After finishing 4th last season, due to a devastating loss in the final round against then promoted SV Darmstadt, 1. FC Kaiserslautern have struggled to find a consistent string of good performances this season. What can be done to break the trend?
1. FC Kaiserslautern, one of the big guns in German football are struggling. It is truly hard to understand why, as their squad is almost good enough to play Bundesliga, or at least fight for it. But instead Rote Teufel have struggled in the middle of the table and have suffered numerous devastating losses at home and away to teams they really shouldn't be losing to. How come?
The defence is the answer. Kaiserslautern's defence has been absolutely atrocious at times and that is down to their new unproven signings in defence. The stability hasn't been there, the timing has been horrible and the whole defence has felt misplaced and wrongly set up. This might be down to the manager and it might be down to the players, but I think it is both. After losing Heintz to another FCK, Köln, and Willi Orban to Leipzig their defence has halted and without a true leader in defence, the club has had to rely on their wing backs to provide leadership and defensive cover. These wing backs, however, are among the best in 2. Bundesliga. But, just like their central companions did, both are leaving come the summer. Chris Löwe, left back, has been sold to Huddersfield in the English Championship and Jean Zimmer, right back, has been sold to Stuttgart. Both are moves I really do not understand. Why would Löwe leave one of the historically major contenders in 2. Bundesliga for Huddersfield and why would Stuttgart bother to splash out on Jean Zimmer when they already have Grosskreutz and Insua on the wings. In modern football money is convincing and that's most likely why Löwe will leave, because FCK can't provide the right salary for him.
Now, I do not know whether other stars will leave. Goalkeeper Marius Müller seems set to stay, so does Ring, but the defensive situation has harmed them this season and will probably harm them even more come next season. While Kaiserslautern has always been a good place for youngsters to grow and develop, this might be the case for a few other, still unknown, players in their academies. Meybe this worrysome defensive situation will make Kaiserlautern desperate enough to let an unproven youngster play and develop. Maybe this situation will actually benefit Kaiserslautern's economy. There are a lot of "maybes" in the red devil's case and FCK will hope to fix the defensive crisis as soon as possible to maintain their status as an attractive football club.
1. FC Kaiserslautern is an attractive club, believe me, and one of the most appreciated in Germany due to its tradition, history and class. In the eighties Kaiserlautern reached numerous European semi-finals and almost won the European Cup. The German red devils have also been the most Swedish club in Germany for along time, with players like Ronny Hellström, Torbjörn Nilsson and Benno Magnusson being the main Swedes. It would make me, and many others, very thrilled to see Kaiserslautern return to Bundesliga, but right now that is hard to imagine. The whole club is in a downward spiral that just can't seem to stop and soon they might become 1860 Munich, struggling at the bottom of the table year in, year out. Hopefullý Kaiserlautern find a way to break this downward spiral and manage to pull themselves together, maybe even next season, but fresh blood is needed, both in the squad and in the coaching staff.
editor and co-founder.
(Picture taken from dfb.de)
This is where it all begins. Our resident analysts study the unrecognised players and examine the matches that are of interest across Europe.