NO PLACE FOR SENTIMENT
Stakes too high for Darmstadt coach Frings in match against his former club Bremen
TORSTEN Frings can’t afford to get too sentimental on his return to Werder Bremen.
Now in charge of struggling Darmstadt, Frings needs points today — last-place Darmstadt are 10 points from safety with 12 games remaining.
Bremen have no room for generosity, either. Previously last, the team are only two points ahead of Hamburg in the Bundesliga’s relegation zone.
Frings, an icon at Bremen following his long involvement at the club, took over at Darmstadt after Christmas to help save the modest side from the drop.
“We keep our fingers crossed for him as long as he can do without the points in games against Werder and finish the season behind us,” Bremen general manager Frank Baumann said at the time.
That likely won’t be enough for the 40-year-old Frings, who has overseen four losses and only one win — against Borussia Dortmund — from his six games in charge.
Darmstadt have produced stirring performances in that time but seem to lack luck at crucial moments.
The side were leading Augsburg last weekend before the visitors equalised through a penalty and then won with a late goal. Frings has also complained of decisions going against his team.
Frings, a combative midfielder with an eye for goal, began his Bundesliga career at Bremen 20 seasons ago, progressing to the national team in 2001, before moves to Borussia Dortmund in 2002 and Bayern Munich in 2004. He never settled in Munich and returned to Bremen in 2005 until his departure for Toronto FC in 2011.
He went into coaching upon retirement, starting with Bremen’s Under-23 team before he was promoted as Viktor Skripnik’s assistant to the senior team after Robin Dutt was fired.
Frings and Skripnik, another double winner at Bremen, formed a successful partnership before results started slipping and the Ukrainian was fired in September following this season’s poor start.
Frings’ decision not to replace his former teammate led to Alexander Nouri, the club’s former Under-23 coach, getting the job instead.
Hamburg will be hoping to take advantage of any favours from Darmstadt when they host Hertha Berlin tomorrow.
Bayern Munich, who routed Hamburg 8-0 last weekend, visit Cologne today.
TODAY: Dortmund v Leverkusen, Cologne v Bayern, Hoffenheim vIngolstadt, Mainz v Wolfsburg, Bremen v Darmstadt, M’gladbach v Schalke; TO
MORROW: Frankfurt v Freiburg, Hamburg
AP v Berlin.