In the away game of Kickers Offenbach against Stadtallendorf, Sreto Ristic makes his debut as an OFC coach. The playing field is unpopular. What is still important before the game.
Offenbach – Sreto Ristics’ first week as head coach is tough in many ways. The 44-year-old, successor to Angelo Barletta at the regional soccer division Kickers Offenbach, has used every single day of training since taking office last Saturday to get to know his team and give them the new impetus they had hoped for. “We didn’t have much time to go into detail,” he admitted. As if that wasn’t a task enough, Ristic still has to prepare his league debut on an unfamiliar surface. The first competitive game of the year at Eintracht Stadtallendorf on Saturday (January 9th, 2021 2 p.m.) will be the OFC’s first on artificial turf.
Kickers Offenbach: Opponent Stadtallendorf avoids artificial turf due to the weather
So far, Eintracht have played twice against the OFC at home in the Regionalliga, losing in front of a stately backdrop in the 5000-seat Herrenwaldstadion (1: 3, 0: 2). This time everything is different. Due to the corona, no spectators are allowed – and the weather does not allow a game on the stadium lawn. That is why last season’s Hessenliga champions switched to a neighboring artificial turf. “This is of course a catastrophic situation for us,” admits Dirk Novosad of the newcomer’s media team. As one of six clubs, Eintracht had applied for an injunction before the Mannheim district court against the restart in the regional league at the beginning of December, but this was rejected. Novosad still cannot get used to the status quo. “We came into this league as amateurs and are now considered professionals,” says the TSV secretary, who, like his fellow board members, works on a voluntary basis.
“That is of course extraordinary,” says Ristic. The new Offenbach coach trained all week on the artificial turf at the Wiener Ring, and the friendly against league rivals SG Sonnenhof Großaspach (3: 3) also took place there. “I certainly don’t know a player who says: Great, we’re playing on artificial turf.” But the surface should not be an excuse for the game in the bottom of the table, who is already clearly beaten with seven points from 15 games. The only victory came on October 17th against VfR Aalen (1-0). “When the last one meets the fourth, the matter is normally clear,” says Ristic: “But we have to be very focused, we mustn’t underestimate the opponent.” The OFC coach studied video material about the Upper Hesse with his assistant Marijan Kovacevic. His insight: “They acted very handy against top teams in the league.” They led against SV Elversberg (1: 2) for a long time, while the 0: 3 against SSV Ulm 1846 was 0: 0 for 55 minutes.
OFC: New coach Ristic is optimistic about the first game
Ristic’s impressions after the first training sessions make him optimistic for Saturday. “The boys are fit, everyone is good, everyone wants to show themselves.” He had to slow down: “My goal is that we keep the tension week after week.” Especially since he feels that there is a lot of pressure on the team . “It adds up what the players have to face,” he says, looking at the negative run before Christmas, the dismissal of the coach and his assumption of office with the short period of getting to know each other.
This is one of the reasons why he avoided making major changes to the processes in the first week. Instead, he practiced soccer-specific things with the team. “We worked a lot on the game against the ball,” he explains one of his approaches. The possession-oriented game should be refined through more control towards the rear. In order not to experience such negative surprises as with the bankruptcies in the old year against Aalen (0: 2) and in Balingen (0: 1).
First game for OFC coach Ristic: line-up of the defensive midfield still open
Ristic left open who will go on the field for the OFC on the artificial turf in Stadtallendorf on Saturday. Another training session follows today, plus the mandatory corona rapid test. It is not unlikely that the formation of the first half will start against Großaspach, which played furiously and led 3-0. Captain Stephan Flauder is already in goal, on the defensive that applies to Marco Fritscher, Sebastian Zieliecki, Malte Karbstein and Ronny Marcos. Serkan Firat (left) and Marcell Sobotta (right) should start on the offensive outside. It is open, however, who forms the defensive midfield center. Tunay Deniz is out of the yellow card, Tim Dierßen due to an ankle injury. Ristic has enough alternatives: Winter signing Charles Elie Laprevotte could make his debut in a competitive game, against Großaspach Denis Hueinbasic liked as a neighbor in the headquarters. Luka Garic and Maik Vetter are also pushing back into the team. Florent Bojaj and Mathias Fetsch are certainly booked up front.
By the way, Dierssen’s injury happened without any outside influence on artificial turf, which is also responsible for the ailments of Maurice Pluntke (ankle) and Elia Soriano (calf problems). Two more reasons why Ristic believes that no player likes to play on the underground: “But it is the way it is.” (By Jörg Moll)
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Kickers Offenbach Debut OFC trainer Ristic unloved ground