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Montenegro, Lovcen – Sutjeska  2

Lovcen will play with youngsters

Olympique Lyon – Montpellier 1 @ 1,87

Montepellier will have 3rd goalkeeper on goal (Ligali). First two are injured, Jourdren (13/0) and Pionnier (1/0). Ligali (0/0) will debut for first team in this game. He started as first gk in 2nd team (5th league, CFA II, group 5) and even there wasnt standard. lyon dominate their group in El so they can relaxed play and rest some players in last round. On the other side Montepellier won just one point in CL..

 Real Madrid – Atletico Madrid 

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 Scottish Cup, Aberdeen – Motherwell

Aberdeen boss laments his ‘worst injury crisis’ ahead of cup tie

Aberdeen boss Craig Brown has labelled the current situation at Pittodrie as the “worst injury crisis” of his career.

The Dons face Motherwell in the fourth round at Pittodrie with doubts over Ryan Fraser, Chris Clark, Jonny Hayes, Isaac Osbourne and Gavin Rae.

Gary Naysmith, Stephen Hughes, Ryan Jack and Rob Milsom remain out.

Brown said: “It is the worst injury crisis I have had to deal with.

“John Sharp and David Wylie tell me that it is the worst injury situation they have seen at the club.

“There is a queue outside the treatment room. I am jealous when I hear other teams being able to field the same team again.

“We can only keep our fingers crossed and hope the lads we call upon, guys like (Joe) Shaughnessy, (Cammy) Smith, (Jamie) Masson, who I thought all did well the other night, can come in and do a job again.

“These guys have to take the chance when it comes along and I thought Joe was a good example of a player who did that.

“We also have the likes of Jordon Brown and Declan McManus who are bursting at the seams to get their opportunity.

“I think it would be difficult though to put them all on at the same time. As long as they are surrounded by good experienced players then I think we can cope.”

The two sides met in the quarter-finals last season with Motherwell unbeaten in four games at Pittodrie.

Former ‘Well boss Brown said: “Against Motherwell we will have to compete in the midfield area. They are very strong in there.

“Their ability to pass the ball is probably the best in the SPL. So I don’t underestimate the task ahead but I am still optimistic we can do what we did in the cup last year.

“I am still optimistic we can do that in spite of the depleted resources.”

FA Cup, Milton Keynes Dons v AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon’s leading goalscorer Byron Harrison is back from injury to spearhead the Dons’ attack at Stadium mk.

Harrison, with eight goals to his name, is available for selection for tomorrow’s FA Cup second round clash along with a host of names finally climbing off the treatment table.

Pim Balkestein, out since mid-September, and Mat Mitchel-King, who has struggled since returning in the FA Cup replay against York City, took part in a reserve game on Tuesday night. Both are available for the Franchise clash – although lack of match fitness may keep them out.

Luke Moore is also back in first team training after recovering from a knee injury and is available for selection.

Meanwhile, Rashid Yussuff, Sammy Moore, Jason Prior, Warren Cummings and Brendan Kiernan are nearing a return to action.

Bordeaux – Sochaux

SOCHAUX
Unavailable: Frederic Duplus (df 0/0 ), Edouard Butin (att 0/0), Sanjin Prcic(mf 0/0), Thierry Doubai (mf 8/2), Joseph Lopy (mf 4/0), Pierrick Cros (gk 4/0), Mathieu Peybernes (df 9/0), Jerome Roussillon (df 8/0)
Doubtful: Cedric Kante (df 13/0)

Bundesliga II

Season preview 2012/2013

1860 Munchen

In:
Ismael Blanco (att)(Legia Warsaw), Grigoris Makos (mid)(AEK Athens), Marin Tomasov (att)(Hajduk Split), Moritz Stoppelkamp (def)(Hannover 96), Grzegorz Wojtkowiak (def)(Lech Poznan), Moritz Volz (def)(FC St. Pauli), Liridon Vocaj (mid)(1860 München U19), Korbinian Vollmann (mid)(SpVgg Unterhaching, back from loan)

Out:
Kevin Volland (att)(TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Antonio Rukavina (def)(Real Valladolid), Eke Uzoma (mid)(Pécsi MFC), Stefan Buck (def)(FC Bayern München II), Djordje Rakic (att)(free), Jonatan Kotzke (def)(Jahn Regensburg), Stefan Aigner (mid)(Eintracht Frankfurt), Benjamin Schwarz (def)(free), Sandro Kaiser (mid)(1.FC Heidenheim 1846), Daniel Hofstetter (def)(SpVgg Unterhaching), Collin Benjamin (mid)(retired), Daniel-Toni Jais (att)(1860 München II), Bobby Shou Wood (att)(1860 München II), Markus Ziereis (att)(1860 München II)

1860 München spent the majority of last season not knowing whether they really want to promote or just earn a higher spot on the table to get more TV revenue. In the end, this unpredictable team missed all chances to promote because of this undetermined approach and finished sixth. The club was known to be one of the few in Bundesliga II which have a standard eleven, they played with exactly the same players in almost every round, and now most of that starting eleven is gone. München let six standard players go on free transfer, and the club’s biggest star, Kevin Volland, departed for Hoffenheim for just a fraction of his realistic transfer value, not really justifying the departure nor the club board’s desire to improve on the finances of the club. Last season, München had the ability to beat just about anyone with their unpredictable play, both as a host and as a visitor, and this season they will need their new arrivals to quickly blend in and do better than the standard team from last season if they want the same kind of performances. Blanco and Tomasov will be expected to do the scoring together with Benny Lauth, and Makos, Stoppelkamp, Volz and Wojtkowiak were brought to strengthen the defence. However, Gabor Kiraly (36) isn’t getting any younger and 1860 München might be quite vulnerable this season, particularly in the opening stages while the players are still learning to play with each other. This isn’t a team which is targeting promotion, but is  instead trying to find the golden middle and be just good enough to finish among the top five or six.

