC Ingolstadt 04	0:0 (4-2 p)  7,386
Energie Cottbus	     -   Hamburger SV	        2:2 (1-4 p) 16,184
Dynamo Dresden	     -   FC Schalke 04	        2:1 (1:0)   29,590 *

WSV Blog: They blow the opener…

…so what else is new?

Wuppertaler SV opened the Oberliga Niederrhein (5th division level) camapign with a hugely disappointing 1-1 draw against SV Sonsbeck, which you probably can’t even find on a map. (OK, it’s about 2 miles from Winkendonk and not much further from Fleuthkuhlen. And if you go to the Rhein river, it’s near the park Rheinvorband im Orsoyer Rheinhoyer, I’m sure it rings a bell now…)

Now in their 2nd season in the Oberliga, after insolvency forced them down, the club has been rebuilding slowly, but there is still some interest. 2,111 fans showed up, which is pretty good at this level (And maybe 10 times of what other clubs see). And things started out well when Martin Ellmann, who had 28 goals last season, opened up after only 12 minutes. WSV continued to dominate and wasted a zillion chances to add to the tally. Then with 4 minutes left, Sonsbeck scored on their only shot of the match. In desperation, WSV threw everything forward again in a fierce attack, but the only reward was to hit the post twice…

So it looks like another crappy season for what must be the lowest ranked ex-Bundesligist. (OK, I think Blau-Weiss 90 Berlin is a bit worse off, but they were disbanded and reconstituted as new club)

Well, at least it should be an interesting season, with lots of attractive matchups like
SV Hönnepel-Niedermörmter (who won the league last year but refused promotion probably because they can only afford bus fare and trains would be too expensive), newcomers VfR Krefeld-Fischeln and Vdsf Nievenheim, along with perennial favorites TuS Bösinghoven and SC Kapellen-Erf. And who wouldn’t want to be there for the massive Bergisch-derby against SSVg Velbert?!

I think the only good news is that Schwarz-Weiss Essen is still around (Hey, they won the Cup in 1959!!). Long left in the dirt by Rot-Weiss Essen, now SWE is also in the shadow of FC Kray as well. The latter was apparently almost too much to bear, so the club membership actually had a vote whether to disband the soccer section. Luckily reason prevailed and they decided to continue. (And 523 fans showed to watch them lose their home opener to 1.FC Bocholt)

2.Liga, Round 2: Bochum impresses, 1860 Fehlstart

Bochum is the first team to make a strong statement. After a decent outing last week against favorites Fürth, they travelled to Aue and laid waste to the Erzgebirge. Fast, efficient and totally in control. Aue ran around in shock, and had nothing to stop the onslaught. Luckily, Bochum took their foot off the gas, otherwise it could have been a lot worse. The Ruhr side has dicked around the last couple of seasons, but at least with this good start, they’ve shown that they have some talent and can mix it up.

Another statement of sorts in München, but not the positive sort. Rasenbull, or Redballsport, OK, everyone but the DFB knows it’s “Red Bull” thumped their hosts 1860. Oh, no, this could be Hoffenheim x 2, even worse moneybags incursion of corporate interests into German football. But before we send the hooligans to the barricades to protest, lets look a bit closer at the match. The statement was really from 1860: we stink. Leipzig’s footballers merely accepted the gift. This was one of 1860s lamest displays in history (and I’m sure there are quite a bit to chose from). To be sure, Leipzig played well, and could have had more (even missed a penalty). But the Lions were sleepwalking

Aalen put on a strong performance, completely outplayed a hugely disappointing St.Pauli squad. The hosts were quicker and determined, and the Hamburgers looked lackluster and uninterested.

A wild match in Frankfurt, but it was close only because Karlsruhe wasted a huge number of chances. FSV looks like they will struggle once again to stay up, back to their old pattern. (After a couple of reasonably good seasons). KSC got a hat-trick from Bulgarian international Ilijan Micanski, but they need to finish off their opponents if they expect a Bundesliga return.

In Berlin, Union and Fortuna Düsseldorf split the points. Overall it was the fair result, as both teams ran around a lot, but neither had much of an edge.

Heidenheim got a rude awakening to the 2.Liga reality as they got bitch-slapped in Braunschweig. They didn’t play bad, and were almost equal for large periods, but the ex-Bundesligist was simply ruthless when they needed to be, and eventually overpowered the newly promoted side.

Exciting match in Ingolstadt, which looked to give Darmstadt their first 2nd division success in a couple of decades. However in injury time Ingolstadt pulled out a point with a bicycle kick equalizer.

Kaiserslautern disappointed at Sandhausen. They were generally able to control the ball, but couldn’t make much headway against their scrappy opponents. When they finally took a late lead, they were unable to hold against their hosts, who threw everything they had forward and just out-hustled FCK down the stretch, and were rewarded with a last minute equalizer. Good point for Sandhausen, but I really expect more from Kaiserslautern.

Monday night had the huge “Franken-derby” (Franconia in English, but obviously sounds better in German!) as Greuther Fürth hosted Nürnberg. The result was somewhat of a shock, as GF kicked FCN’s ass all over the pitch. The hosts came out aggressively, jumping all over der Club. Nürnberg fought their way back, and the game looked up for grabs by half-time. However after the restart, with FCN pressing for an equalizer, Fürth countered and scored the third, which proved to be the back breaker. Nürnberg collapsed and the Greuther ran all over them.

Total attendance 134,863 (avg 14,985)

 	
VfR Aalen	      -   FC St. Pauli	        2:0 (1:0)    9,583

                     1:0  Daghfous (13., Drexler)
                     2:0  Junglas (70., Mössmer)
 
FSV Frankfurt	      -   Karlsruher SC	        2:3 (2:3)    6,738

                     0:1  Micanski (11., Torres)
                     1:1  Kapllani (16., Huber)
                     1:2  Micanski (18., Seitz)
                     1:3  Micanski (41., Torres)
                     2:3  Kapllani (45., penalty, Bittroff)

1. FC Union Berlin    -   Fortuna Düsseldorf	1:1 (0:1)   20,562

                     0:1  Liendl (35., Benschop)
                     1:1  Kreilach (64., Brandy)

Eintr. Braunschweig   -   1. FC Heidenheim	3:0 (1:0)   21,430

                     1:0  Nielsen (38., Reichel)
                     2:0  Reichel (56., Nielsen)
                     3:0  Reichel (73., Zuck)

Erzgebirge Aue	      -   VfL Bochum	        1:5 (1:3)    8,850

                     0:1  Sestak (5., Gregoritsch)
                     1:1  S. Okoronkwo (16., Novikovas)
                     1:2  Sestak (28., Gregoritsch)
                     1:3  Tasaka (41., direct freekick)
                     1:4  Terodde (66., Losilla)
                     1:5  Terodde (78., Terrazzino)
 
FC Ingolstadt 04      -   SV Darmstadt 98	2:2 (1:1)    9,000

                     0:1  Bregerie (16., Kempe)
                     1:1  Lex (22.)
                     1:2  Stroh-Engel (74., Bregerie)
                     2:2  Lappe (90. + 3, Mijatovic)

1860 München	      -   RB Leipzig            0:3 (0:1)   32,000

                     0:1  Poulsen (39., D. Kaiser)
                     0:2  Morys (68., Poulsen)
                     0:3  Thomalla (82., Morys)

SV Sandhausen	      -   1. FC Kaiserslautern	1:1 (0:0)    9,500

                     0:1  Ring (77., Fomitschow)
                     1:1  Bieler (89., Linsmayer)

SpVgg Greuther Fürth  -   1. FC Nürnberg	5:1 (2:1)   17,200 	

                     1:0  Baba (8.)
                     2:0  Sukalo (17., Baba)
                     2:1  Pinola (35., Füllkrug)
                     3:1  Baba (57.)
                     4:1  Weilandt (76., K. Przybylko)
                     5:1  Zulj (87.)


