This was the week of the underdog. When all looked lost and sides seemed to be sliding away, back came the bottom six with a remarkable run that now has the majority of the league looking over their shoulders. We’ll not mess about and get straight into it. Here’s the 2. Bundesliga Matchday 25 Review.
1. FC Kaiserslautern 4-3 1. FC Union Berlin
Brandon Borrello was sorely missed last weekend in Aue, and let Kaiserslautern fans know he was back after just six minutes. A clever chest-down from Sebastian Andersson saw Borrello take on a 25-yard volley and fire a dipping effort over the helpless Daniel Mesenhöler. Union were not too disheartened and Felix Kroos responded immediately by striking the base of the post from range. They did find a route back into the game before the break, after both sides had chances, with Christopher Trimmel’s free-kick headed into his own net by Andersson. Yet the Swede made amends five minutes later, as he nodded into the right goal from Borrello’s excellent free-kick.
The second half started as the first ended, although it was Union who found the back of the net. Grischa Prömel’s ball across took a fairly helpful deflection to find Steven Skrzybski at the back post, who lobbed the oncoming Marius Müller. Lautern saw Christoph Moritz and Osayamen Osawe go close after that before the latter converted a perfect panenka penalty when Borrello was tripped in the area.
The hosts had tried to kill the game off but were hit by another suckerpunch when Skrzybski popped up once more to smash past the helpless Müller from Trimmel’s cross. It looked like Union had stolen a point until Mesenhöler managed to gift Lautern a winner. His pass to Toni Leistner was cut out and Philipp Mwene ran through to score the seventh and decisive goal in that game to give the Red Devils further hope.
Dynamo Dresden 0-2 SV Darmstadt 98
Dynamo were off in search of continuing their good form of the previous few weeks and felt hard done by when Markus Steinhöfer was slightly fortunate to get away with a hard tackle on Erich Berko inside the area. Daniel Heuer Fernandes then had to save from Moussa Koné before Darmstadt finally woke up. Wake up they did as Joevin Jones was in the right place at the back post to poke in Ji Dong-Won’s cross from close range. Marcel Franke had the final opening of the half for Dynamo, though his header went narrowly over the bar.
Darmstadt managed to increase their lead 10 minutes after when Fabian Holland picked the ball up on the left and swung in a brilliant ball to pick out the head of Tobias Kempe. His header left Markus Schubert with no chance. Niklas Hauptmann managed to test Heuer Fernandes again not long later and then Peniel Mlapa was rebuffed by the Lilies’ back-line. Dynamo were comfortably the better side on the night but finding a breakthrough proved impossible, as poor finishing and decision-making cost them dearly.
1. FC Nürnberg 0-2 SpVgg Greuther Fürth
The 264th Frankenderby had a lot riding on it for very different reasons, with both sides enjoying or enduring contrasting seasons. Despite the best will of the two teams it was slow going at the start. Fabian Reese couldn’t find a finish when it mattered and Nürnberg were struggling to get Federico Palacios-Martinez into the game. Eduard Löwen and Palacios-Martinez had the best openings of any in the opening period but both failed to work Sascha Burchert. All in all, it was a very forgettable 45 minutes.
Just four minutes into the second half and things changed. Maxi Wittek’s ball into the box wasn’t dealt with at all well by the Nürnberg defence and Khaled Narey swung a hopeful boot at the ball, with his volleying creeping past Fabian Bredlow and into the bottom corner. Alexander Fuchs had to make a desperate last-ditch challenge to prevent Fürth from extending their lead while Roberto Hilbert and Narey failed to hit the target. The final say went to the Shamrocks, as Daniel Steininger’s precision paid dividends as he battled his way through to finish superbly and secure bragging rights and three vital points.
Holstein Kiel 5-0 MSV Duisburg
Without Enis Hajri at right-back, Duisburg’s weakness was exposed early on in what would prove to be a long afternoon. It wasn’t until the 18th minute that Kiel managed to make the breakthrough as Marvin Ducksch’s flick-on was met by David Kinsombi, who stayed strong to finish past Mark Flekken. Just two minutes later, it got worse. Aaron Seydel’s cross from the right found Dominick Drexler arriving at the back post to tap-in from close range. Duisburg were pushed back for the majority of the half and, one or two moments aside, it was the Storks who were pushing for a third goal.
That would come six minutes after the restart, although in highly debatable circumstances. Ducksch went down in the area with very little contact but Bastian Dankert still pointed to the spot. Kingsley Schindler stepped up and showed no mercy to the Zebras with a confident penalty. Rafael Czichos was able to get in on the act and grab the fourth as he tidied up after Seydel hit the bar, and another corner provided a firth goal. Steven Lewerenz’s wind-assisted delivery caught out everyone and was eventually directed into his own goal by Gerrit Nauber. The 11-game wait for a win was finally ended.
SV Sandhausen 1-1 Erzgebirge Aue
This was a tale of two halves, with the first leaving a lot to be desired. It was a slow beginning from the teams, with both trying to suss each other out. Given the relative strength of both defences, that was perhaps no great surprise. The action finally came after half an hour as Markus Karl’s effort came close to breaking the deadlock. Nejmeddin Daghfous’ half-volley brought a strong reaction stop out of Martin Männel but neither caused as much panic as Ridge Munsy’s one-on-one opportunity. Marcel Schuhen would come out on top, however.
