In 96/97, this was a strength area for WSV. Harald Heinen started virtually every game until his injury, and was generally solid. His replacement, Jochen Gramse, was brought up from the WSV-II squad, and aquitted himself well. He showed good reaction time, but weaknesses on air balls. However, Heinen's serious injury has raised a few question marks. Bringing back veteran Thomas Richter from relegated 2.Liga VfB Lübeck should solidify the the squad.
Overall Grade: B+
Last season, this was a reasonably good squad. Young Frank Wüster was the revelation, showing good potential. However, the loss of veteran Rudi Müller has got to hurt. Not only was he a calming force in the back, but he was one of the few players with any punch when called upon for offense. Sven Backhaus will be expected to pick up the pace, but the other defenders are only average.
Overall Grade: B
This is a big question mark. Last season, veterans N'Gombo and Simmes had some good performances, but they're gone. Romanian Aurel Panait was signed admist a lot of excitement during the winter break, but he really only showed some flashes. The additional Romanians that have been added are unknowns, basically signed because they drooled at the possibility of getting a few Deutschmarks in their pockets. Young Sven Steup is probably the best chance to emerge as a star.
There is just too much uncertainty here.
Overall Grade: C+
WSV really needs to pick up the pace here. Last season was almost laughable. Losing Achim Weber to Oberhausen turned out to be a disaster. Veteran American forward Brent Goulet started out slow, but finished up strong. Doesn't seem to have the strength for the full 90 minutes though. Babacar N'Diaye was basically the same, and formed a decent strike force with Goulet in the latter half of the season. Meinke is not a front line forward, and Oswere hasn't had much of a chance yet. If Viorel can make an impact, things could get better.
There aren't a lot of options, so if Viorel doesn't come through, or there's an injury, WSV could struggle to score again.
Overall Grade: C
Last year Werner Jerat proved to be unable to motivate the team. However, he seemed to know that his material was lacking. New coach Karl-Heinz "Ali" Höfer has apparently done quite well with the WSV-II squad, and it's good he's familiar with those players, since a lot of them will be playing for the "A" squad this year. His tactical and strategic moves have yet to be measured.
Overall Grade: B/B-
This is a hard one to judge, because it really depends on your perspective. On the one hand, the club is clearly under financial pressure, and some of the efforts at cutting costs might make sense. On the other hand, you really have to wonder how the premier club in a city of 400,000 limps along with 2,000 fans at a home game. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the WSV sponsors were not too happy with the resignation of Marketing Director Michael Zylka, who at least seemed to have some ideas on increasing WSV's presence. WSV seems to be stuck in the classic dilemna of being run like a business, or as the private fiefdom of a group of directors. WSV is leaning towards the latter. Unfortunately, the trend of successful clubs anywhere in the world is clearly towards "business".
Overall Grade: D
WSV management's policy of trying to economize is looking to have an immediate impact on this years squad. Veterans have been let go, young unproven players brought up, and cheap foreigners signed. Whether the squad is strong enough to challenge for the title is doubtful, given the apparent strength of the Regionalliga this year.
The WSV squad is full of unknowns. In particular, the impact of the bargain-basement Romanians remains to be seen. There are very few clubs that have successfully integrated that many foreign players from the same country. Instead, a frequent complaint of Bundesliga teams is that instead you end up with a clique that ends up harming rather than helping. The tendency of players from the same country is to hang out with their compatriots, learn as much German as the average American, and generally not integrate with their teammates. If this happens, this is a problem.
There appears to be enough talent on the team to secure a midlevel spot, but it doesn't look like there's much more in it. Another rough year in the works for WSV-fans.
Overall Team Grade: B-