Tag Archives: Markus Weinzierl

Bundesliga Review – The Augsburg escape is on once more by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Barack Obama’s famous 2008 election slogan “Yes We Can” was meant to inspire. Yet did the President realise it would influence one Augsburg fan’s choice of lettering on their replica shirt. The words “Jos We Can” are adorned on the back of one supporter’s top in honour of now former coach Jos Luhukay.

Alas, as this particular fan trudged away into the night after a 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen earlier this season, he might have had his doubts about whether Augsburg could compete in their second year in the Bundesliga without the man who’d made the club’s dreams come true.

Not only did Luhukay take Augsburg into the Bundesliga for the first time; the Dutchman kept the club in the division too, on what was the smallest budget in the Bundesliga. This was all the more remarkable given the fact the club were in the relegation zone at Christmas. An improbable run in the Rückrunde,  combined with the downfall of Cologne and Hertha Berlin, saw Augsburg survive. Jos Luhukay was seen as the mastermind of this triumph but at the end of the season, feeling he could take the team no further, he left for relegated Hertha Berlin.

If Augsburg thought it had been difficult surviving with Luhukay, they’d now have to do it without their hero. In stepped Markus Weinzierl, a relatively unknown coach in Germany but nevertheless fresh from getting SSV Jahn Regensburg promoted to the second division.

And for a second season running, the first half of a Bundesliga season proved tricky for Augsburg. Weinzierl’s squad was not too different to Luhukay’s. Still, the newcomer was failing to produce the same results with injuries to key players such as skipper Paul Verhaegh not helping his cause. Just nine points were gained in the Hinrunde including a solitary win against Werder Bremen.

But crucially, things looked to have changed for the better at half way for a second consecutive year. In fact, after Saturday’s victory at Werder Bremen, Augsburg would be fourth, based solely on their performance in the second half of the season. And whilst every win for Augsburg could be described as significant, success at Werder really was a fillip for the Bavarians. Tobias Werner, who scored in the reverse fixture earlier this season, was the hero for Augsburg, heading in the game’s only goal just before the half hour mark.

Even more remarkably, Augsburg played out the remaining hour without conceding thanks to a mixture of astute defending, toothless finishing from Werder and goalkeeping heroics from Mohammed Amsif. This performance though formed just another part of the spring recovery by Augsburg.

And like their win on Saturday, this recovery has come about for a couple of reasons. Since the winter break, Markus Weinzierl has played a 4-1-4-1 formation in all but one game, which interestingly enough brought about their only loss in 2013 so far (against Bayer Leverkusen). By chance, that man Jos Luhukay had some success using the formation in the second half of last season too.

On a technical note though, as Cristian Nyari said in January: “The formation adds greater variety to Augsburg’s attacks and puts them in a better position to play a proactive game as opposed to reacting to opponents” – something that cannot be underestimated, considering only Greuther Fürth had scored less goals than Augsburg at Christmas.

Add to this the appointment of Stefan Reuter as Sporting Director in December; which has been followed by a few shrewd signings in January such as forward Ji Dong-Won on a loan deal from Sunderland and American defender Michael Parkhurst from Danish Champions Nordsjaelland and you have the crux of Augsburg’s ascent in 2013.

The club are still some way from complete safety with the Bavarians currently occupying the relegation/promotion playoff spot. Were Augsburg to survive, it would be arguably be an even bigger achievement for the club than last season and indeed a great endorsement for the coaching ability of Markus Weinzierl.

This weekend’s win over Werder Bremen meant Weinzierl did something Luhukay never did in winning back-to-back Bundesliga games. With Nuremberg visiting the SGL-Arena on Friday night, you wouldn’t bet against Augsburg extending that run either.

But the question is, even without Jos Luhukay as coach, can Augsburg achieve survival?

