Soccer / hoffenheim
The first half of the 2018-2019 Bundesliga season, Part 3: The midfield
Since the Bundesliga is still resting you can just lean back, relax and enjoy the third part of my first round analysis. Today let us take a look at the midfield of the league. In case you missed the first parts, please have a look here: Part 1 - The Top Three Part 2 - The Chase Group Where exactly the midfield starts and where exactly it ends, is usually not so exactly to define, but I include in my today's analyses the teams from place 7 to place 12. The top is already several points away, but those team have a considerable advantage over the relegation places. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Hoffenheim started this season with wild attacking football but after the 17th match day they are only 7th in the table. And that despite the fact that they haven't lost since 10 games, but Hoffenheim hasn't won the last 6 games either. The last six times they had to share the points with some other team and therefor couldn't keep up with the top and are now quite some points behind. They also dropped out of the DFB Cup and the Champions League, even though they did quite well internationally. Especially against the English champion Manchester City Hoffenheim played two really good matches and with a little luck they might even have scored points in both games. But now they can fully concentrate on the Bundesliga and do everything in their power to end the season on one of the places which qualifies for next year's international competitions. As long as they won't lose any more, they should be easily able to achieve that goal. Hertha BSC Berlin Somewhere between good and evil! That is the best way to describe the position of the Berliners in recent standings. 6 wins and 6 defeats with 24 points and also and almost balanced goal ratio. But from Hertha BSC's point of view this is certainly not really satisfying, since they had actually started this season with much greater ambitions. In the last season they had just missed the international places, and nobody is keen to has this happen again this year. Hertha has to work on their offense and become much more dangerous in front of the other team's goal, nor or never is the time to finally look out to finish. With 203 shots on goal, Hertha is more than 100 behind the leader in this discipline, the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. The best scorers so far are Ondrej Duda and Vedad Ibišević with 7 and 6 goals respectively. In the second half of the season it wouldn't be bad idea to notch up on their performance if they didn't want to be empty-handed again at the end of the season. Bayer 04 Leverkusen Leverkusen is level on points with Hertha on 8th place and can't really be satisfied either with this season. Even though they could celebrate two consecutive wins just at the end of the first half of the season, they had actually aimed for much more. Nevertheless, the suspension of coach Heiko Herrlich during the winter break came quite as a surprise. Leverkusen's expectations in recent years have always been greater than reality and whether the new coach Peter Bosz Bayer will really lead Leverkusen back to the European stage remains to be seen. The squad is actually of good quality, but if they want to orient themselves further to the top in the second half of the season, all the players will have to come up with a lot more. SV Werder Bremen Until the middle of autumn Bremen could still be considered one of the surprises of the season, especially taking into account that in the last years they had fought quite often against relegation. But at the end of the first half of the season, the team from northern Germany was a bit out of breath. In the last 6 games they had only one win but three defeats and two draws. Not really the first round finish what they had imagined in Bremen. At least the goal ratio is almost balanced, but that of course means that the strikers high in the north of the country still have a something they could work on. If they can't quickly rally at the beginning of the second half of the season and finally win a few more games, Bremen could eventually be caught in fighting against relegation. And then the situation could become quite uncomfortable for SV Werder and they might even have to dress warm again even do it will becoming spring. Sports Club Freiburg At least Freiburg was able to finish off the first half with a victory against Nürnberg, the last team in the standings, who are now 10 points behind. Apart from that, they don't usually have such high expectations in Southwest Germany and are satisfied with what they have and what they achieve. As long as the relegation is avoided and they can continue Bundesliga forever Freiburg doesn't have a lot of exceptional players and but their squad is doing the best what they can. And since the team already got 21 points until the winter break, it actually doesn't look that bad and if they continue exactly this way in the second half of the season and score points against their immediate competitors, keeping the class should be a realistic goal this season again. 1.FSV Mainz 05 On a par with Freiburg, but the year end finish is much more unsatisfactory. Out of the last six games they managed only one win and a total of only six points. That is one of the main reasons that the FSV is now in 12th place in the table and the tendency is rather downward. Mainz is still 10 points ahead of a relegation place, but the season is still long, probably the winter break comes just at the right time to finally take a deep breath and to recharge their batteries. In the second half of the season Mainz must definitely show more, especially the offense must finally become more successful to bring home more victories. With 17 goals they have the third worst offense, something to work on during the winter break, if they don't want to quickly end up standing with their backs to the wall in the second half. But I think that FSV Mainz can be found in these table regions at the end of the season and will only see the relegation places from a distance. In this Bundesliga season, anything is possible and everyone can beat anyone. Also the teams from the table bottom, which I will report about in the next part, are not lost and should not be written off yet.