Euro Qualifier: Germany not impressive, but…

Germany upended Scotland 2-1 in a Euro match played in Dortmund…

The first official match since the World Cup saw Germany face Scotland in the European Group Qualifier. Although the DFB squad had played their first match against Argentina, losing 2-4, not too much can be made of that, since it was a friendly that nobody really cares about (at least in Germany. Maybe Argentina wanted this “revenge”, but whatever. Look at the scoreboard from Rio and tell me which one you like better? I thought so…)

In any case, Joggi Löw knew he would start with a re-tooling of the World Champions. Three mainstays of the national team retired. Miro Klose had a fine run, and although his all-time scoring title over Gerd Müller is somewhat misleading, he was always a model professional. Still, he was already at the end of a glorious run, so no doubt his retirement wasn’t going to cause any loss of sleep for Löw. Per Mertesacker also stepped down, but again this is not a huge loss. He’s been downhill ever since he left Bremen, and hasn’t really been outstanding in England. A fine player at an international level in the right system, but not overpowering. The huge loss was of course captain Philipp Lahm, perhaps still the best outside defender in the world. He will be hard to replace.

With Ozil and Schweinsteiger missing, Germany was also weakened, but at least Marco Reus was back. Löw only had 8 reserves, and two of them were goalkeepers. (Scotland brought 12 reserves). Perhaps he was thinking if Germany started routing the Scots, he’d give Neuer the rest of the night off at halftime. Youngsters such as Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim) and Eric Durm (Dortmund) were in the back, and were a bit shaky at times. In addition, Gladbach’s Christoph Kramer started in midfield.

Scotland has been a non-factor in European football for several years, but manager Gordon Strachan seems to have them on the right track. They fought hard and gave Germany a good match. Thomas Müller got both goals (and barely missed a third off the post) to seal the win, but the Scots have to feel good about their performance. Joggi Löw couldn’t have been too happy, but he has a lot of young talent waiting in the wings, so over the Euro Group stages, we should see some good ones emerge. Germany has invested heavily in their youth setup, and it certainly paid dividends in winning the World Cup, and they’re turning out good players.

It shouldn’t really matter too much, as everyone expects Germany to win their group. Aside from Scotland, Poland, Ireland, Georgia and – yes it’s not a joke – Gibraltar are the competition. Yep, that Germany-Gibraltar matchup figures to be a memorable one. Maybe the DFB should send Hamburger SV instead to make it interesting. The Polish team could be pretty good, but even with experimental squads the DFB should be able to get the points.

3.Liga, Round 8

A split schedule this round in the 3.Liga, as several matches will only take place after the weekend.

Stuttgarter Kickers got back on track with a solid win over Fortuna Köln, who are having quite a problem adjusting to the 3.Liga. The match was actually played in Reutlingen, but it didn’t seem to bother the hosts, who controlled the match.

Dresden got a late win against Regensburg, finally breaking down Jahn’s fierce resistance. For much of the match, Dynamo had trouble gaining control and couldn’t really pull away. In fact, it seemed unlikely at all when Teixeira got tossed after a swan dive, and the hosts were down a man. But it didn’t seem to bother them, they kept up the pressure, and were finally rewarded with Justin Eilers 2nd goal of the match.

Duisburg dominated against Osnabrück, and perhaps they have turned the corner. After a shaky start, the Zebras are beginning to look like a contender again.

Halle continues their impressive away form and keep Rostock in crisis. HFC was commanding most of the match, with Hansa too timid. They really didn’t even generate a single reasonable goal chance.

Erfurt was often in trouble of dropping a point against Kiel, but with some luck, were able to pull out the victory. The winning goal was supposed to be a cross into the box, but it flew over everybody and into the net.

Münster is back on track with a hard fought win over Wehen.

 	
Hansa Rostock	     -   Hallescher FC	     0:1 (0:0)    9,500
Stuttgarter Kickers  -   Fortuna Köln	     2:0 (1:0)    3,050
MSV Duisburg	     -   VfL Osnabrück	     3:0 (1:0)   11,764
Rot-Weiß Erfurt	     -   Holstein Kiel	     3:2 (1:1)    4,673
Dynamo Dresden	     -   Jahn Regensburg     2:1 (1:1)   21,802
Preußen Münster	     -  SV Wehen Wiesbaden   3:2 (1:1)    7,661

Tues/Wed
VfB Stuttgart II     -   1. FSV Mainz 05 II  -:- (-:-) 
Energie Cottbus	     -   SG Shf Großaspach   -:- (-:-)
SpVgg Unterhaching   -   Arminia Bielefeld   -:- (-:-)
Borussia Dortmund II -   Chemnitzer FC	     -:- (-:-) 	