Well, Jos they can.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Staying with the battle for survival, bottom club Greuther Fürth gained another unlikely point, this time at Hamburg on Saturday. It means they’re undefeated in the two games they’ve had without sacked coach Mike Büskens. One of Büskens former clubs, Schalke look to have regained some form of late, with Julian Draxler particularly influential in their thrashing of Wolfsburg at the weekend.
  • Now, for those who like a good bit of word play, this weekend was momentous in the Bundesliga. Bas Dost faced Bastos for the first time in German football – the winner being Bastos with Schalke beating the Wolves. But there was more on Sunday when Hoffenheim’s game against Bayern saw Gomes take on Gomez. And as destiny would have it, they came face-to-face for the defining moment of the match as Gomez of the Mario variety slipped it past Heurelho to seal a surprisingly slender win for the league leaders. And as is dictated now when Mario Gomez scores a goal, you just have to push the button
  • But enough frivolity and back to the weekend’s action where Borussia Dortmund prepared for their Champions League game with a relatively comfortable win over Hannover. The team just behind BVB, Bayer Leverkusen, recorded an impressive victory against Stuttgart, scoring twice in the last eight minutes to overturn a one goal deficit.
  • And in the race for that final Champions League spot, Gladbach shocked 4th placed Eintracht on Friday night, Freiburg recovered to draw at Nuremberg whilst former Bolton striker Ivan Klasnic netted the equaliser as Mainz were held at Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Matchday 24 Results

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-1 Gladbach

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Hannover

Hamburg 1-1 Fürth

Nuremberg 1-1 Freiburg

Werder Bremen 0-1 Augsburg

Wolfsburg 1-4 Schalke

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Stuttgart

Hoffenheim 0-1 Bayern Munich

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1 Mainz

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 24 20 3 1 64:8 +56 63 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 24 13 7 4 54:28 +26 46 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 24 13 6 5 45:31 +14 45 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 24 11 5 8 38:35 +3 38 CL* Qual.
5 SC Freiburg 24 9 9 6 30:23 +7 36 EL* Qual.
6 FC Schalke 04 24 10 6 8 41:39 +2 36 EL* Qual.
7 Hamburger SV 24 10 5 9 29:33 -4 35
8 1. FSV Mainz 05 24 9 7 8 32:29 +3 34
9 Borussia Mönchengladbach 24 8 10 6 33:34 -1 34
10 Hannover 96 24 10 3 11 47:45 +2 33
11 VfB Stuttgart 24 8 5 11 26:42 -16 29
12 Fortuna Düsseldorf 24 7 7 10 29:32 -3 28
13 1. FC Nuremberg 24 6 10 8 24:31 -7 28
14 SV Werder Bremen 24 8 4 12 39:48 -9 28
15 VfL Wolfsburg 24 7 6 11 24:37 -13 27
16 FC Augsburg 24 4 9 11 21:36 -15 21 Play-offs
17 1899 Hoffenheim 24 4 4 16 27:49 -22 16 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 24 2 8 14 14:37 -23 14 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Article originally published on Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Lift Off For Last Season’s Overachievers by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Success can be hard enough to attain but following it up is often the real challenge of a team’s abilities. Until this weekend, two of the Bundesliga’s overachievers from the previous campaign, Augsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach, had shown just how difficult it can be. In May, Gladbach earned an unlikely top four place, and in turn a shot at Champions League qualification whilst Augsburg’s mere presence outside the relegation zone was surprising.

Both clubs lost significant figures in the summer, severely denting their chances on building on last season’s good work. Roman Neustadter, Dante and Marco Reus joined the three clubs which finished above the Foals last season whereas last year’s Bundesliga debutants lost coach Jos Luhukay. Respective replacements were found but neither has been able to carry on regardless.

That’s shown by the fact that until this Friday, Augsburg were yet to win in the Bundesliga this season under new coach Markus Weinzierl. He was working in the third tier of German football last year and had struggled to adjust to life in the top flight. The visit of bipolar Werder Bremen on Friday could well prove a seminal moment in his reign at the SGL-Arena, or so Weinzierl will hope.

This was a game Werder were expected to win with relative ease and judging by the performance of Thomas Schaaf’s side on Friday night, the Northerners thought they’d be able to do so with minimal effort too. As much as Augsburg deserved credit for their subsequent 3-1 victory, their opponents were toothless.

Tobias Werner scored the fastest goal of the season (94 seconds) with a diving header after a great cross from Captain Paul Verhaegh. The Bavarians were pegged back by a Kevin De Bruyne free kick soon after but strikes from Stephan Hain and Daniel Baier either side of half time secured a first win of the season for Augsburg. That was enough to lift them out of the automatic relegation places and as if that wasn’t enough, the players were even rewarded with a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest.

