With the game in Ulm, Kickers Offenbach are facing an extremely difficult task. An upward trend is expected – and a personality gives hope.
Offenbach – When Steven Kessler thinks back to July 29th, a short smile crosses his otherwise quite serious face. It was a mild summer evening, the Offenbacher Kickers received SSV Ulm 1846 on the Bieberer Berg for the first regional league game of the new season, floodlights, full house, 2-0 victory, a lavish football festival. And Kessler, at that time still a full-time youth coach, sat with the entire U19 in the stands and was amazed. “That was really impressive,” he says. “We soaked it all up. “.
In November, the reality is a risk of relegation instead of a promotion race. Kessler is now the interim coach of the professionals who have been waiting for a win for five league games and are only just above the relegation zone. The 44-year-old finds it difficult to create something like a spirit of optimism with his team. After all, things went pretty well in the cup: 7-0 in the district cup against SV Dreieichenhain, then 1-0 in the Hessen cup against Bayern Alzenau.
OFC wants to score in Ulm
So how can you conjure up the summer euphoria? A short answer from Kessler: “By winning a lot.” The Kickers in the Regionalliga Südwest have three more opportunities before the two-month long winter break begins. The first chance to get three points for a good feeling is this evening (8.15 p.m. / Sport1) at SSV Ulm 1846.
So a long week of training is followed by a long trip away, the team bus has to cover almost 300 kilometers. Kessler is actually not quite right, as a result of the two cup victories he has noticed a certain cheerfulness at least on the practice area. “Of course that inspires”, reports the 44-year-old. “If you win, you want to play again as quickly as possible.”
In Ulm, the cautiously positive trend should continue – also so that the long break during the frosty months is a little more bearable. They want to get as many points as possible, “so that looking at the table doesn’t hurt that much,” says Kessler. With a warm feeling into the cold days, so to speak. “Otherwise you have that in your head for the entire preparation.”
Matias Pyysalo should also contribute to the long-awaited sense of achievement in the league. The Finnish winger, hitherto mostly a substitute, had recently shown big trumps: two weeks ago, at 1-1 in Giessen, he took the lead early; seven days later he scored the late winning goal in Alzenau. “Hopefully this is just the beginning,” says Pyysalo. “I’m hungry for more.”
OFC: Cousin and Rodas banned
The 24-year-old should be needed, on the wing with the Kickers due to the yellow bans from Maik Vetter and Manolo Rodas need on the man. Jakob Lemmer could begin across from Pyysalo. The 19-year-old has cured his knee problems and was last substituted on three times.
Interim balance after the first half of the season: OFC still has a lot of room for improvement
The situation is similarly tense in central defense. Gerrit Gohlke has to watch again because of his red card from the Saarbrücken game (0: 5) and the associated three-game ban, defensive boss Kevin Pezzoni threatens to be out again due to muscular problems. “We still have to put a question mark behind Pezzo,” explains Kessler.
Otherwise, according to the interim coach, all the men participated in the training last week, including Lucas Albrecht, who, like his neighbor Pezzoni, recently struggled with muscular complaints. This meant that captain Richard Weil, who helped out in the back in Alzenau, should return to his traditional position in midfield.
BY MANUEL SCHUBERT