October 24, 2017

2. Bundesliga – Matchday 2 Review: Union, Nürnberg and Bielefeld sit top

After the excitement that Matchday 1 brought, 2. Bundesliga Matchday 2 brought that and more with goals galore. The late drama may not have been present, but packed stadiums and local clashes made for a special set of games.

1. FC Union Berlin 4-3 Holstein Kiel

This game was, quite simply, bonkers. From the first minute to the last, it was open, frantic and defending was certainly at the back of everyone’s mind. The goalscoring started in the 12th minute, as Kingsley Schindler slammed home at the time of asking for Markus Anfang’s men. Damir Kreilach equalised just moments later with a fine header, and a third goal in four minutes was notched up when Kristian Pedersen failed to clear Schindler’s shot off the line.

After an eight-minute pause, the goals returned with Steven Skrzybski and Simon Hedlund firing in twice in quick succession to turn the game around once more. Yet there would be a sting in the tale. Another fine goal, and another which resulted in a ball not being won from Jakob Busk’s kick-out, saw Steven Lewerenz feed Dominick Drexler to restore parity.

Things continued to toss and turn up until the break, though no-one could find a seventh goal before half-time. Though, Skrzybski made up for that when a fantastic half-volley sped past Kenneth Kronholm at his near post. While neither side added to the goal bonanza, a late surge from Kiel certainly left Jens Keller biting his finger nails. Union held on, and secured a second win in as many games to further underline their promotion credentials.

SV Sandhausen 1-0 FC Ingolstadt 04

Both sides were aiming to get their first wins of the season at the Hardtwaldstadion, and it was the visitors who made the early moves to get into the lead. Both early openings fell to Dario Lezcano, but the Paraguay international couldn’t find a way past Marcel Schuhen. Like his opposite number, Martin Hansen was also in fine form to deny Richie Sakuta-Pasu. The physical forward also spurned a good chance after an excellent move from Nejmeddin Daghfous, only to shoot wide of the mark.

A strong start to the second half mirrored the Schanzer’s opening 45 minutes, with Lezcano again unable to hit the target. Once more, a lack of finishing and a surprisingly high amount of turnovers and poor passes allowed Sandhausen to take advantage. Andrew Wooten robbed Romain Bregerie, and did the dutiful by sliding past Hansen. A late fightback didn’t materialise, and Kenan Kocak’s side ran out deserved winners. Maik Walpurgis, however, has work to do.

1. FC Kaiserslautern 1-1 SV Darmstadt

It was a bright beginning from the Lilies, backed by a 4,000 strong away support, who looked bright whenever Marvin Mehlem got on the ball. Yet as that early pressure faded, Kaiserslautern came into the game. A nitty, gritty midfield battle developed until Daniel Halfar scored the only goal of the half with a thunderous drive from the edge of the area that left Daniel Heuer Fernandes helpless. The double deflection didn’t help, either. After the interval, Torsten Frings’ men pushed hard for an equaliser against their stubborn hosts and found the resolve of the Red Devils’ at an extremely high level.

But try as they may to hold down the fort for the entire half, Darmstadt eventually broke their resolve. A great ball in from Markus Steinhöfer was turned goal-ward by Jamie Maclaren and saved brilliantly by Marius Müller. The respite was short-lived, and Wilson Kamavuaka marched in to slam home the rebound. That opened up the game in the later stages but, try as they might, neither side could find a winning goal. Christoph Moritz’s effort was the closest either came in the final 15 minutes.

MSV Duisburg 1-1 VfL Bochum

The Ruhrpott derby in Duisburg got off to the perfect start for the hosts less than 10 minutes in. A long ball forward was brought down by Simon Brandstetter and, while Bochum players questioned the possible handball, Borys Tashchy slammed a 20-yard effort in off the inside of the post. The remainder of the half was full of fight, but lacked quality when it mattered. Lukas Hinterseer’s shot and Brandstetter’s header, both off target, were the only other points of note.

The relatively slow first half was quickly forgotten about when a superb pass from Danilo Soares put Jannik Bandowski in on goal to slide the ball neatly inside the far post. Kevin Wolze’s effort was all Ilia Gruev’s men could muster in the second period, aside from a few moments of panic in the visiting defence. However, Bochum went close through Thomas Eisfeld, Danilo, Felix Bastians and Peniel Mlapa skewed wide late on. Once again, it was missed chances and poor finishing that cost Ismail Atalan a first win.

Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 1.FC Heidenheim

Given that these two sides are well-known for their strength in midfield, it was no great surprise that it was slow going in Braunschweig. The only note from the opening 25 minutes was that Heidenheim had, very kindly, allowed the home ultras into their end after a block suspension. In the 28th minute, there was finally a breakthrough. Mathias Wittek was the unlucky man to touch Ken Reichel’s cross-cum-shot past the helpless Marius Müller. Despite dominating possession, Frank Schmidt’s side couldn’t find any way through the Braunschweig defence.

