Karlsruhe vs 1860 Munich – Sunday, November 25, 12:00GMT/13:00CET – Wildparkstadion, Karlsruhe, Germany
It has been a solid season for Karlsruhe. Relegated from the 2016/17 season die Badener finished third last season but ultimately failed to get past Erzgebirge Aue in the relegation/promotion playoffs (1-3 on aggregate).
In the 1990s Karlsruhe was famous in Germany for playing Fußball 2000 (football from a new millennium) under head coach Winnie Schäfer. Karlsruhe produced some of the best talents in Germany with the likes of Oliver Kahn, Michael Sternkopf, Mehmet Scholl and Jens Nowotny and regularly participated in the UEFA Cup in the 1990s.
Many of the best players, however, left the club and the club found it increasingly more difficult to compensate for the departure of key players. In 1998 Karlsruhe were relegated and despite some brief interlude in the Bundesliga (2007 to 2009) the club never managed to re-established itself in the top flight. Instead, the reality has been an up and down between Bundesliga 2 and Liga 3.
One of the biggest obstacles for the club to grow? The stadium! Built-in 1955 the renovation of the Wildparkstadion has been a hot topic since the 1990s. But it was not until this October that the club has finally gotten the permission from the city to rebuild the stadium. When finished the new Wildparkstadion will have room for 35,000 fans and provide the club with the right environment to re-establish itself among Germany’s top 36 clubs.
“Both 1860 and Karlsruhe belong at least in the second division,” KSC sporting director Oliver Kreuzer told Bild this week. Before returning to the club of his youth Kreuzer worked for 1860 from November 2015 to the summer of 2016 and his signings Sascha Mölders and Jan Mauersberger have played a crucial role for 1860 ever since. But whereas 1860 still struggles with life in Liga 3 at times Karlsruhe are poised to challenge for promotion this season.
The reality, however, is Liga 3 when the two clubs meet on Sunday. Furthermore, like Karlsruhe 1860 have similar problems when it comes to the future of the stadium. Right now the Grünwalder Stadion is the logical choice of many diehard 1860 fans but whether the stadium would be ready for Bundesliga 2 football remains to be seen. 1860 head coach Daniel Bierofka, in fact, has been urging for caution when it comes to planning the future anyhow.
“People need to be patient,” Bierofka said this week. “When we were relegated our plan was to be promoted to the Bundesliga 2 in five years,” he added. “People built up unnecessary pressure from the outside. I hoped that people had learned from, to say it frankly everything had gone to shits, that it takes time to build a team and develop. We have to remember where we are coming from,” Bierofka concluded.
It was Bierofka’s typical response to some of the criticism he received during the week after his team had gone with just one win from the last nine games. Die Löwen are tenth in the standings with 19 points from 15 games and just two points away from the relegation zone. As a result, the team needs to collect points to grow the gap to the bottom while at the same time keep the option open to slip into the top half of the table during the second portion of the season.
The fans seem to have recognised for the most part that the team needs the support at the moment. Hence, even though the Wildparkstadion will be a construction site on Sunday 3,000 Löwen supporters are expected to travel with their club to Karlsruhe. Tactically, Bierofka is expected to once again field a 3-4-3 formation that will include both Adriano Grimaldi and Mölders. In that regard, the international break had been a godsend for 1860, who used the time to work on tactical problems and rest key players.
Karlsruhe, in the meantime, is without key player Marvin Wanitzek, who is suspended for the match after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season against Meppen. “1860 are a physical team,” Alois Schwartz explained and as a result, the head coach will likely move Manuel Stiefler from the right wing to the centre to counter-act the two forwards Grimaldi and Mölders. With their 4-2-2-2 formation Karlsruhe will likely try to press 1860 high but with key players fit for 1860 the time has come for die Löwen to collect three important points.
Karlsruhe vs 1860 Munich – Players to look out for:
Marvin Pourié #9 – Karlsruher SC
With seven goals in 14 games, Marvin Pourié is not only Karlsruhe’s best forward this season but also another protagonist with a past at 1860. The striker was once considered one of the most talented forwards in German football and spent time at Liverpool’s and Schalke’s youth academies. In January 2009 Schalke loaned the striker to 1860 but after a difficult year the player, and famously his father, were in open conflict with the club. Ultimately, Pourié never delivered at 1860 or at Schalke and started an odyssey that included stints in Denmark, Russia and Belgium before ultimately joining Karlsruhe in January 2018.
Adriano Grimaldi #10 – 1860 München
Once again Adriano Grimaldi is expected to start on the left in the three-man attack. There Bierofka hopes that the physical forward can nail down balls and create space for his attacking partners Mölders and Nico Karger. On paper, Grimaldi will be nominated as a winger but expect the forward to drop behind Mölders and Karger at times to act almost like a playmaker. It is a role that suits the 188cm tall striker as he has the uncanny ability to hold onto a ball while shielding defensive players with his wide frame creating room and space for his team. But that isn’t all. Grimaldi leads the team with four goals this season but he has not scored since matchday 10 when opened the scoring against Würzburger Kickers. Grimaldi is due a goal and against Karlsruhe 1860 need both his presence up front and his goalscoring ability to walk away with the three points.
Karlsruhe vs 1860 Munich – Match Stats
- Karlsruhe and 1860 Munich last met in the 2016/17 season. Die Badener managed a 0-0 draw at home on matchday 3 and then lost 2-1 at the Allianz Arena on matchday 20.
- At the end of that season, Karlsruhe (18th) and 1860 Munich (16th) were relegated from the second division.
- There have been 51 games between the two clubs and Karlsruhe’s overall record against 1860 is W17 D12 L22.
- With 13 wins six draws and six defeats in 25 games Karlsruhe, however, have a positive record at home against die Löwen.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Karlsruhe vs 1860 Munich – 0-2
Karlsruhe vs 1860 Munich – Lineups
Uphoff – Thiede, Gordon, Pisot, Roßbach – Stiefler, Groiß – Choi, M. Lorenz – Pourié, A. Fink
Head Coach: Alois Schwartz
Hiller – F. Weber, Wein, Si. Lorenz – Weeger, Bekiroglu, Moll, Steinhart – Karger, Mölders, Grimaldi
Head Coach: Daniel Bierofka
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.