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Why you absolutely have to follow the German D2 this year / Germany / 2. Bundesliga / July 23, 2021 /

Three weeks before its big sister, the 2. (zweite) Bundesliga resumes its rights this Friday evening, with a salivating Schalke-Hamburg as an opening match, sorry. One reason among others to concentrate its efforts on following the German antechamber rather than on the elite. Because this season, the self-proclaimed “best D2 in the world” has never been so aptly named.


Friday, July 23, 8:30 p.m. Across the Rhine, all football fans have checked the date in their diary. And for good reason, the resumption of the 2. Bundesliga will be done with a dream poster: Schalke 04-Hamburger SV. A poster which, moreover, smells more of the elite than the antechamber. However, the two adversaries of this very first duel of the season will scrap with the same objective: to go up to the upper floor. On the side of Konigsblauen, relegated to D2 for the first time since 1991, we know we are favorites of the bookmakers, who have logically bet on a lift. For its part, the HSV begins its fourth (yes, already) exercise in purgatory. And given their ability to bite the dust in the last few hundred meters (fourth, with nine points taken from the last seven games of the 2020-2021 season, after spending sixteen (!) days at the top of the standings), the Rothosen will go into the fire with humility, under the leadership of their new coach Tim Walter, who will try, unlike his predecessors, to still be in office at the end of the season.

The record for consecutive seasons spent in the Bundesliga (55) now counts as ancient history, and the Dino is still fishing to build a long-term workforce, capable of making the difference against the big teams stamped German D2. That said, Hamburg have won three of their four warm-up friendlies (for a draw), any sign? Sportingly, Schalke has done almost as well (three wins and two draws), but the Ruhr club is still suffering the plaster of its internal crisis, illustrated in particular by the replacement of its entire management in the previous months and the need to save wages (Kicker puts forward the figure of 22 million euros). This did not prevent him from recruiting D2 veteran Simon Terodde, who arrived free of charge this summer from… Hamburg, and will prove to be a valuable asset in guiding his partners, as well as his inexperienced coach Dimitrios Grammozis in this new world, remained unknown for three decades.

5 star cast

But Hamburg and Schalke are not the only centers of interest in this season like no other. Alongside them, we find a record number of heavyweights in the German championship: Werder Bremen first of all, relegated on the last day and in full internal restructuring. Again, the goal is to go up immediately, and observers place the Weser club in the leading duo. But beware of HSV case law! Even if the public will be delighted to find – at least – the time of a season, the boiling derby of the North against the Hamburg neighbor. Also watch out for Nuremberg and Hanover, sleeping giants who are also waiting to get back into the elite. Further east, two traditional clubs are joining the antechamber, after fighting for the title all last season in D3: Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden. Here, unlike Werder at Schalke, it looks like the black bread has definitely been eaten. Stable workforce, cleared debts, ambitious sports project… the sun is finally shining again in the former GDR! Even if the next step will first be to stabilize on the lower floor before hoping to join Union Berlin among the elite.

The list is still long, so we will just point out that apart from four teams (Aue, Regensburg, Sandhausen and Kiel), the entire cast of this 2021-2022 promo has D1 experience. Cumulatively, this represents 309 seasons played in the top flight, an absolute record. As for trophies, the cupboard is also well stocked, since Nuremberg, Schalke, Hamburg and Bremen weigh 26 D1 champion titles between them, while Dresden, Rostock and Aue accumulate 12 (GDR era). And when we know that eight residents of this D2 are present in the top 20 of the teams with the most members, we can suspect that once again, the fervor will be there. Something to welcome with joy the gradual return of the public to the stadium, starting with the 20,000 lucky people who will attend the opening match, i.e. a third of the capacity of the Veltins Arena.

cathodic revolution

Historical season, historical measures. And that starts with the broadcasting of matches. After four years of absence, the Topspiel of the D2 is indeed back in the clear. For viewers in Germany, it will still be possible to watch the whole of each day via paid broadcaster Sky Sports, but across the Rhine, those less fortunate will be entitled to the best match of each day absolutely free. Some examples to already make your mouth water? In addition to the opening match which will be broadcast on Sat.1, the Sport 1 channel will offer Werder-Hanover (J1), Hansa Rostock-Dynamo Dresden (J4) and the great Northern derby between Bremen and Hamburg (J7). On the other hand, the public will have to get used to a new schedule: that of Saturday at 8:30 p.m. With the disappearance (welcomed by all German supporters) of Monday evening matches, the Professional Football League therefore fell back on a new box to separate the Topspiel from the traditional 1:30 p.m. multiplex. Perfect to change a bit from Ligue 1 then. A good shot of VPN and you’ll be ready for a crazy season. Los geht’s!

By Julien Duez



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