It‘s our third proper game of the season and our first away from home – on Sunday VfL visit Karlsruhe at the Wildpark. 1200 fans will be there. They will certainly be curious to see how the home side perform with the uncertainty around their top scorer last year (and former Brentford man) Phillipp Hofmann. This is our look ahead at Karlsruher SC!
Let us introduce Christian Eichner, who has been the official head coach of Karlsruhe since the summer. The 37-year-old former left back is very much at home at Karlsruhe‘s Wildpark. He went up through the youth teams there, before signing as a professional and even playing for them in the Bundesliga in 2007. He‘d also go on to play for FC. Cologne and TSG Hoffenheim at Germany‘s top table – 139 top flight games on his record all in all. In 2016 he returned to Karlsruhe, initially as an assistant youth coach. Within a year he was assistant manager of the first team, and in February took over as caretaker manager. After helping his side avoid relegation, he was given the reins on a full-time basis. He seems to be a man that people like to listen to – calm and level-headed in interviews and on the sidelines. This makes sense, given his initial career path. Eichner in fact studied teaching, maths and geography. But luckily for Karlsruhe, he‘s not in a classroom anymore.
Talking about maths – how likely is it to see a win on Sunday for either side? Not that high. VfL have played KSC 20 times in the Bundesliga – and 12 of them have finished with a draw. Seven of our last eight games with Karlsruhe have finished all square. Last season was no different. In the first game, Bochum was so close to their first win over KSC since 2014, only to be thwarted late on in a 3:3 draw by Anton Fink. Our other game ended in a goalless draw.
Karlsruhe are yet to score this season. In the cup they lost 0:1 to Union Berlin and on Matchday 1 they fell 0:2 to Hanover, even though the scoreline wasn‘t deserved. A lot of this may be to do with the uncertainty around Phillipp Hofmann at the start of the season. The striker was in their squad until he pulled out, attempting to force a move to interested Bundesliga side Union Berlin, following the loss of their striker Sebastian Andersson to Cologne. The deal has stalled over the transfer fee and their top scorer from last season is still there, for now. No-one is quite sure whether Hofmann will appear on Sunday (and after his goal last season we‘re really hoping he doesn‘t). He reported ill in the week with a fever and flu symptoms.