Target:
1860 München will likely again target a high league finish, but the squad is lacking the consistency and spirit to actually be a promotion contender.

Bochum

In:
Yusuke Tasaka (mid)(Kawasaki Frontale), Florian Brügmann (def)(Hamburger SV II), Mounir Chaftar (def)(SV Wacker Burghausen), Sören Bertram (mid)(Hamburger SV), Carsten Rothenbach (def)(FC St. Pauli), Alexander Iashvili (mid)(Karlsruher SC), Kevin Scheidhauer (att)(VfL Wolfsburg, loan), Leon Goretzka (mid)(VfL Bochum U19), Onur Bulut (mid)(VfL Bochum U19), Selim Gündüz (mid)(VfL Bochum U19), Marc Rzatkowski (mid)(Arminia Bielefeld, back from loan), Philipp Heerwagen (gk)(FC St. Pauli, back from loan), Zlatko Dedic (att)(Dynamo Dresden, back from loan)

Out:
Takashi Inui (mid)(Eintracht Frankfurt), Kevin Vogt (mid)(FC Augsburg), Philipp Bönig (def)(free), Mimoun Azaouagh (mid)(1.FC Kaiserslautern), Denis Berger (mid)(Hansa Rostock), Oguzhan Kefkir (mid)(Alemannia Aachen), Björn Kopplin (def)(1.FC Union Berlin), Matías Concha (def)(free), Giovanni Federico (mid)(retired), Daniel Ginczek (att)(Borussia Dortmund, back from loan)

Bochum had problems last season and was facing relegation at one point, but coach Andreas Bergmann managed to pull the best out of this squad and achieve almost a mid-table finish. Bochum lost their biggest star Takashi Inui and got quite a bit of much needed cash for the transfer, but replaced Inui with a quality player such as Alexander Iashvili from the relegated Karslruher side. The new arrivals seem well targeted and Bochum should be a more stable side this season, as they’ve played with as many as three offensive midfielders last year, and this time Iashvili will be doing most of the creative play – same as he did in Karslruher. This will be both an advantage and a disadvantage for the team, as the squad will be able to focus on defensive tasks more, but Iashvili isn’t getting any younger and it might be too much for him to do everything on his own. Still, Bochum seems to be a club with a good plan and a good coach/manager, and this season there should not be any unpleasant surprises in form of relegation battle. There is a good blend of young and experienced players in the club, and although Bochum doesn’t have any real stars, the team is balanced in every line. The late addition of central midfielder Yusuke Tasaka might be just what this club needed to be even more stable.

Target:
Bochum will be quite happy with achieving a mid-table finish again, and it looks like an acheivable plan for this side.

Dynamo Dresden

In:
Hasan Pepic (mid)(Karlsruher SC II), Florian Fromlowitz (gk)(MSV Duisburg), Cüneyt Köz (def)(FC Bayern München II), Anthony Losilla (mid)(Stade Laval), Markus Scholz (gk)(VfL Bochum II), Bjarne Thoelke (def)(VfL Wolfsburg, loan), Tobias Müller (mid)(Dynamo Dresden U19)

Out:
Maik Kegel (mid)(Chemnitzer FC), Dennis Eilhoff (gk)(free), Alexander Schnetzler (def)(free), Marcel Heller (mid)(Alemannia Aachen), Wolfgang Hesl (gk)(SpVgg Greuther Fürth), Gerrit Müller (mid)(free), Sascha Pfeffer (mid)(Chemnitzer FC), Martin Stoll (def)(Karlsruher SC), Marvin Knoll (mid)(Hertha BSC, back from loan), Clemens Walch (mid)(1.FC Kaiserslautern, back from loan), Zlatko Dedic (att)(VfL Bochum, back from loan)

Dynamo Dresden was a pleasant surprise last season and managed to finish ninth despite having only just promoted from the 3rd league. Dynamo had a good blend of players and managed to overperform in almost every match with their offensive style and players such as Zlatko Dedic, Christian Fiel and Mickael Pote. However, the majority of the standard players from last season left the club, including Dedic, who had to go back to Bochum after his loan period expired. The new arrivals are mostly young or unproven players, and the biggest star is Bjarne Thoelke, a young central defender from Wolfsburg who came on loan. Generally, Dynamo Dresden lost the entire skeleton of the squad and only brought a couple of young players as reinforcements. This time it might be very difficult to do what they did last season and reach a high finish on the table. As good as Dynamo played last season, this season they might go back to the relegation battle which was predicted for them last time round. Most notably, Dynamo no longer has an offensive midfielder and will be able to play only through the flanks, with Filip Trojan and Robert Koch on the wings. A once offensive team is now full of defenders, and it remains to be seen how will the squad adapt to the new role. As good as Vujadin Savic and Romain Bregerie are in central defence, this club only has two strikers, Mickael Pote and Robert Koch, and they’ll need to endure the entire season without getting injured if Dynamo Dresden wants to be able to field a good eleven.

Target:
Dynamo Dresden is targeting mid-table safety, but a struggle against relegation is much more realistic for this redesigned and slightly unbalanced side.

Eintracht Braunschweig

In:
Kevin Kratz (mid)(Alemannia Aachen), Jonas Erwig-Drüppel (mid)(FC Schalke 04 II), Björn Kluft (mid)(Preußen Münster), Orhan Ademi (att)(SC Rheindorf Altach)

Out:
Benjamin Fuchs (def)(Manisaspor), Julius Reinhardt (mid)(Kickers Offenbach), Mathias Fetsch (att)(Kickers Offenbach), Nico Zimmermann (mid)(VfR Aalen), Markus Unger (mid)(Eintracht Braunschweig II)

The tough-tackling Braunschweig side was a hard nut to crack throughout the last season, and they even had a chance to become a promotion material at one point but the long streak of draws pulled them far away from the top spots. Braunschweig was very hard to beat because of their team spirit and hard midfield tackles, and they didn’t do anything to lose that part of their play as their transfers in the off season were minimal. They did lose a couple of players, most notably the influential right midfielder Nico Zimmermann, but they brought a great defensive midfielder Kevin Kratz, who was the main force in Alemmania Aachen last season, and also brought a young talented left winger Björn Kluft, who could bring an offensive spark to Braunschweig’s game. Eintracht will be equally strong as last season, if not even stronger because of their clever signings and the fact that the squad didn’t change much. This stable team will again be playing not to lose, but this time they’ll hope they can win just a couple more times than last season and catch the promotion train despite their overall average quality. For that, they’ll need their strikers Domi Kumbela and Dennis Kruppke to make use of the few chances Braunschweig is creating to bring the points. Last season they scored 10 goals each, which is a good result, but even that wasn’t enough for Braunschwieg to get a higher league finish.

