“Can talent compensate the lack of experience?”

Maurice Separator July 20, 2019

In the interview about the third league, which starts this weekend, we talk to Julian Koch, the editor-in-chief of the German website liga3-online.de. This is where you can find all the information about the third division – including the season preview and survey among the coaches which are mentioned here in the interview. For the Bayern reserves the new endeavor will start on Saturday, 20th of July in Würzburg.

After countless attempts, the FC Bayern reserves have finally managed to be promoted to the third division in the relegation battle against VfL Wolfsburg II. What can the fans of the “small” Bayern look forward to in the new leagues?

A very authentic football experience, where the fan can be much closer to the action than in the higher leagues. Last year there were a total of three million spectators in the stadiums, which means you don’t have to hide from any third league in the world.

Sportswise, the league is also attractive because it is extremely balanced. Something you can’t necessarily say about the Bundesliga, but the Bayern fans know that best. There are also more frequent surprises. The bottom of the leagues winning against the leader has happened regularly in the past few years. The entire league is close together in terms of performance density and even the promoted teams don’t have to hide. So you can expect an exciting league – maybe even the most exciting league in Germany.

Quo vadis, Bayern reserves?

In their season preview you predicted a difficult season for the Bayern reserves. Also your readers see the small Reds as one of the “favorites” for the direct relegation. How hard will it really be? Which place in the table is a realistic goal?

Irrespective of the actual teams, one could witness last season how close it can be in the bottom of the third division. For the first time, 45 points were not enough to keep the class and Energie Cottbus finally dropped down because of one goal. Also last year there were four relegates for the first time, which made the relegation fight more exciting.

Sebastian Hoeneß enters his first season as coach of the Bayern reserves.
(Image: Andreas Schlichter/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In fact, for the Munich players it will depend on how the young players cope with the league. Can talent compensate for the lack of experience? This question probably doesn’t apply to any team as much as it does to the Bayern reserves. The skill of the players is undisputed and with Welzmüller, Wriedt and Kern you also have experienced players in the squad, but still Bayern is the wonder bag of the league. However, the lower third of the table appears to be the most likely.

For the new season, most of the players from the squad will for the first time be on long away trips to Rostock, full stadiums in Kaiserslautern and heated atmospheres in Mannheim. What role can this play in the course of the season?

That will definitely play a big role. In general, there will be a much greater public focus, partly due to the live broadcasts. Of course it makes a difference whether you play in front of a thousand spectators in a Bavarian village or in front of 40,000 fans on the Betzenberg. In addition, the amateur teams in the league are not very popular with the opponents. Then, of course, it depends on how each individual deals with such a situation. That will be exciting to watch.

According to transfermarkt.de, the Bayern reserves squad has the highest market value of all clubs in the league. How would you classify the players regarding their abilities, if you leave out the missing experience?

You should not be blinded by the high market values. The question, of course, is always how these sums come about and whether they are justified in their amount. This will be shown in the coming season.

If you only look at the stadium, Kaiserslautern with the Betzenberg is certainly a special highlight. A stadium, which would have deserved a higher league.Julian Koch, about the best away trips of the third division

But in this league talent can definetly be one way to success. The two dominating playing styles in the league are a compact defence in combination with many long balls and invigorating offensive football. Especially for the latter the Munich players with their talent should be suitable.

The FC Bayern reserves are the only second team of a professional club in the league. Why do the U23 teams have such a hard time in the entry level of German professional football? Is it solely due to the experience?

Past second teams of Bremen or Stuttgart, for example, failed not only because of a lack of experience, but also because of the physical and fighting superiority of the other teams. Nevertheless, the relegation fight can also be a mental strain, especially for young players, which they are not used to from their youth. Knowing one’s way around the bottom of the table can be an advantage.

Shortly before the start of the season, FC Bayern strengthened its position with Singh, Kern and Dajaku. All in all the Bayern team invested 2.35 million in the three players. How do you rate the new players?

Kern is certainly the player who is most likely to strengthen the team immediately. In Mannheim he was the second best scorer in the promoted team and that as a midfielder. The question will be how quickly he will get into the new team and how many games he will play. In the third division there is a restriction for U23 teams to players older than 23 years. A maximum of three can be on the field at the same time.

