<insert my usual gripes about how much I do not like international breaks here>
Okay! That sorted . . .
The second division returned to action Friday night, much to the relief of those of us hooked on 2. Bundesliga action, moving into the second half of the Hinrunde with shifting story lines from throughout the table.
You can’t really know much about how the league will play out by the end of the season just one-quarter of the way through the schedule, especially with such small margins dividing classes. The lone remaining undefeated side in the league, FC Ingolstadt, have opened a three-point edge on second place and are a full six points clear of fourth. The spread from fourth to tenth, though, is just three points.
Likewise, things are very tight in the bottom half of the table, with just three points separating last place from eleventh.
And all of this is why the second division can be so fascinating, but it all starts with the football itself.
Ingolstadt continues to roll
The chest of Lukas Hinterseer delivered the lone goal in FC Ingolstadt’s 0:1 victory at FSV Frankfurt, deflecting a Danilo Suares shot with his chest past Patric Klandt in the match’s 19th minute and helping deliver die Schanzer to the second-division record books.
Sunday’s victory was the 18th consecutive road match without a loss for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s crew, the longest such streak in 2.Bundesliga history. In a slight twist of fate, FSV is the last side to beat Ingolstadt as visitors in a 4:1 drubbing 13 months ago, which ultimately became the final road match for Hasenhüttle predecessor Marco Kurz, whose nine-match reign delivered just four points.
Ingolstadt’s disastrous first quarter of the 2013-14 season buried the club in eighteenth place and saddled Hasenhüttl with a huge deficit to start his run as coach. Despite losing just five of the remaining 24 matches, Ingolstadt never got higher than tenth in the table.
Without the poor start to hinder the club this season, die Schanzer are flying high atop the table, undefeated with the league’s top defense so far and one of the most-productive offenses led by four goals each from Hinterseer and Stefan Lex. Between last-season’s post-Kurz form and this season’s start, FC Ingolstadt has to be atop any list of clubs expected to be in the late-season scrap to get a promotion spot.
Your Regular FC Barcelona Aue Update
There are some similarities to be had between season starts of last year’s FC Ingolstadt side and this year’s Erzgebirge Aue. Both looked absolutely hopeless from the season start, leading to an early replacement of the head coach, which then seemed to immediately trigger a notable turnaround.
Tomislav Stipic, of course, has a long way to go before it can be said he achieved with the die Vielchen what Hasenhüttl did with die Schanzer, but thanks to Aue not waiting as long as Ingolstadt did last year to make their switch at coach, Stipic already has his side out of the relegation zone at the end of match day ten. Hasenhüttl made his FCI coaching debut in match day 11.
Like Hasenhüttl did at Ingolstadt last year, Stipic started his Aue run with a loss, but two wins and a draw (at Ingolstadt, where Stipic had coached the FCI’s second side) from the three matches that followed immediately had things looking a lot brighter in Aue. A 2:0 loss to Greuther Fürth just before the international break gave plenty of time for those concerned to ponder whether they honeymoon were over and their club would revert back to fighting for league survival.
Those thoughts were quickly shoved aside Sunday when Rene Klingbeil scored in just the second minute of Aue’s match with 1860 München, who recently had removed the “interim” tag from Markus von Ahlen’s coaching position. Within a quarter-hour, Arvydas Novikovas and Romario Kortzog had each scored on Aue’s second and third shots of the match to give the home crowd plenty of time to celebrate en route to a 4:1 victory. Rico Benatelli got the fourth goal for Aue after Valdet Rama put the Lions on the board in the 51st minute.
The victory lifted the men in violet off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. 1860, losers of three of their last four, dropped into 17th place, after staying above the bottom three for five prior match days.
So now, a celebration . . .
Der Club is back on track
You can read Ryan O’Grady’s account of FCN’s 1:0 victory over RB Leipzig here, if you want a match account.
The thing to say about the match here is that Valerian Ismael may have solidified his hold on his job with the victory, making it seven points from the last nine after a stretch of five losses in six matches had his name on a list with several men (Falko Götz, Ricardo Moniz, Roland Vrbec) who are now former head coaches of 2. Bundesliga sides this season.
Speaking of coaching hot seats . . .
When Union Berlin fell behind 0:1 to SV Sandhausen at home on Seyi Olanjenbesi’s header, you could see the growing concern on Union coach Norbert Düwel’s face. Düwel made sweeping changes, some very high-profile, at Union when taking the reigns over the summer, but had just one win from his first nine matches.
Whatever he said to his squad at halftime . . . he needs to remember it, because Union came out firing in the second half, surging to a 3:1 victory thanks to Sebastian Polter’s brace. Polter’s goals book-ended Sören Brandy’s headed goal.
The win lifted Union out of the relegation zone for the time being, while SV Sandhausen suffered their third-consecutive loss to settle into the relegation playoff spot.
New Kids continue to do well
Though RB Leipzig took a loss over the weekend, the three sides promoted this summer from 3.Liga remain near the top of the table, clustered together in spots four through six, all on 16 points.
FC Heidenheim trailed only briefly in their 1:1 draw with FC Kaiserslautern, thanks to a killer shot from Marc Schnatterer about two minutes after Amin Younes had given the Red Devils lead in the 77th minute.
Kaiserslautern have now blown leads in four road matches.
FC Darmstadt sits sixth after having their one-goal lead, and a spot in the top three, snatched away in the final minute of the match when VfL Bochum keeper Andreas Luthe came forward for a free kick five minutes into injury time and headed Tobias Weis’ ball goal-ward, where Mikael Forssell delivered the point for the hosts.
Romain Bregerie had given the hosts the lead in the tenth minute.
Match Day 10 Table
|6||SV Darmstadt 98||4||4||2||15:11||4||16|
|12||FC St. Pauli||3||2||5||11:16||-5||11|
Match Day 10 Results
|Home team||Result||Visiting team|
|1.FC Heidenheim||1:1||1.FC Kaiserslautern|
|VfL Bochum||1:1||SV Darmstadt 98|
|1.FC Nürnberg||1:0||RB Leipzig|
|Union Berlin||3:1||SV Sandhausen|
|Eintracht Braunschweig||2:2||Greuther Fürth|
|Erzgebirge Aue||4:1||1860 München|
|FSV Frankfurt||0:1||FC Ingolstadt|
|Karlsruher SC||0:0||VfR Aalen|
|Fortuna Düsseldorf||1:0||FC St. Pauli|
Match Day 11
|Day||Home team||Visiting team|
|Friday||Greuther Fürth||FSV Frankfurt|
|RB Leipzig||VfL Bochum|
|VfR Aalen||Union Berlin|
|Saturday||FC St. Pauli||Karlsruher SC|
|1.FC Kaiserslautern||Fortuna Düsseldorf|
|Sunday||SV Sandhausen||Erzgebirge Aue|
|FC Ingolstadt||1.FC Heidenheim|
|1860 München||Eintracht Braunschweig|
|Monday||SV Darmstadt 98||1.FC Nürnberg|
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