Regressing Red Devils look to lack a killer punch
Darmstadt determined to return to Bundesliga
BT Sport Extra, 7.30pm Friday
Kaiserslautern have been on a steady decline since being relegated from the German top flight five years ago and the toothless Red Devils may struggle to tame a Darmstadt side hoping to make an immediate return to the Bundesliga.
Kaiserslautern were one of Bundesliga’s giants in the 1990’s – winning titles in 1991 and 1998 – but it has been pretty much all downhill since then and the length of their stay in the German second division is mounting.
Norbert Meier, the man that triggered Darmstadt’s road to relegation last season before being sacked in December, took over the reins at Kaiserslautern in January. However, his arrival did little to inspire the players and they laboured to a 13th-placed finish, avoiding the drop by just five points.
And the Red Devils’ improvement may not be imminent. Meier’s men were thumped 3-0 in their opening trip to Nuremberg and were soundly beaten 2-0 by Sky Bet Championship outfit Derby in a pre-season friendly.
Last season it was scoring goals that cost them dearly. They notched just 29 times from their 34 games – only relegated Karlsruher managed fewer – and their opening defeat suggested similar problems could stall their progression.
Kaiserslautern enjoyed 51 per cent possession and won the shot count 9-4 at Nuremberg with English forward Osayamen Osawe missing a hatful of chances.
On the other hand, Darmstadt have started their campaign perfectly. Torsten Frings’s troops defeated Greuther Furth 1-0 in their opener, which came on the back of an unbeaten pre-season.
Two stubborn rearguards may keep goals to a minimum but Kaiserslautern appear the less likely to find a breakthrough. Darmstadt lost just two of their final six games in the Bundesliga last term and they look determined in their bid to make a quick return.
Darmstadt draw no bet
1pt 11-10 Paddy Power