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



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

BUNDESLIGA, Round 2

Pep Guardiola’s evil plan of renaming the club to “Bavaria Munich” and transfer them to La Liga seems to be working. The latest Spanish import is Xavi Alonso, who went straight into the starting eleven as they faced Schalke on the road. A huge match, especially since Schalke had a shaky start. Bayern was clearly better in the first half and probably should have decided the match. I don’t know that Robert Lewandowski could be any more unpopular in Gelsenkirchen: first a Dortmund hero (strike one), now with Bayern (strike two) and he scored the opening goal (strike three). Bayern were cruising. Luckily for Schalke they took their foot off the gas and began to tiki-taka around. Of course, it’s after the World Cup, so that means it’s time for Neuerisms. The Bayern ran way out of goal and his clearance sucked, but Ayhan missed the open net from 50 meters as his shot was inaccurate. Ironically it was Xavi who gave Schalke their goal, an lucky clearance that looked to bounce off Höwedes hand (albeit unintentional hand ball). Further irony is that the Spaniard was actually one of the better players on the pitch. Overall a fair result, as nothing really happened in the 2nd half and both teams seemed content with a split.

Bayer Leverkusen is the leader, but it was not without a struggle. The Aspirins figured to beat Hertha without breaking a sweat, but instead found themselves in a fierce battle. They eventually were able to get the edge thanks to their constant attacking waves. Berlin played well and provided a test for Leverkusen, but could not hold them off. The highlight was probably Karim Bellarabi’s game ending goal: a perfect volley across the box into the corner off a perfect high cross from Calhanoglu.

Dortmund showed some decent form after their opening loss, as they dominated Augsburg and looked to have a nice crushing away win. However they fell apart in the dying minutes and were running around like chickens with their heads cut off, desperately holding on and getting the win.
BVB did get a bit of good news, as apparently Folk hero Shinji Kagawa is coming back. The Japanese midfielder never fit in at Manchester United and the Neons swooped in and picked him up – for 50% of what they had sold him for. If he can reach his old form with Dortmund, that would be a huge boost.

Wolfsburg and Frankfurt battled to a draw, but the match was more influenced by mistakes rather than sterling play. The VWs began to exert some pressure, but Eintracht were good for their point.

Bremen and Hoffenheim divided the points. The guests were the better team in the first half, and probably should have have extended their lead and gained control. Instead they failed, and Werder came roaring back in the 2nd period. Overall, quite entertaining and the end result was fair.

Köln has Stuttgart’s number. They hadn’t lost in Stuttgart in 18 years, and shockingly continue the run with a solid away win. The promoted side was disciplined and well organized, whereas VfB ran around aimlessly and rarely threatened. A solid away with for Köln, who need to grab points when they can to lay a foundation for avoiding relegation.

Shocking result in Hamburg. HSV is back to their last season’s tricks as they absolutely stunk up the joint and got rolled at home. By who? SC Paderborn!! SCP gets their first ever Bundesliga victory, and they had an easy time doing it. HSV was horrible and deservedly get spanked.

Mainz and Hannover were pretty even. The hosts were better early, but seemed to run out of gas, giving the 96ers control of the game as the match wore on. But they weren’t too sharp in their finishing, so no goals.

Freiburg and Gladbach gave us a rather timid match. The visitors showed nothing at all, and SCF didn’t start to press until later in the match. Rather disappointing, since both sides are known for rather attacking football. Not surprising that this one ended scoreless.

Total attendance this weekend 348,151 (avg 38,683), sellouts in Augsburg, Freiburg and Schalke.

FC Augsburg	     -   Borussia Dortmund	2:3 (0:2)   30,660 *

                    0:1  Reus (11., Großkreutz)
                    0:2  Sokratis (14., Reus)
                    0:3  Ramos (78., H. Mkhitaryan)
                    1:3  Bobadilla (82., Baba)
                    2:3  Matavz (89., Baba)
 
Bayer 04 Leverkusen  -   Hertha BSC	        4:2 (0:1)   27,890

                    0:1  Jedvaj (24., own goal, Schieber)
                    1:1  Jedvaj (50., Castro)
                    1:2  Schieber (60., N. Schulz)
                    2:2  Spahic (62., Calhanoglu)
                    3:2  Brandt (74., Bellarabi)
                    4:2  Bellarabi (86., Calhanoglu)

VfL Wolfsburg	     -   Eintracht Frankfurt	2:2 (1:1)   27,528

                    1:0  Naldo (15., direct freekick)
                    1:1  S. Jung (23., own goal, Inui)
                    2:1  Arnold (79., De Bruyne)
                    2:2  Kadlec (86., Ignjovski)

Werder Bremen	     -   TSG Hoffenheim	        1:1 (0:1)   38,900

                    0:1  Roberto Firmino (19., Rudy)
                    1:1  Galvez (59., di Santo)

VfB Stuttgart	     -   1. FC Köln	        0:2 (0:2)   55,000

                    0:1  Osako (22., D. Halfar)
                    0:2  Ujah (33.)
 
