FC Bayern Reserves focused on promotion
During the winter break, they are level on points with the surprise team of the season, VfB Eichstätt, which has already played two more games. However, the team from Eichstätt have already announced that for financial and infrastructural reasons they will not apply for a license for the 3rd league. Thus, the focus is more on 1. FC Schweinfurt 05 and Wacker Burghausen, who are already nine points behind in places three and four and have already played two more games.
Therefore, the outlook is clearly for a place among the promotion play-offs, in which the Reserves would then meet the champions of the Regionalliga Nord. VfL Wolfsburg’s reserve team is currently at the top with a comfortable lead. The duel will be played in the first and second legs around the weekend of the DFB Pokal final in Berlin.
With the clear goal “championship” the small Bavarians started into the new season. On the coach’s bench, under-17 coach Holger Seitz took over the scepter from Tim Walter, who moved to the 2nd Bundesliga at Holstein Kiel. You can read more about the starting situation before the season and the squad of amateurs in our season preview.
Seven victories from the first seven games ensured a successful start to the season for the small Bavarians, even though some games were on a knife’s edge. Thus both the FV Illertissen and the SV Schalding-Heining missed the empty goal with one shot each. This bit of luck in the decisive situations was then turned against the team in September, when in the final minutes of the match they were still playing at home against TSV Buchbach and Viktoria Aschaffenburg.
It was a time when the tide turned a little. After the seven start victories, the Reserves were only able to leave the field four times as winners in the following eleven games. One of the main reasons that things were going worse was the numerous compromises the coaching team had to make in favour of the first team. Due to the suspensions and some injuries, only seven field players were in the team training at times. Whether players like Meritan Shabani, Woo-yeong Jeong or Lukas Mai were in the game on Friday evening, the coaching team often found out only a few hours earlier. In some cases, it was also revealed that they completed a conditioning session with the first team on Thursday and thus entered the game without the necessary regeneration.
The training of specific plays in this time was hardly to be thought of for weeks. Especially the already mentioned young professionals like Lukas Mai and Meritan Shabani commuted in those weeks between four teams. In addition to the first team and the reserves, they were also active for the Under-19s in the Youth League and for the German junior national teams. An exhausting phase, which had an effect especially on the daily form of Shabani. With two wins at the end in Illertissen and against Schweinfurt, the team managed a successful end before Christmas.
There were two personnel changes at the turn of the year. Franck Evina was loaned until summer 2020 to the 2nd Bundesliga club Holstein Kiel, where he finds ideal conditions for the jump into professional soccer under his long-time mentor Tim Walter. Concrete loan offers for other high performers such as Lukas Mai, Meritan Shabani, Jonathan Meier or Woo-Yeong Jeong, all of which were presented to FC Bayern, however, were rejected by those responsible. 20-year-old Jannik Rochelt was hired from league rivals FC Memmingen. Although he feels most comfortable in the centre, he can also take over Evina’s position on the wing.
To bridge the long break from early December to late February, the Reserves took part in the Premier League International Cup for the second time. Against Everton FC’s second team, they won 4-1. They lost 1-0 to Benfica Lisbon’s B side. With a 2-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion’s reserve, they finished first in the group stage and will now face Leicester City’s Under-23s in the quarter-finals during March. This means the team will have to travel to the UK one more time during the week.
Immediately after winning the group, the team went from London to Dallas. As part of their partnership with FC Dallas, FC Bayern have made a commitment to travel to Texas with a team every year. This enabled Holger Seitz’s team to enjoy excellent training conditions at the American Football Club Dallas Cowboys training centre, among other places. A gigantic facility that made the FC Bayern managers aware of how training conditions in Germany are likely to change over the next few years. The training camp ended with a test match against the MLS team of FC Dallas, which the amateurs lost 4-0 and did not leave a good impression defensively. This was also confirmed in the final test game on German soil. At the 1:2 against SSV Ulm the Seitz eleven failed the dress rehearsal.
With a home game against the second team of FC Ingolstadt the mission “promotion” starts next Sunday. Even if the participation in the promotion play-offs should already be as good as secured, it must be without question the claim of the team to win the league championship as the first in the league and to leave VfB Eichstätt behind. With this appeal to honour, the coaching team will have to try to keep the tension in the team high until May. No matter who will win the race in the Regionalliga Nord, the opponent in the relegation will at least be at eye level. And how quickly one can miss the ascent with a single lack of concentration in these two games was shown by Lukas Raeder’s mistake in 2014.
The latest performances of the Reserves leave small question marks about the current form. The first competitive game will show whether it really is the late consequences of the exhausting training workload and the journeys including the time change. Or whether the team really has difficulties in offense and defense at the moment. Contrary to the fall, the team was able to train completely with the exception of Lukas Mai. The results should then also be visible on the pitch.