Bundesliga Power rankings February: Four different shifts

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 February.

Here are the Bundesliga Power Rankings for February!

1: Füchse Berlin

Current Bundesliga standing: 1

Power rankings in December: 2

Lasse Andersson. Photo: Avdo Bilkanovic / BILDBYRÅN

It’s actually been quite a tough month for “The Foxes”, especially if we are considering European League as well (which we shouldn’t do in this column, but still). In the Bundesliga, Berlin won 3 out of 4 games and shared the points with Flensburg in the fourth one. In the Füchse world that is a tough month, which says a lot about the level of this team.

Berlin played against top rival Flensburg twice this month, taking home the two points in one of them and, as mentioned earlier, drawing the other. And they beat Hamburg and Lemgo without that many problems.

Mathias Gidsel has had himself a, at least for him, quiet month. Still, he had 10+2 against Lemgo and 9+4 in the second match against Flensburg. Gidsel, fellow Dane Lasse Andersson, and super keeper Dejan Milosavljev ensured that Berlin still is the top team in the league.

2: SC Magdeburg

Current Bundesliga standing: 2

Power rankings in December: 1

Bennet Wiegert, head coach of Magdeburg. Photo: Avdo Bilkanovic / BILDBYRÅN.

Shockingly enough Bennet Wiegert had to shave his beard in February. The master coach did so after Magdeburg lost against Hannover-Burgdorf, 27–28. Magdeburg may have lost the league title in Hannover and will need to defeat Füchse in March if their hope of winning the title shall remain.

Besides the loss in Hannover, which was an unnecessary one, Magdeburg destroyed both Kiel and Melsungen. In those two wins, we got to see the Magdeburg we have been charmed by the past few years with their fast and attacking style of play. Against Hannover, Magdeburg was a bit sloppy, and they made Simon Gade a top keeper. That, combined with a maybe not-so-legal last-second game-winner by Hannover, caused them to lose the game.

But all in all another great month by Magdeburg.

3: SG Flensburg-Handewitt

Current Bundesliga standing: 3

Power rankings in December: 3

Jim Gottfridsson. Photo: Mathilda Ahlberg / BILDBYRÅN.

Flensburg only lost by one goal in the capital against Füchse, but the difference between the two teams looked bigger than that. In the re-match Flensburg played a lot better and got a point, which definitely proves the high level that this Flensburg side can play at. Especially since they are missing Kay Smits and Jim Gottfridsson not playing at his normal high standard.

Besides those two games against Berlin, Flensburg defeated Erlangen and Rhein-Neckar Löwen. Against Erlangen it was the Danish players that helped Flensburg secure the win. Kevin Möller made 11 saves and pivot Lukas Jörgensen, who has struggled a bit this season after his move from GOG, scored 11 goals from 11 attempts.

And against deflated Löwen, Flensburg completely dismantled them after the break and won that game by a 9-goal margin, much in thanks to Möller who, once again, was formidable in goal.

4: THW Kiel

Current Bundesliga standing: 4

Power rankings in December: 4

I ranked Kiel as the fourth-best team in the Bundesliga in December and even though I feel that Kiel is a lot better as a team now, they remain in the 4 spot. Why? Because the teams above them in the standings are better. Sometimes it’s that simple.

Kiel had no chance against Magdeburg at the start of February, but after that it has looked a lot better for “The Zebras”. Sure, they haven’t completely dominated, but they still win their games comfortably.

The biggest difference maker is without a doubt, Eric Johansson. When the left back plays at the level he did last season he wins games for Kiel. The Swede had 9 goals and 3 assists against Eisneach and is looking better and better this season.

5: TSV Hannover-Burgdorf

Current Bundesliga standing: 6

Power rankings in December: 10

Jonathan Edvardsson. Foto: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

An incredible month by Hannover-Burgdorf. There is no other way of putting it. It’s important to remember that in a month where they have played in the European League (where it did not go so well), Hannover still performed at a top level in the Bundesliga.

Tough game against Gummersbach? Win. Super duper tough game against Magdeburg? No problem, win. Tricky away game against a desperate Bergischer? Win. Game against in-form Stuttgart? Easy peasy. This was Hannover’s month, no doubt about it.

