Bundesliga Power Rankings December: 2 teams above the rest

Here is the Power Rankings Bundesliga with Ola Selby of GoHandball, where the performances, not the points, are at the base of the rankings.

Power Rankings is our ranking of the teams during the month that has passed. In other words, it’s a table reflecting how the teams have performed only during December.

Here are Bundesliga Power Rankings December!

1: SC Magdeburg

Current Bundesliga standing: 1

Omar Ingi Magnusson of Magdeburg. Photo: Daniel Stiller / BILDBYRÅN

Well, when you win 4 out of 5 games and draw against a team that simply can’t lose at home (Melsungen) your place at the top of December’s Power Rankings is as clear as day. But then again Felix Claar has played like the best playmaker in the world and Omar Ingi Magnusson has found his rhythm and confidence again. Then it’s no wonder the reigning EHF Champions League winners are playing at this high level.

Magdeburg beat Gummersbach, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, Hamburg, and Göppingen in December and they did it without many problems at all. Magdeburg is, together with the number 2 team on this list, a bit better than the rest of the teams in the Bundesliga.

2: Füchse Berlin

Current Bundesliga standing: 1

Let me be completely honest: the foxes could just as well have been placed at the number 1 spot. It’s that close between Magdeburg and Berlin. Berlin and Magdeburg won 4 games each and drew the other. The reason why I placed Magdeburg ahead of Berlin is because their win’s were a bit more impressive and the point-loss came against a better team in Magdeburg’s case (Melsungen away is a tougher game than Göppingen at home).

When we are talking about and analyzing Berlin we can’t leave out Mathias Gidsel. Is the right back the best player in the world right now? Maybe. But he is definitely the best and most valuable player in the Bundesliga. In December Geisel scored 41 goals and assisted 20. And the only game in which Gidsel did not perform at his best (the 32–27 win against Magdeburg) fellow Dane Lasse Andersson scored 14 goals. So yes, Berlin is for real.

3: SG Flensburg-Handewitt

Current Bundesliga standing: 3

Johannes Golla of SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Photo: Nordlyset-fotografie.com

If it weren’t for that last-second loss against Göppingen maybe Flensburg would have been ranked at the same level as Magdeburg and Berlin in December. But then again, no. Flensburg hasn’t been at the same level as the two top teams. But they have had a great December and a big reason for this is Jim Gottfridsson and the fact that the playmaker has found his stride again after a slow start to the season.

Flensburg has so much individual quality in the team, but with new coach Nicolej Krickau and Simon Pytlick and Kay Smits to flank Gottfridsson in the backcourt, it’s no chock that it has taken some time for the stars to get the best out of each other.

Flensburg’s best win in December came against Melsungen, beating the top team 34–24 thanks to ten goals by Lasse Möller. And then the tough loss came against Göppingen, a game that Flensburg never should have lost but threw away.

4: THW Kiel

Current Bundesliga standing: 5

Domagoj Duvnjak, THW Kiel. Photo: nordlyset-fotografie.com

The start of the season was horrible for the reigning German champions. But when Kiel needed him the most Domagoj Duvnjak turned the season around for the “The Zebras” with a couple of heroic performances.

And after that, Kiel is (almost) looking like their old self. In December Kiel won four out of four games and they did it in great fashion. Sure, they did not play the best teams, but they still got the job done and ended December by destroying Hannover-Burgdorf, winning the game by 14 goals, 34–20.

5: FRISCH AUF! Göppingen

Current Bundesliga standing: 10

I would guess that no one is shocked about the first 4 teams in the Power Rankings. But now it gets a bit more interesting as Göppingen deservedly finds themselves at the number 5 spot. If you play Berlin, Magdeburg, Flensburg, and Bergischer and come away from that month with 5 points then you have done something equally surprising and impressive.

But that is exactly what Göppingen did. They started the month by getting one point away to Berlin. After that, they defeated Flensburg after Erik Persson scored a last-second winner. Then they got the job done against Bergischer, winning 31–28, before ending December with a mere 4-goal loss away against Magdeburg. Impressive, indeed!

6: MT Melsungen

Current Bundesliga standing: 4

Ivan Martinovic, here in the Croatian national team. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

Melsungen is not playing at the same level as they did at the start of the season. Then they looked like a true contender, but we can’t really say that anymore. In December they won 2 games, drew 1, and lost 2. That is okay, but nothing special. Especially since they only played against 2 top teams in Flensburg and Magdeburg.

Positive for Melsungen? Ivan Martinovic is coming into his own. The 25-year-old scored 10 goals against Magdeburg and 16 goals (!) against Hannover-Burgdorf. What a special player that is.

The other plus side for Melsungen? They are still undefeated at home. 9 wins and only one draw (the one against Melsungen in December) is nothing else but incredible.

7: HSG Wetzlar

Current Bundesliga standing: 9

Did not start the month very well considering they lost 2 straight. On the other hand the opposition in those game were Flensburg and Magdeburg, meaning 2 teams that Wetzlar “shouldn’t” beat.

After that Wetzlar played Melsungen, Leipzig, and Bergischer and won all 3. Sure, nobody expected them to beat Melsungen, but the other wins were perfect for Wetzlar considering they came against teams from the same region of the table as Wetzlar. If you win those games it’s possible to leave a lot of teams between you and relegation, and that is exactly what Wetzlar did in December.

8: VfL Gummersbach

Current Bundesliga standing: 7

Last year’s newcomer has somehow played well and won a lot of games and still stayed under the radar this season. The fact that Gummersbach is 7th in the Bundesliga is a huge success for the club.

