SSV Jahn Regensburg vs 1860 Munich - Promotion play-off, first leg: Can Regensburg get an early upper hand?

SSV Jahn Regensburg vs 1860 Munich - Promotion play-off, first leg: Can Regensburg get an early upper hand?

Will it be the Jahnelf or the Lions who hold the upper-hand when the two sides head to Munich?

Jonathan Walsh

The play-offs have rolled round once more, and with 1860 Munich and SSV Jahn Regensburg having contrasting season, they will be the two teams to finish off the domestic football season in Germany. Come Tuesday evening, the make-up of both 2. Bundesliga and 3. Liga will be complete.

Regensburg keen to keep up good form

20 points from a possible 30 in their last 10-game stint saw Friday evening's hosts just managed to put the persistent 1. FC Magdeburg to third place and a play-off birth. In fact, it wasn't until the 83rd minute when Andreas Geipl scored from the spot that they managed to beat Preußen Münster, and earn a shot at promotion to 2. Bundesliga.

What sort of team are Regensburg, then? Well, they love goals. Die Rothosen scored more goals than any other 3. Liga side, which was spread across an impressive 14 players. However, discounting those sides that went down, only three clubs conceded more goals than their total of 50. Neutrals will certainly be hoping this continues on Friday.

A relatively young squad with just two players over 30 making more than 10 appearances, it is the front six that make up the bulk of their goalscoring threat. Geipl has scored seven goals this season from central midfield, despite six coming from the spot, and the former 1860 Munich man would surely love to add to that tally.

His midfield partner, Marc Lais also has seven to his name. Moving further forward, Jann George has been the highlight this season with 10 goals and eight assists. The wings could be key, with fellow wide-man, Erik Thommy also putting in a stellar shift on loan from FC Augsburg. Topscorer, Marco Grüttner (13) can't be left out either.

Can 1860 improve on woeful away record? 

When Stefan Aigner flicked home a cross from Michael Liendl in the 62nd minute, everything looked great for 1860 Munich. They were staying up, and even an Arminia Bielefeld comeback would have sent Erzgebirge Aue into the play-offs. Fast forward 32 minutes, Tim Kleindienst and Marc Schnatterer had turned the game into a 2-1 loss.

While the final day loss was gut-wrenching, it was no real surprise given 1860's away form over the entire season. No 2. Bundesliga side lost more away games than the Lions (12) and just 11 points from 17 games represents a very poor return. It's hard to pin-point one exact reason for that, though it will need to improve in time for Friday evening.

Stopping supply will be key for 1860 and Romuald Lacazette has a real battle on his hands to halt playmaker, Kolja Pusch. He is Regensburg's creative hub through the middle and the Frenchman, who has been a leading light this season, will have his work cut out. Lumor and Maxi Wittek will be equally important going down the wings.

While form might be an issue, 1860 haven't lost to Regensburg in seven previous fixtures (kicker) and only drawn once in that time. Despite not having the armband, Liendl has been consistent when almost all around him has continually changed. Should he and Lacazette get control of the midfield, they will have an excellent chance of winning.

Team news

Both teams are in relatively good health after their respective final league games. Heiko Herrlich is set to be without Alexander Nandzik and Markus Ziereis for the first leg, and it may well be touch and go as to whether or not they make the second leg. George was also brought off early on in their win over Preußen Münster, and might sit out.

As for 1860, Vitor Pereira will not be able to count on Frank Boya, Daylon Claasen, Amilton and Felix Uduokhai through injury. That means that the Portuguese may name the same side that started against Heidenheim, although he may opt for Kai Bülow and Wittek in a bid to add some more experience in the situation.

Should any of Benedikt Saller, Oliver Hein and Marc Lais or Stefan Aigner and Romuald Lacazette be booked on Friday, they will miss Tuesday's return leg.

Predicted line-ups

SSV Jahn Regensburg: (4-2-3-1) Pentke; Saller, Nachreiner, Knoll, Hofrath; Lais, Geipl; Hesse, Pusch, Thommy; Grüttner.

1860 Munich: (3-4-3) Ortega; Bülow, Ba, Pongracic; Wittek, Lacazette, Liendl, Lumor; Aigner, Gytkjaer, Aycicek.

Kick-off is at 17:00 BST, and is live on BT Sport.