Fortuna Düsseldorf-Energie Cottbus preview

It’s third against seventh on Saturday afternoon in 2. Bundesliga as high-flying Fortuna Düsseldorf host Jekyll & Hyde side Energie Cottbus. The last time Cottbus travelled to the Esprit Arena (back in January for a league tie), a goal from Nils Petersen wasn’t enough to stop the East Germans falling to a 3-1 defeat. However, Claus-Dieter ‘Pele’ Wollitz’s side finished higher up the division come the end of the season, although neither of these clubs ever really posed a big challenge for promotion in 2010/11. This time round, though, Düsseldorf’s start indicates that they’ll be in or around the top three positions come the end of the season, while you can never rule out Cottbus (especially as even after an erratic start, they’re only five points off top spot).

Saturday’s hosts have had a fantastic start to the season, and are unbeaten in the nine games played coming into this clash. That run includes Düsseldorf knocking KSV Hessen Kassel out of the DFB-Pokal, while even draws away at the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt are not to be sniffed at. Continue reading

Energie Cottbus 0-5 1860 Munich

The formations after right-back Konstantin Engel's early red card. Leonardo Bittencourt, the foremost centre-midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, was the man subbed off as the Cottbus system changed to 4-4-1.

A Benjamin Lauth-inspired 1860 Munich ruthlessly destroyed one of the 2. Bundesliga favourites for promotion, aided by the early sending off of Cottbus defender Konstantin Engel. But the hosts had looked ropey and were 1-0 down even before their right-back saw a straight red for hauling down the superb Lauth, and were always going to struggle to contain the likes of Lauth and intelligent livewire Kevin Volland anyway.

Match preview here.

Despite initially looking to sit off their guests and press only in their own half, a Gábor Király goal kick after a wasteful punt upfield by Roger resulted in the Brazilian centre-back giving away a free-kick after zooming out and into a shove on Kevin Volland. Benjamin Lauth curled the set-piece towards the back post, and waltzing in unattended was Stefan Aigner, who headed the away side into a first minute 1-0 lead!

Cottbus instantly rallied, putting a number of crosses into the box which exposed the fact that Reiner Mauerer’s side weren’t the quickest at taking up decent defensive positions when under the kosh. But 1860 survived the immediate post-goal onslaught, and despite being penned back in the first-third of the pitch, struck another crucial blow in the eighth minute. Despite Lauth being the only man up front, he charged at Konstantin Engel – the last line of the home side’s defence on halfway – with the ball bouncing under no one’s control, and forced the young defender into missing it. Thus, Lauth homed in on goal with the ball, and it was no surprise when the chasing Engel pulled the 30-year-old attacker to the ground just as he was about to finish. The referee showed the Cottbus man a red card, and although the subsequent free-kick was curled over by Daniel Halfar, Cottbus now faced having to play 82 minutes 1-0 down with ten men. Continue reading

Energie Cottbus 1-1 Augsburg

The first half formations.

Energie Cottbus’s hopes of promotion to the Bundesliga were ended for another season, but Augsburg now need just one win from their final two games to secure a place in the top flight.

The final game of 2. Bundesliga’s round 32 pitted sixth-placed Energie Cottbus against second-placed FC Augsburg. These sides, third and second highest scorers in the division respectively, both had promotion on their minds coming into this tie, with Cottbus knowing that only a win would keep their admittedly slim hopes of making the promotion play-off alive, and Augsburg fully aware that a win would all but seal their place in next season’s Bundesliga – giving them a five-point gap and colossal goal difference advantage over third-placed Bochum with two games to go. Continue reading