In December they won 2 games and lost 2. What’s most impressive is not the wins against Hamburg and Leipzig (even though Dominik Mappe’s 8 goals and 5 assists against Leipzig stand out) but the losses. Sounds strange? I know, but bear with me. They only lost 30–32 against Magdeburg away and 25–26 against Melsungen away. If Gummersbach continue to be that hard to beat they will finish the season as a top 10 team. No doubt about it.

9: TVB Stuttgart

Current Bundesliga standing: 15

What, a team that is battling relegation at the number 9 spot of the Power Rankings? Yes, that’s true. But the fact is that Stuttgart in December defeated 2 teams from the upper half of the Bundesliga in Hannover-Burgdorf and Rhein-Neckar Löwen.

And that is the big reason why I place them as high as 9. Sure, they lost against Bergsicher, Erlangen, and Berlin, and that is the reason why they are where they are in the Bundesliga standings. But December has looked a lot better for Kai Häfner and his teammates.

10: TSV Hannover-Burgdorf

Current Bundesliga standing: 6

Don’t get me wrong, Hannover-Burgdorf is a better handball team than Stuttgart. 7 days a week. Or no, 6 days a week considering Stuttgart won the match between the two sides in early December. And that was the only unnecessary loss in December for Hannover.

Other than that, they have looked as stable as always. They defeated Balingen-Weilstetten and Bergischer, and lost against top teams Kiel and Melsungen. Not bad.

11: ThSV Eisenach

Current Bundesliga standing: 17

Second to last in the table but 11th here at the December Power Rankings. The reason for the big jump? Out of nowhere, Eisenach won 3 out of 4 games in December. They had no chance against Kiel, just as expected. But they defeated Leipzig (25–24), Rhein-Neckar Löwen (27–26) and HC Erlangen (28–26).

That is great work from a team that before those 3 wins only had 3 wins all season. The player that had the biggest game on an individual level in December was without a question Manuel Zehnder. The left back from Switzerland scored 14 times against Löwen, a game in which nobody believed that Eisenach would win.

12: TBV Lemgo Lippe

Current Bundesliga standing: 12

Lemgo did not win a game in December. Not even one. Yet, they are 12th here in December’s Power Rankings. But they got 1 point from the game against Löwen and one point also against Hamburg.

And in the losses against Berlin and Flensburg, they were by no means without chance. They pressured Magdeburg all the way and had a chance against Flensburg as well. The thing that is missing for Lemgo is a true USP. And if they are to advance in the Bundesliga table they need more fire power.

13: Bergischer HC

Current Bundesliga standing: 16

Bergischer only played one top team in December and yet they only won 1 game. They defeated Stuttgart 33–28 after 12 goals by Tim Nothdurft, but other than that December was a grim month for Bergsicher.

The fact that they lost to Kiel doesn’t matter that much. It’s not those games that Bergischer needs to win. However, if they want to play in the Bundesliga next season they can’t lose to Hannover, Göppingen, and Wetzlar in the same month. That is simply not good enough.

14: HBW Balingen-Weilstetten

Current Bundesliga standing: 18

The worst team in the league, at least according to the Bundesliga table, has not played like the worst team in December. 2 out of 8 points is not horrible, especially not considering they played the likes of Hannover, Hamburg, Erlangen and Flensburg.

I would say that Balingen had a decent December. But they still need to do a lot more if they are to keep their place in the top division.

15: Handball Sport Verein Hamburg

Current Bundesliga standing: 13

Finished 7th last season and are currently in the 13th spot this year. Casper Mortensen is one of the best wings in the Bundesliga but other than that few players in this Hamburg side have performed at the top level this season.

For December to have passed by with a decent grade Hamburg would have needed to win at least one game considering they played teams like Gummersbach, Balingen, and Lemgo. But only 2 draws and then 3 losses at that is simply not enough. Mortensen needs more help from his teammates.

16: Rhein-Neckar Löwen

Current Bundesliga standing: 8

What happened here? Löwen came back last year in great fashion but this season they have taken a few steps back. Juri Knorr is still instrumental for this team, but the German star has not played at the same level as he did last season.

Gustav Davidsson has shown promise during his debut season in the Bundesliga, but other than that there are few flashes of light in this team.

And let’s be honest: December was a horrible month for Sebastian Hinze and his team. Only one win and that came in the first game of the month against Hamburg. After that Löwen has lost three out of four games (and only got a draw at home against Lemgo). The biggest problem for Löwen lies in their defensive play. In December they let in 32, 34, 38, 27, and 32 goals respectively. Pretty awful.

17: HC Erlangen

Current Bundesliga standing: 14

Erlangen has not been without a chance in any of the games in December. But they find it very hard to get 2 points from any game. In December they lost three times (against Leipzig, Kiel, and Eisenach) drew one time (against Balingen), and only won one game (against Stuttgart).

Erlangen has several great and experienced Bundesliga players so these types of results are not good enough. Erlangen, with players such as Klemen Ferlin, Gedeon Guardiola, and Simon Jeppsson should not be battling to avoid relegation. But that is where they are at the moment.

18: SC DHfK Leipzig

Current Bundesliga standing: 11

I would like to be frank here. Any team from 11 to 18 could have ended up at the last spot of the Power Rankings. I chose to place Leipzig here because they are the team that has underachieved the most this past month.

Sure, they couldn’t upset Berlin and that is fine. But the other 3 losses, against Eisenach, Gummersbach, and Wetzlar, came against teams that Leipzig should defeat.