 1  VfL Bochum	  	        2    1 	1  0 	  6:2 	+4 	  4 
 2  SpVgg Greuther Fürth	2    1 	1  0 	  6:2 	+4 	  4 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  Eintracht Braunschweig (A)	2    1 	1  0 	  5:2 	+3 	  4
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  RasenBallsport Leipzig (N)	2    1 	1  0 	  3:0 	+3 	  4
 5  VfR Aalen	  	        2    1 	1  0 	  2:0 	+2 	  4 
 6  1. FC Kaiserslautern	2    1 	1  0 	  4:3 	+1 	  4 
 7  SV Darmstadt 98 (N)	  	2    1 	1  0 	  3:2 	+1 	  4 		
 8  Karlsruher SC	  	2    1 	1  0 	  3:2 	+1 	  4 
 9  1. FC Heidenheim (N)	2    1 	0  1 	  2:4 	-2 	  3 
10  1. FC Nürnberg (A)	  	1    1 	0  0 	  2:5 	-3 	  3 
11  Fortuna Düsseldorf	  	2    0 	2  0 	  3:3 	 0 	  2 		
12  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	2    0 	2  0 	  3:3 	 0 	  2 
13  1. FC Union Berlin	  	2    0 	2  0 	  1:1 	 0 	  2 
14  SV Sandhausen	  	2    0 	1  1 	  1:2 	-1 	  1 
15  FC St. Pauli	  	2    0 	1  1 	  1:3 	-2 	  1
-------------------------------------------------------------------
16  FSV Frankfurt	  	2    0 	0  2 	  3:5 	-2 	  0
-------------------------------------------------------------------
17  1860 München	  	2    0 	0  2 	  2:6 	-4 	  0 
18  Erzgebirge Aue	  	2    0 	0  2 	  1:6 	-5 	  0


1st line: Promotion to Bundesliga
2nd line: Playoff with 16th Bundesliga
3rd line: Playoff with no.3 of 3.Liga
4th line: Relegation to 3.Liga

3.Liga, Round 3-4: Englische Woche

The so-called “English Week”, which basically means mid-week play has got the Dritte Liga moving. The first team in dire straits is relegated
Bielefeld, who are definitely not where they’d like to be. But it’s still early in the campaign, with plenty of time for everybody to get things right…

Round 3:

The big match was in Osnabrück, where visiting Dresden seemed to have seized control of the match and was well on their way to victory. However the home side came roaring back down the stretch to salvage a point. Promoted Fortuna Köln got their first win in the 3.Liga with a clever performance in Halle, where they took their chances and backed it up with a disciplined defensive effort. Struggling Duisburg got their first win, although they almost threw away a big lead.

Round 4:

A rarity among the “B” sides of German football: a sell-out in Dortmund! The famous old “Rote Erde Stadion” has been repurposed as the playing ground for the Dortmund U23, and was actually packed to it’s maximum. The reason is that the club decided to hold a Fan Appreciation, and the future BVB stars put in a great show as they ripped Regensburg.

Chemnitz defended the top as they had a hard fought win at Fortuna Köln. CFC gave up their first goal of the season, but remain the surprise at the top with a strong performance.

Dynamo Dresden put in a strong display as they overpowered Preußen Münster in front of another big crowd. The Dresdner have looked very good so far, and if they continue, they will be the “Croesus” of the 3.Liga, at least as far as attendance is concerned.

The other big clash was a Westfalen derby in Bielefeld, which was hard-fought, and Osnabrück came out the winner. This should kick off a mini-crisis for Arminia, which is counting on immediate re-promotion after their surprise failure against Darmstadt last season.

Another lackluster outcome for Cottbus, as Energie and visiting Erfurt kicked around aimlessly. Obviously Cottbus is going to do a lot better if they expect to live up to their role as a contender.

Unterhaching is off to a good start, still unbeaten. I would expect the ex-Bundesligist to tail off, although last season they had one of the youngest teams, so perhaps a year of experience will pay dividends.

Hansa Rostock is another ex-Bundesligist, and they are off to a weak start. They were beaten at home by Wehen in a drab match, and even though the had a man advanatge for 30 minutes, Hansa was lame and couldn’t score.

Attendance over the two round wasn’t bad, 150,888 (avg 7,544)

Round 3: (Tue/Wed)

SG Shf Großaspach   -   Stuttgarter Kickers	1:1 (1:1)    6,421
Jahn Regensburg	    -  	SpVgg Unterhaching	0:2 (0:1)    5,090
SV Wehen Wiesbaden  -  	Borussia Dortmund II	1:0 (0:0)    3,382
Rot-Weiß Erfurt	    -  	VfB Stuttgart II	3:1 (2:0)    4,618
Chemnitzer FC	    -  	Arminia Bielefeld	0:0 (0:0)    6,834
VfL Osnabrück	    -  	Dynamo Dresden	        2:2 (0:2)   10,131
1. FSV Mainz 05 II  -  	MSV Duisburg	        3:4 (0:2)    2,230
Holstein Kiel	    -  	Hansa Rostock	        2:0 (0:0)    9,023
Preußen Münster	    -  	Energie Cottbus	        0:0 (0:0)    9,781
Hallescher FC	    -  	Fortuna Köln	        0:2 (0:2)    8,568

Round 4: (Sat/Sun)
 	
VfB Stuttgart II      -   Holstein Kiel 	1:0 (1:0)      785
Borussia Dortmund II  -   Jahn Regensburg	5:1 (3:1)    9,999 *
SpVgg Unterhaching    -   SG Snhf Großaspach    3:1 (1:1)    2,800
Stuttgarter Kickers   -   1. FSV Mainz 05 II	2:0 (0:0)    2,260
MSV Duisburg	      -   Hallescher FC	        1:1 (0:0)   11,095  
Arminia Bielefeld     -   VfL Osnabrück	        1:2 (1:2)   16,542
Dynamo Dresden	      -   Preußen Münster	3:1 (2:0)   22,344
Energie Cottbus	      -   Rot-Weiß Erfurt	0:0 (0:0)    6,149
Sunday:
Hansa Rostock	      -   SV Wehen Wiesbaden	0:1 (0:0)   10,500
Fortuna Köln	      -   Chemnitzer FC	        1:2 (0:0)    2,336


