Last season Bundesliga, this season heading for the 3.Liga. Something is clearly not right at Arminia Bielefeld as last season’s relegated side are really struggling in the second tier- not just struggling but looking like genuine contenders for the drop after eleven games of the new season. How come they have fallen so far so quickly?
The shock of relegation is not always easy to absorb. For every Schalke and Werder Bremen, who achieve promotion at the first time of asking, you have a Hamburg or a Kaiserslautern who struggle to adapt to life in the 2.Bundesliga and in the case of the Red Devils (drop down to the third tier).
Bielefeld dropped out of the Bundesliga last season along with Greuther Fürth, who are also struggling in the second division. Under firstly Frank Kramer and then interim trainer Marco Kostmann, die Arminen racked up just five wins all season, although they did beat both RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt away.
Ulrich Forte was brought in at the start of the season and player transfer-wise they lost Patrick Wimmer (Wolfsburg), Stefan Ortega (Man City), Amos Pieper (Werder Bremen), and Cedric Brunner (Schalke).
The season got off to a bad start with an opening day loss at Sandhausen followed by successive defeats to Jahn Regensburg, Hansa Rostock and Hamburg. The terrible start cost coach Forte his job. “We need to turn things around, and that’s why we had to act,” explained Arminia sporting director Samir Arabi. “All things considered; we weren’t convinced the existing team could do that.”
Harsh, but that’s football.
Daniel Scherning was hired, but the improvement that the club’s hierarchy wanted has thus far still not taken place and Arminia find themselves bottom of the 2.Bundesliga table after eleven matches with eight points. There was an initial reaction to Scherning’s appointment with a 1-1 draw at Heidenheim and a 4-1 home win over Braunschweig, but the problems continue.
The squad contains players of individual quality, but as yet they are not performing as a team. The likes of Lukas Klünter, Bastian Oczipka, Robin Hack, Manuel Prietl and Mateo Klimowicz have topflight experience while summer signings Andres Andrade (LASK) was hoped to replace Pieper. The squad is more than adequate for the 2.Bundesliga, the performances not so much.
“I’m fed-up hearing about individual quality” Daniel Scherning moaned after this weekend’s defeat to Karlsruher SC. “It’s not about who has what market value. We will only get out of this as a team.
“You could see with Karlsruhe how a team can develop even after a difficult start- the atomism that they have built. It is not an easy situation we all know that. We have to improve in every position and function better as a team.”
Bielefeld know there is a precedent for a team being relegated from the Bundesliga being directly relegated the following season and will be desperate not to follow suit. In 2014-15 SC Paderborn were relegated from the Bundesliga and in the following 2.Bundesliga season also suffered the drop after finishing 18th.