Torsten Lieberknecht should be glad that he is not currently coach in his old home Kaiserslautern. Six points after the first eight games in the 2. Bundesliga, 16th place, just four goals scored, and all but one meager point away from home so far – outsiders may have an idea of what's going on around the Betzenberg, what coach Tayfun Korkut has to put up with.
"Of course, I wish my old club to move up in the table, but now first comes Monday," Lieberknecht said on Friday. Because when from 20.15 clock the floodlit duel of the two traditional clubs closes the ninth match day, there is only one goal for the 43-year-old: "We will defend our leadership of the table with everything that is available to us."
During the week there were many one-on-one meetings
It's clear that first place in the standings doesn't automatically make for a happy coach. "We have to and can run our game better than we did two weeks ago in Heidenheim," said Lieberknecht, who calls his team to training on Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. each day. "We still have a lot of room to improve in terms of play, also in terms of the performance of each individual."The coach has had a lot of one-on-one talks in the past few days, and has made it very clear to everyone what he expects of them.
Colleague Korkut is also likely to have talked a lot with his team, because experienced players with great potential he has just as in his squad. But somehow they are not bringing that to the pitch so far. Add to that self-inflicted anger. Striker Osayamen Osawe – who has played in all eight games so far – is suspended from training and playing for the pros until Monday inclusive. A trip to Paris a weekend earlier after previously calling in sick to the club had left Korkut with no choice for disciplinary reasons. And Marcel Gaus, also previously set, must also watch Monday after his yellow-red card against Bielefeld.
"Our national players have come home without Bleren"
Not enough with it. Key players such as Daniel Halfar are injured, during the week were always missing players with colds and six internationals called off brought their travel stresses home with them. "That has made it very difficult to work with us in the last few days," Korkut said.
Eintracht has two players who will definitely have to take a break. Phil Ofosu-Ajeh is still suffering from Achilles tendon pain and Julius Biada has torn a muscle in his hip. "Our national players came home without any injuries, and the entire squad performed well in training last week," said Lieberknecht, who, like his team, is looking forward to the floodlit duel between the traditional clubs. "Sure, that's always something special."Even from Kaiserslautern are expected 600 to 700 fans.