 1  Dynamo Dresden (A)	  	4    3 	1  0 	 10:5 	+5 	 10 
 2  Chemnitzer FC	  	4    3 	1  0 	  7:1 	+6 	 10
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	4    3 	1  0 	  7:4 	+3 	 10 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	4    2 	2  0 	  8:4 	+4 	  8
 5  Borussia Dortmund II	4    2 	1  1 	  9:5 	+4 	  7 
 6  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	4    2 	1  1 	  7:4 	+3 	  7 
 7  Rot-Weiß Erfurt	  	4    1 	2  1 	  5:4 	+1 	  5 
 8  Holstein Kiel	  	4    1 	2  1 	  4:3 	+1 	  5 
 9  Energie Cottbus (A)	  	4    1 	2  1 	  4:4 	 0 	  5 
10  MSV Duisburg	  	4    1 	2  1 	  7:8 	-1 	  5 
11  SG Sonnenhof Großaspach (N)	4    1 	2  1 	  5:6 	-1 	  5 
13  Preußen Münster	  	4    1 	1  2 	  7:7 	 0 	  4 
12  Fortuna Köln (N)	  	4    1 	1  2 	  6:6 	 0 	  4 
14  Hallescher FC	  	4    1 	1  2 	  6:7 	-1 	  4 
15  Hansa Rostock	  	4    1 	1  2 	  5:7 	-2 	  4 
16  VfL Osnabrück	  	4    1 	1  2 	  5:8 	-3 	  4 
17  Arminia Bielefeld (A)	4    1 	1  2 	  4:8 	-4 	  4
-------------------------------------------------------------------
18  VfB Stuttgart II	  	4    1 	0  3 	  3:8 	-5 	  3 
19  Jahn Regensburg	  	4    1 	0  3 	  5:11 	-6 	  3 
20  1. FSV Mainz 05 II (N)	4    0 	1  3 	  6:10 	-4 	  1


A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

1st line: Promotion to 2.Liga
2nd line: Promotion Playoff with 2.Liga 16th place 
3rd line: Relegation to Regionalliga

2.Liga: Round 1 opener

The Zweite Liga started off with hard fought matches that indicate the difference between the top and bottom is pretty small. Overall, the quality was pretty good, and attendance was nice as well. There appear to be several clubs that can gain promotion, but nobody really sticks out as an overwhelming favorite. The ability to grind out points is really going to be key…

Düsseldorf hosted Braunschweig in the opener, and they split the points in a hard fought draw. If this is an indication of the level of play in the 2.Liga this season, then fans are in for a very exciting season. Both clubs are looking to get promoted, and showed flashes of Bundesliga quality, and both figure to have decent attendance throughout the year if they perform. Fortuna had a slight edge, but Braunschweig never gave up and were rewarded with a late goal and the point.

RedBull money has seen Leipzig return to the 2nd division (the last was VfB in 1998, and they don’t even exist anymore – back to “Lok” in the lower divisions). However “Rasenballsport” might find things a little more difficult than their previous marching, as they pressed against Aalen, but the visitors held firm and were able to escape with a point.

St.Pauli hopes to contend, but they’ll need to do better. Ingolstadt was the better team for most of the match, with dangerous counters and a solid defense. The Paulistas fought back and were rewarded late, but it was certainly less than they had hoped.

Another “strength-test” of sort in Bochum. Greuther Fürth figures to challenge for promotion, having only lost out to Hamburg last season on away goals in the promotion playoff that saved HSV’s ass. Bochum was horrible, but are hoping to have improvd so they can threaten as well. Both teams looked decent, but horrible defensive patzers led to the goals. And both teams were hot to get started with the season: five (5) yellow cards were issued in the match.

Heidenheim started their promotion season well, with a hard fought win over FSV Frankfurt. Both teams played hard, but FCH generally held the edge. Obviously a bit nervous, a late goal sealed their first ever win and their highest ranking ever in German football :)

Nürnberg started their campaign for immediate return to the top with a decent outing. Der Club dominated against Aue, who retreated back into a defensive shell and tried to hold the point. They managed to hold out for about 70 minutes, but finally broke through to give new coach Valerien Ismael his first win. Obviously FCN has somewhat of a new look after relegation, so we’ll have to see how strong they really are. Erzgebirge showed defensive organization, but were invisible going forward.

Crap match in Karlsruhe, mainly because Union Berlin didn’t want to play. Instead they catenaccio’d their way to a point with a rather destructive display. KSC hit the post a couple of times, but that was the only reward for their efforts, which included constant pressure.

Darmstadt returned after 21 years in the wilderness, but it was a somewhat nerve wracking display against Sandhausen. They had an edge, but their only goal came when Achenbach andled the ball and was tossed…giving Dominik Stroh-Engel the penalty and goal. The Darmstadt goal scorer (27 last season) had been recruited by many clubs in the off season, but has endeared himself to the fans by renewing his contract.

A big match Monday night as Kaiserslautern hosts 1860, two clubs that are looking for promotion…


Fortuna Düsseldorf      -   Eintracht Braunschweig   2:2 (1:0)   41,667

                       1:0  Liendl (34., Halloran)
                       1:1  Reichel (60., Kruppke)
                       2:1  Benschop (65., Hoffer)
                       2:2  Nielsen (84.)

RasenBallsport Leipzig  -   VfR Aalen	             0:0 (0:0)   21,354

FC St. Pauli	        -   FC Ingolstadt 04	     1:1 (0:1)   26,664

                       0:1  Morales (42., P. Groß)
                       1:1  Gonther (78., Thy)

VfL Bochum	        -   SpVgg Greuther Fürth     1:1 (1:1)   18,146

                       1:0  Terodde (15., Sestak)
                       1:1  K. Przybylko (18.)

1. FC Heidenheim        -   FSV Frankfurt	     2:1 (1:1)   11,000

                       0:1  Schlicke (10., Konrad)
                       1:1  Schnatterer (42., Niederlechner)
                       2:1  Mayer (84., Grimaldi)

1. FC Nürnberg	        -   Erzgebirge Aue	     1:0 (0:0)   37,116

                       1:0  Sylvestr (69., Mlapa)

Karlsruher SC	        -   1. FC Union Berlin	     0:0 (0:0)   18,489

SV Darmstadt 98	        -   SV Sandhausen	     1:0 (1:0)   13,400

                       1:0  Stroh-Engel (36., Hand-penalty)

Monday:
1. FC Kaiserslautern    -   1860 München	     -:- (-:-) 	



