by Olaf Goldbecker
1 – Frankfurt, 26 pts – The top club is playing like they used to do a couple of years ago. At the moment, they are the team in the best shape and they closed the 2013 part of the season with 26 out of possible 30 points. In their last game, Frankfurt defeated Potsdam 3-0 on the road, a clear sign that the championship is a strong possibility. They are the best offense of the league at the break, scoring 15 goals more than any other team.
2 – Wolfsburg, 21 pts – The champions are five points behind Frankfurt but have one game in hand on the leaders (Cloppenburg, February 15). The Wolves are in reliable good shape but not as good as Frankfurt right now appears to be. Still, a Champions League spot almost is a must for this roster and as of now Frankfurt and Wolfsburg are the favorites to end on the top two spots.
3 – Potsdam, 20 pts – Turbine is six points behind and also has one game more to play (Essen, Dec 21). They are one of the strongest teams in the league but they are not in championship shape. The team has played well in the recent weeks until the clear being upset at home against Frankfurt 3-0.
4 – Munich, 18 pts – Bayern can still be considered top although they are trailing by eight points already, which in the Bundesliga is a whole world. The team showed weak performances lately, only obtaining one out of nine possible points recently and additionally dropped in the cup competition in four games, which usually should have been self-runners. The old weakness against inferior clubs obviously still has not been solved.
5 – Jena – 14 pts. Despite a 3-0 loss to Duisburg, Jena remains the surprise team of the season, even with the third worst scoring offense of the league. Defensively Jena is very solid though with just allowing 1.5 goals per match.
6 – Essen, 12 pts – Two points behind Jena, one game more to play before the break (Potsdam, Dec 21). Average season so far with a 3-3-3 record make SGS a typical mid-table team. With +10 goal difference, Essen has the fourth best goal difference of the league.
7 – Leverkusen, 12 pts – Leverkusen have the same number of points as Essen and are big winners of their last two games. They defeated Freiburg (5-1) and Sindelfingen (8-0) very clearly. They seem to be in safe midfield as of now.
8 – Freiburg – 10 pts – Only two points safe from relegation, which is why the bottom area is extended now to five teams. The tendency over the last few weeks have been negative. The downfall from last season is significant despite having a competitive roster that should easily play for fifth place in the league.
9 – Duisburg – 10 pts – On the sporting side, Duisburg improved to 10 points in the meantime as they defeated Bayern Munich and USV Jena lately. The more critical situation is on the financial side. The insolvency procedure needs to be finished soon and the financial rescue seems improbable at the current time. Should this happen, Duisburg would be the first relegating team and would have to stop playing immediately.
10 – Cloppenburg – 9 pts – Cloppenberg have one makeup game at Wolfsburg. Due to some unexpected scores of the competitors, Cloppenburg only is one point above the relegation zone. The roster is better than this and should be able to stay in the league though.
11 – Hoffenheim – 8 pts – Some promising results, some promising performances, but not enough points. Newly promoted Hoffenheim pays the price of inexperience and finds themselves in the relegation zone.
12 – Sindelfingen – 1 pt. On the sporting side they will relegate. Their only chance is if Duisburg folds and another team withdraws but at least latter aspect is not foreseeable, so the draw v Munich remains the only positive aspect of this season. Any scored goal is a success as well as any game in which they allow less than five goals.
DFB Cup: Semifinals complete – 2. Bundesliga site SC Sand surprises
Most top teams exited early in this season’s DFB Cup competition. The quarter final only saw 1.FFC Frankfurt as remaining powerhouse and therefore as huge favorite to win the trophy. Three of the last eight teams play in 2. Bundesliga and they all had to face opponents from the upper house – one even triumphed and marched on to take a good portion of the success bonus that is awarded in the cup.
SC Freiburg v BV Cloppenburg 1:0 (0:0)
Usually Freiburg would have been the big favorite to win this game but since SCF is on a bad run and plays a disappointing season so far they just have one point more in the league than the opposition from Cloppenburg in the only Bundesliga duel of this round. After 70 minutes Sara Däbritz marked the lonely goal of the day.
Werder Bremen v 1.FFC Frankfurt 0:8 (0:3)
The strategy of the underdog is to keep a scoreless draw as long as possible. After five minutes those thoughts were history when Dszenifer Marozsan opened the scoring. Fatmire Alushi (ex-Bajramaj) and Melanie Behringer added for the halftime score. After the break Kerstin Garefrekes (2), Celia Sasic (2) and Ana Crnogorcevic completed the scoreline.
FF USV Jena v SC Sand 0:2 (0:1)
The top seed of 2. Bundesliga South made a statement about their season aim and defeated Bundesliga site FF USV Jena. A first minute goal by Italian Ilaria Mauro paved the way before substitute Christine Veth wiped out all doubts with eigth minutes left on the clock. A derby at home v Freiburg certainly would be Sand’s favorite draw for the semis.
SGS Essen v 1.FC Köln 5:2 (3:1)
Essen and Cologne are about one hour driving distance from another and while Essen plays in a higher league, Cologne is an ambitious team, which was not only shown by signing former world class striker Inka Grings from Chicago. In this season it wasn‘t enough for Cologne to care for more than just little worries in Essen. Irina London scored an own goal to open the scoring for the home team before Mandana Knopf tied. Essen had an immediate answer by Linda Dallmann before Charline Hartmann decided the game with one strike prior and after halftime. Bianca Rech got Cologne closer but in stoppage time Lena Ostermeier marked the final goal of the match.