The opening goal finally arrived after 54 minutes. Some comical defending from Sandhausen saw the usually capable Tim Knipping swing at fresh air, allowing Pascal Köpke to nip onto Dennis Kempe’s through ball and fire past Schuhen. It was the defending again that came into question for Sandhausen’s equaliser, as Richie Sakuta-Pasu managed to force the Aue back-line into a similar mistake and he squared to Rurík Gíslason to pass into an empty net. Daghfous was again denied by Männel and Dimitrij Nazarov forced a good save from Schuhen, with Karl’s header hitting the bar to end an even game.
1. FC Heidenheim 2-2 Arminia Bielefeld
Heidenheim were the better side from the start against Arminia without causing Stefan Ortega much in the way of early problems. However, things eventually clicked and Nikola Dovedan fired just wide after a fine move. They continued to move forward, despite Arminia growing in the game, and managed to grab the opening goal. Marc Schnatterer is known for his long-range specials and a 40-yard free-kick slipped past Stefan Ortega. That woke up the visitors and Keanu Staude’s rasping drive brought the very best out of Kevin Müller.
The second half picked up where the first left off as both sides had chances. At one end, Ortega denied Norman Theuerkauf before Müller came up with a similar stop to halt Tom Schütz. Just as Bielefeld built up a head of steam, Heidenheim found a second. Brian Behrendt went down with a head injury in the build-up, yet play continued and Maxi Thiel hammered home Dovedan’s clip over the top. However, Julian Börner brought Arminia right back into things with a superb volley from Schütz’s delivery. With both teams trying to find the fourth goal, it eventually came late as Konstantin Kerschbaumer slid the ball into Andreas Voglsammer to poke past Müller and earn a share of the spoils.
Eintracht Braunschweig 2-1 Jahn Regensburg
The game started in controversial fashion as Jan Hochscheidt was slightly fortunate not to see a card when he nudged a stumbling Alexander Nandzik on the running track. Nevertheless, the game continued and both goalkeepers had to make good saves; Totte Nyman brought a fine save from André Weis while Marco Grüttner tested Jasmin Fejzic. The breakthrough came not long after as a fine, flowing move saw Nyman score for the first time since September from Suleiman Abdullahi’s cross.
Eintracht came out of the traps quickest following the interval and meant business as they went in search of a second goal. Weis made a superb stop to halt Abdullahi’s half-volley and Nandzik had to be alert to hook Nyman’s flick off the line from the following corner. Braunschweig doubled their lead just after the hour mark, as Philipp Hofmann’s header was well-saved by Weis only for Hochscheidt to react first and fire home. Jahn tested Fejzic again and their late flurry saw Marvin Knoll convert a debatable penalty, though that mattered little as Eintracht held on for all three points.
Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-1 FC St. Pauli
It was a tight beginning for two sides who struggled to break down one another’s midfield. However, the first opening of the game brought a goal as Takashi Usami’s corner was deflected in by the oncoming André Hoffmann. Fortuna were largely comfortable in the period after the goal but fell deeper and deeper as the half went on, allowing Sankt Pauli to come forward. They had two excellent chances before the break to get level, although Christopher Avevor and Aziz Bouhaddouz both failed to make good contact on the ball when in front of goal.
Despite Bouhaddouz and Jan-Marc Schneider having opportunities at the start of the second half, it was Robin Himmelmann who was the busiest Sankt Pauli player. Oliver Fink shot wide before Himmelmann did superbly to deny Rouwen Hennings, Usami and Fink in what was a Fortuna onslaught. Yet the hosts finally found a second goal when Usami picked up Marcel Sobottka’s pass and flashed a powerful, low drive into the bottom corner. Bouhaddouz deflected in Enver Cenk Sahin’s effort, only to prove too little too late to deny the hosts all three points.
FC Ingolstadt 0-1 VfL Bochum
Despite Ingolstadt controlling the ball in the early stages of the game, Bochum were keen to counter when the opportunity arose and Lukas Hinterseer was the beneficiary of that. Robbie Kruse supplied the key pass on both occasions, although Orjan Nyland was equal to the rest. Just as it looked like the visitors were in control, Robert Tesche brought down Thomas Pledl in the area. Stefan Kutschke stepped up, only to see his penalty saved for the second week in succession. Then, Bochum did make the breakthrough. Kevin Stöger’s corner was met by Tesche who headed home at the back post.
After the break, Ingolstadt came out strongly but were unable to find a way through a stubborn Bochum back-line. Given that they had what they came for, the visitors were even more content to sit back and break when it suited. Kruse did have a goal disallowed, correctly, for offside and Hinterseer failed to make the most of a few decent opportunities. The major moment of the second half came when Christian Träsch tested Riemann from range. Ingolstadt failed to create anything major after the restart, meaning Robin Dutt chalked up his first goal and win in charge of the Ruhrpott club.