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Teams Try to Avoid Dreaded Bad Start When Season Resumes

Many players are still with their national sides, but some Bundesliga clubs are worrying about the season restart. The week after the first break is traditionally when fans begin to get angry and coaches lose their jobs.

Mikael Forssell

Striker Mikael Forssell is not yet a Hanover helper

The first few weeks of the season are like the initial ninety days of a new head of state's term of office. Voters -- or in the case of soccer, supporters -- are willing to overlook fumbles and bumbles as part of the settling-in process.

But once the league emerges from its first break, club management and fans expect results. And that puts serious pressure on the clubs who've yet to chalk up a win.

Hanover, in particular, will be feeling the heat. Touted by many observers in the pre-season as a possible top-five squad, they failed to score a goal in their first three matches and currently occupy the bottom spot in the table.

Hanover coach Dieter Hecking has promised a turn-around this weekend against Moenchengladbach. But should he fail to get three points at home against a newly promoted opponent, his ears will be ringing with the one word all German coaches hate most -- Fehlstart.

More than just a bad beginning

Cottbus' Timo Rost,center, and Hoffenheim's Demba Ba, right, challenge for the ball

Cottbus' season has gotten off with a whimper

Fehlstart is, on the surface, just the German for bad beginning. But in the culture of the Bundesliga, it's much more than that, something approaching an existential state of awfulness that can only be remedied with personnel changes.

And since the transfer window is closed, the only big move a club can make is firing the coach.

Bojan Prasnikar knows the score. Last September, he took over at Energie Cottbus after the small Eastern German club had earned only two points from its first seven games.

Now, he's the one who's having to answer endless Fehlstart questions from baying-for-blood reporters, as Cottbus has also failed to score and are tied at the bottom on one point.

But it's unlikely Prasnikar will be able to reverse Energie's fortunes straight away. He's going up this weekend against one of the Bundesliga's heavy hitters -- and a team that's fighting a Fehlstart of its own.

Quo Vadis, Werder?

Thomas Schaaf looks at his watch

Bremen's Schaaf wishes he could turn back time

It's no surprise to find the likes of Bochum and Bielefeld near the bottom and heading toward another season of merely battling for survival. But Werder Bremen's form has been shocking.

The side that usually plays the Bundesliga's most attractive football is off to its worst start in nine years, earning only a pair of draws and dropping five points to mediocre opposition.

Having been at Bremen's helm for a decade, Thomas Schaaf is probably unfireable unless the bottom totally drops out.

But if they fail to hammer Cottbus, expect changes to the squad -- with ageing captain Frank Baumann looking to be a prime candidate for replacement.

Werder are five points adrift of a spot in the Champions League.

There's plenty of time left to close that gap, but a disappointing result against massive underdogs Cottbus would have fans and management asking some unpleasant existential questions about whether this squad is still truly among the Bundesliga's elite.

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