Hamburger SV	     -   SC Paderborn 07	0:3 (0:1)   54,553

                    0:1  Kachunga (29., Koc)
                    0:2  Vrancic (68.)
                    0:3  Stoppelkamp (87., Brückner)

FC Schalke 04	     -   Bayern München	        1:1 (0:1)   61,973 *

                    0:1  Lewandowski (10., Rode)
                    1:1  Höwedes (62.)

1. FSV Mainz 05	     -   Hannover 96	        0:0 (0:0)   27,647
 
SC Freiburg	     -   Bor. Mönchengladbach   0:0 (0:0)   24,000 *



 1  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	2    2 	0  0 	  6:2 	+4    6 
 2  SC Paderborn 07 (N)	  	2    1 	1  0 	  5:2 	+3    4
--------------------------------------------------------------- 
 3  TSG Hoffenheim	  	2    1 	1  0 	  3:1 	+2    4
---------------------------------------------------------------
 4  1. FC Köln (N)	  	2    1 	1  0 	  2:0 	+2    4
 5  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	2    1 	1  0 	  3:2 	+1    4 		
 6  Bayern München (M, P)	2    1 	1  0 	  3:2 	+1    4
 7  Hannover 96	  	        2    1 	1  0 	  2:1 	+1    4 
 8  Borussia Dortmund	  	2    1 	0  1 	  3:4 	-1    3 
 9  Werder Bremen	  	2    0 	2  0 	  3:3 	 0    2 
10  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	2    0 	2  0 	  2:2 	 0    2 
11  Bor. Mönchengladbach	2    0 	2  0 	  1:1 	 0    2 
12  VfL Wolfsburg	  	2    0 	1  1 	  3:4 	-1    1 
13  FC Schalke 04	  	2    0 	1  1 	  2:3 	-1    1 
14  SC Freiburg	  	        2    0 	1  1 	  0:1 	-1    1 
15  Hertha BSC	  	        2    0 	1  1 	  4:6 	-2    1
16  VfB Stuttgart	  	2    0 	1  1 	  1:3 	-2    1
---------------------------------------------------------------
17  Hamburger SV	  	2    0 	1  1 	  0:3 	-3    1 
18  FC Augsburg	  	        2    0 	0  2 	  2:5 	-3    0
	

1st line: Champions League
2nd line: Europaliga (+ Cup winner)
3rd line: Playoff with 2.Liga 3rd place
4th line: Relegation to 2.Liga

2.Liga, Round 4: Aua for Aue

“Aua” is German for “Ouch”, and that would be appropriate to describe the start for Erzgebirge Aue, as they have nothing to show for their matches so far. Visiting Düsseldorf showed no mercy as they jumped out quickly, kicking their hosts in the balls and basically deciding the game in 8 minutes. Erzgebirge was stunned and never got back in the game, and Fortuna waltzed home with a victory that they needed to stabilize their ship. Aue clearly needs to re-group fast, or they’ll be going down “sang und klanglos”…

Bochum is the new leader, as they travelled to Braunschweig for the top clash. It was a hard fought match, and Bochum showed that their rebuilding may be paying dividends. They looked confident and were good for their win. Braunschweig didn’t play poorly, but seemed on their back foot at times and unable to deal with rapid Bochum counterattacks. Still, you have to figure both clubs will be challenging for a promotion spot.

Ingolstadt is a surprise in the early rounds. The Schanzer are usually dicking around and in trouble, then get their act together and end up safe. They’ve started well, and kicked Sandhausen’s ass to slide into 2nd. Sandhausen looks crap and has some serious work to do, as only Aue has done worse.

Two teams off to shaky starts met in Berlin, and only one was happy after the match. Relegated Nürnberg finally impressed as they ripped host Union’s ass. The Berliners didn’t do themselves any favors, as they managed to get two players sent off in an already difficult situation where FCN was on total control. Portuguese midfielder Daniel Candeias had just joined der Club from Benfica, and had a very impressive debut.

