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Back in Business – Bundesleague goes forth… | Kimmo blogs

And we’re off…

“Two long weeks since we were last feasting on Xmas food and/or New Years drinks….and it is back to the salt mines for our floorball-playing populace. Now you might remember that we did already have a sneak-start to the back-nine of the regular season shortly before Xmas, but now we’re really on the way again….before we take yet another break!”

READ: Bundesliga halfway as first nine rounds have been played

“In the last weekend, there was a full round of games taking place all around Germany to test if they still could play floorball after stuffing themselves with food for the last few weeks. Here an overview of the results.

UHC Sparkasse Weißenfels – DJK Holzbüttgen 9:8 (ot)

What could be a better way than starting the new year with a bang? A battle at the sharp end of the league. It was DJKs turn to take on the unstoppable. If Kaufering had shown earlier in the season anything it was that the UCH was perhaps not as infallible as the tables might show. Kaufering did lead the game to the 50min point, until UHC found their groove and ran away with the points.

DJK seemed to follow this playbook themselves and traveled to Weißenfels to see what can be done. These plans were somewhat thwarted by unfortunate circumstances as due to health-reasons the squad was decimated and had to travel with only 12 players (2 being goalies).

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UHC Sparkasse Weißenfels – DJK Holzbüttgen 9:8 (ot) (Photo: Kimmo Vallema)

Perhaps it was this that brought the fighting spirit out and it was left to DJK to draw first blood. After some careful and tight play from both teams, it was with a narrow 0-1 lead for DJK when the teams disappeared into the lockers after the first period.

Whatever happened in the locker rooms, it certainly had an effect as the game certainly picked up in action. With some 7min played in the second period, DJK was already up 1-4. It was only then that UHC finally got going themselves. This combined perhaps with some carelessness by DJK, it took UHC only 4 minutes to draw the game back to level pegging. After this, the teams still traded goals on both sides and it was with 6-7 lead for DJK as the period drew to close. With 12 goals in one period, the action was fast and furious and often resembled more a day at the races rather than a floorbal-game. With both teams losing the control of the game somewhat, the situations were changing at furious pace leaving the 174 UHC fans and 1 DJK fan spinning.

Meanwhile, in the locker rooms, both teams perhaps realized they had gone too far and decided to rein in a little. Result was a much more controlled game. DJK was still able to extend their lead to 2 with the first Bundesliga goal by the 15yo youngster Linus Joest. It took UHC then to the 16min point before they were able to capitalize with a goal by Henry Backman. UHC continued without a goalie and forced the game into the DJK end time after time. With only 19 seconds to go, the DJK hopes came down crashing as Niklas Laurila roofed a shot from a 15degree angle over the should of DJK goalie Saurbier. Overtime then…

After nearly 3minutes of overtime, in which DJK had managed to get 5-6 shots on the UHC goal but to no avail, it was UHC that was on the counter. With a great play but even greater save by Saurbier, DJK was able to let out a sigh of relief, only to find some 10seconds later that it was Laurila by UHC that was first to a rebound and slotted with a volley the game-winner. This game certainly left a bitter taste to DJK mouth but also showed that Weißenfels is perhaps not as invincible as that statistics might show.

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UHC Sparkasse Weißenfels – DJK Holzbüttgen 9:8 (ot) (Photo: Kimmo Vallema)

Red Devils Wernigerode – TV Schriesheim 2:6

Some 238 fans came to support their team in Wernigerode, only to see their team continue to struggle. Hoping to avoid the play-down matches the points were crucial for both teams, but even more so for Wernigerode. Slowly but surely Schriesheim was able to edge away and by the start of the third period, they were already up 1-5 against their hosts. This turned out to be an insurmountable obstacle for Wernigerode and despite being able to still score once, it was only 1.5min later that Schriesheim answered with a goal of their own. 2-6 victory for the visitors leaving the hosts scratching their heads and in dire need to devise a plan to find the points needed to avoid relegation-matches.

VfL Red Hocks Kaufering – Berlin Rockets 7:4

Both teams having extreme troubles in the league at the moment, but if you look at the recent form, it slightly has favored Kaufering. With Berlin desperate to stop their nosedive in the league it was always going to be a tough match. However, the 250 or so fans in Kaufering were not left disappointed as Berlin, despite leading the game briefly in the second period, were never able to match the hosts’ desire to win. 7-4 win for Kaufering and suddenly the world does not seem so dark anymore.

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Red Hocks Kaufering against Berlin Rockets (Photo: Martin Finkenzeller)

Kaufering now within touching distance away from the 9th and the 8th places in the table and only 6 points away from the coveted 6th (last place in Play-offs) there is still a glimmer of hope there.

SSF Dragons Bonn – Floor Fighters Chemnitz 4:12

Chemnitz’s form this season has been an impressive one. With the young team they have, they certainly have defied the odds by finding them holding to the 2nd place in the league. Bonn, on the other hand, has been able to score points regularly but find themselves there in a furious battle for the last playoff positions where everything can tilt in one way or the other in a matter of a single day.

