On the restart of the 2nd league in Bremen – Bremen had to look down for years. When the relegation battle raged in the Bundesliga, SV Werder Bremen was usually right in the middle. Things went well for a long time, even if it was rarely nice – until spring 2021 came. After all, the perspectives have shifted with the transition to the second division. At least since the three victories before Christmas, the team of coach Ole Werner can look up to the top places in the table. There is still a long way to go, and the competition is fierce. “We are clearly the pursuers,” emphasizes the coach SV Werder Bremen. But as is well known, pursuers also have chances. So what is the situation with the promotion candidates before the restart 2nd Bundesliga?
FC St. Pauli (1st place, 36 points, 37:23 goals)
Coach Timo Schultz is certain: “I don’t think we’ll collapse.” The man who recently extended his contract has turned the club, which was once in danger of relegation, into a league leader. Although he still sees his team as outsiders, there is still a great opportunity to return to the top flight after an eleven-year absence. The starting position for FC St Pauli is magnificent because of the projection. The big trump card is home strength, all eight games in their own stadium have been won. In return, there are a few problems away from home, where there were only three successes in ten attempts. In the winter break, it should actually be shared with Werder Bremen go to Spain, but in the end the Kiezclub flew alone due to the short-term cancellation of the Bremen training camp. In the south of Europe, the game against the ball was worked on in particular, so that in the end there would actually be something with promotion. Quite happy to be alongside city rivals Hamburger SV, as Timo Schultz explains: “I wouldn’t mind a double promotion either.”
SV Darmstadt 98 (2nd place, 35 points, 41:20 goals)
When there was philosophizing in the run-up to the season about which clubs would fight for promotion, the SV Darmstadt 98 not really mentioned. Almost six months later, things are completely different, because the previous surprise team can dream of returning to the Bundesliga. “It’s difficult to talk around this topic,” admits coach Torsten Lieberknecht, but also emphasizes: “There are many teams in of the league, who have to think a lot more about the topic than we do.” The Hessians would like to continue to spoil the game for them competitors how Werder Bremen simply want to build on previous achievements. “Everything else will be a by-product that we may not be able to stop at some point,” says Lieberknecht, who has been able to rely particularly on Phillip Tietz and Luca Pfeiffer, who have each scored twelve goals.
Hamburger SV (3rd place, 31 points, 32:19 goals)
The great northern rival of the SV Werder Bremen takes the next attempt to return to the House of Lords. For three years he gambled away HSV regularly in the second half of the season and would like to save themselves a continuation of this misery. After all: instead of big tones, there are other words to be heard from the Elbe this time. According to sports director Michael Mutzel, the “development of the team” is the priority. They do their job very well, especially in defence, so far no team in the league has conceded fewer goals (19). And the squad is also impressive again in terms of personnel, although there is a risk of the immediate loss of talent Faride Alidou, who has already agreed with Eintracht Frankfurt about a change next summer. Coach Tim Walter is therefore not closed to winter transfers, but he is also so convinced of the quality of his squad: “We also know that we don’t necessarily have to do anything.” At the start of the new year, HSV stumbled on Friday evening. At Dynamo Dresden there was a 1: 1. (Have you read? This could be the line-up of Werder Bremen look against Fortuna Dusseldorf!)
FC Schalke 04 (4th place, 30 points, 34:23 goals)
It wasn’t really quiet even one league lower, head coach Dimitrios Grammozis was and is still criticized by quite a few fans. After a turbulent start to the league, the result was right, Schalke took six wins from seven games – and climbed up place by place. “We have important months ahead of us with a very exciting table constellation,” says the new CEO Bernd Schröder. He also knows about the economic worries, which are worth millions, which rise is actually urgently needed. Crucial factor in Schalke 04 should continue to be Simon Terodde, who has already scored twelve goals and is now available again after an injury break. In addition, the club from Gelsenkirchen struck twice on the winter transfer market: right-back Andreas Vindheim (Sparta Prague) came on loan, while central defender Marius Lode was signed by Norwegian champions FK Bodö/Glimt on a free transfer.
1. FC Nuremberg (5th place, 30 points, 27:21 goals)
For years there was not too rosy news from Franconia, now the traditional club is suddenly involved in the promotion race again – and that is far more than coach Robert Klauß and sports director Dieter Hecking originally planned. At least at this point, because they want to gradually develop the club. The target for the season is fifth to eighth, so the team is currently right on target. He’s played seven times 1. FC Nuremberg to zero, which so far only Darmstadt has managed to do. In any case, attacker Felix Platte wants more: “We want to get stuck in the upper half,” he announced. (Also interesting: This is how you can play the second division game Werder Bremen watch against Fortuna Düsseldorf live on TV and in the live stream!)
1. FC Heidenheim (6th place, 30 points, 23:24 goals)
In Bremen, the memory of the relegation of the 2019/2020 season is still fresh when Werder razor-thin 1 FC Heidenheim thanks to the now abolished away goals rule and held the class. In recent years, the people of Baden-Württemberg have sniffed the air again and again rise, it has never worked. In this season, a leap into the top places was not actually planned, instead it was all about staying up in the league. Coach Frank Schmidt’s team should be able to achieve this in the near future, having recently won four out of five matches. In the further course, according to the coach, it is now about becoming more constant. “We don’t want to tie it to a place in the table or points.”
SV Werder Bremen (7th place, 29 points, 32:25 goals)
Turbulent months are behind that SV Werder Bremen, especially the vaccination card scandal surrounding Markus Anfang shook the club. In the meantime, Ole Werner has taken over as coach and introduced himself directly with three wins. Suddenly the belief is back that the immediate resurgence can still succeed. But one thing is also clear: Werder, currently six points behind second place in the table, can no longer afford too many mistakes, otherwise the direct return will quickly be off the table. Then there would only be the hope of relegation as a last resort. “I’ve noticed since day one that the team wants to be successful,” says Ole Werner. However, that’s what the Werder teams have wanted in recent years. The implementation on the pitch has mostly failed. (mbu)
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