“Perhaps the most exciting league in Germany”

Waldhof Mannheim, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, MSV Duisburg – the third league has many clubs with long tradition to offer again this year. Which away journey no Bayern fan miss his season?

Mannheim is certainly worth a visit. But also in Rostock or Magdeburg the atmosphere is great. If you only look at the stadium, Kaiserslautern with the Betzenberg is certainly a special highlight. A stadium that actually deserves a higher league.

With Unterhaching and of course also the “blue neighbours”, the Bayern reserves have a total of four Munich derbies on their game plan. Which of the three clubs will be able to claim the unofficial Munich City Championship at the end of the season?

If you look at the last years, I would see Unterhaching slightly in front. Although the Hachinger team played a weak last second half, they have now put together a good squad with some transfers. But maybe there is also a big surprise and in the 1860 will compete for the top spots in the end.

After one season without them, two Munich city derbies are scheduled again. The last two games in the fourth division were won by the Reds.
(Image: Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

With Heiko Vogel and Jan Kirchhoff two well known faces in Munich have been under contract with KFC Uerdingen since this summer. What is to be expected of this project of the special kind?

Last year, they had primarily relied on experience and former Bundesliga players. This went particularly catastrophically wrong in the last half series and they became last in the second round table. This seems to have been noticed internally during the seasonal analysis. They tried to rejuvenate the squad a bit and grabbed a few talents. With this better mix KFC is another exciting project in this league. One can certainly assume a place in the upper half of the table.

Which teams do the FC Bayern amateurs have to leave behind to avoid relegation?

Of course there are the well-known clubs like Großaspach or Jena, who both played against the relegation for a long time last season. However, in the last few years there has often been a team that played at the top in the coming season after a messed up season. Also the other promoted teams from Chemnitz and Viktoria Cologne are, similar to the Bayern reserves, rather expected to find themselves in the lower table region. SV Meppen can certainly also be mentioned as a candidate.

“However, the financial gap between the two leagues is considerable. For the big clubs such as Lautern or Rostock, the league is a loss-making business that adds up over the years.”Julian Koch, about the gap between the second and third division

But maybe there will be a surprise here as well and a team that still expects to compete for promotion has to deal with securing the leagues. Last year Braunschweig met this fate.

Let’s look at the other end of the table: Is Ingolstadt the big favourite for direct promotion? Which other teams are planning to have a say in the promotion race?

I wouldn’t even say that Ingolstadt is the big favorite. In our trainer survey the Schanzers were seen in the front next to Braunschweig, but with significantly fewer votes than in the previous year Kaiserslautern, for example. There is therefore no big favourite. There are rather eight teams on a similar level – at least on paper before the season. However, this can already change on the first match days.

After being relegated, Ingolstadt has lost some top performers and is currently still thinly staffed in attack. Braunschweig has strengthened its position with Ademi, Proschwitz and Kobylanski. You should definitely have them on your bill. Otherwise you can keep Magdeburg, Rostock and Uerdingen in mind. A tip for outsiders is Würzburg, despite the loss of some regular players.

What’s the place of the third division?

How is the fundamental development of the third division to be assessed, at the transition between amateur and professional football? How big are the gaps to the leagues above and below in sporting and financial terms? Does the third division widen the gap to the fourth divisions or is it itself losing ground to the second Bundesliga?

The distance to the bottom is not so great. You’ve seen that in the last few years, when the promoted teams played a good role again and again. Some like Würzburg or Regensburg even managed to get promoted directly again.

The “Hermann-Gerland-Kampfbahn” is in FC Bayern’s red hands. But there are also many traditional stadiums and clubs to visit this year.
(Image: Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The sporting distance to the second Bundesliga is also small. Here you can also find examples of teams that have held their own in the higher leagues. And just last season Paderborn celebrated even a direct promotion to the Bundesliga.

However, the financial gap between the two leagues is considerable. It’s enough to look at the TV money. While a second Bundesliga team can usually plan with at least ten million euros, in the third division the figure is just over one million euros. That’s why every year many teams try to get out of the league with a real arms race. For the big clubs like Lautern or Rostock, the league is a loss-making business that adds up over the years.

And finally a question for all fans of the kicker managers game: Which player should I have in my squad if I want to win my league?

Of course it is difficult to highlight a player. But if I wanted a safe bet in goal, I would take Markus Kolke from Rostock. He was really strong in the last years at Wehen Wiesbaden.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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