Coach Heiko Vogel started working with the team June 13th and already underwent one training camp and seven test matches in just one month. In this article we want to give you some insight in where the team stands and what you can expect of the new season.
Did somebody say “promotion”?
This season will be the fifth in a row in Germany’s fourth division. After missing the play-off spots for the third division by a small margin in the first three years, the previous season ended disastrous for the second team. “I do not want to call promotion our objective for the season”, Heiko Vogel stated on the FC Bayern homepage. That can be seen as a realistic view considering the past. The fourth division in Germany is simply unpredictable. One example that demonstrates that fact very well is RB Leipzig. The Club, stuffed with soft-drink money, spend nowhere near as many years on their way up as in the so-called Regionalliga. Due to sport-political issues there won’t be any changes in the near future regarding the heavily criticized promotion process. Only the champion has the chance to compete for promotion in a play-off game vs. another champion from another state in Germany. As a result the reasonable calls to reward a champion no matter what stay unheard. Heiko Vogel wants to progress step by step through the season, but he is convinced that starting well in combination with no injuries might be the recipe to play a decisive role in the future.
Like every year there are many departures to deal with. Matthias Strohmaier (FC Vaduz) and Phillipp Steinhart (Sportfreunde Lotte), both starters for the second team in the past, will be heavily missed. Furthermore there are Philipp Walter (VfB Stuttgart U23), Yannik Günzel (Wacker Nordhausen) and Angelos Oikonomou (Waldhof Mannheim) whose exits are much easier to compensate. Unlike Patrick Weihrauch (Würzburger Kickers), who in the last season managed to fill out the leader role people expected him to play way earlier.
Then there is Ivan Lucic (suspended – cannot find a new club) and Steeven Ribery (situation is way more complicated). Both are not likely to be part of Bayern’s second team in the future. Finally we have Julian Green, still a player with a professional contract with Bayern Munich, but in his mind already past the stages of division four. He is expected to be traded after the Summer Tour in North America.
Talking arrivals. The main man without a doubt must be the 30-year-old striker, Torsten Oehrl (Wehen Wiesbaden), who has already played in the Bundesliga. In 130 minutes playing time during the test matches he managed to convince easily, but suffered from an ankle injury and is unlikely to return before September. Further strong additions to the squad are Leon Fesser (centre-back) and Erdal Öztürk (central midfielder). Both change places from Hoffenheim to Munich and will be starters if they manage to stay healthy such as Marco Hingerl (ended loan SC Freiburg) and Tim Häußler (left-back – Energie Cottbus). Offensive all-rounder, Elias Becker (Eintracht Frankfurt), might have to cope with a position as a substitute at first. Lastly there is Raphael Obermair (Rosenheim) who could not participate until now due to an injury. Additionally there are two players form the under 19 team, Michael Stein and Bastian Grahovac, healthy and ready to take on a new challenge with the second team. In contrast to that the situation of Alex Gschwend, Marcel Leib, Valentin Micheli and Bernard Mwarome is still vague due to major injuries. For all of them it is questionable whether they are able to take part in the upcoming season.
Strong defence in the friendlies
Out of seven friendlies the second team won six. Except the Trentino-Selection (9:1) all opponents were on a competitive level.
Here is an overview of the results:
FC Bayern – Heimstetten 2-0 W
FC Bayern – Rosenheim 4-0 W
SV Grödig – FC Bayern 1-2 W
WSG Wattens – FC Bayern 0-2 W
FC Bayern – VfB Stuttgart U23 1-0 W
SV Wehen Wiesbaden – FC Bayern 1-0 L
It is quite noticeable that our team conceded just two goals in competitive matches vs. strong teams. With Nicolas Feldhahn as the centre defender the three at the back formation was extremely efficient. Next to him there will be Patrick Puchegger (left) as well as Leon Fesser, respectively Sebastian Bösel (right) playing as starters. Directly in front of them, Niklas Dorsch, who already has a professional contract, is in charge to direct the game. He gets support of Felix Pohl and Tim Häußler who play as wing-backs pushing forward. The four offensive positions are likely to be taken by Erdal Öztürk and Marco Hingerl in the offensive midfield, as well as by captain Karl-Heinz Lappe and Milos Pantovic as strikers up front.
Unterhaching is the frontrunner
Like in previous season there is a top favourite to win the title – this time it’s SpVgg Unterhaching. They boosted their team with several class players to underline their ambition to go all the way. Just to name two there are for example Dominik Stahl (second division player) and Jim-Patrick Müller (former player of Dynamo Dresden). Other competitors are Wacker Burghausen with no well-known transfers and 1. FC Schweinfurt 05 who struggled heavily in the past few seasons but are expected to be quite a factor from now on. Six transfers in total, which had a lot of quality in them, speak for themselves. Finally there is always another second team like Nuremberg last year competing in the top of the table as well. This season it might be our local rival in blue. All in all we have five top-teams who will determine the champion. Will it be possible for our team to reach the playoff games? Like we already mentioned it is impossible to predict.
A chance might be the much better squad-atmosphere throughout the preseason. All players acted as one team and took personal interests aside. Another important factor: Starting strong. Sadly there will be struggles due to the US-Tour of the pros. As the matchdays number two, three and five are likely to be postponed which will cause a tense schedule later this season.
But what was Heiko Vogel’s motto again? Only keep focus on the next step!