Kaiserslautern might whine about crappy refereeing, as host Aalen were awarded a dubious late penalty that enabled them to salvage a point. But despite the pesky Aaleners running around energetically, FCK was in total control the whole match, and should have put this one to bed earlier. Instead they wasted chances and got punished.

Money vs empty pocketbooks. FSV Frankfurt has the smallest budget, Leipzig is swimming in RedBull cash. But it was FSv that controlled the match and pressed the Rasenballsportler to the wall. Leipzig GK Ben Bellot was quite busy, and luckily was in top form, so the RedBulls escape from Bornheim with a point.

Karlsruhe was looking to take the top spot, but promoted Heidenheim wouldn’t cooperate. The visitors showed up with a lot of fight and gave KSC all they could handle. The hosts eventually gained the upper hand, but disciplined defense gave Heidenheim a deserved point.

Another crap result for 1860. The Lions were more like kitty-cats as they were getting pushed around by an aggressive Darmstadt, who completely deserved their lead. Frankly, the 98ers should have won. 1860 got a surprise goal out of nothing from Okotie, but otherwise looked hapless. Darmstadt created several decent chances to win the match, but lacked the killer instinct to take all the points that were on the table.

Monday is an interesting match as Greuther Fürth hosts St. Pauli. Both have kinda sucked at times in their start, and will be looking to right their ships.

1. FC Union Berlin     -   1. FC Nürnberg	0:4 (0:2)   20,421

                      0:1  Candeias (7., R. Koch)
                      0:2  Gebhart (30., Candeias)
                      0:3  Mlapa (67., Gebhart)
                      0:4  R. Koch (78., Schöpf)

VfR Aalen	       -   1. FC Kaiserslautern	2:2 (0:1)   8,306

                      0:1  Stöger (15., Matmour)
                      1:1  Barth (65., Daghfous)
                      1:2  Lakic (71., Younes)
                      2:2  Leandro (87., penalty, Kaufmann)

FSV Frankfurt	       -   RB Leipzig	        0:0 (0:0)    6,043

Karlsruher SC	       -   1. FC Heidenheim	1:1 (0:1)   15,541

                      0:1  Grimaldi (6., Niederlechner)
                      1:1  Yabo (48., penalty, Torres)

Erzgebirge Aue	       -   Fortuna Düsseldorf	0:3 (0:2)    7,700

                      0:1  Hoffer (2., Schmitz)
                      0:2  Benschop (8., Schauerte)
                      0:3  Hoffer (50., Benschop)

Eintracht Braunschweig -   VfL Bochum	        1:2 (1:1)   22,275

                      0:1  Terodde (5., Sestak)
                      1:1  Boland (17.)
                      1:2  Terodde (77., Simunek)

1860 München	       -   SV Darmstadt 98	1:1 (0:1)   19,300

                      0:1  Stroh-Engel (31., Heller)
                      1:1  Okotie (54., Wood)

SV Sandhausen	       -   FC Ingolstadt 04	0:3 (0:1)    3,400

                      0:1  Lex (7., Morales)
                      0:2  Hinterseer (60., Leckie)
                      0:3  Lex (79., Morales)


Monday
SpVgg Greuther Fürth   -   FC St. Pauli	        -:- (-:-) 	



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

Just about anything that looked to be trending from the midweek results was overturned on the weekend.

The big match was in Wiesbaden, but Wehen was completely dominated by visiting Dresden. Dynamo would have won in a cake walk, but Wehen GK Kolke was brillient, basically stopping everything until a late Dresden breakthrough. It has to be somewhat concerning for the hosts, if they can’t get anything going in a big match at home.

Chemnitz is back on top with a solid win over Unterhaching, and CFC pretty much controlled the match. They’ve been able to impress in the big matches, and look like a serious contender for promotion.

Bielefeld looks like they’ve recovered and are back in the hunt. A hat-trick by Christian Müller have Arminia the edge over Stuttgarter Kickers, dropping the visitors from the lead.

Kiel and Münster battled to a draw, and it was the visitors that had more of the play.
Cottbus and Regensburg battled to an even draw.

Halle broke a trend – they didn’t lose at home. But their first point was hard-earned, as BVB-II were all over them and often close to getting the winning goal. HFC must prefer having no fans, since they do well on the road. Perhaps their fans could help out by rioting and getting a “Stadionverbot”, so Halle could play in in “enemy” territory.

