Weekend Preview of Local Sports Action
Munich - Key matches for local teams headline this weekend in the second Bundesliga, all with implications on both the promotion and relegation races. FC Bayern and EHC both hope to recover from their shocking losses midweek, and Generali Haching and Bayern Basketball have their respective eyes set on championships. Here's your weekend preview.
(Editor's Note: for a preview on EHC München's playoff match tonight, read it here.)
Bavarian Bash - FC Augsburg, SpVgg Greuther Fürth, TSV 1860 München, and FC Ingolstadt 04 are playing key matches in the second Bundesliga this weekend. Both Augsburg and Fürth are aiming for promotion to the top flight, Ingolstadt hoping to avoid relegation, and 1860 are just looking to survive.
Augsburg sit comfortably in 2nd place and two points clear for automatic promotion. They host Red-White Oberhausen at impuls Arena Saturday and plan to extend their 6-match unbeaten streak to solidify their case for promotion. The match at impuls Arena is sold out. Fürth are currently on the outside looking in, three points off-the-pace for a playoff, a spot held by VfL Bochum 1848. But sitting in front of them are their opponents on Sunday, FC Erzgebirge Aue. Aue expect to play brilliant at home (10 wins, 2 draws, and only 1 loss) however Fürth are solid on the road this season. Both would be also looking for Bochum to slip up and they take control of their fates.
The Lions return home after a tremendous victory at MSC Duisburg, a 3-0 victory last Sunday. "We want to finally experience a win at home," said head coach Reiner Maurer, about the fact TSV have not won at home in their past 6 matches at the Allianz Arena. "We have a tough job against Karlsruher, but we going into the match optimitistic and lots of self-confidence. Kickoff is at 18:00 tonight.
Also taking the pitch tonight, Ingolstadt have won their past three matches to take them out of the relegation zone, for now. They still sit only 1 point of the dreaded drop zone. Current 2nd Bundesliga leaders Hertha BSC Berlin visit Audi Park, so Ingolstadt will have their hands full. The last time Berlin were in Bavaria, they lost at the Arena, which was 1860's last win at home back on December 5th.
The entire table may shift by Sunday evening, however it is great that all four teams will make it an exciting weekend.
(Editor's note: Salman will be tweeting live from Augsburg-Oberhausen on Saturday, follow @sal_TMT_sports)
Bayern regroup - Overcoming the midweek Champions League ouster will be tough, but FC Bayern München will have to do it quickly. The season is running out, and so are their chances to qualify for next year's competition. There are only 8 matches left in the Bundesliga schedule, and each one will have to count. The cups and finals that came so easily last year were all lost in a matter of days this season. So the only goal that Munich can attain and salvage a lost season are wins and the Champions League for 2011-12, especially as the final will be at the Allianz Arena.
The stretch run begins Saturday at SC Freiburg, who are quite solid at home with 7 wins and 2 draws in 13 matches. Bayern's curse this year has been the road, with only 4 wins all year, and 2 losses in their last three away from Bavaria. They sit only 2 points off Hannover's pace for 3rd place, so a win in the Black Forest combined with a Hannover loss, the Reds can start moving up the table.
The match kicks off Saturday at 15:30. Bayern have a week off next week and return home April 2nd against last-place Borussia Monchengladbach.
Haching start road trip - The playoffs are a couple of weeks away, and, until they do arrive, Generali Haching will need to close out the season on the road and hope they don't lose ground for the all-important seeding. After winning their final home game Wednesday night against the NETZHOPPERS KW-Bestensee 3-1 (25:27, 25:16, 25:20, 26:24), Haching pack their bags and start their road trip against EnBW TV Rottenburg at Paul Horn Arena in Tübingen.
Haching lost ground in the Volleyball Bundesliga table last week, losing to arch rivals VfB Friedsrichshafen and falling to second, and it seemed they had not shaken off the effects losing the first set to the NETZHOPPERS, but then the talent took over and Mihai Paduretu's men took the next three sets. "The last three sets were okay," said head coach Paduretu. "We are concentrating on the playoffs."
The key will be to keep winning and clinch the second seed, to avoid Friedsrichshafen until the finals. They proved earlier this month that they can take on their nemesis, and win, after besting VfB in the CVV Pokal, the domestic international trophy. And Saturday's opponent looks to be a walk-over. Haching beat Rottenburg 3-0 on December 30th. First serve at 20:00.
Chilling the champagne - With promotion safely in hand, Bayern Basketball are now only two victories away from the Championship of the ProA, the 2nd league of Basketball Bundesliga. The team will have an opportunity to celebrate in front of their fans, as their next two games are at 'Munich Square Garden', starting Saturday evening against BG Karlsruhe. Tip off is at 19:30. Bayern visited Karlsruhe on November 28th and won 79-59. Blowout wins that were common place are now rare, as teams are playing each other the second time. However, head coach Dirk Bauermann's club continue to focus on practices and play solid defense in the matches.
(Editor's note: Salman will be tweeting live from Bayern-Karlsruhe on Saturday, follow @sal_TMT_sports)