 1  1. FC Heidenheim (N)	1    1 	0  0 	  2:1 	+1 	  3 
 2  SV Darmstadt 98 (N)	  	1    1 	0  0 	  1:0 	+1 	  3
-------------------------------------------------------------------	  	
 3  1. FC Nürnberg (A)	  	1    1 	0  0 	  1:0 	+1 	  3
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  Eintracht Braunschweig (A)	1    0 	1  0 	  2:2 	 0 	  1 	  	
 5  Fortuna Düsseldorf	  	1    0 	1  0 	  2:2 	 0 	  1 
 6  VfL Bochum	  	        1    0 	1  0 	  1:1 	 0 	  1 	  	
 7  SpVgg Greuther Fürth        1    0 	1  0 	  1:1 	 0 	  1 	  	
 8  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	1    0 	1  0 	  1:1 	 0 	  1 	  	
 9  FC St. Pauli	  	1    0 	1  0 	  1:1 	 0 	  1 
10  VfR Aalen	  	        1    0 	1  0 	  0:0 	 0 	  1 	  	
11  1. FC Union Berlin	  	1    0 	1  0 	  0:0 	 0 	  1 	  	
12  Karlsruher SC	  	1    0 	1  0 	  0:0 	 0 	  1 	  	
13  RasenBallsport Leipzig (N)	1    0 	1  0 	  0:0 	 0 	  1 
14  1. FC Kaiserslautern	0    0 	0  0 	  0:0 	 0 	  0 	  	
15  1860 München	  	0    0 	0  0 	  0:0    0 	  0
-------------------------------------------------------------------
16  FSV Frankfurt	  	1    0 	0  1 	  1:2 	-1 	  0
-------------------------------------------------------------------
17  Erzgebirge Aue	  	1    0 	0  1 	  0:1 	-1 	  0 	  	
18  SV Sandhausen	  	1    0 	0  1 	  0:1 	-1 	  0


1st line: Promotion to Bundesliga
2nd line: Playoff with 16th Bundesliga
3rd line: Playoff with no.3 of 3.Liga
4th line: Relegation to 3.Liga

3.Liga, Round 2: Arminia lays an egg

The Dritte Liga continued into it’s second round with some eye-opening results, but none was more of a surprise than Bielefeld’s shellacking at home against Halle. The first half was relatively equal, but the 2nd period saw Arminia basically run onto an exposed sword, as Halle kicked them in the balls and countered for a shocking rout.

Chemnitz grabbed the table lead as they had a workman like win over Osnabrück. Basically CFC waited patiently, and VfL committed suicide as Ornatelli got his ass tossed for a dirty foul in the late 1st half. The home side kept up the pressure and the visitors eventually cracked in the 2nd period. Certainly a horrible season start for Osnabrück, who were hoping to contend for promotion.

Rostock was up against a determined Erfurt side, and only a late own goal salvaged a point for Hansa. The favorites played hard, but looked like losers against RWE for most of the match. So once again Hansa isn’t showing it’s cards on whether they can be a contender or not.

Crazy match in the München suburbs. Unterhaching looked like a winner early, but gave it a way and actually fell behind. The match was interrupted as bad weather caused fears of lightning strikes.

The Zebras are going to be kicking themselves. Duisburg jumped on the Bavarian villagers right at the start, but then quickly gave up an equalizer. For the remaining 80 minutes it was one-way traffic, as MSV attacked all out. The visitors even went down a man after a double yellow. But Duisburg wasted chance after chance, and Sonnenhof’s GK Kevin Kunz had a brilliant match, so the Zebras only get a point.

The Sunday match saw a huge clash, as Cottbus hosted Dresden. Things couldn’t have gone better for Dynamo, as they jumped all over Energie with three headers that put the match out of reach in the first period.

Attendance 72,501 (avg 7,250). I was somewhat disappointed by the small crowd in Köln, but the local fans have never really supported Fortuna or Viktoria (who drew 973 in their Regionalliga opener). Expect big crowds for 1.FC Köln, but I guess there is no room for anybody else.

VfB Stuttgart II      -   Preußen Münster	0:3 (0:1)    1,050
Hansa Rostock	      -   Rot-Weiß Erfurt	1:1 (0:0)   14,000
Borussia Dortmund II  -   Holstein Kiel   	2:2 (2:1)    4,965
SpVgg Unterhaching    -   SV Wehen Wiesbaden	3:3 (2:0)    3,000
Stuttgarter Kickers   -   Jahn Regensburg	3:1 (2:1)    2,765
MSV Duisburg	      -   SG Sonnenhof Großaspach 1:1 (1:1) 11,512
Fortuna Köln	      -   1. FSV Mainz 05 II	2:2 (1:1)    1,640
Arminia Bielefeld     -   Hallescher FC	        1:5 (1:1)   12,628
Chemnitzer FC	      -   VfL Osnabrück	        2:0 (0:0)    6,071
Sunday:
Energie Cottbus	      -   Dynamo Dresden	1:3 (0:3)   14,870



 1  Chemnitzer FC	  	2    2 	0  0 	  5:0 	+5 	  6 
 2  Dynamo Dresden (A)	  	2    2 	0  0 	  5:2 	+3 	  6 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  Hansa Rostock	  	2    1 	1  0 	  5:4 	+1 	  4
-------------------------------------------------------------------		
 4  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	2    1 	1  0 	  5:4 	+1 	  4
 5  Borussia Dortmund II	2    1 	1  0 	  4:3 	+1 	  4 
 6  SG Sonnenhof Großaspach (N)	2    1 	1  0 	  3:2 	+1 	  4 
 7  Preußen Münster	  	2    1 	0  1 	  6:4 	+2 	  3 
 8  Hallescher FC	  	2    1 	0  1 	  5:4 	+1 	  3 
 9  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	2    1 	0  1 	  4:3 	+1 	  3 
10  Energie Cottbus (A)	  	2    1 	0  1 	  4:5 	 0 	  3 
11  Jahn Regensburg	  	2    1 	0  1 	  4:4 	 0 	  3 
12  Arminia Bielefeld (A)	2    1 	0  1 	  3:6 	-3 	  3 
13  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	2    0 	2  0 	  3:3 	 0 	  2 
14  Holstein Kiel	  	2    0 	2  0 	  2:2 	 0 	  2 
15  Fortuna Köln (N)	  	2    0 	1  1 	  3:4 	-1 	  1 		
16  1. FSV Mainz 05 II (N)	2    0 	1  1 	  3:4 	-1 	  1 
17  Rot-Weiß Erfurt	  	2    0 	1  1 	  2:3 	-1 	  1
-------------------------------------------------------------------
18  MSV Duisburg	  	2    0 	1  1 	  2:4 	-2 	  1 
19  VfL Osnabrück	  	2    0 	0  2 	  1:5 	-4 	  0 		
20  VfB Stuttgart II	  	2    0 	0  2 	  1:5 	-4 	  0

A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

1st line: Promotion to 2.Liga
2nd line: Promotion Playoff with 2.Liga 16th place 
3rd line: Relegation to Regionalliga

3.Liga, Round 1

After that minor distraction in Brazil, league football is back on track. (Well, actually the Regionalliga Bayern has been going on for a couple of weeks, but even folks in Bayern don’t care).

