Bundesliga Power rankings March: A few surprises

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 March.

Here are the Bundesliga Power Rankings for March!

1: SC Magdeburg

Current Bundesliga standing: 2

Power rankings in February: 2

Omar Ingi Magnússon. Photo: Avdo Bilkanovic / BILDBYRÅN

There is not much difference between SC Magdeburg and Füchse Berlin, if any at all. But the difference between the two teams in March was that Magdeburg defeated Berlin, 31–28, in their match-up. That’s why Magdeburg is 1 and Berlin 2 in the Power Rankings of March.

Magdeburg won all of their 5 games in March. Not impressively so, but they still won. They scored 30 or more goals in all games but one (in which they scored 27). And Omar Ingi Magnusson is more and more looking like the player that took the Bundesliga by storm a few seasons ago. 12 goals against Gummersbach, 7 against Berlin, 13 against Bergischer, and 7 against Eisenach.

2: Füchse Berlin

Current Bundesliga standing: 1

Power rankings in February: 1

Hans Lindberg, Denmark and Füchse Berlin. Photo: Petter Arvidson, Bildbyrån

Berlin won 4 out of 5 games in March and that is what they do – win games. But to get those 8 points they had to struggle a lot more than earlier this season. Sure, a 7-goal win against Erlangen, but also a 1 goal win over Balingen and 2 goal win over Wetzlar. Is something wrong in Berlin? I don’t think so.

However, it is a fact that the league leaders have not been as strong as they were in February or in the spring of last year. Maybe it has to do with fatigue, maybe it is only logical that form goes up and down, and maybe it’s the fact that Mathias Gidsel hasn’t been as dominant in March as before.

But the Danish superstar is still the second-best goalscorer in the league, number 3 in the assist league, and the player with the most steals in the Bundesliga. Wow!

3: SG Flensburg-Handewitt

Current Bundesliga standing: 3

Power rankings in February: 3

Johannes Golla of Germany. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

Number 3 in the league, number 3 in the Power Rankings of February, and number 3 in the Power Rankings of March. I see a clear pattern when it comes to this team. They are great, no doubt about it, but not as great as the two top teams.

In March Flensburg won 4 out of 4 games, defeating Wetzlar (31–30), Göppingen (35–30), Hannover (31–30), and, the big one, Kiel (33–26) in the biggest derby in German handball.

The most positive thing for Flensburg in March, besides the fact that they still are in the hunt for the league title, is the fact that Jim Gottfridsson and Johannes Golla are unstoppable for the moment. Golla had 18 goals in 2 games to end the month, with the Swedish playmaker assisting him with the majority of them.

4: VfL Gummersbach

Current Bundesliga standing: 6

Power rankings in February: 6

Julian Köster, Germany and Gummersbach. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN.

If I put aside Berlin and Magdeburg, two teams that have been superb all season long, Gummersbach is the team that has impressed me the most in this Bundesliga campaign. And they continued to impress me in March, winning 3 out of 4 games, only losing against Magdeburg away.

The big thing with this team is that different players dominate in different games. Against Bergischer, star Julian Köster scored 8 goals. Against Stuttgart, it was Ole Pregler (9 goals and 7 assists) and Kristjan Horzen (8 goals on 8 attempts). And against Erlangen, it was once again Pregler (8 goals and 5 assists). That says a lot and this fact has helped Gummersbach all season long.

5: THW Kiel

Current Bundesliga standing: 4

Power rankings in February: 4

Well, Kiel did great against Balingen and Lemgo, winning both games (even though a one-goal win against Lemgo could be considered a bit pale considering it’s Kiel we are talking about).

But in the biggest game in March, one of the biggest games all season for Kiel, they lost against Flensburg. And they lost badly, 26–33 at home. That game defined March for “The Zebras” and not in a good way.

6: SC DHfK Leipzig

Current Bundesliga standing: 8

Power rankings in February: 15

Viggo Kristjansson of Iceland. Photo: Michael Erichsen / BILDBYRÅN

Leipzig had a poor February, a surprisingly poor month considering the amount of quality in the team. But in March they once again played at their normal level, winning 3 out of 4 games.

Let’s take the bad news first. Leipzig lost at home against Eisenach after having the lead, 25–23, with about 13 minutes remaining. In the following 7 minutes, the game shifted completely and instead, the away side was up, 28–25. Leipzig shat the bed and lost against a team that they should beat.

Besides that, March went great for Leipzig. They should thank goalscorer Viggo Kristjansson and goalkeeper Domenico Ebner for that. The duo was great all month long.

7: MT Melsungen

Current Bundesliga standing: 5

Power rankings in February: 7

Dainis Kristopans of Latvia celebrates during the EHF European Handball Championship match between Latvia and Germany on January 13, 2020 in Trondheim. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / BILDBYRÅN / kod VG / 170468

Melsungen is not where they were at the start of the season. Sure, they are still a great home team, but they are not playing as well as they did in September, October, November, or December.

Still, they won 2 out of 3 games in March. The loss came away against Leipzig and the wins against Balingen and Lemgo. The big win was the one against Lemgo, a game where Dainis Kristopans scored the winner with 5 seconds remaining on the clock. And Melsungen still has a great chance of reaching the top 4 in the Bundesliga this season.

8: TBV Lemgo Lippe

Current Bundesliga standing: 10

Power rankings in February: 16

Samuel Zehnder (now in TBV Lemgo Lippe), while playing for Kadetten Schaffhausen. Photo: Mathias Bergeld/Bildbyrån.