Target:
Eintracht Braunschweig is targeting one of the top three spots, they’ll definitely be in the upper portion of the table, and the exact placement will depend on their number of draws during the season.

Energie Cottbus

In:
Guillaume Rippert (def)(FC Évian Thonon Gaillard), Boubacar Sanogo (att)(free), Marco Stiepermann (att)(Borussia Dortmund), Daniel Brinkmann (mid)(FC Augsburg), Sebastian Glasner (att)(SV Wacker Burghausen), Nicolas Farina (mid)(FC Évian Thonon Gaillard), Velimir Jovanovic (att)(1.FC Magdeburg, back from loan)

Out:
Leonardo Bittencourt (mid)(Borussia Dortmund), Christian Müller (mid)(free), Jules Reimerink (mid)(VVV-Venlo), Maxim Banaskiewicz (att)(FC Carl Zeiss Jena), Rok Kronaveter (mid)(Győri ETO FC), Adam Straith (def)(1.FC Saarbrücken), Velimir Jovanovic (att)(FC Energie Cottbus II), Dimitar Rangelov (att)(Borussia Dortmund, back from loan), Christopher Schorch (def)(1.FC Köln, back from loan)

The struggling Cottbus side just barely survived the season, finishing two spots above the relegation zone. The very unstable side was unable to control the match against any opponent, and this season the matches will be even more difficult for Energie, as their most talented player Leonardo Bittencourt left for Borussia Dortmund to play at the highest level which he deserves. Bittencourt was the only player able to make the difference, and most of the points won by Energie can be credited to their 18-year-old star. Dimitar Rangelov also left the club, and striker Boubacar Sanogo (ex-Werder) was brought to fill the gap in offense. The club is also welcoming back Martin Fenin, who was fighting depression for the most part of the season, but fact is – both of Energie’s main strikers are in questionable shape. The two signings from Evian might strengthen the squad, but it’s far from enough to replace Bittencourt’s influence. The squad is weakened, and unless Rudi Bommer finally finds a way to balance this unstable squad, they’ll again be a relegation contender. With a good chance to demote this time. The only real advantage Energie has is a big number of strikers in the club, as with Sanogo, Fenin, Glasner and Sörensen they’re covered in case of poor form or injuries, and young guns Kobylanski and Stiepermann are here to put some pressure on the starting offensive duo. Still, as good as Energie may look on paper, this is an underperformer because the squad is pretty much unbalanced and won’t be able to cover up for Bittencourt’s departure that easily.

Target:
Energie will want to avoid relegation, and could acheive that feat only if their wide array of strikers enter good form and Sanogo proves to be a leader of the entire offense.

Erzgebirge Aue

In:
Nils Miatke (mid)(FC Carl Zeiss Jena, Vlad Munteanu (mid)(Concordia Chiajna), Ronald Gercaliu (def)(LKS Lodz), Tom Neukam (gk)(SV Werder Bremen U19), Jakub Sylvestr (att)(Dinamo Zagreb, loan), Tobias Nickenig (def)(free)

Out:
Patrick Sonntag (att)(Sportfreunde Siegen), Tobias Kempe (mid)(SC Paderborn 07), Michael Arnold (gk)(free), Adli Lacheeb (def)(MSV Duisburg), Skerdilaid Curri (att)(FC Erzgebirge Aue II), Kevin Stephan (att)(Hertha BSC II, back from loan)

Erzgebirge Aue just barely managed to avoid relegation in the last season because they had an awful run near the end of the competiton, though earlier they had enjoyed a long period in which they were undefeated. The side generally lacked the punch to take the points, though Aue was constantly looking very stable on the pitch and was difficult to beat. Erzgebirge Aue didn’t touch the base of the squad and only let the unneeded players go in the off season. What Aue needed though is a bench, and so they brought a couple of players to give coach Baumann more options during the tough season which is bound to have some players injured. Aue learned the lesson last season, when near the end of the competition they could barely form a decent eleven because of the low number of players in the squad. Vlad Munteanu, Ronald Gercaliu and Tobias Nickening will bring much needed depth to the squad, though they can’t be expected to play starring roles. Jakub Sylvestr is not the type of player Aue needs, as he’s a light winger who can’t endure tackles or play defence, so it is expected that Erzgebirge Aue will generally look weaker than in the last season. Erzgebirge Aue will again be a tough nut to crack for all teams, but also a side which is finding it very difficult to play visiting matches or to actually beat someone instead of drawing. All in all, they are unlikely to get embarassed in any match, but will be struggling for points and for a higher league position to avoid relegation.

Target:
This time Erzgebirge Aue might be wishing for a more comfortable position in the lower half of the table, though again they’ll be in danger of relegation.