The Dritte Liga has started up, and promises to have lots of interesting stories. All eyes are of course on the relegated clubs from the 2.Liga, who are favorites to bounce back. Dresden figured to be the “Croesus” of the league, with strong fan support. A large crowd turned out to see Dynamo open up with a win against Stuttgart-II, and they figure to have a huge home field edge throughout the season. Bielefeld might be the strongest, as they only dropped due to an unbelievable collapse at home in the playoffs against Darmstadt. They opened up with a tough win at Mainz-II. Cottbus figures to be solid as well at this level. Energie had perhaps the most impressive result, as they outplayed Osnabrück on the road, getting a big win against a club that is also hoping to challenge.

Chemnitz had a thumping away win at Halle, and Erfurt was stunned at home by BVB-II. The eastern teams certainly are expected to draw the fans, as they are all “traditional” attractions, going back to GDR days. Hansa Rostock was terrible last season, but if they can get some good results, expect large support for them as well. They started off well, running all over Preußen Münster, but turned off the gas too early. As a result, the hosts almost came back and salavged something. Hansa will have to be more consistent going forward.

In a battle of newly promoted clubs, Sonnenhof Großaspach defeated Fortuna Köln. Fortuna is an ex-Bundesligist that had pretty much disappeared from the radar, but have now made somewhat of a comeback. It will be interesting to see how they do this season.

Total attendance 74,631 (avg 7,463), not a bad start

 	
1. FSV Mainz 05 II	 -   Arminia Bielefeld	    1:2 (1:1)    3,100
Jahn Regensburg	         -   MSV Duisburg	    3:1 (2:1)    4,423
SV Wehen Wiesbaden	 -   Stuttgarter Kickers    2:1 (0:1)    2,591
Holstein Kiel	         -   SpVgg Unterhaching	    0:0 (0:0)    5,247
Rot-Weiß Erfurt	         -   Borussia Dortmund II   1:2 (0:1)    6,400
Dynamo Dresden	         -   VfB Stuttgart II	    2:1 (2:0)   20,653
Hallescher FC	         -   Chemnitzer FC	    0:3 (0:1)    8,794
VfL Osnabrück	         -   Energie Cottbus	    1:3 (0:1)    8,800
SG Sonnenhof Großaspach	 -   Fortuna Köln	    2:1 (1:1)    2,623
Preußen Münster	         -   Hansa Rostock	    3:4 (1:4)   12,000


 1  Chemnitzer FC	  	1   1 	0   0 	  3:0 	+3 	  3 
 2  Energie Cottbus (A)	  	1   1 	0   0 	  3:1 	+2 	  3
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  Jahn Regensburg	  	1   1 	0   0 	  3:1 	+2 	  3
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  Hansa Rostock	  	1   1 	0   0 	  4:3 	+1 	  3 
 5  Arminia Bielefeld (A)	1   1 	0   0 	  2:1 	+1 	  3
 6  Borussia Dortmund II	1   1 	0   0  	  2:1 	+1 	  3 	  	
 7  Dynamo Dresden (A)	  	1   1 	0   0 	  2:1 	+1 	  3 	  	
 8  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	1   1 	0   0 	  2:1 	+1 	  3 
 9  SG Sonnenhof Großaspach (N) 1   1 	0   0 	  2:1 	+1 	  3 	  
10  Holstein Kiel	  	1   0 	1   0 	  0:0 	 0 	  1 
11  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	1   0 	1   0 	  0:0 	 0 	  1 	
12  Preußen Münster	  	1   0 	0   1 	  3:4 	-1 	  0 	  	
13  Fortuna Köln (N)	  	1   0 	0   1 	  1:2 	-1 	  0 	  
14  Rot-Weiß Erfurt	  	1   0 	0   1 	  1:2 	-1 	  0 	  	
15  1. FSV Mainz 05 II (N)	1   0 	0   1 	  1:2 	-1 	  0 	  	
16  VfB Stuttgart II	  	1   0 	0   1 	  1:2 	-1 	  0 	  	
17  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	1   0 	0   1 	  1:2 	-1 	  0
18  MSV Duisburg	  	1   0 	0   1 	  1:3 	-2 	  0	  	
19  VfL Osnabrück	  	1   0 	0   1 	  1:3 	-2 	  0 
20  Hallescher FC	  	1   0 	0   1 	  0:3 	-3 	  0

WSV Blog: Oberliga Niederrhein final

The Oberliga Niederrhein (or is it the Niederliga Oberrhein?) didn’t end up with promotion for Wuppertal, but of course after going into voluntary administration and relegation, that wasn’t really the plan. The idea was to stabilize the club and start sorting out the finances, and it seems things are moving in the correct direction. Life in the 5th division is rough at the box-office, although actually renewed fan interest gave WSV numbers about the same as previous Regionalliga campaign. (Certainly there was more season ticket purchase). WSV did decently in other areas though. The “A-Jugend”, the U18 squad, were in the U18-Bundesliga-West, and the last match drew 6,600 for the game against Schalke’s U18. This set a national record for the youth leagues.

Nevertheless, it was largely disappointing on the field in the sense that WSV was very inconsistent, and that the samll number of WSV Hooligans caused problems that made all the smaller clubs fear Wuppertal showing up, despite the increased gate. (And of course in Homberg the idiots cost the match, as by throwing crap on the field the league penalized WSV with a loss).

The champions, from the ex-nuclear reactor villages of Hönnepel-Niedermörmter, were the best team in the league, and deservedly get promoted. Most of the other teams you’ve never even heard of, the exception being Schwarz-Weiss Essen and perhaps the another Essen squad, FC Kray.

 
 1  SV Hönnepel-Niedermörmter	38   24   8   6    80:39  +41 	  80
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 2  FC Kray (A)	  	        38   22   8   8    88:56  +32 	  74 
 3  Wuppertaler SV (A)	  	38   21   8   9    76:54  +22 	  71 
 4  TV Jahn Hiesfeld	  	38   19  12   7    69:43  +26 	  69 
 5  MSV Duisburg II (A)	  	38   20   8  10    84:49  +35 	  68 
 6  Rot-Weiß Oberhausen II	38   20   7  11    82:62  +20 	  67 
 7  Schwarz-Weiß Essen	  	38   18   9  11    67:42  +25 	  63 
 8  TuRU Düsseldorf	  	38   19   5  14    86:60  +26 	  62 
 9  VfB Homberg	  	        38   16  12  10    62:58  +4 	  60 
10  SC Kapellen-Erft	  	38   15  12  11    68:53  +15 	  57 
11  TuS Bösinghoven	  	38   14   9  15    70:76  -6 	  51 
12  Rot-Weiss Essen II (N)	38   13  11  14    69:74  -5 	  50 
13  VfB Hilden (N)	  	38   13  10  15    81:64  +17 	  49 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
14  Sportfreunde Baumberg	38   13  10  15    76:68  +8 	  49 
15  Ratinger SV	  	        38   13  10  15    57:60  -3 	  49 
16  SV Sonsbeck	  	        38   11  10  17    56:77  -21 	  43
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  VfL Rhede	  	        38    9   6  23    46:82  -36 	  33 
18  VfB Speldorf	  	38    7   5  26    41:87  -46 	  26 
19  SV Uedesheim	  	38    4   7  27    39:95  -56 	  19 
20  PSV Wesel-Lackhausen (N)	38    3   5  30    32:130 -98 	  14

Champion is promoted to Regionalliga West.
Bottom 4 are relegated
14-16 could be relegated depending on Regionalliga West results:
Looks like Velbert coming down, so Sonsbeck is in trouble.
Uerdingen also likely down, which means Ratingen could drop as well


Top goal scorers:

29 - Andre Trienenjost (Hönnepel-Niedermörmter	
28 - Gökan Lekesiz     (MSV Duisburg II)
27 - Kevin Dauser      (Bösinghoven)	
25 - Timur Karagülmez  (FC Kray)
24 - Marvin Ellmann    (Wuppertal)

Attendance:

WSv dominated here. The league drew 125,373 fans (avg 330). 
The largest crowd was 3,110 when WSV hosted Hönnepel-Niedermörmter, 
and then 3,025 for WSV-Kray. 