Speaking of Lemgo, they have had quite the month. Yes, I know that they won 2 games and lost just as many, but it could might as well have been 4 wins. Their losses (against Melsungen and Kiel) were both by one goal. Bad luck or simply not good enough when push comes to shove? Probably a mixture.

Two players stood out for Lemgo in March: Emil Laerke and Samuel Zehnder. Laerke scored almost at will, and Zehnder had a couple of games in which he dominated. The duo helped Lemgo show that they can be a team for the upper half of the Bundesliga.

9: TSV Hannover-Burgdorf

Current Bundesliga standing: 7

Power rankings in February: 5

A drop from number 5 in the Power Rankings of February and down to the 9th spot in March. The drop could have been deeper as well, considering the level at which Hannover played in March.

They defeated Balingen, but only got the 1 point against Eisenach, and lost against Flensburg. Has something happened with this team or what’s wrong? My guess? They are having problems combining tough matches in the EHF European League with games in the Bundesliga.

10: FRISCH AUF! Göppingen

Current Bundesliga standing: 11

Power rankings in February: 13

Marcel Schiller. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

News flash! Marcel Schiller is a top-class goalscorer! All jokes aside, the German left winger has always been a great goalscorer and he hasn’t slowed down this season. In March he was the best player for Göppingen (even though not many players at Göppingen had their best month in March).

2 wins and 2 losses, that’s how everything went down for Göppingen in March. The problem for Göppingen seems to be in defense. They conceded 32 goals against Lemgo, 35 against Flensburg, 29 against Erlangen, and 33 against Rhein-Neckar Löwen.

It’s hard to win matches with that defensive record.

11: Rhein-Neckar Löwen

Current Bundesliga standing: 9

Power rankings in February: 12

Tobias Reichmann of Germany during the 2021 IHF World Handball Championship match between Germany and Uruguay. Photo: Mathias Bergeld / BILDBYRÅN.

In March, Rhein-Neckar Löwen won 1 game. 2 points should have been 4. But that’s how this season has been for Löwen. I could probably look at every month and say that Löwen “should” have taken more points than they did.

But they lack stability. The loss against Berlin does not mean that much as the team from the capital is playing at a different level than Löwen. But only one win against Erlangen and Göppingen, that is not how it should look when Löwen is playing.

Positive? Tobias Reichmann has been a great addition to the team.

12: HC Erlangen

Current Bundesliga standing: 15

Power rankings in February: 9

No one should demand as much of Erlangen as of Rhein-Neckar Löwen, but the two teams are similar in the way that they both should have won more games in March than they did.

Erlangen defeated Löwen but lost 4 games. And for that, they are in trouble and at risk of being relegated (although it’s unlikely). I can’t really point to anything that has worked for Erlangen consistently this season. That could be on me, but it still says a lot about the way Erlangen has been playing this year.

13: ThSV Eisenach

Current Bundesliga standing: 16

Power rankings in February: 17

In the previous Power Rankings, I have ranted about Manuel Zehnder and his ability to carry this team on his back. I am not saying he has stopped doing that, but the fact is that Zehnder was not as dominant in March as he has been in previous months.

He is still the top scorer in the Bundesliga with 212 goals, 2 ahead of Gidsel, but he slowed down a bit in March. And that did not help Eisenach (not saying it was Zehnder’s fault).

Still, 3 points out of 6 is decent for this team.

14: TVB Stuttgart

Current Bundesliga standing: 14

Power rankings in February: 8

Kai Häfner of Germany. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

I was quite positive about Stuttgart back in February. And why shouldn’t I have been? Stuttgart played great and won some games. March has been a bit tougher and they are still involved in the battle to avoid relegation.

A lot, maybe too much, revolves around Kai Häfner. The right back is still the best player in the team, but he needs more help from his teammates in order for Stuttgart to win more games.

Positive for Stuttgart was the way they ended the month, beating Bergischer 27–26. That win can mean a lot for the future.

15: HSG Wetzlar

Current Bundesliga standing: 12

Power rankings in February: 11

Fact: Wetzlar lost all 4 games they played in March. Also, a fact: They were close in 3 of them, even against top teams Berlin and Flensburg, but ultimately lost.

That tells me that Wetzlar can compete with the best of them, but they lack quality in their best players when games are being decided. A very tough month for Wetzlar, who probably deserved more than 0 points.

16: Bergischer HC

Current Bundesliga standing: 17

Power rankings in February: 18

I don’t know what to write about this team. But it’s not looking great for Bergischer. My guess before the season would have been a lower-half position, but not being one of the worst teams in the Bundesliga.

But that is what Bergischer is. One of the worst teams in the league. Not much, if anything at all, is working for them. 3 losses in 3 games in March and a horrible season that continues for them.

17: HBW Balingen-Weilstetten

Current Bundesliga standing: 18

Power rankings in February: 10

Speaking of bad teams…Balingen lost 5 out of 5 games in March. 29-36 to Kiel, 22–25 to Melsungen, 26–35 to Hannover, 34–35 against Berlin (wow!), and 17–25 to Leipzig.

Not complete blow-outs, but still not good enough. The only player that I want to praise from this team for his performance in March is goalie Mohamed El-Tayar. Without the Egyptian everything would have been, if possible, a lot worse for this team.

Hamburg only played 1 game in March and are not in the rankings.