FC Ingolstadt

In:
Danny da Costa (def)(Bayer 04 Leverkusen, loan), Ümit Korkmaz (mid)(Eintracht Frankfurt), Alper Uludag (mid)(Alemannia Aachen), Pascal Groß (mid)(Karlsruher SC), Caiuby (mid)(VfL Wolfsburg), Christian Eigler (mid)(1.FC Nürnberg), Reagy Ofosu (mid)(Hamburger SV II), Andre Mijatovic (def)(Hertha BSC), Aaron Siegl (gk)(FC Ingolstadt 04 II)

Out:
Moise Bambara (mid)(FSV Frankfurt), Manuel Hartmann (mid)(Holstein Kiel), Mathias Wittek (mid)(1.FC Heidenheim 1846), Kristoffer Andersen (mid)(Alemannia Aachen), Adam Nemec (att)(1.FC Union Berlin), David Pisot (def)(VfL Osnabrück), Marc Hornschuh (def)(Borussia Dortmund, back from loan)

This is a side which went through a complete transformation during the course of the last season. At first, Ingolstadt was known to be playing extremely well as they practiced a fluent offensive style, but they looked very naive and couldn’t get any points. After that period, their new coach Oral first stabilized the defensive line, only to end up with a team which is completely incapable of scoring. Oral gradually improved the team to create the one which can stay undefeated for months, and Ingolstadt was probably one of the finest-performing teams during that period. At least, they were the biggest overperformer in the league. This season, Oral is taking it to the next level and he targeted players with Bundesliga experience to further strengthen the squad. Christian Eigler is the best one of those, and Andre Mijatovic is a welcome defensive chief who will stabilize the defence even further. At the same time, only the unneeded players were let go. In general, Ingolstadt managed to seriously improve the overall quality of the team by bringing players on free transfer only. However, a real striker is missing, but Ingolstadt will be playing defensive football this season and will be attempting to win by a single goal. Christian Eigler will be expected to score such goals, and the former U21 national player scored only once in 23 matches in Bundesliga last season, so he went down a level. Unless Eigler rediscovers his goalscoring form in Bundesliga II, Ingolstadt will again be down to sporadic goalscorers such as Hartmann, Schäffler and Akaichi. And it could be a problem.

Target:
The goal is to improve on the 12th position won last season and join the upper half of the table. With experienced players to lead the way, Ingolstadt might just make it.

FSV Frankfurt

In:
Moise Bambara (mid)(FC Ingolstadt 04), John Verhoek (att)(FC Stade Rennes, loan), Anthony Jung (def)(Eintracht Frankfurt II), Edmond Kapllani (att)(FC Augsburg), Robert Schick (def)(Karlsruher SC U19), Tim Heubach (def)(Borussia Mönchengladbach II), Sören Pirson (gk)(GS Ergotelis), Mathew Leckie (att)(Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ahmed Azaouagh (mid)(FSV Frankfurt U19), Emre Nefiz (mid)(FSV Frankfurt U19), Marcel Kaffenberger (mid)(FSV Frankfurt U19), Jannis Pellowski (gk)(FSV Frankfurt II), Mike Wunderlich (mid)(FC Viktoria Köln, back from loan)

Out:
Mike Wunderlich (mid)(FC Viktoria Köln), Samil Cinaz (mid)(Orduspor), Momar N’Diaye (att)(Beijing Baxy FC), Dennis Cagara (def)(Karlsruher SC), Karim Benyamina (att)(Karslruher SC), Marc Gallego (mid)(free), Alexis Theodosiadis (def)(free), Mario Fillinger (mid)(FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt), Sven Müller (mid)(free), Tobias Henneböle (def)(free), Michael Langer (gk)(SV Sandhausen), Alexander Ujma (def)(free), Daniel Gordon (mid)(Karlsruher SC), Pierre Kleinheider (gk)(FSV Frankfurt II), Macauley Chrisantus (att)(Hamburger SV, back from loan), Ilian Micanski (att)(1.FC Kaiserslautern, back from loan), Chadli Amri (mid)(1.FC Kaiserslautern, back from loan)

FSV Frankfurt was a very offensive side in the last season, and they usually played all out offense in every match, wanting to win three points whenever they can instead of trying to remain undefeated and win a point. This approach actually helped them stay in the league, and there’s no way they could have achieved safety if they played more carefully – there just wouldn’t be enough points won. While their relegation rivals gathered a point here and there, FSV took three points often enough to top their competitors. Despite having a good offensive team, FSV let the majority of those offensive players from last season go on free transfer. Benyamina, Cinaz, N’Diaye, Fillinger and Galego were all integral parts of the squad, and so were Chrisantus, Micanski and Amri – who had to go back to their clubs as the loans expired. The new signings can’t cover up for the departures, and FSV obviously had to save money by reducing the wage bill and signing mostly young players. Frankfurt’s offensive line will be filled by unproven loanees, Verhoek and Leckie, and this time there will also be much less creativity in midfield. This is no longer the FSV we knew last season, this is a new team which is probably weaker than the old one, and arguably the weakest one in the league. The offensive power is gone as Zafer Yelen is the only remaining creative player, and defence was never a strong point of FSV. This unbalanced team will need a miracle or two to manage to stay in the league.

Target:
FSV will be trying to avoid relegation, and could achieve that only if the new arrivals from the 3rd league will be worse than the Frankfurt side.

Hertha BSC

In:
Sandro Wagner (att)(SV Werder Bremen), Sami Allagui (att)(1.FSV Mainz 05), Ben Sahar (mid)(Espanyol Barcelona), Peer Kluge (mid)(FC Schalke 04), Elias Kachunga (att)(Borussia Mönchengladbach, loan), Marcel Ndjeng (mid)(FC Augsburg), Philip Sprint (gk)(Hertha BSC II), Shervin Radjabali-Fardi (def)(Alemannia Aachen, back from loan), Daniel Beichler (mid)(SV Ried, back from loan), Marvin Knoll (mid)(Dynamo Dresden, back from loan)

Out:
Raffael(mid)(Dynamo Kiev), Christian Lell (def)(free), Tunay Torun (att)(VfB Stuttgart), Andreas Ottl (mid)(FC Augsburg), Abu Bakarr Kargbo (att)(free), Patrick Ebert (mid)(free), Andre Mijatovic (def)(FC Ingolstadt 04), Maikel Aerts (gk)(free)

