Just 53 days after winning promotion to the second tier of German football, eastern club Dynamo Dresden kicked off the new season in the Bundesliga II with a 2-1 away defeat against Energie Cottbus. But Dynamo will have every reason to be encouraged with their performance.
Tipped by many to struggle at the bottom of the table this season, the first match against fellow eastern outfit Cottbus, sixth last season, was always going to be tough. In particular, having lost three of the key-players in their promotion charge, with top-scorer from last term Alexander Esswein signing for Bundesliga side FC Nürnberg, Dani Schahin, who scored eight in twelve in the league during his loan spell, returning to parent club Greuther Fürth, and influential midfielder Timo Röttger signing for RB Leipzig; “Die SG”, not one of German football’s richer outfits, are expected to face a tough season.
|New signing Filip Trojan impressed for Dynamo Dresden despite the defeat (dpa / bild.de)|
But it was a performance of great promise by Dresden. The replacement front line, new signings Pavel Fort and Filip Trojan, combined to put them in front on the stroke of half time. It was a superb counter-attacking move, one of many fine attacks from the away side in the first half, and Dresden were playing some excellent football, looking supremely confident on the ball and in midfield. The attacking midfielder Trojan impressed throughout, playing just behind the striker in a role similar to Paul Scholes of old, or more recently Tim Cahill, arriving late into the box to dangerous effect.
After half-time, however, Cottbus dominated for large periods and substitutions by coach Claus-Dieter Wollitz changed the game and won it for the home side. Alexander Ludwig put through a dream of a through pass for Daniel Adlung to level, before Dennis Sörensen scored from another fine move to seal victory for the hosts.
It was a satisfying victory for the clear pre-match favourites Cottbus, who also lost some important players over the summer, particularly because Dresden performed very well in the match. Dresden’s players brought with them the passion, pace and confidence that saw them overcome VfL Osnabrück in the promotion/relegation playoff, and looked more than at home in a higher division.
On this occasion, the visitors were ultimately undone by two very well-worked goals by the hosts. But, especially after losses to important players, this was a highly encouraging start by Dynamo Dresden, despite the scoreline. It will still be a very tough season, but the signs from this match are that Dresden have the potential to cause one or two surprises in this league. And if they can reproduce these performances, especially at home in front of their vociferous (and hopefully well-behaved) fans, it could be a good season for them.
Elsewhere on the opening day of the Bundesliga II, FSV Frankfurt drew 1-1 at home against FC. Union Berlin, and the relegated Eintracht Frankfurt came from 2-0 down to beat Greuther Fürth 3-2.
My article in free-to-download online football magazine Man and Ball discussing East German football since reunification.