You Talking to Me? Butting in on the Effzeh.com Rudelbildung.

If you can read German and are reading this, you probably already follow effzeh.com regularly. Even if you don’t, you maybe have read it on occasion, utilizing Google’s (or Bing’s, I suppose) translation function.

Otherwise, add it to your bookmarks for the coming season.

One of the features is called Rudelbildung. Without trying to give a direct translation of the term, I’ll tell you that when players from opposing sides come together on the pitch to heatedly argue over something that just occurred, you’ll often hear the commentator say “Rudelbildung.” I don’t know if it’s specifically for angry group arguments, but that’s how it runs in my head now. Plus, “Rudelbildung” is such a great word, that now I shout it in my head whenever such things happen in a match.

At effzeh.com, “Rudelbildung” refers to several members of the editorial team “discussing” Effzeh matters.

Obviously, I’m not part of that team, but I do have a website!

So . . .

“Will the season, from match day one, be only about fighting against relegation? Or does this new, solid, and realistic Effzeh have the stuff of a ‘surprise team’?”

Patrick: We would be well-advised to take things step-by-step. That means: Secure 15th place as soon as possible. Higher-reaching goals should then be updated on situationally. Yes, I am the representative of the realistic returns. Gladly.

I align myself with Patrick. The ideal will be to secure the class as soon as possible and then move forward from there. I don’t really have it in me to say that I 100% do not want to gain a place in Europe, but having seen the struggles is offered Frankfurt and Freiburg last year, not to mention how Mainz has struggled thus far, I don’t suppose there is enough to be gained from Europa League to counterbalance the potential for overwhelming stress on the buliding project.

Then, honestly, I don’t really care what place it is. Eighth and fifteenth, at the end of the season, are all the same place to me. The difference, of course, is the ride. It’ll be a lot more fun to fall short of Europe while putting together 40-some points than it would be to survive the season with fewer than 30 only because Hamburg was again historically bad. Mathematically, we’re talking a difference of about one point per three matches, yet I know it would just feel different to be trending to be above 40 than to be slogging along and struggling to 30.

Then again, it also depends on what everyone else is doing.  It would be folly to assume the point total needed to stay up will be quite so low again. Hence, it cannot be that we’re targeting a specific placement, rather one in relation to others. We’re chasing points, just like every other club in every other league in every other season. 2014-15 needs only to set the table for 2015-16. As long as the placement falls above those bottom three, we’re in the right spot.

Thorsten: I still maintain: Quickly as possible out of the Pokal, so that we can concentrate on maintaining the class!

As quickly as possible out of the Pokal?! WHAT?!

Two additional matches over the first leg should not be enough to derail focus from the primary goal, so I cannot get down with this idea, whatsoever. There is indeed limited benefit to extended run in the tournament, I suppose, especially when our draw luck has been poor with regard to home matches.

Despite that, though, the Pokal is a chance at some glory at a fairly low cost. I think everyone agrees that Europa League would be more a detriment in the long run, but I cannot agree that as many as five more matches has the potential to be the difference-maker in staying up or plummeting down.

LukaMy goal would be to have clarity quite early so that Schmadtke can quickly get going again with planning for the coming season. Whether we finish the first leg in 18th place, is really immaterial. The main thing is that we are secure by the 29th or 30th matchday. This would be strong. And that is also realistic.

Yeah, Luka. That’s what I pretty much said, isn’t it?!

Rüdiger: If I am honest, I have a deep concern that there will not be three worse teams. The effzeh has a very young team, 90 percent of which has never played in the Bundesliga. The FC does not have a lot of time to sail into the calmer region of the table, because if  they start down low, I have no idea how this team will climb from the bottom. I only hope to start immediately with a three-pointer that could spark a certain euphoria. It is also good that the stronger opponents come early in the season. 

Without knowing for certain how anyone will have improved themselves over the summer, the bottom half of the Bundesliga last year was far from spectacular. Sure, we were playing second division, but at least our team looked good doing it. It is a big step up in class, yes, and, agreed, we are a very green side, and, of course the injury situation is just another problem.

I wouldn’t expect to just cruise to 40 points; it will and should be a dogfight. Just as we cannot be sure how the best team in the second division from last year will compare to lower-table sides from last year’s Bundesliga, we cannot know for sure how the tinkering at some of those clubs will boost their fortunes. VfB Stuttgart is already wonder, “What is happening, here?!” The floor has completely collapsed beneath FSV Mainz. Werder Bremen is pretty much the same poor-defending squad, minus Aaron Hunt. Augsburg might be this year’s Freiburg, assuming Freiburg is not this year’s Freiburg.