The bottom clubs of Fortuna Köln, Mainz and Stuttgart need to start getting results, as a gap has already opened up in the relegation spots. The two Bubdesliga B squads have generally looked weak and I don’t think they would be missed very much. But Köln is at least an interesting club which is just back in the spot light after years in the wilds. They hosted Duisburg, which might have brought back some memories of better times, but ultimately faltered and remain in the trouble zone.

Only 48,853 (avg 4,885) in attendance, so the after decent initial numbers, perhaps now that the Bundesliga and 2.Liga are in full swing, we might expect smaller crowds. Which is a bit sad, since the league lineup is pretty interesting; I count 9 ex-Bundesliga clubs…


1. FSV Mainz 05 II    -  Hansa Rostock	        0:2 (0:0)    1,945
VfL Osnabrück	     -   Rot-Weiß Erfurt	3:1 (1:0)    7,196
SG Shf. Großaspach   -   VfB Stuttgart II	3:3 (1:1)    2,082
Jahn Regensburg	     -   Energie Cottbus	1:1 (0:0)    3,548
SV Wehen Wiesbaden   -   Dynamo Dresden	        0:2 (0:0)    5,031
Holstein Kiel	     -   Preußen Münster	1:1 (0:0)    4,150
Fortuna Köln	     -   MSV Duisburg	        0:1 (0:0)    4,078
Chemnitzer FC	     -   SpVgg Unterhaching	2:0 (0:0)    4,187
Hallescher FC	     -   Borussia Dortmund II	0:0 (0:0)    6,314
Arminia Bielefeld    -   Stuttgarter Kickers	4:2 (1:1)   10,322



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



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 6: Midweek action bad for the top

This midweek round proved to be fairly tough for the erstwhile leaders, as they had poor results. It seems to indicate that the 3.Liga is going to be fairly compact, and should be wide open for the promotion slots.

Stuttgarter Kickers are the surprise new leaders as they overpowered Chemnitz. The Kickers are usually struggling, but they’ve started well this season.

Wehen held 2nd but went down in Cottbus, as they were totally dominated by Energie. Cottbus seems like they have what it takes to contend, and are indeed one of the pre-season favorites.

Unterhaching was shocked at home by Halle, getting biatch-slapped silly. Halle has proven to be a nasty guest, as they had previously creamed Bielefeld 5-1 away. (Of course they suck at home, so are currently in no man’s land).

Dynamo Dresden continues to slink as they were stunned late by Kiel, despite another big home crowd. They’ve got the largest support in eastern Germany, although RedBull money seems to helping Leipzig, as the fans are starved for a winner.

It’s back to crisis mode on the Ostsee as Hansa stunk and lost against newcomer Großaspach. Not sure what to make of this, but dropping down to the Regionalliga would be a real disaster. For a long time Hansa was the flagship of ex-GDR football, but they have certainly been struggling the last few years.


 	
Hansa Rostock	     -   SG Sonnenhof Großaspach 1:3 (1:2)    8,000
Borussia Dortmund II -   1. FSV Mainz 05 II	 1:3 (1:1)    1,789
Fortuna Köln	     -   VfL Osnabrück	         0:1 (0:0)    1,903
Dynamo Dresden	     -   Holstein Kiel	         1:2 (0:1)   24,530
Energie Cottbus	     -   SV Wehen Wiesbaden	 2:0 (2:0)    6,258
VfB Stuttgart II     -   Jahn Regensburg         1:2 (0:0)      850
SpVgg Unterhaching   -   Hallescher FC	         0:4 (0:3)    2,600
Stuttgarter Kickers  -   Chemnitzer FC	         2:0 (0:0)    3,420
MSV Duisburg	     -   Arminia Bielefeld	 1:1 (1:1)   13,416
Preußen Münster	     -   Rot-Weiß Erfurt	 2:2 (1:0)    8,090


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


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

BUNDESLIGA, Round 1: Opener

The Weltmeisterliga (“World Champion’s League”) opened up with some interesting results, but nothing earthshattering.

Wolfsburg gave defending champion Bayern München all they could handle. Bayern started on strong, but lacked some bite. They eventually got the lead with help from two of the World Cup stars, and looked about to over power the VWs. But ex-Bayern forward Ivica Olic pegged one back, and Wolfsburg got back into the match. They were almost good for a point, and a “legendary” moment happened.
An unbelievable miss by Junior Malanda: on a rebound off the cross bar he managed to miss the open net from about 3 feet out!!
With that, Bayern managed to ride out the storm and get the points. You’d have to say it was Bayern as usual, nothing indicates that they can’t run away with the title again this season. Wolfsburg gets a moral victory, and certainly showed that they can be a force in the league.

