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Neustart: Darauf kommt es im Abstiegskampf der Bundesliga an

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Status: 01/16/2023 06:26 a.m

Schalke 04, Hertha, 1. FC Köln, there are also big names. But it’s not about Europe. It’s about the fight against relegation from the Bundesliga. Who is ready?

Deep in the west, before the Bundesliga restarts after the World Cup break, there is an acute danger of relegation. FC Schalke 04 and VfL Bochum are at the bottom of the table, and the prospects are bleak, especially for the Royal Blues. However, traditional clubs such as VfB Stuttgart, Hertha BSC or 1. FC Köln should by no means feel safe. This is what matters for the clubs in the relegation region before the restart:

FC Schalke 04

FC Schalke 04 (18th, 9 points): The spirit of optimism after new coach Reis took office in the fall already seems to be gone. The training camp in Turkey ended with two serious injuries: striker Polter, who has a knee injury, will probably not play again this season, and substitute keeper Heekeren will also be out for months. Ouwejan and Kral are also missing for the time being. In view of the correspondingly bad mood, there is currently not much to be said for the urgently needed catch-up race. There could still be commitments, especially if offensive player Florent Mollet were transferred. Overall, however, Schalke is the number one relegation candidate.

VfL Bochum

VfL Bochum (17th, 13 points): Seven friendlies, no win. The performances during the long winter break gave little encouragement to the penultimate. A lot will depend on whether the team of new coach Thomas Letsch gets the defensive problems under control. After all, no other Bundesliga team conceded more goals than VfL (36) in their first 15 games. In addition, the away weakness with seven defeats and only one win is questionable. New signing Keven Schlotterbeck from SC Freiburg could contribute to more stability. Cameroonian international Pierre Kunde Malong, on loan from Olympiacos Piraeus, is expected to liven up the game in midfield.

VfB Stuttgart

VfB Stuttgart (16th, 14 points): Before making his debut on the Stuttgart bench against Mainz 05 on Saturday, coach Labbadia had the VfB players work on their mileage, which is rather weak in a league comparison. In addition, there are injury problems, especially the return of left-back Sosa is longed for. In addition, VfB wants to sign an experienced professional in midfield who can lead the young team. Then perhaps the penetrating power in the attack would also improve. After the intensive training sessions of the past few weeks, Labbadia said in view of the many construction sites: “That was just the beginning.”

Hertha BSC

Hertha BSC (15th, 14 points): Hertha returned to Berlin from the training camp in Florida with great optimism. “All in all, we’ve done what we set out to do with a lot of diligence,” said Hertha coach Sandro Schwarz, “but we’re aware of where we are in the table.” The training camp was overshadowed by the injury to Chidera Ejuke, who will be out for a few weeks. With Florian Niederlechner from FC Augsburg and Kiel’s Fabian Reese, two new strikers are under contract from the summer – possibly one or both will come this winter.

FC Augsburg

FC Augsburg (14th, 15 points): Health. This is particularly important at FC Augsburg. In the first half of the season, Enrico Maaßen had to change things up again and again in his first season as Bundesliga coach. The many absences of top performers meant that the last seven games before the World Cup break were not won. But if Ermedin Demirovic & Co. are fit, Bayern Munich can be defeated, as they did on the seventh matchday. With the Croatian duo Dion Beljo (20) for the storm and David Colina (22) for the wing positions, however, the Augsburgers have refilled their personnel again. That was also badly needed.

1. FC Cologne

1. FC Köln (13th, 17 points): As expected and as in the last time in 2017/2018, FC had problems with the European Cup load. Due to the end of the conference league, this is now gone. Will coach Baumgart get his team back on track? In terms of personnel, the FC coach has more alternatives than in late autumn, but in Kilian and Pedersen a defensive duo is out again – muscle injuries. Nevertheless, it should be enough for the Rhinelanders, who are no longer in the cup, to stay in the league in the remaining 19 games.

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