All the other top matches were WSV games as well.


01  Wuppertaler SV           1,869
02  FC Kray                    374
03  SC Kapellen-Erft           339
04  ETB Schwarz-Weiß Essen     329
05  SV Sonsbeck                326
06  TV Jahn Hiesfeld           296
07  SV Hönnepel-Niedermörmter  292
08  VfB Homberg                289
09  PSV Wesel-Lackhausen       282
10  VfB 03 Hilden              268
11  Germania Ratingen 04/19    254
12  TuRU Düsseldorf            248
13  VfL Rhede                  236
14  TUS 64 Bösinghoven         233
15  VfB Speldorf               208
16  MSV Duisburg II            207
17  Rot-Weiss Essen II         205
18  Sportfreunde Baumberg      191
19  SV Uedesheim               175
20  Rot-Weiß Oberhausen II     136

WSV was the biggest road-draw, averaging 900+ per away-game.

BUNDESLIGA: Season Review

1 Bayern München (M, P) 34 29 3 2 94:23 +71 90
GRADE: A+

At first, I was tempted to mark them down, as they disgraced themselves in the Champions League, and would fail to repeat last season’s results. But really it’s about how they do in German football, and Bayern basically had a most dominant Bundesliga performance, so it would be pretty hard to mark them down at all.

Coach: Pep Guardiola. Overall, he did well. Coming after Heynckes wonder season, it would be pretty hard to top, but aside from the fiasco against Real Madrid, Guardiola was on his way to actually improving the record. On the other hand, just about anybody with a pulse could probably have walked away with the title with this lineup.

Best Player: Arjen Robben. Obviously there were a lot of superb performances, but the Dutchman had a sort of revival and even outdid perennial candidate Frank Ribery. Youngster Thiago was very impressive in his appearances.

Worst Player: Daniel van Buyten. A bit harsh. He’s at the end of fine career at Bayern, and he didn’t play much. But he was totally ineffectual when he did. Compare with oldtimer Claudio Pizarro, who scored 10 times in only 17 appearances and looked sharp, and van Buyten was not up to snuff.

There will probably be some changes in the off season as the sting of the Champions League exit weighs heavily. Another failure probably means Guardiola is out, and so is the tiki-taka.

Outlook: There will probably be some changes in the off season as the sting of the Champions League exit weighs heavily. Another failure probably means Guardiola is out, and so is the tiki-taka. Obviously they figure to win the title again, although perhaps not as easily. They’ll be judged really on how they do in Europe.

2 Borussia Dortmund 34 22 5 7 80:38 +42 71
GRADE: B

Dortmund basically had too many injuries, otherwise they probably could have stayed closer to Bayern (although not enough to win the title). That might have raised their grade to an “A”.

Coach: Jürgen Klopp. Still one of Germany’s best.

Best: Marco Reus was outstanding, also had 16 goals. Robert Lewandowski played hard despite knowing he would leave. He was solid and won the scoring title. Oldie Sebastian Kehl was strong when he played, and Mats Hummels very good when not injured.

Worst: Maybe the coach, if he’s responsible for players going down like flies. Pierre Aubameyang was/is supposed to replace Lewandowski, but although he scored 13, he wasn’t up to snuff.

Outlook: This is still a good team, at least when not in the hospital. Ilkay Gundogan is hopefully back from injury, and that should give Dortmund one of the best midfields in Europe. The big question is who can replace Lewandowski. Adrian Ramos is supposedly coming in, but he doesn’t offer the same skill-set.

3 FC Schalke 04 34 19 7 8 63:43 +20 64
GRADE: A-

Schalke was very shaky early, and looked overmatched at times in Europe. Ironically an embarrassing 1-6 thrashing by Real Madrid may have actually turned out to be the turning point. In general from that point on, the Blues were quite solid.

Coach: Jens Keller did a decent job in the revolving chair that is Schalke managers.

Best: Max Meyer. The 18 yr old midfielder has emerged as the latest young talent. Last year’s sensation was Julian Draxler, who had another good season. And Schalke added Leon Goretzka (19), another midfielder who did well. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was excellent after recovering from injury, with 12 goals in only 18 appearances. Farfan was very good when he played, but was also injured a lot. Ralf Fährmann is the no.1 GK, and with competition coming in from Düsseldorf’s Fabian Giefer, it looks like Timo Hildebrand can get dumped.

Worst: Hard to pick one player. I think getting rid of Jermaine Jones was a good move, since he was too disruptive and apt to do something stupid. Overall, the defense was disappointing. Howedes and Matip were OK, but Hoogland mediocre, and Felipe Santana, the big hope, also had a rather poor season.

Outlook: Pretty decent. Schalke has good youth talent that has been blooded and done well. Consistency is always a problem, and when Huntelaar is injured, they don’t have a killer instinct.

4 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 34 19 4 11 60:41 +19 61
GRADE: B

Leverkusen was strong throughout the season, but rarely spectacular. They can consistently grind out results, but then will play unspired football and fall back.

Coach: Sami Hyypiä, Sascha Lewandowski. The team under Hyypiä was clearly drifting. Management made the right move as they were worried about the Aspirins missing out on the Champions League, so they promoted the assistant to the top, and were rewarded: 4 wins and a draw.

Best: Bernd Leno. The GK was perhaps the very best in the Bundesliga this year, which traditionally has fine keepers all over the place. Honorable mention goes defender Ömer Toprak, who joined the elite of the league with a fine season. Forward Stefan Kiessling was generally good, with 15 goals. Midfielders Simon Rolfes and Sidney Sam were also strong

Worst: Eren Derdiyok was supposed to complement Kiessling up front, but sucked. 1 goal in 18 matches. Also disappointing was Mexican defender Andres Guardado (who used to be a forward), who came in with high hopes and was horrible in his few outings.

Outlook: Expect more of the same next season, as long as the coaching situation gets sorted out. They’ve got reasonable talent.

5 VfL Wolfsburg 34 18 6 10 63:50 +13 60
GRADE: B+

The VWs were somewhat of a surprise. They’d been mediocre ever since they won the title in 2009, and were basically shedding many of their high-priced hangovers from the Magath era.

