1. FC Kaiserslautern, the crisis ridden Traditionsverein battling to stay in the 3. Liga, sacked their coach Jeff Sabenne immediately after losing 1-0 at home to Wehen Wiesbaden last weekend. He had only been in the position since October 2020 having been brought in after the second game of the season. Despite some early signs of improvement, FCK could not move clear of the relegation zone. His record of only three wins in twenty games was not deemed good enough by the club hierarchy, even though his ledger also included a remarkable twelve draws.
Within 48 hours the third manager to take the reins at the Betzenberg this season was announced. Marco Antwerpen already has experience of being on the managerial merry-go-round this season, having been taken on by Bundesliga.2 side Würzburger Kickers in September after the newly promoted side sacked their coach after two games. His reign was improbably brief when he was dismissed after only four games in charge, with club supremo Felix Magath being particularly scathing at the time.
Now Antwerpen gets his opportunity to rehabilitate a reputation that was very high at the close of the 2019-2020 season. He steered Eintracht Braunschweig to promotion from the 3. Liga to Bundesliga.2, reversing the decline of a once proud stalwart of German football. He will certainly be given every opportunity at Kaiserslautern, who are desperate to evade the drop into non league football for the first time in club history.
The odds are not stacked in his favour. In an online poll in Kicker only 40% of respondents rated his chances of turning the team’s fortunes around. FCK remains a club with huge off the pitch financial concerns and a squad that appears to lack the quality to be competitive at this level. His first challenge is a trip to arch rivals SV Waldhof Mannheim. If he can secure a win at the Carl Benz Arena, he will go a long way to convincing the club’s long suffering fans that he is the man to bring back better times to the Pfalz.