The traditional clubs fortuna dusseldorf and eintracht braunschweig want to return to the bundesliga as quickly as possible – but none of the protagonists is making this clear.
Before the first real opening match in the history of the second division, neither club ventured out of the defensive zone. "After relegation, we first have to get some stability," said marc arnold, sporting director of eintracht. His counterpart from dusseldorf, helmut schulte, also gallantly fended off all attempts to make fortuna the promotion favorite: "but if in the end all the other 17 clubs say they don’t want the championship trophy, we won’t be afraid to accept it."
Both teams are highly concentrated as they prepare for the first duel of the season at the esprit arena. Oliver reck, who successfully stepped in as interim coach in the final phase of the previous season, is not worried about his debut as fortuna head coach in a league match. "I’m totally focused on the game. We are very pleased to open the season," said reck, who has gained a lot of profile in recent months. Everyone attests to his meticulous and good work.
"We have a team that works," said reck, looking back on the successful preparation. This pays now no more, because a game for points is nevertheless something else than training or test play. "It’s starting from scratch. But I think that we are well prepared and armed."The former national keeper explained once again that he had initially decided in favor of michael rensing in the much-discussed question of goalkeeper after fabian giefer’s move to schalke. "He will be in goal against braunschweig. However, this is not a decision for the entire season, but initially for the first match day," reck made clear.
He wants to sharpen the senses with the players and keep the competition high. "It doesn’t mean that lars unnerstall hasn’t been convincing. Lars is also guaranteed to get his start."It’s not only in this position that fortuna seems to be well positioned. The showpiece is the offense with strikers charlison benschop and jimmy hoffer and midfielders michael liendl and mathis bolly, who is still a bit of a doubt.
After the long-digested relegation from the bundesliga, the opponents from lower saxony are also looking forward to the opening match. "This is the perfect start with a strong opponent where the euphoria is great," said eintracht coach torsten lieberknecht. Despite some notable departures, he is also optimistic about the season. For most second-division coaches, braunschweig, as a relegated team, is naturally one of the top contenders for promotion. Lieberknecht does not want any advance praise. It’s all just "empty phrases" and "talk".
Both coaches are counting on one thing above all else – cohesion in the squad. Lieberknecht has always been a fan of team-building measures, and for reck, too, the most important world cup insight was how the DFB heroes presented themselves in brazil – and not just because of their sporting success: "you can take a lot away from the world cup. What was most striking was how our team performed as a unit there. That was a prime example of team spirit. If you could transfer that, that would be very helpful."