Rise and shine for the Bundesliga
Bundesliga Second Division Match Day 1 Preview
August 3, 2012 – It’s only the 3rd of August but the bell is already ringing for the teams of the second division of the Bundesliga to get ready, as the new season begins. After a short summer, the players are heading back to the pitch hoping to find a form that should last the whole season and bring them the joy of going to play with the big boys in the first league. For some, this start is going to be a bitter one, knowing that last year at this time they were preparing for a new season in the first tier; the majority of them will be hoping to improve last season’s performance.
There are a lot of good teams starting this year’s second division, but as we have seen in recent years, there is nobody to consider as favorites. The three relegated teams from the first league – 1.FC Cologne, Hertha BSC Berlin, and 1. FC Kaiserslautern – will for sure try to bounce back as soon as possible, but they should be aware that the competition will be rough. Teams like FC St. Pauli, 1860 München or SC Paderborn are waiting for their chance to fight with the big teams, and they won’t give an inch to anyone in their battle to get there.
Surprises are always expected also, FC Ingolstadt, Union Berlin or Dynamo Dresden giving very good signs last season, a continuation of the good work shown then potentially giving them the necessary spring in the battle for promotion. Even if they just promoted, the three teams coming from the third league are not to be disregarded, although nobody managed in recent years to wisely use the energy received by the new level of competition and earn promotion in the first season in the second division. The last team to achieve this being Hoffenheim at the end of the 2007-08 season. But this shows that nothing is impossible.
Editor’s Note: Sport Eagle coverage of the opening weekend of the Bundesliga second division continues, Salman Mitha will be tweeting live from Allianz Arena for the Bavarian Derby between 1860 Munich and SSV Jahn Regensburg. Follow him on Twitter @Sal_SportEagle, kickoff is at 13:00 CET.
Investments have been made this summer, in an attempt to reorganize the teams and make them stronger for the new season. There were two big spenders in this transfer window, 1860 München and Hertha BSC moving strong to ensure the services of experienced players which might be decisive in their quest for promotion. 1. FC Köln wasn’t so interested in spending the millions received from Arsenal for Lukas Podolski, attempting to find a good balance in their finances to cover the losses.
1. FC Kaiserslautern being also quite tempered in spending the money received after the departures of Kevin Trapp, Oliver Kirch, Olcay Sahan and Christian Tiffert, only choosing to invest in a striker, bringing Mohamadou Idrissou from Eintracht Frankfurt. St. Pauli strengthened its defense signing Paderborn’s Soren Gonther and Florian Mohr, leaving last season’s surprise team without a part of their central axis, a hole which has to be covered fast, before the tough away game in Berlin. A lot of important moves, a lot of chances given to young players, all made with the hope that it will pay off after the 34 games of the season.
This long journey starts this weekend, the first chance for the newly built teams to show the level they have reached. The party starts Friday with three interesting duels, involving teams which have a lot of expectations from this new season. St. Pauli is travelling to Aue to face Erzgebirge, one team which barely managed to be above the line last season, but one with big hopes of improvement in the new edition. The Hamburg side is hoping to start strong as they are out to make it right this year, after missing out on the play-off last season.
FC Ingolstadt had a good run in the second part of last year but that means nothing now before their encounter with Energie Cottbus, a side that has to give their fans a bit more than they offered in the previous season. Hertha Berlin is getting late on the stage but they are hoping to shine and give the fans the hope of another quick come-back in the first league, even if Paderborn are coming to give them a special welcome back in the 2nd league.
Saturday is the time for the first promoted team to come in the spotlight, a Bavarian derby being set from the very first match-day. Jahn Regensburg are traveling a short way to Munich where TSV 1860 are eager to start a season which seems destined to bring the desired return to the top flight. VfL Bochum and Dynamo Dresden will give the second battle of the day, hoping to start positive the new season, a goal which VfR Aalen and SV Sandhausen will have before their first taste of the league, Sunday against MSV Duisburg and FSV Frankfurt.
Sunday is a hard day for Köln fans as they have to get used again to the air of the second tier, but there’s no time to cry as they have to give their support to the team in their hard trip to Braunschweig. With Podolski settling in Olympic London, the Billygoats need to find a new leader fast, if they want to get back to the top flight as soon as possible. The same attempt will be given in the last game of the match-day by Kaiserslautern in their season opener against Union Berlin, one team with a great leader which is hoping to push the squad towards promotion.
Who will shine first and which team will leave the best impression? Which set of fans will get their hopes up already? Who will show that they made the best investments and the best decisions in summer? A first answer will come after this weekend, and we’ll be here to note it down.
Here is the full list of fixtures for this weekend:
FC Ingolstadt 2-2 FC Energie Cottbus
Erzebirge Aue 0-0 FC St. Pauli
Hertha BSC Berlin 2-2 SC Paderborn
1860 München – Regensburg, 13:00 CET
VfL Bochum – Dynamo Dresden, 15:30 CET
Sunday 13:30 CET
MSV Duisburg – VfR Aalen
Sandhausen – FSV Frankfurt
Sunday 15:30 CET
Eintracht Braunschweig – 1. FC Cologne
Monday 20:15 CET
1. FC Kaiserslautern – Union Berlin