Hertha didn’t seem to lose much in terms of quality after dropping out of Bundesliga, and the squad seems to be stronger than they were last season. The Berlin side will be looking for an express return to top flight as they have the best players in the league and the widest bench, and the really strong sides such as Fortuna, Eintracht Frankfurt and Greuther Furth are not in this league anymore. There were many on- and off-the-pitch problems at Hertha last season, and Bundesliga II might be just what they need to find themselves again and go back to Bundesliga stronger than they were befire. Coach Jos Lukuhay got the a task of rebuilding the troubled squad and a troubled club, and winning the Bundesliga II title. This offensive side should be dominant in this league, and they even brought more offensive players such as Wagner, Allagui and Sahar. This ensures that there’s enough quality in the squad even in the event of poor form or injuries of key players. Pierre-Michael Lasogga, Sami Allagui and Adrian Ramos are expected to score many goals in this competition, and the strong defence will provide security to the offensive part of the squad. Hertha may be a bit weak in midfield, as Anis Ben-Hatira will be the only creative player in central midfield following the departure of Raffael, but it should be enough to consistently win against the Bundesliga II opponents.

Target:
Anything under a top spot wouldn’t be satisfying for Hertha.

Jahn Regensburg

In:
Oscar Corrochano (coach)(Eintracht Frankfurt youth), Francky Sembolo (att)(SV Wilhemshaven), Ramon Machado De Macedo (att)(Jahn Regensburg II), Abdenour Amachaibou (att)(SpVgg Unterhaching), Jonatan Kotzke (def)(1860 München), Marius Müller (mid)(FSV Frankfurt II), Patrick Haag (mid)(Karlsruher SC II), Denis-Danso Weidlich (mid)(FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt), Koray Altinay (mid)(FC Bayern München II)

Out:
Markus Weinzierl (coach)(FC Augsburg), Tobias Schweinsteiger (att)(FC Bayern München II), Ronny Philp(def)(FC Augsburg), Selcuk Alibaz (mid)(Karslruher SC), Tobias Schlauderer (mid)(ATSV Pirkensee-Ponholz), Mersad Selimbegovic (def)(free), Stefan Binder (def)(FC Tittling), Michael Klauß (mid)(VfR Aalen), Björn Bussmann (gk)(VfL Osnabrück), Mahmut Temür (mid)(free), Yusuf Emre Kasal (mid)(free), Jürgen Schmid (att)(retired), Christian Bickel (mid)(SC Freiburg, returned from loan)

Jahn Regensburg just barely managed to survive their two seasons in the 3rd league, but last season they improved and managed to catch the third spot and a playoff duel with Karslruher. They advanced with two draws, 1-1 at home and 2-2 in Karlsruhe. However, they’ve lost their coach, as Markus Weinzierl was hired by FC Augsburg to help the club secure the stay in the Bundesliga instead of helping Jahn Regensburg to do the same on a lower level. Oscar Corrochano was hired as his replacement, and he’s a young lower-level coach with most of his experience gathered from coaching youth teams in Frankfurt, and this is his first real job as the head coach. During the transfer window, Jahn Regensburg let some players go on a free transfer, and brought others also for free. In general, it seems like they’ve lost more than they’ve gained, especially because Tobias Schweinsteiger, their top goalscorer, left. Now a young coach will have to blend the new players into the team and will hope Francky Sembolo, Ramon and Abdenour Amachaibou will be a good replacement for Schweinsteiger – or that at least on of them will. All in all, Jahn Regensburg will need to severely overperform if they want to stay in the league. The team mostly consists of very young players, which means Jahn Regensburg might be very unpredictable and will also be struggling to maintain the same level of performances through a prolonged period of time. With such young players, it is not excluded that at least some of them will grow to be stars of this league during the season. That’s why a youth coach is here.

Target:
The club will be fighting against relegation, and will more likely than not lose the battle. With a plan to develop young players, results may suffer.

Kaiserslautern

In:
Mimoun Azaouagh (mid)(VfL Bochum), Enis Alushi (mid)(SC Paderborn 07), Kwame Nsor (att)(FC Metz B), Albert Bunjaku (att)(1.FC Nürnberg), David Hohs (gk)(Alemannia Aachen), Enis Hajri (def)(Henan Construction), Denis Linsmayer (mid)(1.FC Kaiserslautern II), Marius Müller (gk)(1.FC Kaiserslautern U19), Andrew Wooten (att)(1.FC Kaiserslautern II), Hendrick Zuck (mid)(1.FC Kaiserslautern II), Chadli Amri (mid)(FSV Frankfurt, back from loan), Ilian Micanski (att)(FSV Frankfurt), Gil Vermouth (mid)(De Graafschap Doetinchem)

Out:
Kevin Trapp (gk)(Eintracht Frankfurt), Olcay Sahan (mid)(Besiktas Istanbul), Oliver Kirch (def)(Borussia Dortmund), Marco Knaller (gk)(Wolfsberger AC), Jakub Swierczok (att)(Piast Gliwice, loan), Richard Sukuta-Pasu (att)(SK Sturm Graz, loan), Clemens Walch (mid)(SV Ried), Thanos Petsos (mid)(Bayer 04 Leverkusen, back from loan), Dorge Kouemaha (att)(FC Brügge, back from loan), Sandro Wagner (att)(SV Werder Bremen, back from loan), Lucas (def)(Bayer 04 Leverkusen, back from loan), Nicolai Jörgensen (mid)(Bayer 04 Leverkusen, back from loan)

Kaiserslautern had a disappointing season in top flight and couldn’t find ways to cope with the competition in Bundesliga, not even to avoid defeats or to at least look like a decent side on the pitch. There were numerous attempts to turn things around but none worked as the quality of the squad wasn’t high enough, and Kaiserslautern was relegated to Bundesliga II after spending two seasons in the top league. Although a constant member of Bundesliga until 2006, the club is now in danger of becoming the a constant member of Bundesliga II, as five of the last seven seasons saw the club play in second tier. To avoid that, new coach Franco Foda should immediately win the promotion this season, and except for the profitable sale of Kevin Trapp and the return of loanees to Werder and Bayer, the club didn’t sell or lose any important players. Actually, they seem stronger now as they brought experienced Bundesliga II players such as Enis Alushi and Mimoun Azouagh to help the club get accustomed to the demands of this league, and Ilian Micanski seems to be his old self again after spending half a season at FSV Frankfurt. The squad might again be lacking creativity in midfield, but with players such as Itay Schechter, Albert Bunjaku and Ilian Micanski in offense, goalscoring shouldn’t be an issue in this reduced level of competition. This is a strong squad, but not strong enough to be the favorite to win the league. They might be occasionally suffering from the same problem, lack of creativity, in this league as well.