Something almost equally amazing in Dortmund: Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi scored a Bundesliga record by opening the scoring in 9 seconds. (This borke the previous record off 11 seconds held by Giovane Elber and Ulf Kirsten, two famous names from the past). He beat Durm to Boenisch’ pass and toe poked it home. That stunned the Neons, and the Aspirins proceeded to play a clever cat and mouse with their hosts before the coup-de-grace: 5 minutes into injury time Stefan Kiessling scored and secured an excellent Leverkusen win. Despite some periods of heavy pressure, Dortmund didn’t create enough chances. For BVB, they need to do better. A solid effort by teh Aspirins, who once again prove that they have what it takes to become Vizekusen. They will need to grind out matches to prove that they can actually challenge for the title though.

Could be a mini-crisis in Schalke already. They stunk in the Cup and then blow the opener. They looked to be working their way to an away win in Hannover, but the 96ers struck and the Blues were stunned, unable to react. After two crap results, if they don’t impress next week at home – against Bayern no less – there could be some disgruntled fans out for blood.

Overall a decent match in Hoffenheim, where the hosts used a one-two punch to decide the match against last year’s surprise Augsburg.

Good result for Bremen on the road in Berlin. Hertha was dominating the game and looked to have things sewn up, but then suddenly collapsed and Werder struck quickly. The visitors then regrouped and withstood late Berlin pressure to grab a precious away point.

Frankfurt prevailed over Freiburg in a rather entertaining match, where both teams had decent chances. This was Thomas Schaaf’s first game in charge of Eintracht, the long time Bremen legend having accepted the challenge of rebuilding the Frankfurters. Not completely convincing, so we’ll have to see. Freiburg figures to struggle again, but at least looked positive.

Köln is back in the Bundesliga, and faced the oldtimer HSV. Hamburg needs to show at lot more than last year’s bare survival, and looked decent in the 1st half. In the 2nd period, Köln realized that HSV was nothing special and began to assert control, but a scoreless draw seems about right. Both teams will have to do more if they don’t want to get into trouble.

Paderborn opened their first Bundesliga season with a draw against Mainz. I wouldn’t expect SCP to last more than this season, and with a small stadium, they lack financial resources to do much. But they played hard, and almost pulled out a win. Unfortunately, Hünemeier, who had given SCP the late lead, committed an unnecessary fould 4 minutes into injury time, gifting Mainz a penlaty which they used to salvage a point.

Gladbach dominated against Stuttgart, but looked to lose, as they wasted tons of chances, and VfB struck when they had theirs. But in the last minute Wolrd Cup winner Christoph Kramer nailed an equalizer to at least save Gladbach a point. Both bteams have a lot of questions this season. For Gladbach, can they start translating their talent into points? Stuttgart obviously has a lot to prove after a crap last season, but at least look decent on paper.

Attendance was pretty decent 444,818 (avg 49,424), sellouts in München, Hannover, Dortmund,Köln. Figure on Paderborn with their small stadium to keep numbers down this year.


Bayern München	     -   VfL Wolfsburg	      2:1 (1:0)   71,000 *

                    1:0  T. Müller (37., Robben)
                    2:0  Robben (47., Lewandowski)
                    2:1  Olic (52., Vieirinha)

TSG Hoffenheim	     -   FC Augsburg	      2:0 (2:0)   23,792

                    1:0  Szalai (33.)
                    2:0  Elyounoussi (35., Roberto Firmino)

Hannover 96	     -   FC Schalke 04	      2:1 (0:0)   49,000 *

                    0:1  Huntelaar (47., Choupo-Moting)
                    1:1  Prib (67., Bittencourt)
                    2:1  Joselu (70., Prib)

Hertha BSC	     -   Werder Bremen	      2:2 (1:0)   59,672

                    1:0  Schieber (16., Roy Beerens)
                    2:0  Schieber (47., Haraguchi)
                    2:1  Lukimya (53., Junuzovic)
                    2:2  di Santo (55., Elia)

Eintracht Frankfurt  -   SC Freiburg	      1:0 (1:0)   46,200

                    1:0  Seferovic (14.)