The second half saw the game open up somewhat, even if the game ended with both Wittek and Timo Beermann completing a mammoth 100+ passes each. Arne Feick’s free-kick flew just wide, while Marc Schnatterer brought an excellent save from Jasmin Fejzic. As proceedings drew to a close, it was in the latter stages that Braunschweig extended their lead. Salim Khelifi was brought off the bench to great effect by Torsten Lieberknecht, as he fed Mirko Boland to finish off the game and grab their first win.

Jahn Regensburg 0-1 1.FC Nürnberg

A lacklustre start was slightly in favour of the hosts, who were again showing that they would be no pushovers in 2. Bundesliga. Yet after the pure adrenaline began to wear off, Michael Köllner’s men began to move forward. Sebastian Kerk clipped the side-netting and a hopeful Kevin Möhwald effort drew a smart save from Philipp Pentke. The main talking point involved an alleged Asgar Sörensen handball, though Hanno Behrens’ header was too close to the defender’s arm.

Moving into the second half, the game became more open. Jann George became to torment the visiting defence, although Tim Leibold managed to curtail him at the crucial moments. Leibold himself went close to opening the scoring but his powerful effort went narrowly wide. It was all set up for a grandstand finish, until Kevin Möhwald crashed home Enrico Valentini’s cross to send the sold-out away end barmy. There were a few close calls towards the end of the match which were navigated to keep der Club top of the table.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth 1-2 Arminia Bielefeld

Most games this weekend got off to a slow start, and the Ronhof faithful were treated to nothing different. Aside from Sebastian Ernst’s early miss and Florian Hartherz passing up an opening, it was well-matched in the beginning. However, Arminia would break the boredom with a superb counter – much like they did to response a week prior. This time it was Fabian Klos who fed Keanu Staude to send a superb header into the far corner. To make matters worse, Serdar Dursun then fouled Staude moments later and Klos duly converted from the spot. At the other end, Jurgen Gjasula was denied by a spectacular Stefan Ortega stop.

While Andraz Sporar and Andreas Voglsammer had chances of their own, it was a half dominated by the Shamrocks. They failed to make those openings count and paid the price for it. Khaled Narey and Tolcay Cigerci should have found the net late on, with Manuel Torres playing a huge role in the turnaround. Instead, all they had to show for their solid pressure was Nik Omladic’s fine strike that left Ortega motionless. As for Bielefeld, it’s two wins from two and their superb form is not looking like slowing up.

Erzgebirge Aue 0-2 Fortuna Düsseldorf

In what was Aue’s first game of the season, proceedings were tight and tense. Chances were few and far between early on with Lukas Schmitz and Mario Kvesic exchanging early openings. Aue’s best effort on goal fell for Dimitrij Nazarov, though that could only find the side-netting. Fortuna would open the scoring right before the break thanks to a well thought-out free-kick. Rouwen Hennings made an early run to meet Kaan Ayhan’s deep free-kick behind the Aue back-line, and duly finished with an impeccable half-volley that flew past Martin Männel.

That was three minutes before half-time, and just three minutes after the restart Fortuna struck again. A wonderful counter that saw Ihlas Bebou feed Jerome Kiesewetter, then resulted in the American teeing up Marcel Sobottka to slam home and cap off a fantastic move. What followed was nothing short of a siege on the visiting goal, as Thomas Letsch’s side poured forward in numbers.

While Aue continued to come in their droves, Michael Rensing continued to thwart them. Pascal Köpke and Cebio Soukou both failed to find the target, while both the former and Nazarov saw efforts spectacularly denied by the veteran Fortuna stopper. Friedhelm Funkel’s determined defence managed to cling on, and now look set to have a very positive 2017-18.

FC St. Pauli 2-2 Dynamo Dresden

The final game of Matchday 2 was one of the most anticipated and it did not disappoint, delivering a pulsating clash. The early pressure came from the visitors but chances were limited, yet Dynamo’s tricky football was proving hard for St. Pauli to deal with. That all changed midway through the half, as Christopher Buchtmann shifted past two defenders before rifling an effort into the far top corner from 20 yards. That was followed up with a good chance for both Mats Møller Dæhli and Aziz Bouhaddouz, but neither could convert. Instead it was Marco Hartmann’s cool finish that deservedly brought the two sides level after excellent work from Rico Benatelli.

The second half brought about more chances for the hosts with Dynamo being pushed further and further back. Marvin Schwäbe showed his class to keep out two stinging efforts from Dæhli, but his resolve was broken by a classy St. Pauli move. After 10 or so probing passes in the visiting half, the ball fell to Buchtmann and a swerving ball left Schwäbe helpless. Sami Allagui thought he’d added an immediate third, only for his chip to be ruled out for offside. Then, in another twist of fate, Lucas Röser was on hand to tap in Robin Himmelmann’s fumble after he dropped Philip Heise’s effort.

The remainder of the game was tense and chances were at a premium, but those at the packed Millerntor were treated to a fantastic spectacle that leaves both sides on four points.

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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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