Ingolstadt is happy about an offensive problem, Stephan Hain meets again for Unterhaching and Noel Niemann for the lions. Felix Magath wants to move up with Würzburg, at Bayern, Oliver Batista-Meier makes an impression: the winners of the preparation.
By Stefan Galler, Johannes Kirchmeier, Christoph Leischwitz and Sebastian Leisgang
After 20 games in the third division, Jeff Saibene, the coach of the FC Ingolstadt, actually be happy. His team is in second place and has scored the most goals. The two-man assault Stefan Kutschke (eight goals) and Dennis Eckert Ayensa (nine) scored 17 times. And yet Saibene now has an offensive problem: “Actually, you can’t leave it outside,” he says of third striker Caniggia Elva, who scored five goals in the tests at the training camp. “There were coincidentally trainer colleagues at the test games,” says Saibene. “They said: What is that bomb? It was incredible what he did.” Before the winter break, such a performance was not necessarily to be expected from the Canadian: after his move from the Würzburg Kickers, Elva had had a rather mediocre start at FCI in the summer, which also had to do with the fact that he never really got fit in the first half of the season and always failed with minor injuries. “Now I have the feeling that everything has leveled off. Cani hasn’t missed any training in weeks,” says Saibene. The advantages of the 23-year-old became clearer and clearer: “He is extremely robust, fast, two-footed, strong in the header.” What could that mean in the top game against the two points better leader MSV Duisburg this Saturday (2 p.m.)? “We really have a healthy competition now and I’m not afraid to leave anyone outside,” says Saibene. After all, there is a solution for every problem.
Stephan Hain doesn’t show the big emotions. Neither does he have exaggerated cheering gestures in the repertoire when things are going well, as was the case in the regional league season 2016/17, when he played a decisive role in the promotion of the season with 32 goals this season SpVgg Unterhaching was involved in the third division. On the other hand, he also took note of his serious injury (syndesmosis tear) at least externally in March 2019, worked his way back in months of rehabilitation and now seems to be finally on the way back to old strength. The 31-year-old center forward, who is still waiting for his comeback goal in the league, scored in the preparation against Heidenheim (1: 2) and turned the game against Erzgebirge Aue (3: 2) with two goals in the final phase single-handedly. These experiences of success should have given him back the confidence so urgently needed for an attacker. At least that’s what Claus Schromm hopes: “His goals are good for all of us,” says the Hachinger coach. Last but not least, they were essential for Hain himself: “A striker defines and is confirmed by goals”. That also applies to Hain, who had already vehemently demanded a goal in the 3-0 win in Mannheim at the beginning of November, because he said he was “still there”. “The way he fought for this goal showed how important it is to him,” says Schromm. Now the previous sixties has finally made up for his injury-related fitness deficits. Hain’s reaction to the recent rise in form has not surprised anyone in the club, the coach says: “He is more happy inside.”
Sixty kilos – even with TSV 1860 Munich they think that is too little for a regular player. Noel Niemann is working on it, he will be more robust, snappier. In addition, the attacker, who has just turned 20, seems to be a very fast learner. The Munich native has been a football player with TSV 1860 Munich for two and a half years, but almost a year of it was busy curing a cruciate ligament tear. Under Daniel Bierofka, the sprinting lightweight then only sat on the bench, and often not even that. In the Bayern League, he then scored a few goals for the U21s. The new coach Michael Köllner gave him a chance very quickly – and on his second start (against Preußen Münster, 1-0) Niemann prepared the winning goal. Those who have been injured for a long time and finally no longer have any training backlog often blossom even more in a carefree phase like the winter break that has just ended. It was the same with Niemann. In the training camp in Spain financed by investor Hasan Ismaik, he showed himself unerringly, he scored three times in the 5: 1 against a Spanish selection. Niemann is on the way to becoming a regular player. If he helps to ensure that coach Köllner’s series of points also lasts against promotion candidate Eintracht Braunschweig on Sunday (1 p.m.), anyway.
When Felix Magath introduced himself at the beginning of the week and explained at a press conference what tasks he had with one of the main sponsors of the Wurzburger Kickers he said: “When people have reported on me and what I have done, one thing was not entirely on the screen: that I had some successes.” So to do it justice: Magath, 66, has not only won the German championship three times as a player and as a coach, he can not only call himself European champion and cup winner of the national champions – he was once also named Glasses Winner of the Year. And: Magath has probably not become tie tie, peppermint tea drinker or recreational sheep head player of the year only because no organization has yet been awarded these titles. In Würzburg, Magath should now help bring back success and bring the Kickers back into the second Bundesliga. In what time frame? Since Magath did not want to express himself too brisk. “I can’t look into the future. I can’t say how quickly something can be developed,” said Magath, an outsider in the star winners of the year election.
Recently they have been writing to FC Bayern Munich II Oliver Batista-Meier with a dash, that caught the eye. In the last test before the away game in Uerdingen on Sunday (2 p.m.), the 18-year-old was the most striking: against Türkgücü, at the premiere of this club in the Grünwalder Stadion (3: 1 for Bayern), he scored a goal and took a penalty , He missed the other tests, but he made a good impression in Qatar at the professional training camp. After a complicated injury at the end of 2018, the attacker returned to his excellent shape. But who will be the real winner of the preparation will only show up: It is quite possible that in retrospect it is Jann-Fiete Arp who returns after two injuries. Or the entry this week, junior international and holder of the Fritz-Walter medal in gold for the most important U19 player: Nicolas Kühn. At least the latter seems almost safer to start with than Batista-Meier. And: Bayern want to commit more players to the third division team – as can be heard, those who would bring a lot of potential.