Dynamo Dresden’s sports director Ralf Becker knows about the importance of the relegation games against Kaiserslautern. “This is now the all-important week for assessing the last two years,” he said before the first leg on Friday (8.30 p.m. / Sat 1 and Sky). “We have set ourselves clear goals. Some things worked out well, some went difficult.”

This includes, for example, the second half of the season. The second division soccer club was unable to win 17 games in a row. In addition, there were sometimes catastrophic performances in which the team missed what is a basic requirement in the relegation battle. “We can’t change this second half of the season,” said coach Guerino Capretti. With ten games without a win, he had a significant share in the negative series. The criticism of him after the 0-1 defeat in the Sachsenderby against Erzgebirge Aue was not exactly softened. There were quite a few critical fans who called for a relegation coach for the games against Kaiserslautern.

Two former Dynamo captains also spoke up and criticized the coach and the sporting leadership. Thomas Hübner, captain of the Dresden team that won the relegation against VfL Osnabrück in 2011, wrote on Twitter: “Bitter what some decision-makers are doing with the club. The coach is not up to the situation and who should the players look up to when they laugh about the coach themselves in the dressing room. Sad.”

Marco Hartmann, who wore the bandage from 2016 to 2020, spoke to Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk about the current sporting situation. He was happy about Capretti’s commitment at the beginning of March, but “saw a few problems” there. The 34-year-old said: “In Verl he played very brave football from behind. With Dynamo in the situation, relegation battle, that’s difficult. What he played in Verl, he couldn’t transfer one-to-one to Dynamo.” That raised a few question marks for him.

But Becker always acknowledged his coach. He made that clear again on Wednesday. “We know football is a results sport,” he said. “But I never left any doubt that I have total confidence in Rino as head coach and in his qualities.”

Another change of coach was apparently never up for grabs. Becker can still understand the displeasure of some fans. “In the past 24 months, we unfortunately had to play 18 months without fans. Those were successful months. Since the fans have been back, they have been disappointed week after week in terms of results. That does something to the fans.”

But Dynamo still has every chance of achieving the goal for the season. “If we manage to stay up, we will have a good and successful time in the next few years,” predicts Becker, who would be without a contract if he were relegated. There have been initial talks with the supervisory board, but no agreement. “In the next seven days we have the two most important games of the past five to ten years ahead of us. Everything else doesn’t matter now,” explained the head of sport, who nevertheless unintentionally increased the pressure on coaches and players. Capretti’s contract only applies to the second division.

The duel against Kaiserslautern is not only of sporting importance. A lot of money is at stake in the two games for both the second division team and the opponent from the third division. A relegation would hit Dynamo very hard financially.

The team started towards Kaiserslautern on Wednesday afternoon. Where exactly the plane landed, Capretti didn’t want to reveal any more than the location of the hotel. “We have found a place where we can rest,” he said.