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Buoyed by victory in the derby, the Boys in Brown go to VfL Osnabrück this Sunday (1330 CET] targeting another three-point haul. As usual, we’ve taken a closer look at our forthcoming opponents.


VfL Osnabrück and Daniel Thioune – a success story. The former second division pro (126 appearances, 24 goals) took charge of the club’s Under-17s in the 2013/14 campaign and guided them to the Bundesliga the following season, a feat he repeated a year later with the Under-19s. In October 2017, Thioune was appointed head coach of the senior side, then under threat of relegation from the third division. Under his stewardship, Osnabrück not only avoided the drop but went on to win the league 12 months later to seal their return to the second division. Earlier this week the club announced that it had extended Thioune’s contract until the summer of 2021. The 45-year-old has set himself the target of taking them all the way to the top flight.


After home defeats on the opening day to Heidenheim (1-3) and in the DFB Cup against Leipzig (2-3), Osnabrück bounced back with thumping victories over Darmstadt (4-0) and Karlsruhe (3-0) at their Bremer Brücke stadium. Their home form was a key factor in their promotion campaign – no other team picked up more points than Osnabrück, who won 14 of their 19 home games.


Daniel Thioune’s side have already kept three clean sheets this season. With just five goals conceded, they boast the tightest defence in the league along with HSV and Sandhausen. The Osnabrück rearguard proved particularly difficult to breach last season, conceding just 31 times in 38 games, the lowest total in the third division.


With six games played, five players share the lead in the goalscoring race on four goals each. Osnabrück’s Marcos Alvarez is one of those five, along with our very own Dimitrios Diamantakos. The VfL striker is the league’s most efficient marksman, having started a game just once and played only 192 minutes so far, a strike rate of one goal every 48 minutes.


Back to the roots is one way you could describe the career of Marc Heider. The VfL captain wore his club's purple colours from 2003 to 2006 before joining Werder Bremen II. A three-year spell with the Bundesliga outfit’s second string (84 appearances, 16 goals) was followed by a seven-year stint at Holstein Kiel (180 appearances, 70 goals). Heider, who has started every game this season apart from the opening-day home defeat against Heidenheim, returned to Osnabrück in the summer of 2016. Born in Sacramento, California, the versatile attacking player contributed eight goals and five assists to last season's promotion campaign. Heider has scored 21 goals in 85 appearances since rejoining the club.


In their first season back in the second division, Osnabrück have collected nine points to occupy a secure mid-table place. It has been a bit of an up-and-down campaign so far, however, with wins following defeats and vice-versa and no games ending all square. Last week, they went down 1-0 at Erzgebirge Aue.



Photos: Eibner