1. FC Köln	     -   Hamburger SV	      0:0 (0:0)   50,000 *

Borussia Dortmund    -   Bayer 04 Leverkusen  0:2 (0:1)   80,667 *

                    0:1  Bellarabi (1., Boenisch)
                    0:2  Kießling (90. + 5, Bellarabi)

SC Paderborn 07	     -   1. FSV Mainz 0	      2:2 (1:1)   14,284

                    0:1  Okazaki (33., Geis)
                    1:1  Kachunga (37.,)
                    2:1  Hünemeier (87., Bakalorz)
                    2:2  Koo (90. + 4, penalty, Okazaki)

Bor. Mönchengladbach -   VfB Stuttgart	      1:1 (0:0)   50,203

                    0:1  Maxim (51., Gentner)
                    1:1  Kramer (90., Alvaro Dominguez)

2.Liga, Round 3: Favorites struggle

Some of the favorites are struggling, but the newcomers to the 2.Liga are generally off to positive starts.

Nürnberg is in crisis already. After getting bitch-slapped by Fürth in the Frankenderby last week, der Club at least figured to get some easy points against minnows FSV Frankfurt. They really couldn’t do anything right, despite an early gift. Ex-Nürnberger Hanno Balitsch had just signed for FSV, and was whistled for a penalty, even though the fould was outside the box. But Nürnberg couldn’t take advantage, as Pinola’s penalty was stopped by Klandt. Then Balitsch got revenge, as headed in a corner off Grifo’s corner. FCN was stunned and ran around aimlessly, until halftime, when they were treated to a whistling concert by enraged Club fans (for those that don’t know, whistling is essentially the German way of booing). In the 2nd period, Nürnberg was much better, with some period of sustained pressure. However, Frankfurt showed discipline and held the win.

Düsseldorf looked crap against Karlsruhe, basically continuing after their cup fiasco in Würzburg. KSC pretty much did whatever they wanted, and easily got an important road win.

Braunschweig disappointed, but mainly because they didn’t rise to the occasion. The match at Kaiserslautern was clearly the top attraction of the round, and both teams could be considered contenders. So it’s disappointing in the sense that Braunschweig struck immediately, and then went to sleep. They conceded an equalizer only a few minutes later, but basically just wandered around aimlessly. Only when they finally realized that they were losing did they begin to show initiative, and then it was too late. Good win for FCK, but hardly impressive.

Greuther Fürth was another disappointment. After crushing FCN last week, they certainly looked like they were ready to return to the Bundesliga. But then they look lame in a Bavarian regional clash against nearby Ingolstadt, and get totally owned. The host Schanzer dominated from start to finish, Greuther looked like they didn’t want to be there. (OK, probably nobody wants to be in Ongolstadt, not even FCI fans, but at least you could give some effort before you head back to the train station). Ingolstadt toyed with the visitors before finally realizing they were nothing, and coasted home to a win.

A first ever Sachsen derby at Leipzig as the RasenBulls took on Aue. The Redballsportler pretty much dominated the game and took an early lead. Erzgebirge tried ahrd, but were clearly inferior and need to go back to the drawing board. So the money bags take over the lead in the 2.Liga and certainly look a reasonable contender for promotion.

St.Pauli has beens truggling at home – they hadn’t won since March last season – but fan support remains strong, despite a relatively ho-hum opponent. However, the Paulistas once again looked nervous and tentative, whereas Sandhausen was generally playing much better. In the end, it was with some luck that the home side pulled out the win.

Exciting match in Heidenheim, as both teams went for the win. FCH had a slight edge, and probably created enough chances to win, but they also need GK Zimmermann to stop a penalty by 1860’s Okotie. After some lackluster performances, the München side can take away some positives from their energetic play.

Darmstadt got another win, and have started nicely. In fact, they’d probably be happy if the season ended today and return to the Bundesliga :)
They must be counting their lucky stars, as a couple of years ago, they were relegated to the 4th division, but were saved because Kickers Offenbach’s management failed their bookeeping class. With that reprieve, they managed to reach a playoff spot in the 3.Liga, and stunned Bielefeld on away goals to jump to the 2.Liga. They certainly have a good chance of staying up, especially if they grab points. Aalen actually looked the better team over wide stretches, but Darmstadt got the goals when needed.

Monday night had Bochum hosting Union Berlin. The hard fought match ended in a draw, both teams have looked reasonable so far, but have lacked the killer instinct to get the points.

Total attendance 197,805 (avg 21,978), sellout in Heidenheim

FC St. Pauli	     -   SV Sandhausen	        2:1 (1:1)   26,581

                    1:0  Nöthe (5., Budimir)
                    1:1  Gartler (23., Pfertzel)
                    2:1  L. Sobiech (90. + 2)

1. FC Heidenheim     -   1860 München	        2:2 (0:1)   13,000 *

                    0:1  Okotie (13.)
                    1:1  Niederlechner (51., Leipertz)
                    2:1  Griesbeck (55., Heise)
                    2:2  Leonardo (66.)