Target:
Kaiserslautern is targeting express promotion back to Bundesliga, and will have to work for it. Second, third or fourth spot is a realistic finish for this side.

Koln

In:
Daniel Royer (mid)(Hannover 96), Matthias Lehmann (mid)(Eintracht Frankfurt), Thomas Bröker (att)(Fortuna Düsseldorf), Dominic Maroh (def)(1.FC Nürnberg), Kevin Wimmer (def)(LASK Linz), Tobias Strobl (mid)(TSG 1899 Hoffenheim II, loan), Kacper Przybylko (att)(1.FC Köln II), Jonas Hector (mid)(1.FC Köln II), Dino Bisanovic (mid)(1.FC Köln II), Marcel Schuhen (gk)(1.FC Köln U19), Lukas Kübler (def)(1.FC Köln II), Fabian Schnellhardt (mid)(1.FC Köln U19), Simon Terodde (att)(1.FC Union Berlin, back from loan), Thomas Kessler (gk)(Eintracht Frankfurt, back from loan), Konstantinos Giannoulis (def)(Atromitos Athens, back from loan), Bienvenue Basala-Mazana (mid)(SV Ried, back from loan), Alexandru Ionita (att)(Rapid Bucharest, back from loan), Christopher Schorch (def)(FC Energie Cott

Out:
Lukas Podolski (att)(FC Arsenal), Taner Yalcin (mid)(Istanbul Büyüksehir Belediyespor), Simon Terodde (att)(1.FC Union Berlin), Sascha Riether (mid)(FC Fulham, loan), Daniel Schwabke (gk)(free), Andrézinho (def)(free), Mark Uth (att)(SC Heerenveen), Miro Varvodic (gk)(FK Qarabag Agdam), Petit (mid)(free), Martin Lanig (mid)(Eintracht Frankfurt), José Pierre Vunguidica (mid)(SV Wehen Wiesbaden), Stephan Salger (def)(Arminia Bielefeld), Henrique Sereno (def)(FC Porto, back from loan), Ammar Jemal (def)(BSC Young Boys, back from loan)

Not even Lukas Podolski was enough to save Köln from relegation from Bundeliga I, and now when Podolski left for Arsenal, Köln will have to go through a major redesign and will have to do it in Bundesliga II. All the other players in the club only served as Podolski’s backup, to maintain at least some balance on the pitch until Podolski takes the ball, and although a prolific striker such as Thomas Bröker was brought from Fortuna, Podolski’s absence will be more than noticeable. Now a team used to serving as a backup to one player will have to step up and start playing on their own, and it might be a difficult task without creativity in midfield, as Köln is not playing offensively and has no offensive midfielders whatsoever in the squad. Young right winger Christian Clemens will be expected to rule this league, delivering passes to strikers such as Chong Tese, Thomas Bröker and Milivoje Novakovic, but Köln might just learn that Bundesliga II isn’t such a weak competition and that creativity is necessary to break the opponents’ defences. Köln does look like a more balanced squad than Kaiserslautern, and although less offensive than Hertha, if they play their cards right, Köln might just prove to be more stable under these circumstances. However, to actually do well and reach a high spot on the table, they’ll need their strikers to keep scoring week after week.

Target:
Köln wants quick promotion and will also use this season to prepare themselves for another season of top flight. Köln should be among the top two or three teams.

MSV Duisburg

In:
Julian Koch (def)(Borussia Dortmund, loan), Sören Brandy (att)(SC Paderborn 07), Adli Lachheb (def)(FC Erzgebirge Aue), Timo Perthel (mid)(FC Hansa Rostock), Stephan Hennen (def)(MSV Duisburg II), Tanju Öztürk (mid)(MSV Duisburg II)

Out:
Emil Jula (att)(Anorthosis Famagusta, loan), Florian Fromlowitz (gk)(Dynamo Dresden), Bruno Soares (def)(Fortuna Düsseldorf), Tomasz Zahorski (att)(Jagiellonia Bialystok), János Lázok (att)(MTK Budapest), Daniel Reiche (def)(SV Babelsberg 03), Sergej Karimov (def)(MSV Duisburg II), Burakcan Kunt (mid)(MSV Duisburg II), Vasilios Pliatsikas (mid)(FC Schalke 04, back from loan)

Duisburg, a relegation candidate, did amazingly well last season and managed to grab the 10th spot, being completely safe from relegation in the final weeks of the competition. Coach Oliver Reck transformed the team from a relegation candidate to a confident mid-table team, and this season he’s expected to repeat the feat to stabilize the entire club. Looking at how Duisburg was performing in the last season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they repeat the performances. Duisburg will be missing Bruno Soares in central defence and Vasilios Pliatsikas in defensive midfield, and despite getting young talented right back Julian Koch on loan from Borussia Dortmund, signing Sören Brandy from Paderborn and Adli Lacheeb from Erzgebirge Aue, the team will generally be a bit weaker than last season. However, so far veteran striker Srdjan Baljak was mostly on his own, and this season Duisburg might just have enough solid players to send an attacking duo on the pitch. The balance of this team shifted slightly towards offense, and Sören Brandy will have some proving to do now when he’ll get more playing time, as he was overshadowed by Nick Proschwitz in Paderborn. Brandy averaged just 15 minutes per match in Paderborn, and scored 4 goals in 30 appearances. Duisburg will need Brandy to do well, because the backup strikers aren’t good enough to lead the squad to victories. Duisburg might be struggling to score despite being slightly more offensive this season, which in turn will make the defensive tasks much more important.

