The German Bundesliga starts on August 5, and heinnews is providing extensive coverage in the buildup to the 2011-12 season with a club preview each day. Next up on the list is Kaiserslautern.
Kaiserslautern have a storied history in the Bundesliga and made a strong return by taking seventh place as a promoted side in 2010-11. Now head coach Marco Kurz hopes his team can confirm that showing and if possible even improve on it.
Kurz did not make many changes to his team though he already knew before the end of last season that top striker Srdjan Lakic would be leaving for Wolfsburg after playing a huge role in Lautern’s surprising season. Kaiserslautern also lost forward Erwin Hoffer as his loan ran out.
Lautern’s new attack will be made up of Israeli international Itay Schechter and Cameroonian Dorge Rostand Kouemaha with German youth international Richard Sukuta-Pasu arriving from St. Pauli having been unable to break through. That trio will have to produce early on as forward Adam Nemec will miss about three months due to injuries after falling from a cherry tree in his yard at home.
The 24-year-old Schechter comes to Kaiserslautern from Hapoel Tel Aviv and has scored 46 goals in 144 Israeli top-flight matches and also has Champions League and Europa League experience.
Kurz also had replacements to find in the midfield with the departures of Jan Moravek to Schalke and Adam Hlousek to Slavia Prague as well as the retirement of Danny Fuchs.
Lautern went back to Hapoel Tel Aviv and added Schlechter’s club and national team colleague Gil Vermouth, who has 12 games of Champions League experience as well as 20 Europa League matches under his belt.
Kurz also found 18-year-old Greek midfielder Konstantinos Fortounis, who appeared in 24 matches in the Greek first division and has played in the U21 Greek national team. In addition, Kaiserslautern added Olcay Sahan to the midfield.
Kurz will not change his defense, which is set with Brazilians Rodnei and Lucas as well as Mathias Abel, Florian Dick, Alexander Bugera and Martin Amedick.
Amedick will be extra motivated this season as he was stripped of his captain armband, which was handed to midfielder Christian Tiffert.
Kurz also has the luxury of two strong keepers in Tobias Sippel and Kevin Trapp.
Kaiserslautern’s initial goal will be to distance themselves from the relegation fight as quickly as possible and then reformulate their goal accordingly.
“Our task is to confirm last year. We will be seen differently in the league now, not as a promoted team. That means the team has to work even more diligently to achieve our maximum potential,” said Kurz.