ENOCHS, OSNABRÜCK DROP TO 3. BUNDESLIGA
DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The season ended in disappointment for Osnabrück assistant coach Joe Enochs as his team came out on the losing end of the relegation playoff with 3. Liga third-place team Dymamo Dresden.
A 94th-minute header by Dresden striker Dani Schahin following a corner was the ultimate decider, and a short-range strike from Robert Koch in the final minute as Osnabrück put everything forward made everything certain, giving Dresden a 4-2 aggregate win.
Osnabrück held a slight advantage after the away leg as the 1-1 draw between the two teams meant that Dresden had to score at least once to make up for the away goal conceded to the Lily Whites.
Osnabrück looked to have matters in hand when they went ahead 2-1 on aggregate just before the half, after a short corner eventually led to a headed into goal by Jan Mauersberger. However their visitors brought it all back on even terms at the hour mark after Cristian Fiel scored on a slightly deflected free kick.
Dresden dominated for the majority of the second half, constantly keeping their hosts under pressure and seeming the only team likely to score another. Osnabrück did survive the pressure to send the game into 30 minutes of extra time, however Schahin's header shortly after the restart ended their hopes of continuing in Germany's second tier.
Since the re-introduction of the relegation playoff in Germany at the end of the 2008-09 season, no 2. Bundesliga team has survived over two games against the third-place finisher of the 3. Liga.
Disappointingly for Enochs and his players, this is the second time in three years they have fallen victim to the playoff, also going down against SC Paderborn 07 two years ago.
For Enochs, this is hardly the end of the road with the team he has called home for the past 15 years. Even though his lack of the required A coaching license will prevent him from immediately being in contention for head coaching duties in the 3. Liga, he did recently confirm to YA that he will have the license as of November 2011, which could open the door to assuming the role full time.
Team officials have indicated in public statements that Enochs is a man who they see eventually carrying the team forward in the future, however the question remains of how quickly they wish to bring him into the forefront.
In the meantime, he is still officially the assistant to head coach Heiko Flottmann as the team heads into the off-season, although he is expected to resume his previous role at the head of Osnabrück's U23 team, who will more than likely compete next season in the fifth-tier Niedersachsenliga.
Osnabrück's first team will begin their 2011-12 3. Liga campaign on the weekend of July 22, meaning that the team will have at most one month before beginning pre-season preparations.