6: VfL Gummersbach

Current Bundesliga standing: 7

Power rankings in December: 8

Julian Köster, here in Germany. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

A team that has gone, at least in my world, under the radar. They will probably end up in the top 7 in the Bundesliga this season and that is nothing short of amazing.

In February they won 3 games and only lost one, against a Hannover team that defeated Magdeburg in February. Gummersbach defeated Eisenach, Leipzig, and Lemgo. They are not destroying teams, but most games that are even end up with Gummersbach taking home the 2 points.

Julian Köster is coming into his own, both offensively and defensively, and the goalkeeper duo Daniel Rebmann and Tibor Ivanisevic have really impressed me. Good on you, Gummersbach!

7: MT Melsungen

Current Bundesliga standing: 5

Power rankings in December: 6

Dainis Kristopans. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / BILDBYRÅN

Melsungen, like they have been almost all season, is a very different team at home and away from home. At home, they have no problem defeating teams like Bergischer and Melsungen but away from home, they get humiliated by Magdeburg.

The highs are very high and the lows are very low. Speaking of height: it’s a lovely sight seeing the 215 centimeter giant Dainis Kristopans next to Erik Balenciaga, standing at 169 centimeters. The duo seem to work well together – against Bergischer Kristopans had 6+6 and the Spaniard 7+7. What a duo!

February was a C plus month by Melsungen.

8: TVB Stuttgart

Current Bundesliga standing: 12

Power rankings in December: 9

Adam Lönn. Photo: Jens Körner / Bildermacher-sport.de

Stuttgart is having a great season, a lot better than for the past few years. When we are having a look at February it’s hard to ignore 2 players: Miljon Vujovic in goal and Adam Lönn in attack. The former has played his best handball in February and Adam Lönn has been a prolific goal scorer for the team, especially against Göppingen and Melsungen.

The big win came against Melsungen, a game in which Lönn scored 8 times and Stuttgart won, 33–31. Stuttgart are, at least at this moment, one of the positive surprises in the Bundesliga this season.

9: HC Erlangen

Current Bundesliga standing: 14

Power rankings in December: 17

It is up and down with this Erlangen team. Not that much stability but what we get instead is a highly entertaining and unpredictable team. In February Erlangen won 2 games and lost two. Nothing spectacular about that, huh? Not really.

The games were tight. Really tight. The 2 wins came against Lemgo and Hamburg and they won by one goal (against Lemgo, a win they secured with 15 seconds left) and 2 goals (against Hamburg, a game that went down to the wire). Then they lost against Wetzlar by, you guessed it, one goal. (Yes, they were destroyed by Flensburg, but that’s a different story).

My point is that Erlangen can compete with (almost) any team in the Bundesliga. But they can also lose against teams they should be able to beat. And isn’t that just charming?

10: HBW Balingen-Weilstetten

Current Bundesliga standing: 18

Power rankings in December: 14

I have to be honest, I did not see this coming. Balingen was the 10th-best team in the Bundesliga in February. Sure, they are still fighting at the bottom of the real Bundesliga table, but they are playing better and better, bringing home points a lot more often nowadays.

A one-goal win against Göppingen is what started the great month of February for the newcomers. Then they had their big game, or at least so did Mohamed El-Tayar in goal. The Egyptian had 22 saves against an abysmal Wetzlar team and ended up with a percentage of 61! And Balingen ended up winning the game, 21–16 (!).

Then they lost to Rhein-Neckar Löwen to finish off the month. But 4 out of 6 points have to be considered a huge success for Balingen.

11: HSG Wetzlar

Current Bundesliga standing: 8

Power rankings in December: 7

Domen Novak. Photo: Ludvig Thunman / BILDBYRÅN

Speaking of Wetzlar. 2 wins and 2 losses are not that bad, but I (and I guess everyone else) hold them to a higher standard than Balingen. Still, 4 points is alright, but it could have been a lot worse if it weren’t for Domen Novak.

The right winger scored the game-winning goal against Eisenach with 7 seconds remaining, his 10th goal in that game, a game in which Wetzlar came back from a 3-goal deficit with 7 minutes left. Then Novak did it again, this time against Erlangen, securing the win with his 8th goal in the game, a goal that meant 27–26 for Wetzlar.

Wetzlar should thank the Slovenian for their 4 points in February.