Target:
Mid-table finish. Duisburg can do it but will again have to work hard to avoid unpleasant surprises and long losing streaks.

Paderborn

In:
Tobias Kempe (mid)(FC Erzgebirge Aue), Mario Vrancic (mid)(Borussia Dortmund II), Manuel Gulde (def)(TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Patrick Ziegler (def)(SpVgg Unterhaching), Tobias Feisthammel (def)(Alemannia Aachen), David Poljanec (att)(FC Blau-Weiß Linz), Massimo Ornatelli (mid)(Preußen Münster), Manuel Zeitz (mid)(1.FC Nürnberg, loan), Christian Rasche (mid)(SC Paderborn 07 II), Sebastian Lange (gk)(SC Wiedenbrück 2000, back from loan)

Out:
Nick Proschwitz (att)(Hull City), Sergej Schmik (def)(SV Wilhelmshaven), Mehmet Kara (att)(Genclerbirligi Ankara), Matthew Taylor (att)(Preußen Münster), Florian Mohr (def)(FC St. Pauli), Sören Gonther (def)(FC St. Pauli), Enis Alushi (mid)(1.FC Kaiserslautern), Rolf-Christel Guié-Mien (mid)(free), Sören Brandy (att)(MSV Duisburg), Yasin Kocatepe (def)(free), Jens Grahl (gk)(TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, back from loan), Lukas Rupp (mid)(Borussia Mönchengladbach, back from loan)

Paderborn was the story of the last season, as the average team almost managed to promote. Throughout the season, the fans and the press were in awe of how Paderborn was performing and found it unbelievable that they are managing to win week after week. Still, despite being a very determined team, in the end Paderborn couldn’t cope with the pressure and whenever they had a chance to reach the promotion spot by, for example, beating a relegation candidate at home, they’d undeperform. In the end, such events cost them the playoff spot. This season the fairy tale seems to be gone, as the club decided to capitalize on their golden striker Nick Proschwitz and sell him to Hully City for 3.3m. Enis Alushi was also sold, and now captain Markus Krösche is the only remaining player from the mighty trio which ruled Bundesliga II. This is no longer the same team, and coach Stephan Schmidt will have to rebuild from scratch. Players to replace the ones who left the club were signed, but they only match the position, not the quality or the leadership abilities. In order to match the performances of last season’s Paderborn side, a miracle would have to happen. David Poljanec can not do what Proschwitz was doing – scoring and bringing points as the sole striker in an utterly defensive team. All the signings are solid, but the team will be struggling for identity as the key players are not here anymore.

Target:
The team will be struggling to avoid relegation. All ambitions were put aside when the board decided to cash in on Proschwitz.

St. Pauli

In:
Robin Himmelmann (gk)(FC Schalke 04 II), Akaki Gogia (mid)(VfL Wolfsburg, loan), Daniel Ginczek (att)(Borussia Dortmund, loan), Sören Gonther (def)(SC Paderborn 07), Florian Mohr (def)(SC Paderborn 07), Lennart Thy (att)(SV Werder Bremen), Marcel Andrijanic (mid)(FC St. Pauli II), Florian Kirschke (gk)(FC St. Pauli II), Florian Kringe (mid)(Borussia Dortmund)

Out:
Max Kruse (mid)(SC Freiburg), Rouwen Hennings (att)(Karlsruher SC), Charles Takyi (mid)(free), Fabio Morena (def)(SV Sandhausen), Deniz Naki (mid)(free), Petar Filipovic (mid)(free), Carsten Rothenbach (def)(VfL Bochum), Moritz Volz (def)(TSV 1860 München), Petar Sliskovic (att)(1.FSV Mainz 05), Lasse Sobiech (def)(Borussia Dortmund, back from loan), Philipp Heerwagen (gk)(VfL Bochum, back from loan)

Despite being a promotion candidate throughout the season, and holding the promotion spot throughout the season, eventually St.Pauli dropped out of the promotion zone because of the awful away form in the final part of the campaign. St.Pauli couldn’t find the net when they had to, the offensive play wasn’t good enough, especially when St.Pauli was visiting, and as a consequence they have to spend at least another season in Bundesliga II. In the off season, despite the offensive problems, they weren’t on the market for strikers, and instead chose to strengthen the defence and midfield to be able to control their opponents better. They got rid of players who weren’t good enough to carry the team and bought off Carlos Zambrano’s contract from Schalke and brought Paderborn’s central defensive duo, Gonther and Mohr. In offense, they only brought young Lennart Thy and Daniel Ginczek – not the players who can be relied on – so veteran Marius Ebbers (34) will again have to lead St.Pauli’s offense. With less goals conceded this time, they hope. St.Pauli missed a golden chance to promote last season, and this time it will be very difficult to be a promotion candidate again as the league is much stronger, three teams demoted from Bundesliga instead of expected two, and St.Pauli doesn’t have a natural goalscorer. St.Pauli is gambling on injury-prone veteran Ebbers to lead the entire fate of the club, and if the gamble goes wrong, St.Pauli might have to settle for being a mid-table Bundesliga II team in the coming years.

Target:
St.Pauli is targeting the promotion spot, but this time it will be very hard to reach. A position near the promotion zone is expected, though.

