SINSHEIM, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 08: Players of Fuerth celebrates after winning the DFB Cup Quarter Final match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and SpVgg Greuther Fuerth at Rhein-Neckar-Arena on February 8, 2012 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Photo by Thorsten Wagner/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Greuther Fürth will be playing their first ever season in the Bundesliga this year. Will they drop right back down?
Team: SpVgg Greuther Fürth
Manager: Mike Büskens
Key Additions: Tobias Mikkelsen
Key Losses: Stephan Schröck, Olivier Occean
2011-2012 Finish: 2.Bundesliga 1st (Automatic Promotion)
2012-2013 Prediction: Greuther Fürth won promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time ever at the end of the 2011-12 season. Fürth had been a consistent top 6 finisher in the 2.Bundesliga for over a decade, but they couldn't ever get over the hump into the top flight. Die Kleeblätter had the second best offense and the best defense in the 2.Bundesliga last season. The celebrations in Trolli Arena were fantastic to see as Fürth supporters had been waiting decades to see their club in the Bundesliga.
They've brought in midfielder Tobias Mikkelsen from Danish champions Nordsjælland. Mikkelsen is a winger and will fill a position recently vacated. Until this past season where he lead Nordsjælland to the title, Mikkelsen's career seemed at a standstill. He wasn't impressing anyone for a couple of mediocre years. How this translate over to the Bundesliga will be interesting to see. Other players have been brought in to provide depth at various positions like Wolfgang Hesl, Athanasios Petsos, and Zoltan Stieber. Olivier Occean has left the club for fellow promotion winner Eintracht Frankfurt. Occean was outstanding for Fürth last year racking up 17 goals and 9 assists. The transfer fee was expected to be around €1.5 million. The other important player they lost was Stephan Schröck. The midfielder left for Hoffenheim. He had 3 goals and 7 assists last year for Fürth.
The player to watch for Fürth this season is Sercan Sararer. The 22 year Turk had 9 goals and 13 assists for Fürth last season. The midfielder made his international debut for the Turkish National Team and will play a significant role if Fürth manage to stay up this year. Sararer should pass the century mark of appearances for Fürth before the winter break this season. Depending on Sararer's performance this season, he could find himself on the move to a bigger club sooner rather than later.
Fürth have their work cut out for them if they have hopes and dreams of turning their Bundesliga campaign into a two part (at least) adventure. Like fellow promotion winner Fortuna Düsseldorf, it's going to be extremely difficult for Fürth to maintain their position in the Bundesliga for another season. Losing Occean and not replacing him with another quality forward that can score goals looks like it may doom them. Unfortunately for the Fürth supporters, they may only get one season of top flight footy to enjoy.