Augsburg-Fortuna Düsseldorf preview

CONTROVERSIALLY-promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf travel to last season’s surprise package Augsburg on the opening day of the 2012/13 1. Bundesliga season. Düsseldorf needed a play-off against Hertha Berlin to secure their position in the top-flight after a poor second half to the 2. Bundesliga campaign, and despite winning that tie over two legs, a pitch invasion before the match had finished led to the capital city side protesting the result.

However, it was allowed to stand, and Fortuna now have the chance to show that they merit their place in 1. Bundesliga. Coach Norbert Meier has seen his squad transformed over the summer by sporting director Wolf Werner, who has given the former West Germany international the kind of players needed to help the club stave off the threat of relegation. Augsburg, meanwhile, start the new league season with a new coach, Markus Weinzierl. The 37-year-old – who has impressed in recent seasons with Jahn Regensburg – has replaced the popular Dutchman Jos Luhukay, who surprisingly left at the end of the 2011/12 campaign, and is now at the helm of Hertha Berlin. Continue reading

Duisburg-Hansa Rostock preview

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. Continue reading

Bochum 3-1 Duisburg

The first half formations.

Bochum are just 180 minutes away from promotion to the Bundesliga after an accomplished performance against also-ran Duisburg.

This round 34 tie in 2. Bundesliga involved two sides with all still to play for. Bochum, two points ahead of fourth-placed Greuther Fürth, knew that a win here would earn them a place in the Bundesliga’s two-legged play-off against the top division’s third-worst side, Borussia Mönchengladbach. But if Bochum were to draw this home tie and Greuther Fürth won their home game against mid-table Fortuna Düsseldorf it would be the minnows who’d leapfrog Bochum into third spot due to a far superior goal difference. So ultimately, it was third-place or nothing for Friedhelm Funkel’s side, with Augsburg and Hertha BSC having already secured the league’s only two automatic promotion spots. Continue reading