November 24, 2017

2. Bundesliga – Matchday 12 Review: Weekend of upsets sees bottom clubs gain ground

Many people expected the status quo to be maintained heading into Matchday 12, though the teams at the wrong end of the table had something to say about that. Goals were at a premium across the board in some very tense tussles, though the storylines developed as they always do in another interesting 2. Bundesliga weekend.

FC St. Pauli 1-1 Erzgebirge Aue

Things started slowly at the Millerntor, under the floodlights on Friday evening. The hosts were clearly the better team but, as was alluded to before the game, Aue’s tactical versatility and physical strength was proving tough to break down. St. Pauli certainly had their chances, with Sami Allagui being denied by a special Fabian Kalig tackle. However, they would go into the break with a deserved lead thanks to Jeremy Dudziak. Luca Zander somehow continued the chain that move the ball across the box, and Dudziak produced a fine finish to kiss the bar on the way into the back of the net.

The second half began slowly and, aside from some speculative efforts, remained that way. The only exception was when Pascal Köpke failed to tap-in from close range but did succeed in setting up Dennis Kempe Christopher Buchtmann did his best to force something in reply, yet Martin Männel was in no mood to concede again. The late surge was repelled, not least thanks to an incredible diving header clearance in the final move of the match, as Aue continued their remarkable form in Hamburg. Both are still in the chasing pack for those top three spots.

Arminia Bielefeld 1-3 FC Ingolstadt 04

From the get-go it was clear that neither team were doing to hold back in this encounter. Proceedings got underway and it was in the 10th minute where Sonny Kittel teed up Thomas Pledl to strike, with his 20-yard effort angling in off Julian Börner’s thigh. However, Bielefeld were given a helping hand when Marcel Gaus was sent off for a second yellow card just three minutes later. The fastest in league history since data collection began. The teams were levelled up again not long after, as Brian Behrendt was given his marching orders for a dangerously high boot against Alfredo Morales.

To cap off an incredible half hour, Börner redeemed himself for that earlier own goal by crashing home Konstantin Kerschbaumer’s corner. Just before the break, Patrick Weihrauch attempted a back pass to Stefan Ortega that ended up horrifically short. Stefan Kutschke raced onto the ball before being brought down by Ortega. The forward stepped up and did the dutiful from 12 yards to give them the lead once more. Each side had chances in the second half, though it was a crucial turn in the final stages that secured all three points for the visitors.

Börner caught a Kevin Staude free-kick sweetly and hit the upright, only for Ingolstadt to march up the other end and see Kittel cap off another fine showing by firing low and into the net. The win brought the Schanzer level on points with Arminia, while both still harbour promotion hopes.

Jahn Regensburg 3-1  1. FC Kaiserslautern 

Jahn didn’t have to wait long to find the breakthrough at the Continental Arena, as a hopeful ball from Alexander Nandzik somehow managed to find Sebastian Stolze at the back post. He finished past Marius Müller, yet that jubilation would last 180 seconds. Benedikt Saller tripped himself before catching Leon Guawara’s heels. Christoph Moritz stepped up, and a fantastic panenka penalty left Philipp Pentke with no chance. Achim Beierlorzer’s men responded well to going behind, and found themselves ahead once again when Marvin Knoll found the top corner from a wicked 30-yard free-kick.

Jonas Nietfeld and Knoll both had opportunities to add to the lead, but failed to find the target just before the half-time interval. Kaiserslautern made a double change at the break and that was unable to spark much in the way of a revival. Lukas Spalvis’ header was straight at Pentke, while the hosts continued to go close at the other end through Marco Grüttner. The only real action in the second half came after just four minutes, when Stolze was on hand to fire home from Andreas Geipl’s free-kick. The game ended 3-1, as Jahn picked up a vital win and moved clear of the Red Devils.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth 2-1 SV Sandhausen

The Shamrocks started off on the back foot and almost found themselves behind to a Richie Sakuta-Pasu bullet from outside the area. As that whistled past the post and Fürth survived the early onslaught, they began to grow into the game. Damir Buric’s men broke the deadlock after 27 minutes, as Marius Funk’s long ball eventually dropped for Patrick Sontheimer to play in Khaled Narey and chip over Marcel Schuhen. The hosts were the stronger side up to the break, and Narey nearly added to his tally before the half-time whistle.

A sluggish second period failed to spark until the final 10 minutes, despite the efforts of both teams prior to that. When Sakuta-Pasu picked the ball up in the corner of the penalty area, the last thing anyone expected was for him to spin his man, turn and then fire past Funk in the home goal. Yet Fürth would not be denied and found a winner as Richard Magyar flicked to the back post, where Mario Maloca was waiting to hammer home from close range. That much-needed win took the Shamrocks a step closer to getting out of the relegation zone, while Sandhausen came unstuck late on once more.

SV Darmstadt 98 1-1 Holstein Kiel

Another game, another early goal. This time, it was individual skill that broken the deadlock. Felix Platte picked up a loose ball in the penalty area before working his way around two defenders and firing past Kenneth Kronholm from close range. Kiel didn’t let their heads drop and were the better side for the remainder of the half. Patrick Herrmann and Marvin Ducksch both came close to getting the Storks back on level terms, before Dominick Drexler did just that. The attacking midfielder collected Kingsley Schindler’s flick and hammered home against Joël Mall.

