1. FC Kaiserslautern has never been so good and stable in the 3rd division as this season. The magic word among the Red Devils is Constance. And that makes many FCK fans dream of the long-awaited ascent.
The first half of the season
The season got off to a miserable start. With five points after seven games, criticism and resentment were very loud around the Betzenberg. Only the 0-0 deficit in the derby against Waldhof Mannheim brought the turning point. After being sent off twice, FCK played with “nine men” – the draw was a victory for the team. In this game, the FCK found team unity and a new, unprecedented consistency. The Red Devils finished the first half of the season with 32 points and conceded only 12 goals, the best in the league!
The discoveries in the half series were undoubtedly goalkeeper Matteo Raab and defender and newcomer Boris Tomiak. The two young professionals symbolize the new stability and defensive strength of the Palatinate, also thanks to the tactical switch from four to three. The team also made up for the lack of a top scorer, which was often criticized, with 12 different goalscorers. The result: Lautern starts the new year in sixth place in the table and only three points behind in second place.
Who is coming, who is going?
In terms of staff, not much should change in the transfer phase. Lautern’s Managing Director Sport Thomas Hengen sees no reason for a transfer offensive: “I think we should trust our players and also respect what has been achieved so far.” The only exit so far is Marius Kleinsorge, who was awarded to the regional division Rot Weiß Essen. If FCK coach Marco Antwerp has its way, a new striker should come. “We are always required to optimize the squad. We are now looking for that.” The claims communicated to the outside world are rather unspecific: “He should score many goals and fit into the existing game system,” he explained on the SWR Sport program in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Marco Antwerp has arrived in the Palatinate. When he took office last February, the 50-year-old was able to win over the supporters of the Red Devils after being relegated last season. With the derby victory in Saarbrücken at the latest, Antwerp coached its way into the heart of the Palatinate. His emotional nature is well received on the Betzenberg. “The fire is burning in the hut and that’s exactly what it radiates on the sidelines. The man belongs here,” says FCK fan Sabrina Kunkel, for example.
Antwerp is not exactly known for its diplomatic manner on the edge of the field and was even relegated to the stands for a game for its referee scolding: “That’s a topic I have to work on. I didn’t really feel comfortable in Munich to sit in the stands. I definitely have to calm down. ” In terms of content, Lautern’s coach was also able to convince, meticulously and with a lot of work managed to finally bring out the team’s potential and, above all, to bring it to a constant level. One of the keys to success and Antwerp’s whereabouts over the next few years is quite conceivable.
Expectations for the season
The expectations after the strong preliminary round are high at 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Second place in the table is currently only two points away. The supporters of 1. FC Kaiserslautern this time have reason to hope that their club will be able to return to the 2. Bundesliga after four years in the third division. Marco Antwerpen feels that too: “The pressure is already there. The club lives from its tradition and its emotionality. And we know that the club is thirsting for success” and he adds: “When you are successful, you arouse expectations. And we have aroused the expectation that it might be possible to make this really big leap. ”
Nevertheless, he tries everything to take the pressure off his Red Devils: “We are concentrating and now fully on the game in Meppen. And what will happen sometime in May, we don’t know yet.” The league is tight, even small slip-ups have an immediate impact on the table. Lautern’s coach therefore knows that there will still be a long way to go in this second half series. But the Red Devils have shown so far that they could be prepared for it this time.