This year’s promotion race in the 2nd Bundesliga is developing into the most exciting of recent years. The first half of the table is just nine points apart after 20 games, so half the league can still hope for promotion. Trainer legend Friedhelm Funkel knows exactly what will be important in the coming weeks.
In the battle for promotion to the 2nd Bundesliga, no one in German football history has been able to assert himself as well as he has. Friedhelm Funkel was promoted to the top flight a total of six times, more than any other coach before or after him. Most recently, he worked as an interim coach at 1. FC Köln and celebrated relegation in the Bundesliga with Effzeh in 2021.
The 68-year-old recently predicted in an interview with “West German General Newspaper“that the competition for promotion will remain extremely exciting, albeit with fewer teams than at present: “I believe that the top five teams in the table will play off the promoted teams.”
In this case, the teams from Heidenheim, Nuremberg, Regensburg and Paderborn, who currently lack the necessary consistency, would no longer be part of it.
The Bundesliga veteran gave the most important advice to the hot promotion candidates for SV Darmstadt, FC St. Pauli, Werder Bremen, FC Schalke and HSV: “It is very important to keep calm, not to let yourself be driven crazy , to trust the team. Because you have to score points very consistently now. It’s the little things that make the difference.”
FC Schalke 04 next plays against Regensburg
Asked about FC Schalke, who recently made a bold statement with their 5-0 away win at Erzgebirge Aue, Funkel found words of praise for the latest development in Gelsenkirchen: “I think Dimitrios has done it very well so far. It’s often forgotten that Schalke has gone through a total rebuild. Something like that doesn’t happen overnight.”
The Royal Blues were able to reduce the gap to the first direct promotion place to three points. In a week and a half, FC Schalke will once again have a direct competitor in Jahn Regensburg (February 5, 1:30 p.m.).