The second half didn’t match up to the first in terms of attacking spirit, as Darmstadt were forced to counter a Kiel side that were able to dominate the ball and the play. Markus Steinhofer had the Lilies’ best chance, with Kronholm somehow clawing his curling effort out from underneath the crossbar. Mall made a good save from Drexler, in what was almost a carbon copy of his first half goal, though that was about it. Kiel have ensured second spot for another week, though Darmstadt could be nine points from third by the end of the weekend.

1. FC Heidenheim 1-0 1. FC Nürnberg

A sluggish start left fans expecting the same pattern throughout the game, but things livened up after 20 minutes and the match turned into a terrific tussle. Mikael Ishak went close for the guests and the remainder of the half, rather surprisingly, saw FCN curtailed going forward. Heidenheim were a force to be reckoned with in attack, too, as Robert Glatzel fired wide, Sebastian Griesbeck was denied and Marc Schnatterer’s free-kick hit the crossbar. Schnatterer and Glatzel were both guilty of missing further chances before the break, with Frank Schmidt’s men completely on top.

Heidenheim couldn’t quite find their feet immediately after the restart, though they were still the better team. The breakthrough finally came after 67 minutes, when Kolja Pusch’s ball to the back post found Griesbeck. He made the right decision to head back across goal for Glatzel, and the forward made no mistake in front of an open goal. Nürnberg looked dangerous following that setback, as two very dangerous crosses were almost met by Ishak and Cedric Teuchert. However, the hosts secured a hugely important and deserved win to give them a vital morale boost.

Dynamo Dresden 1-1 Eintracht Braunschweig

Even though they had been in mid-week action in the DFB-Pokal, it was Dynamo who looked the much more lively of the two teams. Peniel Mlapa and Niklas Hauptmann were particularly lively but were unable to find a way past Jasmin Fejzic. They didn’t have to wait too long for that to arrive, as Patrick Möschl picked up his own blocked free-kick to hammer home a sweet half-volley past Fejzic and into the bottom corner. Julius Biada had the best opening to get Braunschweig back on level terms, only to find a strong Marvin Schwäbe save in his way.

After the break, the pace slowed down as the day’s delayed kick-off had that early Sunday evening feel written all over it. There would be another goal in the game and, after having an effort blocked just moments before, Gustav Valsvik brought the Lions level. He reached highest to bullet a header home as Schwäbe was left helpless thanks to some poor marking. Andreas Lambertz missed the chance to give Dynamo the lead before the very end as his header flew over from 12 yards. The draw left both sides feeling there was more in the game, and further off the promotion pace.

MSV Duisburg 1-1 1. FC Union Berlin

Union were on top from the get-go in Duisburg, and were largely in control throughout the entire half. Akaki Gogia was lively and buzzing around after finding form in the past few days, though he was unable to really get going after the visitors’ bright start. Marcel Hartel, Simon Hedlund and Felix Kroos led the charge from midfield in what would prove to be a frustrating, goalless 45 minutes for Jens Keller’s men. However, at the same time, it spoke volumes of how well Ilia Gruev had set up.

It wasn’t until the second half were the goals finally arrived, and it came early on. Toni Leistner was ready and waiting to power a header home from Christopher Trimmel’s excellent corner. A Trimmel assist is becoming an ever more regular occurrence for the Berliners. Kingsley Onuegbu registered the first real effort at goal for the Zebras in the second period, firing narrowly wide of the upright. Duisburg did get back on terms through Stanislav Iljutchenko late on, only after he’d passed up a great chance moments before, but the forward converted Kevin Wolze’s cross to earn a share of the spoils.

VfL Bochum 0-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf

This game might have ended goalless, but it was anyone’s guess as to how that was the case. Bochum and Dimitrios Diamantakos had a penalty appeal turned down as the striker was pulled to the ground as his shot was saved by Raphael Wolf. The resulting corner saw Felix Bastians strike a goal and have the ball cleared by Florian Neuhaus, although replays appeared to show he was slightly behind the line when he intervened. Fortuna had chances with Niko Gießelmann and Rouwen Hennings, though neither found the target. Bochum were fortunate to end the half with all 11 players on the pitch, however, when Kevin Stöger lashed out with an elbow towards Adam Bodzek. Nothing was spotted by Benjamin Cortus.

The second half brought with it a stronger Fortuna, and they were doing a good job of keeping the hosts quiet. Hennings again went close after Bochum failed to clear their lines, and that immediately produced a response where Lukas Hinterseer’s shot was brilliantly tipped over by an alert Wolf. Marcel Sobottka had the one, glaring opportunity in the latter stages but, again, the final finish eluded him. Hinterseer was then sent off for catching Wolf at the death, the extent of which is perhaps debatable, yet a draw was still a fair result in what was a ding-dong local battle.

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Jonathan Walsh

Jonny is a 2. Bundesliga fanatic who does little else with his time other than follow, watch, write about, think about, and promote his favorite league. When he isn't in university or trying to defend the Bundesliga's 50+1 rule, you'll most likely find him watching whatever football he can find on TV. Follow him @jonathanwalsh_

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