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2.Bundesliga next season
Well done Union for the 2-2 draw in Stuttgart.

I’m so looking forward to Monday night when hopefully I get to see Union promoted to the Bundesliga for the 1st time in their history.
Union Berlin were promoted last night.

Union Berlin has been pretty much a 2nd team for me since the summer of 2016 when Jens Keller (my favourite coach at the time) became Head Coach and I did some research into the club and it’s values. I am so happy to see them finally achieve promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history. The performance wasn’t pretty but it was effective and they did what they had to do by stifling Stuttgart in the centre.

I’ve seen them play live in the 2. Bundesliga once (January 2018 against Nürnberg) and now I’m going to be able to watch them live in the Bundesliga next season when I take my Dad to Berlin next April. Even better than that is there is going to be the first ever Union Berlin vs Hertha Berlin derby in the Bundesliga. It’s going to be very special for this amazing city.

So the new season starts very soon with Stuttgart facing off against Hannover on the 26th July.

This season should be more unpredictable than last season. Last season Köln and Hamburg were expected to be 1 and 2 with Union Berlin in 3rd. Hamburg finished in 4th with Paderborn promoted in 2nd.

This forthcoming season though there is Stuttgart, Hannover, Hamburg and Nürnberg challenging for promotion with Heidenheim, Holstein Kiel with Andre Schubert in charge, St Pauli and Darmstadt all hoping to challenge as well.

My prediction, which I got massively wrong last season, is:

1) Hamburg
2) Stuttgart
3) Nürnberg
4) Hannover
5) Darmstadt
6) St Pauli
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First game of the new season between Stuttgart and Hannover finished 2-1 to Stuttgart. Watched it on BT Sport and I wasn’t overly impressed by either side but it is still early days.

Nürnberg play tomorrow at 12 away at Dynamo Dresden and Holstein Kiel are at home against Sandhausen. On Sunday Hamburg are at home against Darmstadt which I’ll be watching on BT Sport.
Late VAR penalty gets Hamburg a point
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Hamburg got away with one there. First half they were very good and should have really been a couple of goals up at half time, Hunt missing a sitter. Darmstadt's half time change with Schnellhardt coming off, Skarke coming onto the left wing and Mehlem moving central to his normal 10 position changed the game in my opinion because Darmstadt had more threat going forward and Hamburg had to be more careful to not leave gaps. Second half was just typical Hamburg of recent seasons. In control of the first half, concede a sloppy goal in the second half and then have to chase the game. Fortunately they were able to get the last minute penalty.

I still think Hamburg will go up as champions this season but I do think Hecking needs to make some changes to his team though. Letschert needs to be in the centre of defence ahead of Papadopolous because Papa and van Drongelen are just too similar to each other and both can be reckless, Kinsombi needs to be in the midfield ahead of Dudziak with Fein and Hunt, Jairo Samperio needs to be in on the right wing and Kittel ahead of Jatta on the left wing. Khaled Narey who played right wing should really be second choice right back behind Gyamareh once Sakai departs the club. Narey is naturally a full back anyway from his early career with Dortmund and then Greuther Fürth where he then became a winger.

Gyamareh - Letschert - V Drongelen - Leibold
Samperio - Hunt - Kinsombi - Kittel

As for Darmstadt, I was very impressed with their style. Under Dirk Schuster they were known for keeping it tight defensively and playing a basic game going forward. Since the appointment of Dimitrios Grammozis in February, he has been able to change the style to make a more all round team. Defensively they play a similar game to Schuster, compact 442 that sits fairly deep but can play press higher up the pitch if needed. Offensively it's more pure now. They're happy to play out from the back and take more risks and have more movement in the offensive positions. Heller (Berko when fit) on the right stays wide but on the left wing, Honsak or Skarke have more freedom of movement. Marvin Mehlem, who I am a very big fan of, has come into his own under Grammozis and continues to improve his game. He's also shown a versatility to be able to play on the left wing when needed.
2nd match-day ends with Hamburg giving Nürnberg a 4-0 beating in Nürnberg.

Elsewhere Stuttgart chucked away a 2-0 lead away at Heidenheim and we lucky not to lose the match and Hannover drew 1-1 at home.

Karlsruhe and Aue have full points so far after 2 straight wins.
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