Coach: Dieter Hecking did a good job. He put together a pretty solid squad that began to believe in itself.

Best: The defenders. Naldo, Ricardo Rodriguez and youngster Robin Knoche all had fine seasons. Another young player given a chance by Hecking, Max Arnold was solid and showed flashes of brilliance in midfield. He looks to be one of Germany’s future stars. Oldie Ivica Olic was serviceable, with 14 goals.

Worst: Nobody really stunk. Forward Bas Dost was hyped up, but was disappointment. Didn’t really suck, but was largely invisible.

Outlook: Wolfsburg could go either direction. They seem to have an exciting mix of young and veterans that could be something. But a lot will depend on whether Hecking can take them to the next level.

6 Bor. Mönchengladbach 34 16 7 11 59:43 +16 55
GRADE: B

Gladbach was expected to do a lot, but they waffled. Some of their issue was they were really relying on a lot of youngsters.

Coach: Lucien Favre eventually got things right, but it’s still not clear he’s the right man. He hasn’t done well in the transfer market, but he has promoted youngsters into the squad who have largely delivered.

Best: Midfielder Raffael led the team with 14 goals, versatile Max Kruse added 12. MF Christoph Kramer had a fine season. Austrian veteran defender Martin Stranzl was excellent. Of course Marc ter Stegen is one of the better GKs, and is now on his way to Barcelona. Young defender Tony Jantschke looked good, and was the only one that isn’t already thinking about his pension.

Worst: Inconsistency was the coach’s problem. But they couldn’t find a partner for Kruse up front. Hrgota (3o games, 2 goal) was often worst player on the pitch. The defense is old and slow.

Outlook: The team has some good young talent. However some of the veterans like Juan Arango who have carried the club for years are now ready for Social Security checks.

7 1. FSV Mainz 05 34 16 5 13 52:54 -2 53
GRADE: A-

Mainz was consistently fighting and always knocking on the door for Europe. Through determination and good coaching they actually snuck in. So you have to consider this a massively decent season.

Coach: Thomas Tuchel is considered one of the brilliant younger minds, but apparently he has feuded with management and is now out.

Best: Young MF Johannes Geis in unknown outside Mainz, but was excellent. Nicolai Müller scored a bunch early, but tailed off. Forward Eric Choupo-Moting was superb, and paired nicely with Shinji Okazaki, would led with 15 goals.
Oldimters Pospech and Nikolce were rocks on defense, but they need new blood at the back.

Worst: Colombian international Elkin Soto was a disappointment in midfield. Defender Malik Fatih has two caps for Germany, but rarely showed that form.

Outlook: Who will replace Tuchel? The same question when Klopp left. Maybe they can pull in another clever mind.
Mainz could fall apart. With the exception of Geis, none of the youngsters were huge impact players, and they relied a lot on veterans and players in near the end of their prime. So there will be a lot of work to do.

8 FC Augsburg 34 15 7 12 47:47 0 52
GRADE: A

These Fuggers were a major surprise. They’ve proven that they can survive in the league, and have actually gotten better. And they were the first team to stop Bayern, a tremendous result for them in what was probably the best in club history.

Coach: Markus Weinzierl should be coach of the year. He has a “talent-challenged” squad believing that if they just run hard and give it all for 90 minutes, they’ll get points. And he was proven right.

Best: Andre Hahn. The MF has come out of nowhere and even jumped into the national team. He was very good, and even led the team with 12 goals. But the strongest consistent performances came from fellow midfielder Daniel Baier, a journeyman who had a great season. But the rest of the midfield regulars, Halil Altintop (10 goals), Kevin Vogt and Tobias Werner were also solid.

Worst: Anyone playing up front. The attack was outscored 32-8 by the midfield. Molders, Milik, Bobadilla might have been invisible in front of goal. But even they left everything on the field…

Outlook: Every season will probably be a challenge for FCA. Obviously you can expect more of the same, but sometimes you have to wonder whether the 110% effort is sustainable over the long haul.

9 1899 Hoffenheim 34 11 11 12 72:70 +2 44
GRADE: B

They can score. They can’t defend. As a result, they are quite entertaining, but destined for midtable at best, which is where they ended.

Coach: Markus Gisdol deserves kudos for saving Hoffenheim last season, and turning them into an exciting squad. And he’s doing it without the heavy resources his predecessors had, as the money spigot is largely shut off.

Best: Brazilian Roberto Firmino was superb in midfield and led with 16 goals. Kevin Volland proved to be brilliant up front; scoring 11, the youngster has already been capped by Germany and seems to have a bright future. Anthony Modeste was inconsistent but scored 12. Sejad Salihovic, perhaps one of the few remainders from the moneybags years, scored 11 and was a leader. A young defender (19) Niklas Süle looks to have a bright future, and also scored 4. See a pattern?

Worst: Well, they gave up 70 goals, so take a guess. Andreas Beck is the veteran that needed to lead the back, but wasn’t doing it. None of the youngsters they blooded turned out special. Dutchman Edson Braafheid never even played, but was once considered a catch, given both Oranje caps and a Bayern pedigree.

Outlook: Clearly something has to be done on defense. The new direction is to promote young players, which is fine, but they may need to spend some money for a couple of veterans to patch things up – just make sure they’re the right ones.

10 Hannover 96 34 12 6 16 46:59 -13 42
GRADE: C

Zzzzzz. The 96ers have gone from being a breath of fresh air to being snoozers.

Coach: Tayfun Korkut, Mirko Slomka. Slomka basically lost his touch, having really done well initially with the 96ers. He was dumped midseason, and Korkut at least steadied the ship, playing .500 ball and at least avoiding any problems.

Best: Mame Diouf came on strong under Korkut and scored 8, but will likely leave. GK Ron-Robert Zieler was generally solid at the back. Lars Stindl was reliable in midfield.

Worst: Leonardo Bittencourt is a young talent but widely inconsistent. Szabolcs Huszti started out hot but then disappeared. He led the team with 10 goals, but otherwise did squat. A lot of players were tried on defense and basically all stunk.

Outlook: There needs to be some serious soul searching and the squad needs to be strengthened. Korkut looks to be a promising coach, but things could fall apart quickly unless some changes happen.

11 Hertha BSC Berlin (N) 34 11 8 15 40:48 -8 41
GRADE: B-

It was a tale of two halves for Hertha. The promoted side was quite good in the first half of the season, and then slapped silly after the winterbreak. They were getting brushed aside, and if the season had lasted longer, they could have even entered the relegation zone. But they did great work early, even knocking on Europe, and that set the stage for a solid result.

Coach: Jos Luhukay. He did a good job. He got them promoted, and his emphasis on energetic play carried them early. Next season he’ll need to re-think though, as the 2nd half slide is cause for worry.

Best player: Adrian Ramos. The Colombian forward netted 16 times. Of course, he’s leaving the club. Defender Sebastian Langkammp was good as well, and GK Thomas Kraft was decent.

Worst player: Sandro Wagner. 2 goals in 25 appearances is pretty sorry for a striker, although you can still be effectual and not score. But his overall play was also not up to snuff.