Again, maybe they’ll all be improved just enough to make it really difficult, but history tells us that there should be points to collect from some of those sides. Add the best home-field advantage in all the land, and I will at least try to not worry too much about it.

It won’t always be easy, though.

Thorsten: And with HSV coming so early, the first match is so important. A potential candidate for a team we must leave behind us. If that match is a loss . . .

Gero: Lose? Who? The effzeh? In what sort editorial staff have I found myself?

Rüdiger: You underestimate the HSV. They won’t again have a season such as last year. I see Werder as worse. However, one should still get a positive result at home.

David: If the newcomers work out, Hamburg will not have much to do with relegation. Slomka is not a bad coach, so I dont’ see the HSV as a direct competitor. rather Paderborn, Freiburg, Bremen, etc. An opening win would naturally be important, but a draw would also not be bad. A straight loss would of course be not so cool.

Hold up. How did HSV suddenly turn into a decent side? I can give you Slomka, but all they did otherwise was to slap a few more marginal names onto a roster that was already clogged with a bunch of names that was good for about 27 points last year.

I suppose, to David’s point, it is more about putting decent players in a position to where they are performing well together, which would be where Slomka comes into play. Yet, they lost the guy who was indisputably their best offensive player and made some slight defensive adjustments. I think it’s natural to assume an exceedingly poor season for such a club with such a roster is a bit of a fluke and that they’ll naturally improve, but I’d bet their gains are marginal before I’d lay money on HSV returning to glory and competing for Europe. There were several junctures of last season where you had to think, “Surely, NOW the HSV will turn it on,” yet they never did. Maybe they simply cannot.

Though, I have to admit I also don’t really see them among our direct competitors in relegation, but that’s because I think both sides have a shot at mid-table safety by a comfortable point in the season, rather than believing the HSV has suddenly gotten well. Poor defending does not have a quick fix.

Thomas: Speaking of competiton: Who do you see down there in it? Paderborn – and?

Rüdiger: I have long said I expect Mainz to be down there this year. Werder will have it tough. Augsburg, Freiburg, Paderborn, Hertha, und 96 are my competition. Otherwise, I also believe – don’t laugh now- that Gladbach is completely overrated.

Luka: Aside from Paderborn, I see no clear candidates for “down there in it.” Augsburg maybe. Possibly also Hertha, as Rüdi said. I don’t believe Mainz, though. They will have their difficulties with a new coach; they already have. But that they’ll finish at the bottom? I can’t imagine. Instead, maybe Hannover.

Luka: There will again be a large mass of endangered teams, of that I am certain. Definitely eight teams will more or less be fighting the ghost of relegation. I count Freiburg, Augsburg, Hertha, Hannover, Paderborn, and possibly the HSV among them. And probably the effzeh. We must make sure three teams land below us. Nobody had Augsburg on their list last year, and they made it fairly comfortably.

Stefan: Hertha, Augsburg, Freiburg, Mainz, Hoffenheim, Bremen, Hannover, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and the effzeh (Paderborn will suffer the fate of Braunschweig and Fürth): Eleven teams that could surprise in either direction.

Until I’m proven a fool, I completely assume there will be another logjam near the bottom of the table deep into the season. It seems everyone thinks Paderborn is this year’s doormat, and I”m inclined to concur. Who the other two at the bottom will be will largely depend on things that happen down the stretch, rather than two clubs distinguishing themselves as inferior early and then throughout the season. Sure, Braunschweig had multiple chances to climb out of last place as the season end approached, but they were never that team, but the same can be said of both Nürnberg and Hamburg, and I’m not sure many had either of them pegged as two of the three worst in the league one year ago.

I think the potential to have another pair of big names in the mix at the end is really high. In particular, Werder and Stuttgart would be teams I’d expect will again scuffle, thought I think the roster-raiding done at Mainz and Augsburg, along with the Tuchel departure, will bring both of those clubs back into the discussion. Hannover hasn’t really improved, to my eye. Nor has Hertha, really, and both the BSC and Eintracht Frankfurt have a recent tendency to fall apart late.

And there is always something completely unexpected that happens, or so it seems. Maybe several somethings, really. All I know is that we get rolling on Saturday, and it will all look a lot differently once it does.

Then all our predictions will be rendered useless, for the most part.

Come on, EFFZEH!

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