SV Sandhausen

In:
Timo Achenbach (def)(Alemannia Aachen), Simon Tüting (mid)(Chemnitzer FC), Michael Langer (gk)(FSV Frankfurt), Nicky Adler (att)(SV Wacker Burghausen), Fabio Morena (def)(FC St. Pauli), Kim Falkenberg (def)(Alemannia Aachen), Alexander Riemann (att)(VfB Stuttgart II, loan), Michael Hiegl (gk)(SV Sandhausen U19)

Out:
Jan-André Sievers (def)(Fortuna Köln), Roberto Pinto (mid)(free), Aykut Öztürk (att)(FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt), Julian Böttger (gk)(VfR Mannheim), Michael Schick (def)(SV Wacker Burghausen), Dominik Rohracker (mid)(SpVgg Unterhaching), Danny Blum (mid)(Karlsruher SC, loan), Peter Prokop (def)(SV Sandhausen II), Adriano Grimaldi (att)(Fortuna Düsseldorf, back from loan)

SV Sandhausen won the 3rd league, mostly because of their great form in the first part of the season, and later they just sat back and waited for the league to finish. This is the first time Sandhausen is playing at this level, and they are taking it seriously, they immediately started looking for good reinforcements. They picked up a couple of players from relegated Alemannia, and a great centre-back Fabio Morena from St.Pauli, and generally strengthened their defence a good deal, obviously aware of the increasingly difficult challenges lying ahead in this league. Most of the team will be playing defensively, and the offensive tasks in this team are taken by two French players, David Ulm as the offensive midfielder and Régis Dorn, the striker who plays alonside captain Frank Löning. This offensive trio is experienced and knows how to create chances and goals, and that’s more than a lot of teams in this league have in the squad, which might mean Sandhausen has a chance to achieve safety and stay in their new league. Despite having only just promoted from 3rd league, all the most important Sandhausen players, including the offensive trio, have Bundesliga II experience so it’s nothing new for them. Since the squad is experienced enough, they might be having a solid season in the stronger league, without many ups or downs. They’ll need some time to adapt to stronger competition, but once they do, they won’t be an easy team to beat.

Target:
Safety. Sandhausen is looking good and might just reach it easier than expected.

Union Berlin

In:
Roberto Puncec (def)(Maccabi Tel Aviv, loan), Adam Nemec (att)(FC Ingolstadt 04), Björn Kopplin (def)(VfL Bochum), Daniel Haas (gk)(TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Fabian Schönheim (def)(1.FSV Mainz 05, loan)

Out:
Chinedu Ede (mid)(1.FSV Mainz 05), Ahmed Madouni (def)(FC Nantes), Philip Malinowski (mid)(Berliner AK 07), Santi Kolk (mid)(free), Boné Uaferro (def)(FC Schalke 04 II), Jérôme Polenz (mid)(free), Fabian Fritsche (def)(1.FC Union Berlin II)

Union Berlin did much better than expected in the last season and proved to be a very confident team difficult to beat and capable of beating just about anyone, though not in series and usually on their own stadium only. It was enough to grab the seventh spot, just behind the serious promotion contenders such as 1860 or Paderborn. Union is therefore topping the “rest of the league”, and it was their goal to catch the record and earn the highest league finish in their history. They failed to top their result from 2001/02 when they finished sixth, but this was still a very rewarding season for Union. They seem to have fared well during the transfer period, letting only the unneeded players leave, and they signed prominent Bundesliga II players, including some who have Bundesliga I experience such as Daniel Haas. Björn Kopplin and Roberto Puncec are a welcome addition to any defensive line in this league, and Adam Nemec is adding depth to the offensive line, though he won’t be carrying the offense. Union also signed Simon Terodde, who was on loan from Köln. Although he scored only eight goals, he was a valuable presence in the offensive line and since he’s young (24) there’s more room for development. Union Berlin’s activities on the transfer market are saying that this club intends to grow and intends to do even better than they did last season. There is just enough quality in this squad to do just that.

Target:
Sixth position or better. Union is trying to become a team for the upper third of the table, and they seem to be on the right track.

VfR Aalen

In:
Kevin Kampl (mid)(VfL Osnabrück), Oliver Barth (def)(SC Freiburg), Marcel Reichwein (att)(FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt), Daniel Buballa (def)(1.FSV Mainz 05 II), Michael Klauß (mid)(Jahn Regensburg), Benjamin Hübner (def)(SV Wehen Wiesbaden), Manuel Junglas (mid)(Alemannia Aachen), Nico Zimmermann (mid)(Eintracht Braunschweig), Jasmin Fejzic (gk)(SpVgg Greuther Fürth)

Out:
Jonas Marz (mid)(free), Sascha Herröder (def)(Alemannia Aachen), Mergim Neziri (mid)(1.FC Nürnberg II), Benjamin Barg (def)(VfR Aalen II), Marcel Klefenz (def)(VfR Aalen II), Timo Reus (gk)(retired), Christoph Sauter (mid)(1.FC Nürnberg, back from loan)

Aalen managed to promote directly to Bundesliga II with their great run from the second part of the season, a period during which they were the most successful club in the league. This is the first time the club is in Bundesliga II, after spending most of their history in Regionalliga Süd, but also only spending only a total of three seasons in 3rd league. The introduction of 3. Fußball-Liga in 2008 allowed this club to have a step in between Regionalliga and Bundesliga II, and they are the prime example of how useful it was for German football to introduce the 3rd league below the 2nd. The club has a wide array of experienced strikers, and the best ones are Robert Lechleiter and Marcel Reichwein, who combined 31 goals and 15 assists last season. Naturally, the board decided to reinforce the defence as offense is working fine, and brought veteran Oliver Barth from Freiburg. Midfield is the area which was reinforced the most, and Nico Zimmermann will be expected to lead this team from his left midfielder position. The squad is balanced and might be in for a good season in Bundesliga II if their experienced strikers manage to find the net repeatedly in this tougher competition. Since the club doesn’t have that much creativity in midfield, they might be struggling to deliver the ball to their exceptional striking duo, and a period of adaptation to stronger competition is expected for Aalen.

Target:
Safety. Aalen has just enough quality to make it happen, though they seem to be needing some more reinforcements in the winter transfer window.