Energie Cottbus-Greuther Fürth preview

One of 2. Bundesliga’s leakiest defences is gearing up to host the division’s leaders this Saturday lunchtime, as eighth-placed Energie Cottbus host high-flying Greuther Fürth. The former’s form has caused a surge in scalp irritation for 2. Bundesliga devotees, with Cottbus following a narrow win here and there by losing games in the most humiliating fashion possible. Myself and many others, therefore, have been left scratching our heads as to how a team which has flitted between the top two divisions over the last decade has reached mid-October having shipped three goals or more in a single match to each of 1860 Munich, St Pauli, Eintracht Frankfurt, Eintracht Braunschweig, Fortuna Düsseldorf and even Holstein Kiel in a humiliating cup exit. The latter match was preceded by two victories, but since then, Claus-Dieter Wollitz’s side have won a paltry three games out of the last nine – a miserly total for a side considered to be one of the promotion favourites in the summer, even with the loss of last season’s top scorer Nils Petersen taken into account. Continue reading

Energie Cottbus 1-4 St Pauli

The first half formations.

St Pauli moved level on points with 2. Bundesliga league-leaders Eintracht Frankfurt and Greuther Fürth after punishing Energie Cottbus’ mistake-laden defence. The home side cannot stop shipping goals this season, but the worst part was that against St Pauli, they barely created enough chances to compensate for their numerous lapses in concentration at the back. Full credit to the visitors, though, who put in a disciplined performance on and off the ball, capping it by showing their top-flight credentials in front of goal.

Match preview here. 

The opening exchanges were a tad bitty, with both sides looking to use throw-ins from their respective second-third areas of the pitch for the lone strikers to flick on for a roving midfielder. However, fouls and poor clearances, passes and free-kick delivery kept possession going back and fore. Plus, with neither side under the kosh, the midfield and centre of the pitch area remained congested.  The Cottbus defence were the first to try a bit of a deep melina in order to drag the visitors’ banks up the field and widen their corridors, but Pauli’s off-ball 4-4-2 barely pressed, and in the end, the sloppiness that pervaded this encounter in the early stages was epitomised by an underhit long-diagonal from Christopher Schorch, equalled only by Sebastian Schachten’s subsequent scoop-pass for Marius Ebbers, which rolled harmlessly to a grateful Thorsten Kirschbaum. Continue reading

Energie Cottbus-St Pauli preview

Two of the pre-season promotion favourites will try and get their flagging 2. Bundesliga campaigns back on track on Saturday afternoon as St Pauli visit Energie Cottbus. Both teams lost last weekend, with Cottbus going down 4-2 to Fortuna Düsseldorf, and St Pauli suffering their first home defeat at the hands of Aue.

Saturday lunchtime’s visitors have looked a bit iffy on the road so far this season, having lost to Eintracht Braunschweig and Eintracht Trier (in the cup), and also sharing a draw with another Eintracht, Frankfurt. However, they comprehensively and professionally defeated Karlsruhe in their last away match, showcasing the effectiveness of new coach André Schubert’s floor-based and positionally-fluid football system. Cottbus, meanwhile, sat five points and five places behind Pauli in ninth, are certainly missing the presence of last season’s 2. Bundesliga golden boot Nils Petersen (who joined Bayern Munich over the summer). Continue reading

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

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Werder Bremen

The general first half formations*. * = Silvestre was actually at left-back, and Pasanen at left-sided centre-back.

Two sides still too far away from mid-table security played out an entertaining, chance-heavy and yellow card-ridden 1-1 draw. Although Werder Bremen perhaps deserved the win on the balance of play, the fact they were held to a draw is unsurprising given that the last clean sheet they kept in the league was on December 4, 2010 against Wolfsburg.

This Friday night round 29 encounter pitted 13th against 12th – two sides four and five points above the relegation zone respectively. After a disastrous start to the season, Bremen had got back on track in recent rounds. Frankfurt, on the other hand, made a great start to the season, before flopping miserably after Christmas – prior to this game, they had scored only four goals and tallied no real number of points to speak of since Christmas, and thus last month, they fired coach Michael Skibbe. Their performance under new man Christoph Daum in last week’s 1-1 draw away to Wolfsburg still left s a lot to be desired, but scoring and holding onto the point perhaps indicated that a corner has been turned. Continue reading

Wolfsburg 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

The first half formations

Wolfsburg dominated a limited Frankfurt side but had to come from behind to scrape a draw after missing a host of second-half chances.

As well as being a tussle between two sides struggling to avoid the drop, this game was also intriguing as it saw Felix Magath take charge of his first home game in his second spell at Wolfsburg. Meanwhile, there was also another new face on the bench a few feet away from Magath’s: Christoph Daum, the former Fenerbahçe manager, was back in the Bundesliga after a two-year absence. The 57-year-old East German replaced Michael Skibbe last week: Skibbe oversaw a solid first half of the season (including a 3-1 win over Steve McClaren’s Wolfsburg in November), but then a terrible second half of the season which has seen Frankfurt fall from being credible Europa League challengers to 14th place in the table and a mere three points above the relegation zone. Wolfsburg, sat in 17th before this match, knew that a win would take them to within a point of their guests. Continue reading