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2018-19 Bundesliga Preview: Fortuna Düsseldorf

Fortuna Dusseldorf v Fiorentina: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The 2.Bundesliga last season started for the first time in a long time without a clear favorite for promotion. In recent years a lot of established Bundesliga teams had to go down but quickly found their way back up like Stuttgart or Hertha BSC Berlin. A feat that HSV and Köln will try to emulate this season, however the battle for promotion was wide open last season and Fortuna Düsseldorf took advantage. They came out of the gate swinging and never looked back, securing their first Bundesliga season since 2012/13. Back then they just stayed up for one season and got immediately relegated, can they avoid the same fate this season?

Last Season

2. Bundesliga: 1st place - 63 points (19W-6D-9L)

DFB Cup: 2. Round - 0:1 loss against Borussia Mönchengladbach

What a start to the season Düsseldorf had with 9 victories in the first 11 games with only one loss. They established themselves as the favorites for promotion and never looked back. It was clear relatively early that they would get back to Germany’s top tier but they still had to battle it out with 1.FC Nürnberg, who had a similarly dominant season, for first place. Ultimately Düsseldorf prevailed and finished the season with a 3:2 victory in Nürnberg to jump them in the table and finish the season as 2.Bundesliga champions.

Transfers

Transfers in:

  • Marvin Ducksch (ST) - FC St. Pauli - 2€ million
  • Benito Raman (RW) - Standard Liège - 1.5€ million
  • Jean Zimmer (RB) - VfB Stuttgart - 0.9€ million
  • Aymen Barkok (CAM) - Eintracht Frankfurt - Loan (0.8€ million fee)
  • Davor Lovren (LW) - Dinamo Zagreb - 0.75€ million
  • Kevin Stöger (CAM) - VfL Bochum - Free transfer
  • Diego Contento (LB) - Girondins Bordeaux - Free transfer
  • Alfredo Morales (DM) - FC Ingolstadt - Free transfer
  • Kenan Karaman (LW) - Hannover 96 - Free transfer
  • Matthias Zimmermann (DM) - VfB Stuttgart - Free transfer
  • Takashi Usami (LW) - FC Augsburg - Loan
  • Dodi Lukebakio (RW) - FC Watford - Loan

Transfers out:

  • Marlon Ritter (CAM) - SC Paderborn - 0.5€ million
  • Lukas Schmitz (LB) - Wolfsberger AC - Free transfer
  • Julian Schauerte (RB) - KAS Eupen - Free transfer
  • Kemal Rüzgar (ST) - Altinordu - Free transfer
  • Justin Toshiki Kinjo (DM) - Thespakusatsu Gunma - Free transfer
  • Axel Bellinghausen (LM) - End of career

Fortuna Düsseldorf made an incredible number of moves. Normally a newly promoted side will make some signings to improve but adding 12 new players seems exorbitant.

As for the quality of the signings, Ducksch, Contento and Lukebakio stand out. Ex-BVB player Ducksch is a solid addition at striker who might finally break through in the Bundesliga. Contento once played for Bayern Munich and adds a lot of experience to an otherwise relatively inexperienced team. Lukebakio is an extremely talented winger who could make some noise in the Bundesliga this season.

The rest of the additions are mostly a combination of young talented players and established Bundesliga players to help this young team in the upcoming season

What to expect in 2018/19

Fortuna’s last visit in the Bundesliga was a short one in 2012/13 when they got relegated after just one season so the goal is clear, avoid relegation at any cost.

They added a bunch of players to secure that goal and have now a talented squad but a bloated one. The roster currently counts 30 players, more than Bayern and BVB which is surprising for a team that will only have to play in 2 competitions. This could potentially backfire if the benched players show their dissatisfaction at some point.

Nevertehelss they started their season of strong with a 5:0 win over TuS RW Koblenz in the first round of the DFB Cup. Especially their offense with Lukebakio, Raman, Ducksch and Hennings showed some promise.

Prediction: Battling relegation

The good thing for Fortuna Düsseldorf is that the expectations are pretty low. Everybody expects them to battle relegation and that’s probably what they’ll do for most of the season. The only way they will secure another season in the Bundesliga is if their young players on offense exceed expectations.