With the 2022/23 Bundesliga 2 season just around the corner, bundesliga.com takes a look at how the teams are shaping up for the new campaign. Next up are Hansa Rostock, Sandhausen, Jahn Regensburg, and the promoted trio of Magdeburg, Eintracht Braunschweig and Kaiserslautern.
Hansa returned to Bundesliga 2 in 2021 after nine years away and had their safety secure with two games to go as they finished 13th on 41 points. It was an impressive achievement that head coach Jens Härtel now wants to repeat: “We should look to see that we keep ourselves away from the bottom three.” And Rostock have brought in eight new players as they begin their next push for safety, plus the permanent signing of Lukas Fröde.
Perhaps the biggest new name is that of Kai Pröger – a playmaker with Bundesliga experience – from league rivals Paderborn, but there’s also Sebastien Thill, the Luxembourgish midfielder who scored the winning goal for Sheriff Tiraspol away at Real Madrid in last season’s UEFA Champions League group stage. However, the seafaring club will have to chart their way through the departure of the experienced Hanno Behrens, who was key to last year’s survival with five goals and six assists.
A strong end to the season that saw Sandhausen take points off promotion hopefuls Werder Bremen, St. Pauli and Nuremberg ensured they would be guaranteed a place in the second division once again. And survival will again be the priority for Alois Schwartz’s side, who understand the situation after remaining comparatively unchanged over the summer. The only departure of note is that of Pascal Testroet.
“A big bonus is that many players have stayed. That wasn’t the case in recent years,” Schwartz said of the current transfer window. There’s no upheaval like in previous seasons and the team that finished 14th goes into 2022/23 as a familiar unit. That being said, there have been six new arrivals so far, but perhaps they are short of an out-and-out centre-forward. However, Ahmed Kutucu’s loan has been extended by another year as he looks to follow former club Schalke into the big time.
Last season got off to such a flyer for Regensburg, winning their first four matches – including a 4-1 victory over Schalke – and topping the Bundesliga 2 table. But a real drop-off in form saw the Bavarians slide down the table and end up in 15 – although relegation never appeared a real threat. Jahn go into their sixth second division season in a row with the usually reserved goals: “There’s no doubting our objective is to get to 40 points as quickly as possible,” said head coach Mersad Selimbegovic.
Watch: Regensburg stunned Schalke last season
Regensburg have made moves in the market with Dejan Stojanovic coming in from Middlesborough to replace Borussia Dortmund-bound Alexander Meyer, while Joshua Mees has joined on loan from Holstein Kiel. But perhaps they need a few more if they are to achieve that goal even quicker, especially with influential left-back Erik Wekesser leaving to join regional rivals Nuremberg and Sarpreet Singh returning to Bayern Munich after his loan.
Magdeburg enjoyed a brilliant 2021/22 to march to the 3. Liga title and secure their return to Bundesliga 2. Former Hamburg coach Christian Titz has instilled his dominant, high-pressing style on the team. Now they have to try and maintain that style at a higher level, especially with sporting director Otmar Schork asking for a “worry-free season”.
With that in mind, the East German side have strengthened in defence. Malcolm Cacutalua arrives with experience in this division, while 6’7’’ centre-back Jamie Lawrence has penned a two-year loan deal from Bayern. Baris Atik was instrumental in their promotion with 19 goals and 21 assists, so the club will be relieved to have kept hold of the forward as he looks to build on a record of only six goals in 66 Bundesliga 2 appearances across spells at Kaiserslautern, Darmstadt and Dynamo Dresden.
Braunschweig finished second in the 3. Liga last year to secure the ninth promotion in the club’s history, and sixth to Bundesliga 2. Aiming to avoid an immediate relegation again like last time in 2020/21, the 1967 Bundesliga champions have opted not to make sweeping changes to their squad but make targeted moves. In addition, Eintracht have held onto their core of Jasmin Fejzic, Brian Behrendt, Jannis Nikolaou, Robin Krauße, Bryan Henning and Lion Lauberbach, as well as coach Michael Schiele.
Sporting director Peter Vollmann had the following to say regarding signings: “We need someone for the left wing. We’re also looking for a young central defender, but who is already experienced and can play in Bundesliga 2. And we also want to add someone with quality at centre-forward.” After finishing 14 points off Magdeburg last season, Braunschweig know they need to improve if they’re to have a chance at this ruthless level.
Another former Bundesliga champion returns to the second division in Kaiserslautern, after they ended their four-year 3. Liga stay thanks to play-off victory over Dynamo Dresden. And the Red Devils have made some big moves by signing players with Bundesliga experience in goalkeeper Andreas Luthe and 2014 FIFA World Cup winner Erik Durm. Lars Bünning from Meppen and Ben Zolinski from Erzgebirge Aue are also solid transfers at the Betzenberg.
Watch: Kaiserslautern beat Dresden in the play-off to earn promotion
“I think the fans have a good feeling, knowing that it’ll be a very tough season. That’s why it’s about picking up the points as quickly as possible that will keep us in the division. It’ll be tough enough, everyone knows that,” said managing director Thomas Hengen of Lautern’s survival chances. And we’ll get to see where they’re at and the atmosphere at the famous Fritz-Walter-Stadion when the Red Devils officially open the season at home to Hannover on the Friday night.
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