Mentionable: Brazilian M/F Ronny had a disappointing season, but it seemed to me it was largely because he had fallen out of favor with the coach. In the promotion season, he was Hertha’s best player, but he didn’t live up to that, and seemingly his role had changed and he no longer really fits.

Outlook: Look for Hertha to perhaps struggle next season. They do get back Lassogga from loan to HSV, but he’ll probably want to leave.

12 Werder Bremen 34 10 9 15 42:66 -24 39
GRADE: C-

Because so many teams sucked this year, Werder climbs to “respectable” 12th, but they could have easily been relegated. At times they looked completely bewildered. Luckily, everyonce in a while, they fought real hard and saved points that eventually steared them to safety.

Coach: Robin Dutt. Was clearly unable to get anything going. Let me get this straight, you forced legend Thomas Schaaf out after admittedly poor campaign last season, but replace him with a dud.

Best: Aaron Hunt was good in midfield and led the team in scoring. Two problems: he only scored 7 and he’s leaving the club.

Worst: Where to start? Defense sucked, midfield crap, attack the worst. All players that had been “promising” have seemingly regressed. Journeyman midfielder Cedric Makiadi showed why he’s a journeyman, but the forwards were worse. Elia, di Santo, Kobylanski, Petersen were generally horrible. Goal keeping was generally weak too.

Outlook: Now what? Supposedly jettisoning Schaaf was the new beginning. Unless something changes dramatically, they will struggle again next season.

13 Eintracht Frankfurt 34 9 9 16 40:57 -17 36
GRADE: C-

Frankfurt really has regressed

Coach: Armin Veh. Looked largely hapless. Just didn’t connect this season and everythig fell apart.

Best: Nobody. Maybe GK Kevin Trapp, very good. Joselu was mostly crap, but scored a bunch late to help save the club and ended leader with 9. Certainly has potential.

Worst: Everybody. Even pillar Alex Meier, slowed by injuries, was largely ineffective, although he did manage 8 goals.

Outlook: Eintracht made a bold move in hiring Thomas Schaaf as soon as the season ended.

14 SC Freiburg 34 9 9 16 43:61 -18 36
GRADE: B-

This is a team of nobodies, you probably can’t even mention one player. Maybe even their fans can’t mention anyone.
But they were preapred for a hard relegation battle and kept their spirits up, and were rewarded with safety. A job well done.

Coach: Christian Streich. Did a great job rallying the troops and willing their way to salvation. Unfortunately he is unlikely to be rewarded with any more talent.

Best: Swiss forward Admir Memehdi scored 12 crucial goals and led the attack. The other players were basically unnoticeable.

Worst: Nobody stepped up to a leadership role, but this is a young team, most players in their early 20s.

Outlook: It will be tough next season. The only way to stay alive is if some of the young players blooded this season can step up into leadership roles or have breakout years.

15 VfB Stuttgart 34 8 8 18 49:62 -13 32
GRADE: D

They won a couple of games when they needed to, and since the teams below them were too busy sucking, it would have taken something extraordinary for them to go down.

Coach: Huub Stevens, Thomas Schneider, Bruno Labbadia. Blechhhh…They fired Lab after only 3 games, and that was probably right. But Schneider couldn’t motivate and they continued to slide. Stevens was a desperation punt, and I suppose he did “save” them, but it was less than .500, and since the rivals sucked more, he hardly deserves much credit.

Best: GK Sven Ulreich was excellent. MF Christian Gentner was good.

Worst: Almost the whole defense was bad. Striker Vedad Ibisevic was usually horrible, although he did score 10.

Outlook: House-cleaning and new leadership. This seems like a common theme with Stuttgart. In the past they’ve gotten a little boost by firing their coach, but had no effect this season.

16 Hamburger SV 34 7 6 21 51:75 -24 27
GRADE: F

There’s no other way to put things, this season was a disaster. OK, they saved the Bundesliga as they squeaked by Greuther Fürth in the playoff, but they should be whipped even for that. In fact, it’s disgraceful and they should accept voluntary relegation.

Coach: Mirko Slomka, Bert van Maarwijk, Thorsten Fink. Fink was fired early when HSV was drifting aimlessly, and then van Maarwijk stoked the coals of the fire. Slomka threw gasoline on it. In other words, they really sucked. Although frankly, they weren’t sucking as much under Fink, and I think they probably would have survived a bit easier under him.

Best: Pierre Lassogga, who scored 13 goals in only 20 matches and is a rising star. Of course, he’s on loan from Hertha, but could be coming back permanently. Also, this was Hakan Cahanoglu’s first full season and he had some excellent performances, scoring 11.

Worst: Rafael van der Vaart. The captain was expected to be the saviour, but often disappeared. He did score 7 goals, and had some critical assists, but he needed to lead the team and couldn’t.

The board certainly deserves a lot of the blame. They replaced Fink with even worse coaches, although based on track-record, one might have expected better. The fact is that down the stretch HSV was generally totally gutless, almost wanting to get relegated, but since Nürnberg and Braunschweig were more incompetent, they survived.

Outlook: Who knows? I can’t fathom HSV sucking as much as this season, so I expect a new coach and a house-cleaning should at least make them better than now. They have some talent that could be decent when motivated.

17 1. FC Nürnberg 34 5 11 18 37:70 -33 26
GRADE: F

Der Club sucked. There is no other way to put it. They started weak and finished crap. They were the first Bundesliga club ever not to win in the1st half of season.

Coach: Michael Wiesinger, Gert Verbeek, Roger Prinzen. They all sucked. Wiesinger couldn’t win, Verbeek was hapless and Prinzen couldn’t get anything done.

Best: Josip Drmic. It would be tempting to say everybody sucked, but at least he did what he was supposed to do – he scored. 17 goals is an excellent tally on any team. Honorable mention to midfielder Markus Feulner. GK Raphael Schäfer was also good.

Worst: I would put it on the coaches. There was enough talent on the squad to at least stay up. But if I had to pick, the Czech duo of MF Adam Hlousek and F Tomas Pekhart were really disappointing.

Outlook: The talent is there for re-promotion – and Nürnberg is used to it, as the Bundesliga’s most relegated club. If they get the right coach, they could bounce back, but they could easily implode.

18 Eintracht Braunschweig (N) 34 6 7 21 29:60 -31 25
GRADE: C
It’s a bit hard to rate Braunschweig down too much. Yes, they finished last and were relegated, but you have to consider what they had to work with, which was basically 2.Liga talent that tried really hard. And if by some miracle they had won their last game, they might have actually stayed up.

Coach: Torsten Lieberknecht, did the best he could with what he had.

Best: GK Daniel Divari was generally solid, although not a top keeper

Worst: None really, although forward Daniel Kruppke was generally terrible when he played

Forward Dominic Kumbela scored 9 goals to lead the team, so you get an idea why they got relegated. He had a couple of real good matches though, so he might have a future with another club.

Outlook: If they keep most of their players, they should challenge in the 2.Liga. But the better ones will probably have a chance somewhere else.