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2.Bundesliga next season
I think next season's 2.Bundesliga is going to be good. Whilst Hamburg and Köln are the obvious favourites for promotion, I don't think it's going to be that easy for them. For a start both teams have already lost some important players and will continue to and even if they are replaced (Which Köln are already doing well with) they will be weaker than last season. Then there is Union Berlin, Bochum and Ingolstadt who should be battling towards the top next season so it should be a good promotion race.

So far Köln have been the most active. They have lost Leonardo Bittencourt (left winger), Yuya Osako (striker), Dominique Heintz (centre back) and Lukas Klünter (right back) but have signed Louis Schaub (attacking midfield and right winger), Rafael Czichos (centre back), Niklas Hauptmann (centre midfield), Benno Schmitz (right back), Lasse Sobiech (centre back) and Matthias Bader (right back) as well as appointing Marcus Anfang as Head Coach. Anfang led Holstein Kiel to promotion from the 3rd division and then to 3rd place in the 2.Bundesliga this season just finished.

I have a big soft spot for Union Berlin so I'm looking forward to their season and a push for promotion after last season's disappointing season. Urs Fischer has been brought in as Head Coach and a new Sporting Director has been appointed so the upper management is very solid. Urs Fischer's previous job was with Basel in his native Switzerland where he won the league twice and the cup once. In the playing staff, right winger Steven Skrzybski has joined Schalke, left back Kristian Pedersen is likely to join Birmingham City and Daniel Mesenhöler (goalkeeper), Toni Leistner (centre back), Stephen Furstner (defensive midfield) and Dennis Daube (centre midfield) are all departing at the end of their contracts on the 30th June. As for signings, left back Ken Reichel is very close to signing a two year deal on a free transfer from Eintracht Braunschweig and Hannover players Florian Hübner (centre back) and Manuel Schmiedebach (defensive midfield) are expected to sign soon. That leaves Union needing a goalkeeper, right back, right winger and striker (Christoffer Nyman has been heavily linked from Eintracht Braunschweig) and Eroll Zejnullahu will return from his loan at Sandhausen to replace Dennis Daube.

Whatever happens with Union, I hope the season is an entertaining battle for promotion and I wouldn't bet against a surprise package also being up there like Holstein Kiel were last season.

I expect the top 6 to be (and I might be a little biased):

1 - Köln
2 - Union Berlin
3 - Hamburg
4 - Bochum
5 - Ingolstadt
6 - Darmstadt
turkeydinner likes this post
This weekend Union Berlin made 4 signings.

Rafal Gikiewicz - Goalkeeper - Freiburg

Florian Hübner - Centre back - Hannover

Ken Reichel - Left back - Eintracht Braunschweig

Sebastian Andersson - Striker - Kaiserslautern.

Still to come is Manuel Schmiedebach (defensive midfield) from Hannover and a right back and right winger. Possibly another striker as well.
Union Berlin have completed their 5th and 6th signings of the summer. Defensive midfielder Manuel Schmiedebach has signed on loan from Hannover and winger Joshua Mees has signed from Hoffenheim. Now all Union need is another right back and they should be set for pre-season and then the new season.

The squad is now:

Gikiewicz and Busk

Right back
Trimmel and Kurzweg

Centre back
Hübner, Friedrich, Torrejon and Schönheim

Left back
Reichel and Lenz

Defensive midfield

Schmiedebach and Parensen

Centre midfield
Kroos, Prömel and Zejnullahu

Right wing
Hedlund and Gogia

Left wing
Redondo and Mees

Attacking midfield


Polter and Andersson

Other players in the squad  
Dietz (defensive midfield and right back cover), Kahraman (centre midfield) and Taz (attacking midfield and winger)

Trimmel - Hübner - Friedrich - Reichel
Hedlund - Kroos - Hartel - Redondo

Subs - Busk, Torrejon/Schönheim, Lenz/Kurzweg, Parensen, Prömel/Zejnullahu, Gogia/Mees, Antonssen

The squad may not be as strong as Köln and Hamburg but Union have the experienced Urs Fischer as Head Coach whilst Köln and Hamburg have Head Coaches with the combined experience at this level of 1 and a bit seasons. That will make a difference. (Good on Köln and Hamburg for going with the young approach though)
turkeydinner likes this post
The 2.Bundesliga season started over the weekend. The final scores were the following:

Hamburg 0-3 Holstein Kiel
Bochum 0-2 Köln
Greuther Fürth 3-1 Sandhausen
Jahn Regensburg 2-1 Ingolstadt
Magdeburg 1-2 St Pauli
Heidenheim 1-1 Arminia Bielefeld
Darmstadt 1-0 Paderborn
Union Berlin 1-0 Erzgebirge Aue
Dynamo Dresden 1-0 Duisburg

I had the pleasure of watching 6 of the matches which were all enjoyable in their different ways. Union Berlin vs Aue was my main interest over the weekend and I watched it on Union Berlin's TV channel on their website.

As for the match, it was a typical first game of the season. Neither wanted to lose so both teams played risk free. Union's 4-1-4-1 wasn't working to break down Aue's 5-4-1 but when Aue did attack, they were susceptible to Union's fast counter-attacking. In the second half Hedlund came on for Gogia at right wing and Mees came on Redondo at left wing. The game really changed when Kroos came on for Schmiedebach and the system was tweaked to become a 4-2-3-1 with Kroos alongside Prömel as a central 2 with Hartel moving from his left centre midfield position to the 10 role close to Antonseen. This change altered Union's play as they were able to play through the pitch faster with Kroos and Prömel collecting the ball from the centre backs and then play to Hedlund, Hartel or Mees who could collect the ball in space and run at Aue's defence. The winning goal came in the 86th minute from Felix Kroos from a left of centre free kick which he curled over the wall and smack into the top corner. After that Union saw out the remaining minutes and notched the win.

Next Monday evening Union travel away to Köln in Matchday 2's biggest match. Köln looked good away at Bochum but the defence had the same problem as Hamburg had the night before. If Mere and Czichos had time on the ball, they could give the ball to the defensive midfielder Özcan or to Drexler who would drop deep from his centre midfield role. Where Bochum did well was with the press. They wouldn't always press high up but there were certain triggers that would be flicked causing the high press to start. This was particularly when Köln's defence and goalkeeper were passing the ball close to their goal. Union Berlin should play a similar game. A 4-2-3-1 system which is a 4-4-1-1 out of possession in a lower block when Köln have the ball in midfield and are coming forward. When Köln try to play out from the back starting with their keeper, that should trigger a high press with Hartel moving alongside Antonssen and the two wingers pushing up to the full backs to stop the keeper playing over Hartel and Antonssen to the full back. Pressure them into making mistakes or force them to go long so Friedrich and Parensen (Hübner if he's fit) can win the aerial duels.  

A draw will be a good result for Union.
Union Berlin are up to 2nd in the table ahead of Köln with a 3-2 win away at Duisburg. Köln lost yesterday evening away at Paderborn, chucking away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2.

The top 7 is very tight currently with 5 points separating Union in 2nd and Holstein Kiel in 7th.

1) Hamburg - 44 points
2) Union Berlin - 40 points
3) Köln - 39 points
4) Heidenheim - 38 points
5) Paderborn - 37 points
6) St. Pauli - 37 points
7) Kiel - 35 points

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