Mention the word Munich though to Gladbach fans and it might rekindle memories of their two victories over Bayern last season. As such, those results were just a small part of a cracking campaign under Lucien Favre but, going into their game against in-form Eintracht Frankfurr, the Foals were hovering nervously above the relegation zone after just a solitary win in their first six games.

They didn’t necessarily return to their best as a team on Sunday either but a 2-0 win was just what Gladbach needed. Juan Arango provided a contender for goal of the season in scoring the Foals first. The man with the sweetest left foot in the division struck a 31 yard thunderbolt early on before new signing Luuk De Jong netted his second of the campaign. This in turn ensured Frankfurt’s first defeat of the season, though Oliver Occean’s contender for miss of the season didn’t help their cause on a difficult day in North Rhine-Westphalia.

What next then for Gladbach and their fellow overachievers from last season, Augsburg? Survival remains the aim for Augsburg and it still looks like it will be very difficult to achieve. The same doesn’t apply to Lucien Favre’s side, even if they have lost key players over the summer. The club has invested heavily in an effort to ensure more than a temporary revival of fortunes. Their weekend win will have come as a relief – an emotion Augsburg will understand too. Yet as they continue without significant figures from the last campaigin, both clubs are probably just realising now the extent of which they have been victims of their success.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

• Bayern Munich pulled further clear at the top of the Bundesliga as they saw off Hoffenheim 2-0 at the Allianz Arena. Franck Ribery scored both and victory at this time could only mean one thing for Bayern – getting down to Oktoberfest.

• There was no celebrating for Champions Borussia Dortmund. Despite an encouraging midweek Champions League performance, they slipped to a 1-1 draw at Hannover. That’s by no means shabby – Hannover’s unbeaten home record stretches back more than a season now. However, conceding another late goal, this time from Mame Biram Diouf, will hurt Jürgen Klopp after doing the same in Manchester on Wednesday. Dortmund’s local rivals Schalke kept their good start to the season going with a 3-0 victory against Wolfsburg, who dropped into the bottom two.

• Meanwhile in mid table, Freiburg beat Nürnberg 3-0, Bayer Leverkusen were held 2-2 at Stuttgart and promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf lost for the first time this season. Mainz became the first side to breach the side’s defence on their travels in a 1-0 victory for the home side. And finally, Hamburg continued their recent revival as the in-form Son Heung-Min scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Greuther Fürth.

For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 7 Results:

Augsburg 3-1 Werder Bremen

Bayern Munich 2-0 Hoffenheim

Freiburg 3-0 Nürnberg

Fürth 0-1 Hamburg

Mainz 1-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Schalke 3-0 Wolfsburg

Gladbach 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Hannover 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Stuttgart 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen

 Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 7 7 0 0 21:2 +19 21 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 7 5 1 1 16:10 +6 16 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 7 4 2 1 15:7 +8 14 CL*
4 Borussia Dortmund 7 3 3 1 17:9 +8 12 CL* Qual.
5 Hannover 96 7 3 2 2 15:10 +5 11 EL* Qual.
6 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 7 3 2 2 11:9 +2 11 EL* Qual.
7 Fortuna Düsseldorf 7 2 4 1 6:3 +3 10
8 Hamburger SV 7 3 1 3 9:10 -1 10
9 1. FSV Mainz 05 7 3 1 3 7:8 -1 10
10 Borussia Mönchengladbach 7 2 3 2 9:12 -3 9
11 SC Freiburg 7 2 2 3 11:10 +1 8
12 SV Werder Bremen 7 2 1 4 10:13 -3 7
13 1899 Hoffenheim 7 2 1 4 10:14 -4 7
14 1. FC Nuremberg 7 2 1 4 7:14 -7 7
15 VfB Stuttgart 7 1 3 3 7:14 -7 6
16 FC Augsburg 7 1 2 4 5:11 -6 5 Play-offs
17 VfL Wolfsburg 7 1 2 4 2:13 -11 5 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 7 1 1 5 2:11 -9 4 Relegation

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Site

Article originally written on Football Fan Cast