Friedhelm Funkel endured a miserable return to Eintracht Frankfurt as his Aachen side lost an incredible topsy-turvy game at the Commerzbank-Arena. The 57-year-old must take a big portion of the blame too, because, anachronistically, he decided to start the match in a 3-5-2 system: which, coupled with a Boy Waterman blunder, saw Aachen 2-0 down and totally outclassed in the first half. Despite changing to a 4-4-2 diamond shape after the break and netting three late goals (for which Funkel deserves some credit, even if his team were still too flat until the final 12 minutes), Aachen still managed to lose after Karim Matmour’s 89th minute header. The home side won’t play many easier first 77 minutes of football than they did here all season. However, their inability to put games to bed reared its ugly head again, and if they’re not careful, this failing could end up costing Frankfurt promotion. Nevertheless, today’s – deserved – three points lifts them to the top of the table on goal difference, and that, I guess, is all that matters.
The home side wasted no time in attempting to put this tie to bed, attacking their guests with urgency from the word ‘go’. With Aachen instantly sitting deep and compact, ultimately, Frankfurt were forced to play their football along the ground. And that they did – passing from side-to-side, before upping the pace and taking the ball forward through a chink. However, although Veh’s side did create one or two half-chances in the opening ten minutes, the visitors – who had star man David Odonkor on the bench – were like a synchronised swimming squad early on; keeping their positions with impressive discipline, the midfield and defence banks – switching between 3-5-2 and 5-3-2 effortlessly – moving in tandem to ensure that the corridors in the hosts’ final-third were as narrow as could be, and that any balls put into the box were simple enough for goalkeeper Boy Waterman to deal with. Continue reading →
As recently as 2005, Alemannia Aachen were playing in the last-32 stage of the UEFA Cup. One year later, Eintracht Frankfurt were taking part in the same continental competition, albeit one they exited at the group stage despite remaining unbeaten against the three teams who progressed at their expense – Newcastle United, Celta Vigo and Fenerbahçe. Half a decade later, however, the good times are over for both clubs, and they meet on Sunday afternoon in a 2. Bundesliga clash which sees Friedhelm Funkel return to the club he coached between 2004 and 2009. After embarking on a star-heavy recruit drive over the summer, Aachen looked as though they’d be up there with Frankfurt – who retained the majority of their Bundesliga squad post-relegation – challenging for promotion to the top-flight. Yet, despite having one of the tightest defences in the league, goals have proved hard to come by (a mere eight in 14 games), meaning that Aachen come into this game second-bottom in the table. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Borussia Mönchengladbach scored a controversial winner in injury time to keep one foot in the top division of German football. Referee Günter Perl’s fourth official had indicated that there were to be two minutes of time added on to the requisite 90, but the Bavarian man in the middle went beyond that, allowing the hosts to take a crucial advantage from the first game of a two-legged tie.
After 34 rounds spent in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga respectively, Gladbach and Bochum will have had mixed feelings before entering this first leg of their two-legged relegation/promotion play-off. The hosts, for instance, managed to haul themselves up to 16th place after looking doomed for most of the season. However, although they’ll no doubt have come into this game happy to have given themselves a 180-minute chance against a team from a lower division to preserve their top-flight status, Gladbach started the campaign with high expectations, only for positive results to begin to materialise far too late when Lucien Favre came in as coach. Continue reading →
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 →