RB Leipzig	     -   Erzgebirge Aue	        1:0 (1:0)   34,273

                    1:0  Frahn (3., A. Jung)

1. FC Nürnberg	     -   FSV Frankfurt	        0:1 (0:1)   26,856

                    0:1  Balitsch (29., Grifo)

Fortuna Düsseldorf   -   Karlsruher SC	        0:2 (0:1)   30,278

                    0:1  Gulde (19., Traut)
                    0:2  Yabo (65., Torres)

1. FC Kaiserslautern -   Eintr. Braunschweig	2:1 (1:1)   33,289

                    0:1  Kruppke (3., Theuerkauf)
                    1:1  Matmour (11., Lakic)
                    2:1  Lakic (53., penalty, Matmour)

FC Ingolstadt 04     -   SpVgg Greuther Fürth	2:0 (0:0)    8,021

                    1:0  Leckie (62., Lex)
                    2:0  P. Groß (81., Leckie)

SV Darmstadt 98	     -   VfR Aalen	        2:0 (0:0)    9,200

                    1:0  Behrens (59., Stroh-Engel)
                    2:0  Stroh-Engel (71., penalty, Gondorf)
 
VfL Bochum	     -   1. FC Union Berlin	1:1 (0:0)   16,307

                    0:1  Brandy (49., Schönheim)
                    1:1  Terodde (69., Tasaka)
 	


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

Reality bites. Dynamo Dresden was flying high with a good start and stunning upset of Schalke in the DFB-Pokal. Then they faced Erfurt in an eastern derby and were brought back to earth. RWE dominated the match and slapped the Dynamos silly.

An excellent performance by Wehen as they overpowered Stuttgart-B. The villagers got off to a good start last season too, but faded down the stretch. (They moved their home games to Wiesbaden, although I don’t see the point, given that nobody goes to their games. Wiesbaden is notoriously worthless when it comes to football. Americans would be interested that Wehen was Jeff Agoos’ club when he played in Germany many years ago.)

Unterhaching is also off to a good start. Christian Ziege’s mini-Münchenkins destroyed a hapless Mainz-B squad. And now that the Bundesliga has started, perhaps Mainz-II will get even weaker, and certainly less people will be interested in watching.

Another tense regional derby saw Münster get back on track with a win at Osnabrück. The Preußen had given a respectable showing against Bayern München midweek in the DFB-Pokal, and were able to continue their improvement. The winner was scored by Erik Zenga, who had in fact just transferred to Münster in the offseason – from Osnabrück.

Eric Ziemer was on fire, scoring all four for Rostock in a wild match at Regensburg. This is his first season with Hansa, and if he continues, it could bring the Rostockers out of their doldrums. He’s managed around 70 goals in a 10 year career that is mostly 3.Liga, but also includes even a couple of Bundesliga goals. Regensburg GK Stephan Loboue celebrated his birthday, so he mustn’t have been too happy with Ziemer crapping all over the cake…

Arminia Bielefeld has disappointed, but seemed to get back on track with a commanding win over Fortuna Köln. Bielefeld is one of the pre-season favorites for promotion, only to drop last season in the playoff.

Halle continues their weak home form and were dumped by Stuttgarter Kickers, who have been picked to struggle. The Kickers therefore have to be happy with their start, collecting points.

Sunday Chemnitz hosted Duisburg, with CFC looking to re-take the leadership. Neither team showed too much, and the result was a rather drab draw.

Total attendance: 56,477 (avg 5,648)

 	
SG Shf Großaspach   -  	Borussia Dortmund II	0:0 (0:0)    1,934
SV Wehen Wiesbaden  -  	VfB Stuttgart II	4:1 (2:0)    2,575
VfL Osnabrück	    -  	Preußen Münster 	0:1 (0:1)   12,212
1. FSV Mainz 05 II  -  	SpVgg Unterhaching	1:5 (0:2)      731
Jahn Regensburg	    -  	Hansa Rostock	        4:4 (0:1)    3,807
Holstein Kiel	    -  	Energie Cottbus	        0:1 (0:0)    4,484
Rot-Weiß Erfurt	    -  	Dynamo Dresden	        2:0 (1:0)   10,676
Arminia Bielefeld   -  	Fortuna Köln	        2:0 (2:0)    8,544
Hallescher FC	    -  	Stuttgarter Kickers	1:2 (1:1)    5,390
Chemnitzer FC	    -   MSV Duisburg	        0:0 (0:0)    6,124


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

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!