German Football: Introducing Eintracht Braunschweig
Eintracht Braunschweig is one of Germany’s oldest teams. After going through their golden era in the early Bundesliga years, the team slipped down into the lower leagues after facing serious financial issues. Now that they have managed to get their footing back, Braunschweig are looking to push for a spot in the league, which they co-founded.
Touted as one of the tough challengers in the 1st round, Bayern ended up drawing high-flying Eintracht Braunschweig. After falling just short a couple of seasons ago, Braunschweig made the right signings, bringing in striker Dominik Kumbela. In 2010/11 Eintracht completely dominated the 3. Liga, scoring 81 goals on their way to the title. Braunschweig were so dominant that they ended up winning the title two months before the season had even ended.
Right now, at the start of the 2. Bundesliga, Braunschweig stand at the top of the league. Despite having 2. Bundesliga level players, they were quickly pencilled into the list of teams that would have to fight off relegation.
Amazingly, Braunschweig are first in the 2. Bundesliga despite having only 35% of possession in their opening pair of games.
The pure poaching ability of Kumbela is second to none on the team. He finished the 2010/11 season as the team’s top scorer, putting away 19 goals. Wingers, Nico Zimmermann and Mirko Boland both have the skill and ability to hurt the opposition. Both the wingers occasionally cut inside defenders, but obviously will depend in which position they’re playing. Both Zimmermann and Boland are capable of playing on both the wings.
In midfield, Damir Vrancic who is a fine midfielder, will be able to help both defensively and offensively. They’re all tied together by their captain and talisman, Dennis Kruppke. Kruppke usually plays just behind Kumbela and drops into midfield to pull the strings. He’s no stranger in front of goal either. Kruppke also chipped in with 16 goals during the previous campaign. They make the opposition pay heavily for their mistakes and with the defensive struggles we’re seeing at Bayern during this preseason, Neuer will have to be wary of any mistakes in front of his goal.
Their counter attacking style leaves them a little vulnerable at the back. While 2. Bundesliga teams are easy to shut down, a team with Bayern’s quality could easily exploit this and control the game.
The man to watch out is goalkeeper, Marjan Petkovic. In terms of talent, he’s right up there with the league’s best shot stoppers. Petkovic has very good reflexes. He often comes out to punch the ball and rarely misses during set pieces .
Despite having such a style of play, they still seem to control games a lot more than the stats suggest. Their counter attacks are very effective and Bayern will have to watch out for those smash and grab goals. Defensively they like to keep the ball in the middle of the park even when they aren’t in possession. They start defending very high up the pitch with the midfielders pressing the ball heavily.
Braunschweig will definitely look to put the pressure on Bayern and with a few upsets already taking place in the first round this weekend it wouldn’t be a surprise if Braunschweig left their stadium victorious.