At Fortuna Düsseldorf the tree is burning again. As if the tricky situation as the penultimate with three points behind the saving bank wasn’t enough reason to worry, coach Friedhelm Funkel is currently facing serious criticism once again. The doubts from our own camp that the oldest coach in the Bundesliga can no longer knock the goat in the current season are increasing week by week.
So far, the 66-year-old has been able to free himself from the noose, thanks in part to the support of his own fans, but if his team does not score again in the next two games, the trained wholesale merchant threatens to be fired. Before the match between Leverkusen and Dusseldorf, the prognosis will be influenced by the discussion about the coach.
With the Werkself, however, the shape curve seems to be pointing in the right direction. Admittedly, a victory at the bottom of the game in Paderborn is not something you could not have expected, but the Bosz-Elf looked more playful, mature and fitter than during the first half of the season. Because Bayer was also able to win the most recent five direct duels against the Rhenish competitor, a tip on the home win seems obvious on Sunday evening between Leverkusen and Düsseldorf.
However, the question of how high or how clear the success of the favorite will be is more interesting. Potential alternatives to drive up the low quotes on a simple three of the host are the HT1 / FT1, the win to zero or a handicap bet with at least two goals ahead.
In Leverkusen you don’t let yourself get upset these days and weeks. Although the criticism of coach Peter Bosz increased in the course of the first half of the media, the responsible parties decided to prematurely extend the contract of the Dutch coach.
Those responsible in the Rhineland are quite satisfied with the development of the team, although there is still room for improvement in the table. In times of fast-moving professional business, class proves that Rudi Völler and his colleagues on the management level do not judge the work of their head coach solely based on results.
From a romantic footballer’s point of view, it is almost to be hoped that the patience and trust of the decision-makers will be rewarded and that the Werkself will play a better second half than the first half. The beginning was made last weekend. At the 4: 1 in Paderborn, the Europa League sixteenth finalist left no doubt about a successful start to the year.
Kevin Volland, Kai Havertz and Co. now want to build on the good performance in their first home game in 2020. Before the Leverkusen game against Düsseldorf, the bookmakers’ betting odds imply a clear favorite role for the home side. The calculated win probability of 70% is primarily based on the constellation in the classification and the existing individual quality.
The sixth-ranked man, who is currently just two points behind the Champions League spots and is waiting for the top team to slip, has celebrated two wins in a row throughout the year and could now celebrate the third three in a row for the first time this season. However, the fact that the Werkself have only won one of the past six home games in the Oberhaus (three draws, two bankruptcies) speaks against this.
Despite the overall disappointing balance in the BayArena, we are convinced that the fourth in the previous year has everything to add another three points to their own account at the end of the 19th matchday.
Above all, the drastic increase in form of mega-talent Kai Havertz should give Peter Bosz hope. The wooed national player fell far short of their own potential in the first half of the season, but was clearly improved in the previous week in Paderborn. In general, the midfield ace seems to have more time after the winter break because at least he has scored twice as many goals (18) in the second half of a Bundesliga season as in the first half (nine).
The South American trio of Aranguiz, Paulinho and Palacios will not be available. While Aranguiz is healing his torn calf and newcomer Palacios is missing due to a ban brought from Argentina, Paulinho is with the Brazilian under-23 team in the Olympic qualification. Many changes compared to the 4: 1 in Paderborn are not expected at the weekend anyway.
Usually, at the highest national level, it shouldn’t matter if a team doesn’t have their regular goalkeeper. The representatives in the second row have repeatedly proven that they can be relied on.
Not so with the Fortuna from Düsseldorf. Because with Zack Steffen the regular number one is canceled and the experienced back-up Michael Rensing is still struggling with the consequences of an injury, Florian Kastenmeier made his debut in the German Beletage last weekend. He became a tragic hero in the relegation thriller against Werder Bremen. The only goal of the day to 0-1 was undoubtedly his cap.
His colleagues and the coaching team held back afterwards with criticism, but it should be clear that the pressure on the 22-year-old number three at Fortuna will not diminish on Sunday. The bottom line is the goalkeeper discussion is currently only one of many construction sites at the Rhenish Bundesliga club.
In particular, the debate about coach Friedhelm Funkel, which escalated almost during the week, is currently causing unrest around the Merkur game arena. Among other things, the 66-year-old is accused of being too passive and still holding on to the oldies Adam Bodzek or Oliver Fink.
These decisions are said to have caused resentment within the team and to be largely responsible for the fact that those responsible have to think about the personnel on the coaching bench. Even if the Dusseldorf leadership team tried to deny it, it is known that a bit of truth can be filtered out of every rumor.
However, it is doubtful whether the Rhinelander should lose an ultimatum that would result in a diminution of the trainer, both on Sunday in Leverkusen and a week later at home against Frankfurt. The fact is, however, that there is chaos at the penultimate table, which is also reflected in the odds between Leverkusen and Düsseldorf.
Statistically, there is also little hope for the relegation candidate, because only one of the last eight Bundesliga games has been won (two draws, five bankruptcies). In addition, Düsseldorf is the weakest away team in the league with the most goals conceded (22) and the overall offensive is the worst that the top floor of German football has to offer with 18 goals in 18 games.