Dynamo Dresden-Bochum preview

The 2. Bundesliga sides sat third bottom and last but one respectively meet tomorrow evening knowing that at least one of them will at last claw their way out of the relegation zone by the end of the match. Although Dynamo Dresden’s season will forever be associated with that spectacular 4-3 cup victory over Bayer Leverkusen, their league form has been little short of disastrous. Bochum, meanwhile, who were so narrowly edged out of the promotion play-off by Borussia Mönchengladbach just a few months ago, are also conspiring to go from bad to worse in the second tier. Why? No one seems to know. Dresden, through, have brought in and released a number of players over the summer, and with the break between seasons shorter than ever before, it looks as though their players are now paying the price on the pitch for the lack of time they’ve had to get to know one another.

Tomorrow night’s hosts cleared out 14 and brought in 17 players before the transfer deadline window closed – including Zlatko Dedič, who joined on loan from Bochum. The Slovenian was at one point a Bundesliga stalwart for the latest visitors to Glücksgas Stadion (17,500 of the ground’s seats had been sold for this game by Thursday, as it is a fixture many Dresden fans see as a revenge match: in 2006, the last time the two sides met, a defeat at the hands of Bochum saw Dresden drop into the regional leagues), but at his new club, the 26-year-old gives coach Ralf Loose the striking options he’s been crying out for since the season started.

Dedič might only make his début against his parent club from the bench tomorrow night, though, as fellow newbie forward signing Mickaël Poté came back earlier from representing Benin during the recent international break than Dedič did from Slovenian duty. As a result, Poté featured alongside Pavel Fořt in a 4-4-2 to great effect in a midweek friendly match, and so has probably jumped ahead in the pecking order.

Bochum coach Friedhelm Funkel has experienced far less disruption than his counterpart, signing eight players and losing nine in preparation for the 2011/12 slog ahead. However, these departures and acquisitions have not altered the spine of the team. The most notable purchase has been Takashi Inui, who has looked explosive and incisive in his appearances for Bochum so far. While the club are clearly feeling the loss of defender Antar Yahia (Al Nassr), as well as striker Mahir Sağlık (he left for St Pauli, although it’s his build-up play that’s being missed rather than his goals), no one else of importance has been allowed to leave.

Despite protestations that everything is fine and dandy, and that training couldn’t be going better, Bochum fans have lost patience with Funkel, and have pinpointed factors such as poor corner-kick preparation in the defensive phase, playing players in the wrong positions and the lack of movement on the pitch when a colleague is on the ball as evidence that the 57-year-old has lost his way.

Whatever the reasons, four points from six games – the same tally as Dresden, although Loose’s side have a goal difference of -2, compared to Bochum’s -6 – tells its own story. And, it’s Funkel’s side who come into this game in the worse form, having lost their last three games and drawn the two before that. Things have got so bad, that only 10,000 fans turned up for the home game against league leaders Fürth two weeks back (the last match played before the international break).

Despite this, Funkel is hardly spelling out the need for more from his players in the build-up to tomorrow night’s game. He told the pre-match press conference: “We are aware of the tough challenge ahead. Nonetheless, we want to get back to winning ways and start to pick up points in Dresden.” A number of players were on international duty during the aforementioned break, which means they could show signs of fatigue in this game, and the Bochum coach could be without a key quartet in Christoph Dabrowski, Lukas Sinkiewicz, Daniel Ginczek and Philipp Bönig.

Loose, on the other hand, looks set to be shorn of DFB-Pokal hero Alexander Schnetzler. The 32-year-old was forced out of that aforementioned test match – 90 minutes against Czech Republic side Teplice on Wednesday. The Gambrinus Liga outfit only fielded their reserves, however, allowing a strong Dresden team to romp to a 7-1 win – with a torn muscle in his left thigh. It was left to Dedič to talk up hosts’ chances of winning in the build-up: “We have a very good team with a lot of guys in the best football age,” the Slovenian striker said. “Because we’re playing at home and have our qualities, if we work hard to stick together and have the fans’ support, anything is possible.”

Dynamo Dresden vs Bochum kicks off at 7.15pm in the UK tomorrow evening, and can be watched live on Bet365.com.

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