Two of the early season strugglers meet tomorrow lunchtime in the 2. Bundesliga, as newly-promoted Hansa Rostock travel to Duisburg. After a surprise defeat to Paderborn on the opening day of the new league season, Rostock have gone on to draw three successive games – 1-1 against Dynamo Dresden and 0-0 with Bochum in 2. Bundesliga, and a 2-2 draw and penalties exit to Bochum, again, in the cup. Therefore, Peter Vollmann’s East German outfit boast one more point than last season’s cup-finalists Duisburg, who stopped a losing streak of two games by beating Babelsberg in the cup, before drawing 0-0 away at FSV Frankfurt last weekend (despite putting in a lifeless performance).
I noted before Duisburg’s game against FSV that 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 this summer. 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. And as a result, it probably is 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, goalkeeper David Yelldell, and midfielders Olcay Şahan, Ivica Banović and Filip Trojan, the latter of whom chipped in with seven assists last season), when it clicks, they’ll be well clear of the relegation zone they currently call home.
Vollmann knew Hansa would be in for a relegation scrap this season, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the club adds to his squad before the end of August and the transfer window. Signings have been thin on the ground, although the three most notable purchases have been Czech defender Pavel Košťál (signed from the Austrian Bundesliga), attacker Michael Blum (signed from tomorrow’s hosts after a loan spell), and, most important of all, Slovakian international striker Marek Mintál (brought in after eight years at Nuremberg). Unfortunately, the latter – who has been a key player in the central attacking-midfield role of either a 4-1-3-2 or 4-2-3-1 so far this season – is expected to be absent for tomorrow’s game, in the stands with injury alongside Stephan Gusche. Duisburg coach Milan Šašić, meanwhile, is expected to be without a trio of his squad; strikers Srđan Baljak and Jula and midfielder Ivica Grlić.
Duisburg vs Hansa Rostock kicks off at 12.30pm tomorrow in the UK, and can be watched live on Bet365.com.