- Cowie could make Latics debut
- We look at how Dusseldorf have bounced between the fourth tier and the Bundesliga in recent seasons.
- Latics only lost once against German opposition
FORTUNA DUSSELDORF vs WIGAN ATHLETIC
SATURDAY 26 JULY 2014, KICK-OFF 6.00pm local time (5.00pm UK time)
Latics face their first test on their final pre-season tour of Germany on Saturday evening as Uwe Rosler takes his side to the Paul-Janes Stadion in the city of Dusseldorf.
Rosler’s side will take on German 2. Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf in the club’s second home with the 54,600 capacity Esprit Arena being saved for the start of the league season.
Don Cowie could be set for his first action in a Latics shirt whilst the likes of Andrew Taylor, Callum McManaman and Martyn Waghorn should also get minutes under their belt after missing Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Rochdale.
FORTUNA DUSSELDORF - A brief history
Founded 119 years ago, die Flingeraner – a nickname attributed to the club due to its humble beginnings – won the German League in their 38th year of existence, though they failed to recreate that high following the development of the Bundesliga in 1962.
Between 1971 and 1987 Fortuna were an ever-present member of the German top-flight, though the following ten seasons would see them bounce back and forth between the divisions with relegation to the fourth tier in 2002 a low point in the club’s history.
It took another nine seasons before Fortuna returned to the Bundesliga but their stay lasted only one season and a 17th place finish saw a return to the second tier for the 2013-14 campaign.
Last season, die Flingeraner finished sixth in 2. Bundesliga, missing out on promotion by 12 points to second place SC Paderborn 07 – the side Latics will conclude their trip against on Saturday 2nd August.
LATICS AGAINST GERMAN OPPOSITION
German boss Rosler may not be aware of Latics’ already solid record against opposition from his own country but he’ll be keen to maintain it as he runs the rule over his side for the next 270 minutes of action to decide what his starting line-up will be on the opening day against Reading.
Latics lost their opening fixture against German opposition as Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Steve Bruce’s side 2-0 in Austria back in 2008.
The following three games would end in draws, the first two - both against Hannover 96 in consecutive pre-seasons – ended 2-2 and 1-1 respectively.
Emile Heskey and Paul Scharner scored to earn Bruce’s side a share of the spoils three days after the defeat to Frankfurt.
A year later, Roberto Martinez took his side to Austria again to face Die Roten and he would have to wait to gain his first win as Latics manager as Mario Melchiot’s goal was only enough to earn a draw.
Again, Austria was the venue for Latics’ fourth encounter with German opposition as TSG Hoffenheim provided Martinez’s side with a pre-season test in July 2012.
The game finished 1-1 with Mauro Boselli scoring a superb volley before Matthieu Delpierre equalised for the German outfit.
Rosler was the first Latics manager to record a win against German opposition, though, albeit against fourth tier side TSV Havelse earlier this month thanks to goals from Ryan Jennings, Marc-Antoine Fortune and James McClean.
MAN TO WATCH – CHARLISON BENSCHOP
24-year-old striker who hails from the Netherlands Antilles, Charlison Benschop was Fortuna’s goal threat in the 2.Bundesliga in 2013-14, scoring 12 goals in 28 appearances.
Benschop began his professional career with RKC Waalwijk in the Netherlands, scoring 18 league goals in 69 appearances before moving to AZ Alkmaar in 2010.
In two years with AZ, the frontman scored just four goals in 45 appearances, prompting a move to Ligue 1 side Brest.
Benschop spent just a year in the first team with Brest and made his loan move from French outfit Brest permanent ahead of the 2014-15 campaign as Die Flingernaer look to achieve a return to the top-flight.