Fourteen years ago if you found yourself at a Paderborn match, you would be watching them playing in the Oberliga Westfalen. This weekend they’ll be stepping out onto the Benteler Arena pitch to face Mainz in the club’s first ever Bundesliga match. The man that has guided the club into the Bundesliga is André Breitenreiter, the 40-year-old impressively doing this in his first season in charge.
After achieving promotion back into the 2.Bundesliga in the 2008/09 season they managed to earn their highest finish in the league, 5th place. The following season saw them finish in the bottom half of the table in 12th place, the 2011/12 season saw another 5th place finish, this was followed up by another 12th place finish. Last season once again Paderborn improved on their 12th place finish, however no one would expected them to improve on it as much as they did.
Paderborn snatched second place away from Greuther Fürth in the last three weeks of the season to secure automatic promotion. Paderborn had a great season and it was largely due to their attacking football, they finished second in the table for the most goals scored, only Greuther Fürth managed to score more than Paderborn’s 63 goals. Despite not having a bad defensive record it’s an area that would be punished in the Bundesliga, Paderborn conceded 48 goals last season, the club finishing in 12th place on goals conceded.
Paderborn have done well to keep most of their squad, the players that left the club were fringe players and most of those were only sent out on loan. Paderborn have sent Dutch striker Rick ten Voorde out on loan to Eredivisie side FC Dordrecht, he only managed to score twice in thirteen appearances last season. Two other strikers left the club, Saliou Sané has joined Holstein Kiel on loan, while Johannes Wurtz returned to Werder Bremen, the 22-year-old scored six times in twenty-two appearances. Other exits saw Sebastian Schonlau going out on loan to SC Verl, Manuel Zeitz joined Energie Cottbus after last season’s loan at 1. FC Saarbrücken and Fabian Scheffer was released after returning from a loan spell at FC Carl Zeiss Jena.
Paderbron have strengthened their midfield and attacking force, moves that shouldn’t see them struggling to score goals. One of the best bits of business for the club this summer has been to make Elias Kachunga’s loan move permanent, the 22-year-old spent last on loan from Borussia Mönchengladbach and was a key part of last season’s success. Kachunga played in thirty-three league games and managed to score six goals, along the process of the season he developed a very good partnership with Mahir Sağlık, those two along with Alban Meha and Wurtz produced some dazzling display’s and plenty of sides struggled to deal with them.
The North Rhine-Westphalia club have brought in three other strikers as well. Viktor Maier from SV Lippstadt 08, the 24-year-old scored thirteen of Lippstadt’s thirty-eight goals in a season that saw the club relegated from the Regionalliga West. Stefan Kutschke has been brought in from Wolfsburg, he brings in some Bundesliga experience after making eight appearances last season, he only scored twice last season once for Wolfsburg against Schalke and a goal for Wolfsburg II. Paderborn have also added promising talent Marvin Ducksch, the youngster has joined on loan from Borussia Dortmund. Ducksch was in fantastic form for Borussia Dortmund II last season and finished the season with twelve goals to his name, last season also saw him making debut for the first team.
As well as signing four attackers Paderborn also managed to sign four midfielder’s. Marvin Bakalorz has been signed permanently after spending last season on loan at Padernborn, last season saw him making fifteen appearances and scoring two. Lukas Rupp arrives from Borussia Mönchengladbach after making ten substitute appearances last season, Idir Ouali has been brought in from Dynamo Dresden, thirty-two appearances and three goals last season and Moritz Stoppelkamp from 1860 Munich, Stoppelkamp played thirty-four games last season, he also managed six goals. Both Ouali and Stoppelkamp are great addition to Paderborn’s midfield, both are entering the best years of their careers and they’ll both fit into Paderborn’s attacking style seamlessly.
The one worry for Paderborn has been the lack of defenders with Bundesliga experience. Only time will tell weather or not the defenders that got them promoted can keep them up. Paderborn were a surprise package last season with their attacking threat and it could be just enough for them to stay up. They’ll be in for a tough battle all season and they will hope they can do better than what Eintracht Braunschweig did last season.
Prediction: 16th place.
The 31-year-old attacker had a memorable campaign last season, he made twenty-nine appearances in the 2.Bundesliga last season and finished as the club’s top scorer with fifteen goals in the league and one in the DFB Pokal. If Paderborn are to cause a few upsets they’ll need Sağlık to be firing and he himself will be hoping to reach double digits once again, however it will be a tough ask in the Bundesliga.
Article for VAVEL.