The third round of the new 2. Bundesliga season continues today, with last season’s cup finalists travelling to one of the division’s smaller sides. Nevertheless, Hans-Jürgen Boysen’s FSV Frankfurt have made a better start to the season than their more illustrate opponents – taking one point from a possible six, compared to Milan Šašić’s Duisburg, joint bottom and yet to take a point. Nevertheless, it’s surely only a matter of time before Duisburg bounce back, not just because of the size of the club, but also because of the players they’ve managed to bring in. Some of the more notable additions include Jürgen Gjasula, acquired from FSV, Florian Fromlowitz (Hannover), Vasileios Pliatsikas (Schalke), Valeri Domovchiyski (Hertha BSC), Džemal Berberović (Litex Lovech), Jiayi Shao and Emil Jula (both Energie Cottbus), and Sergei Karimov (Wolfsburg). Essentially, therefore, they’ve brought in the spine of a brand new team. Thus, it’s going to take a while for these new players to gel, but as they have been added to an already strong 2. Bundesliga squad (albeit one which has lost five players of note in striker Stefan Maierhofer, goakeeper David Yelldell and midfielders Olcay Şahan, Ivica Banović and Filip Trojan, who chipped in with seven assists last season), when it clicks, they’ll be up there challenging for promotion.
FSV Frankfurt, on the other hand, only have one goal – survival. That task has been made all the more difficult following the departure of Sascha Mölders, who scored twice in the Bundesliga for Augsburg yesterday. He bagged 15 goals for FSV last season, and has been accompanied out of the door by Mike Wunderlich, 2010/11s second top scorer with six. Nevertheless, a number of players have arrived to help the FSV cause, five of whom should feature today – defender Nils Teixeira (Kickers Offenbach), midfielders Zafer Yelen (Trabzonspor) and Yannick Stark (Duisburg), and attackers Karim Benyamina (Union Berlin) and Babacar Gueye (Aachen). Boysen, at the club since 2009, has already set about incorporating his new signings into his favoured 4-1-4-1, which doesn’t let in too many goals (so far his side have lost 1-0 to Bochum, drawn 1-1 with Union Berlin, and beaten Kickers Emden 5-1 in the cup last weekend, Benyamina and Gueye each getting braces), and can be hard for opponents to break down.
Whether Duisburg have the creative midfielders to do that will be the most interesting aspect to this game, although they’ve let in a number of goals themselves so far this season (losing 3-2 to Karlsruhe and 2-1 to Cottbus, before beating Babelsberg 2-0 in the cup last weekend), so might be more concerned with locking the door at the other end of the pitch just as much as they are in scoring today. However, Šašić said in his pre-match press conference that both his side and Boysen’s have played better than their results suggest, and that save for working on their defensive play in training, he has no problem with how the attack is functioning. The Duisburg coach is expected to be without four players for the game at FSV, key strikers Srđan Baljak and Jula, midfielder Ivica Grlić, and perhaps even Karimov, who sat out Friday’s training session with a groin injury.
Boysen, meanwhile, is without three players for the game: injured duo Tufan Tosunoğlu and Alexis Theodosiadis, and on-loan Hamburg man Macauley Chrisantus, who is suffering from malaria. Rather than offering some pleasant comments about today’s opponents, the FSV coach has come out fighting, saying that he wants his players to stick their fingers in Duisburg’s wound – one which has been caused by disharmony in the team. On top of that, Boysen has declared himself pleased with his own squad’s preparation for the game, and noted that it’s been a good week in training.
The referee for today’s game at the Volksbank stadium is Robert Kampka, who comes from Mainz, and the weather is expected to be sunny. The last time these two sides met, a 2. Bundesliga clash in April, Duisburg won 4-0.
FSV Frankfurt vs MSV Duisburg kicks off at 12.30pm in the UK, and can be watched on Bet365.com.