With 180 people in the audience in the Bonn Sportpark, it was the Chemnitz-team that stole the limelight. With 4+1 performance by the league-leading scorer Kivinen, Chemnitz simply ran over Bonn. 4-12 victory for the Chemnitz-team leaves little room for interpretation on which team deserved the points more on this day.

MFBC Leipzig – ETV Piranhhas Hamburg 7:6 (ot)

Last but not least, Leipzig against Piranhhas in Leipzig. The champions out of Leipzig have certainly been in an impressive run as of late by winning their last 4 matches. Quite the reverse for the Piranhhas, however, having lost their last 5….and three of them on overtime. So close but so far it seems.

Piranhhas have been able to put out Youtube-streams from all of their games so there is that…unfortunately they have not had much more success as of late.

I was able to watch parts of the match myself as well thanks to the wonders of modern technology. Unfortunately, the match itself did not really show the wonders of floorball. With a multitude of unforced and uncharacteristic errors on both sides, the game reminded at times a floorball-version of “free-for-all” or a Multiball-event in a pinball machine. It did seem for a while that Piranhhas could perhaps pull off a surprise as they managed to take the lead still in the third period, but in the end, it was a goal by Granlund that took the game to the overtime and Hoppe that quashed the remaining of hopes for a surprise for Piranhhas. Leipzig kept the points with them however the margin was perhaps a little bit of a surprise.

The table

So Weißenfels continues where they left off before Xmas, with perhaps just a little chink in their armor. Chemnitz and Leipzig take then the places 2-3 with some 8p behind the leaders and 4 points ahead of the 4th place DJK. These 4 teams perhaps slightly ahead of the rest of the pack before the furious battle to separate the teams that battle for glory and those battling to stay alive.

Floorball in Germany

After the game between DJK and Weißenfels, I had the chance to chat quickly with Ilkka Kittilä, trainer of Weißenfels, about the game and floorball in Germany in general. First of all, it was much more about me trying to learn about the game as much as get other viewpoints on various topics. So a great thanks goes to Ilkka for taking the time to chat with a novice like me.

Amongst other things, we did chat about the quality of play in Germany, the playing-system in Germany as well as the goals for the remainder of the season.

We did touch the play-off-system briefly as well and what I have found a little strange here in Germany is that the top 2 teams get a “bye” to the second round. This does bring some rest for the team but it does take the team away from competitive matches for almost a month. There is always a danger of “losing ones touch” however you can not deny that having the ability to have the “home-advantage” always (the play-offs are played best of three where the team having home-advantage starts away and the second and when necessary the third, games will be played in front of the home-audience), does help.

However, with a 10-team league, it is difficult to find a “fair system” and enlarging the league to say 12 teams is perhaps not ideal due to the quality of play as well as financial burden it places on the teams.

Having said all of that, however, I did chat with one of my Finnish team-mates as well about this and there is a certain charm to a system they have in place in Finland for example. In play-offs, the first ranked team gets to choose their opponent from the other playoff teams, then the second team chooses their opponent and so on (I am not quite sure how many teams are in play-offs and no time to check it right now)…then if you could play best of 5 series…now that could be cool!

Ilkka, having been in Germany for a number of years, did notice that the level of playing has started slowly to pick up. At least the difference between the best in the league and the last is no longer measured in double-digits that often. This should work in our favor as well when talking about attracting larger audiences and even sponsoring. After all, nobody is interested in one team running away with the title year after year (well perhaps Bayern München -fans in football) and games that are more interesting are only good for the sport.

What’s next?

Anyway….we’re on our way again. 6 more rounds to play in the league before the playoffs start. However before we can get to that, we have other business to attend to. I did mention at the beginning of my article that we’re about to go on another break. This is because the coming weekend is all about the CUP.

On the 18th of this month…so this coming Saturday we will find out 2 more teams (Berlin as a host is already qualified) that will be participating in the big Final4 -event.

Leipzig will hope to repeat the success they just had in the league against the Piranhhas and DJK wants to put a stop to Kauferings efforts to replace their league-disappointments with success in the cup-competition.

The last participant for the final-tournament will be found out a day later as Lumberjacks Rohrdorf will hope to upset the Floor Fighters Chemnitz.

After these games, can we get back to the regular league again? Ummm…NO! It is the national team’s turn as they travel to Latvia for WFC Qualifiers where they will be matching up against the best Latvia, Austria and France have to offer. I would like to see them having a good chance but that remains to be seen.

The league itself will return to action again on the 8th of February.

So, I have rambled on long enough. So happy new year, merry belated Xmas and all of that normal stuff….now get back to training and see you around!

Cheers,
Kimmo”

Kimmo Vallema blogs about his floorball experiences in Germany. Want to know more about him? Click here to read his introduction article.

Kimmo Vallema
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