12: Rhein-Neckar Löwen

Current Bundesliga standing: 9

Power rankings in December: 16

Gustav Davidsson. Photo: Rhein-Neckar Löwen

The win against Balingen must have been a huge relief for all of Rhein-Neckar Löwen. It wasn’t pretty, Löwen won by 33–31, but they at least got the 2 points. Let’s not get carried away, it was Balingen they defeated and only by 2 goals, but that win was extremely important for the remainder of the season.

Before that, Löwen went 6 league games in a row without winning. Their latest league win came in December against Hamburg. So maybe shoulders down for Löwen, huh?

Not really. Because against Hamburg, they were back losing again. Simply a horrible month for Löwen.

13: FRISCH AUF! Göppingen

Current Bundesliga standing: 10

Power rankings in December: 5

The Bundesliga is a league where (basically) no one is safe. And teams like Göppingen can surprise the top teams but also lose against teams that they probably should beat. No matter the circumstances, Göppingen is probably not that pleased with 3 out of 8 points in a month when they played Stuttgart, Balingen, Eisenach, and Hamburg.

It was also a month where individual performances stood out for Göppingen. Against Stuttgart (25–25) David Schmidt scored a last-minute equaliser and Martin Sego had a percentage of 40 in goal. Against Balingen (29–30) Josip Sarac had 8 goals and 7 assists, and against Eisenach (35–31) Marcel Schiller scored on all of his 10 shots.

But we should be able to demand more of this team, especially in a month where they only played against lower half teams.

14: Handball Sport Verein Hamburg

Current Bundesliga standing: 11

Power rankings in December: 15

Dani Baijens. Photo: Ludvig Thunman / BILDBYRÅN

Two players are at a level of their own at Hamburg: Casper Mortensen and Dani Baijens. Mortensen scores at will and Baijens is their best back player. But that is the problem for Hamburg, the 2 stars are way too alone for Hamburg to get results.

Sure, they only lost by 2 goals to Berlin and Erlangen, but it might as well have been 12 goals (at least against Berlin). And sure, they won against Göppingen but it took 13 goals from the Danish winger for them to secure the win.

They have a lot of work to do if they are to finish the season on a high note in Hamburg.

15: SC DHfK Leipzig

Current Bundesliga standing: 13

Power rankings in December: 18

Leipzig only played 2 games in February so there isn’t that much to go on with this team to be completely honest. But we can conclude that they are a weaker side than they were last season. That is without a doubt true.

A loss against Gummersbach and a win against Bergischer don’t say that much. But maybe Leipzig can look forward to a great end to a tough season.

16: TBV Lemgo Lippe

Current Bundesliga standing: 15

Power rankings in December: 12

It’s hard to imagine that it was only a few seasons ago that Lemgo took home the DHB-Pokal, the German cup. After that, they have dismantled the team, which is obvious when you look at their performances this season.

They completely shat the bed against Erlangen, a game in which they went from leading 25–22 to losing, 25–26, at the end. And they lost against Berlin and Gummersbach as well, even though Urh Kastelic had 12 saves in 22 minutes against Gummersbach.

The only win came against a Löwen team that refused to win for a while. And in that game, it took 16 saves from Finn Zecher for Lemgo to secure the 2 points. It’s hard to see where this team is going.

17: ThSV Eisenach

Current Bundesliga standing: 17

Power rankings in December: 11

For the second Power rankings in a row, I want to salute Manuel Zehnder. This man is carrying his team more than any other player in the Bundesliga.

Let’s have a look at the Swiss left back and his month of February:

Wetzlar: 15 goals. Wetzlar won, 31–30.

Gummersbach: 10 goals. Gummersbach won, 26–24.

Göppingen: Only 4 goals, but 5 assists. Göppingen won, 35–31.

Kiel: 10 goals. Kiel won, 31–27.

Melsungen: 13 goals. Melsungen won, 27–26.

Conclusion: Zehnder needs helps from his teammates.

18: Bergischer HC

Current Bundesliga standing: 18

Power rankings in December: 13

This team, much like Lemgo, has lost its way over the past few seasons. And especially this season has been awful. They are not short of great players but it’s obvious that it’s not working at all for them.

Are there no belief at their own ability left? Are the tactics not good enough? I don’t know that the problem is but it all could end with relegation if they don’t stop the bleeding soon.

In February Bergischer lost every game they played. Can you sense the smell? It’s the smell of 2.Bundesliga.