We last checked in on the Red Reserves in late August. At the time, they has just beaten Nürnberg II to claw their way into first place in the Regionalliga. Although player development is the most important goal if the II-ies, it's still worth keeping an eye on the table. A promotion to the 3. Bundesliga would benefit everyone, as talented young guys would have a much better chance to get regular action against good, experienced opponents.
Unfortunately, climbing out of the Regionalliga is not easy. There are actually 5 regional leagues (Regionalligen?), and the next step up, the 3. Bundi, only has 3 teams go down. So each of the 5 regional components send only their champion to a playoff to determine the 3 who actually go up. Effectively, this means that (a) you only have a chance to get promoted up to the third level if you win your regional league, and (b) even this may not be enough. And winning the Regionalliga Bayern is not a stroll through the park. By my count, there are 8 reserve/satellite clubs that are affiliated with higher-level teams, plus at least 3 more stand-alone sides with the talent and resources to make a credible run at promotion.
A look at the current top-4 of the table:
|TSV 1860 Munich II||20||36||+13|
After that, TSV Buchbach is on 34 points and would possibly still have a chance, then a few other sides that are truly long shots. So - a few observations:
- First, obviously Bayern II is at least in the discussion for promotion. That's good.
- Although currently in 2d place on points, Bayern II is really in an equal position (at best) with the 2 clubs below us, who have games in hand. Selligenporten could pass Bayern II and even threaten the top spot just by wining their 2 games in hand.
- If Bayern II wants to have a shot at getting the 1 playoff spot, the Red Reserves will need to do a lot better than their most recent matches: a 1-0 loss to TSV 1860 II in the "reserve rivalry," and a less-than convincing 1-0 win against last-place SpVgg Bayern Hof. Our reserve side hasn't beaten a team with a winning record since early October, and with Emre Can (who had been bouncing back-and-forth between the senior and reserve sides) now sidelined until after Christmas, the young guys are going to have to step up.
Here's some video highlights of that derby loss to 1860 II - I think there's some footage of Emre Can on crutches:
I still think it's a distinct possibility that Bayern II could make the promotion playoff, though, as there is enough talent here to rip off 4 or 5 straight wins. There's an article from Matthew Nash about Dale Jennings, the English guy we picked up in 2011, and how expectations on him have oscillated from "next big thing" to "forgotten man." Jennings has done little to justify the attention he drew when the move was first made, but he recently scored in back-to-back games several weeks ago. When we bought his contract from Tranmere Rovers in the summer of 2007, he was 18 years old and 5-foot-7, and some were holding out hope he might not be done growing taller. Now it's a year and a half later and he's holding the line at 5-foot-7; still, he has quick feet and could be someone to provide offense from the wings. And Partick Weihrauch, the 18-year old who some have said might have a shot at the national side, scored the first goal in a 5-0 thumping of Aschaffenberg last month, and came nearly had a goal in the second half last week (Weihrauch came off the bench, but tested the goalie a few times and was more energetic than some of the starters in Bayern's mostly lackluster win).
Then there's Toni Vastic. The son of the Croatian-Austrian star Ivica Vastic filled in with the senior squad during a friendly on October 25 (during our last off-mid-week), and scored 2 goals in a win. Vastic is still favored off the bench at Bayern II, but has good touch and a feel for the game. At 19 years old, he could have a legitimate shot at playing for the senior side in a meaningful game some day (I kind of hope he does, because I've been saying that for over a year now). If we're going to put together a winning streak and earn a chance at promotion, I have a hunch that Vastic, if he stays healthy, could be helpful in doing it.
The good news is that Bayern II has several straight matches against teams that are mid-table or worse in their Regionalliga. If they can win a few of those and get some luck, the April match between Bayern II and Illertissen could be a big match with promotion implications. We'll try to keep everyone abreast of developments, as best as my limited German skills will allow, but if anyone has news or insider info about Bayern II now, definitely let us know what we left out. Meanwhile, we'll be back with more (about the big club) later this week, including some "returning from injury" news that may lead to yet more tough decisions for Jupp Heynckes. Some other programming notes:
- Kate L has the latest CL Challenge results up in the FanPosts section. Also keep in mind that Gilly has .gifs of goals scored from several recent matches in the FanShots section. We've been trying to limit the placement of high-bandwidth .gis in the main match recap comments section, because it caused some people to load slower, but if you want to see them, just go to the front page and scroll down to where the FanShots are.
- Does anyone out there have a webcam with the ability to record 30 second video clips in .wmv format? And if so, do you feel like appearing on a video for this blog and our YouTube channel? Come on, some of you guys out there have to be budding actors/sportscasters/stars who could use some exposure, right? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be get some face time.
Thanks for reading.