Club captain Branimir Hrgota (l.) and USA international Julian Green (r.) were instrumental in securing promotion for Greuther Fürth last season. - © Sportfoto Zink / Wolfgang Zink via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Zink
Club captain Branimir Hrgota (l.) and USA international Julian Green (r.) were instrumental in securing promotion for Greuther Fürth last season. - © Sportfoto Zink / Wolfgang Zink via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Zink
bundesliga

Greuther Fürth: 2021/22 season preview

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Bayern Munich academy products Adrian Fein, Julian Green and Timothy Tillman will be out to seize their Bundesliga opportunity and secure safety for Greuther Fürth in 2021/22.

Last season

Stefan Leitl led his team to promotion from the second division last term thanks to a second-place finish that was sealed on the final day of the season. Starting Matchday 34 of 2020/21 in the play-off place of third, a point adrift of Holstein Kiel, Greuther needed victory and a Holstein slip-up if they were to secure an automatic spot in the top flight. And that's exactly how the day panned out, with 10-man Fürth twice coming from behind to beat Fortuna Düsseldorf 3-2 and Holstein threw away a 1-0 lead to lose by the same scoreline at home to Darmstadt.

Top-scoring club captain Branimir Hrgota made it 1-1 from the penalty spot on the day with his 16th league goal of the campaign, before Green again drew his team level with 20 minutes to play and Dickson Abiama popped up with an 83rd-minute winner that ultimately sealed the Cloverleaves' promotion. All three will now play important roles in Greuther's Bundesliga challenge, and Leitl will be hoping that his side can carry their league-leading away form into the top-tier. They collected 33 points on their travels last year, picking up nine wins and six draws, while losing just twice.

Fürth secured a dramatic return to the Bundesliga with victory at the very death of Matchday 34 last season. - Sportfoto Zink / Melanie Zink via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Zink

New arrivals

Greuther's planning for only the second Bundesliga campaign in their history - and first since they were relegated with just 21 points in 2012/13 - has seen them quickly reinforce their squad this summer. They have brought five-time Germany U21 international centre-back Gideon Jung with them from the second tier and Hamburg, while Max Christiansen - who previously made 30 Bundesliga appearances with Ingolstadt - has been snapped up from third division side Waldhof Mannheim.

Nils Seufert (Arminia Bielefeld) is the other permanent arrival, with Justin Hoogma (Hoffenheim) and Jessic Ngankam (Hertha Berlin) among three loanees added to the ranks. The third is possibly the most exciting of the lot, with Fein signing on for 2021/22 from champions Bayern. The 22-year-old may be yet to make his first-team debut for Bayern, but Fein featured 13 times for PSV Eindhoven as the Dutch side finished second in the Eredivisie last term, while also making three more appearances in the UEFA Europa League. He will now get the chance to impress in the centre of Fürth's midfield and will be someone to certainly keep your eye on.

How might Fürth line up?

Adrian Fein (r.) spent 2020/21 on loan from Bayern Munich at PSV Eindhoven, where he played alongside Borussia Dortmund summer signing Donyell Malen (l.). - Fortuna Sittard v PSV Eindhoven via www.imago-images.de/imago images/ANP

What to expect

Life is likely to be tough for Greuther this year, and survival will be the sole objective for Leitl's team. That's far from out of the equation for a side with plenty of talent, but it will test a youthful squad that contains only one player over the age of 30. Goalkeeper Sascha Burchert (31) is that man, with the former Hertha stopper a full three years older than the next eldest trio of strikers Hrgota, Havard Nielsen and Emil Berggreen.

The remaining members of the Greuther locker room may well be young, but there is some serious talent at Leitl's disposal. Green, for one, has 15 USA caps and four international goals to his name and made his professional debut for Bayern in the UEFA Champions League in 2013. Fein shares similar pedigree and was last year in Hansi Flick's matchday squads for the Bundesliga, as well as the German and European Super Cups. Tillman is another former Bayern academy player enjoying a new lease of life in Fürth, where these young hopefuls have been give the chance to shine. Don't be surprised if they do just that and help cause an upset or two along the way.

There's a healthy dose of Bayern Munich in Greuther Fürth's squad. - DFL

Opening fixtures

DFB Cup: Babelsberg 2-2 Greuther Fürth (Babelsberg won 5-4 on penalties)
VfB Stuttgart vs. Fürth (Saturday, 14 August)
Fürth vs. Arminia Bielefeld (Saturday, 21 August)
Mainz vs. Fürth (Saturday, 28 August)
Fürth vs. Wolfsburg (Saturday, 11 September)
Hertha Berlin vs. Fürth (Friday, 17 September)
Bayern Munich vs. Fürth (Friday, 24 September)

Click here to download all of Fürth's Bundesliga fixtures to your calendar