November 19, 2017

2.Bundesliga Matchday 32 Preview: Moving the Masses to the Middle (i.e. ‘safety’)

Though just three matchdays remain in the 2. Bundesliga, only one of the nine matches involve two teams with neither a chance at promotion nor a remote threat of relegation.

Only Fortuna Düsseldorf, Union Berlin, and 1860 München have too many points to be caught from behind, yet not enough to dream of a miracle finish into the top three spots in the table. As many as seven clubs could join their ranks by the end of Sunday’s action.

Further, the two direct relegation spots could finally decided by the end of matchday 32 action.

It’s the last 2.Bundesliga weekend with matches spread over four days, as all second-league action for matchdays 33 and 34 take place concurrently on Sunday afternoons.

But that’s news for next weekend. For now, we have a full course of thrilling matches to fill your non-Bundesliga German-football needs.

Friday

SpVgg Greuther Fürth : 1860 München

  (Hinrunde result München won 1:0)

SpVgg Greuther Fürth is returning home from Paderborn with a dramatically won point in their pocket and, more importantly, their single-point edge on SC Paderborn for the lone remaining automatic promotion spot. Frank Kramer’s side will definitely be targeting a victory against 1860 München to assure they remain in second place after the weekend. Fürth have taken at least a point from each of their last eight home matches.

1860 München’s last road match was a bit of a debacle, losing 4:2 in Dresden to a side that hadn’t tasted victory since November. The Lions did end a three-match losing streak last weekend at Allianz Arena against Arminia Bielefeld, giving interim coach Markus von Ahlen his first victory against a side he once coached in the 3.Liga. München’s victory moved them officially outside the reach of the relegation players and, having already been rejected from the promotion race, are largely playing for pride and maybe auditioning for jobs for next season, knowing a suitor from another club or their future boss may be watching.

VfL Bochum : Arminia Bielefeld

  (Hinrunde result Bochum won 0:2)

The second-worst home side in the league will host the second-worst road side Friday night, with just enough at stake for both sides to make it interesting.

VfL Bochum, despite having to watch 1. FC Köln celebrate their promotion at their expense Monday night, has another chance to secure their spot in the 2014-15 2.Bundesliga with as little as one point.

A draw would be fairly damaging to Arminia Bielefeld‘s aspirations. Though, for a side that has won just once in their last 13 matches and has scored just once in their last four, even a draw might be asking a lot. Even so, the relegation playoff spot has lingered tantalizingly within reach ever since dropping behind it. Who knows what a single victory at a crucial moment could do for a desperate club?

FC Ingolstadt : 1. FC Köln

  (Hinrunde result – Ingolstadt won 0:1)

FC Ingolstadt hosts the newly promoted 1. FC Köln knowing that they’re facing a side they’ve already defeated once which also partied late into Monday night and no longer has much of substance for which to play.

Ingolstadt remains in the relegation picture only by math. Their next point would put them permanently out of reach of direct relegation and could even finish off the danger of the playoff if Dresden fails to keep pace. That said, Ingolstadt is the only club in the league to have fewer points earned at home than the number played in front of their own fans, taking just 14 points from 15 matches at Audi Sportpark. Plus, die Schanzer have been shut-out completely in five of their last seven matches.

Köln coach Peter Stöger has been firm in his insistence that his club is playing to finish the season cleanly, maintaining their stellar defensive record and collecting points through the final whistle on the season. Yet, as the Bundesliga has seen with Bayern since they clinched their title, it’s not always easy to maintain that focus once the primary objective is in hand.  The now-champion of the 2.Bundesliga has lost just once this season away from home. Can they maintain that against a side hoping to celebrate the retention of the class? Well, if the players listen as well to the forbidding of beer-shower celebrations after the promotion clincher. . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c16Zadzn_uI

Saturday

FSV Frankfurt : Energie Cottbus

  (Hinrunde Frankfurt won – 1:4)

FSV Frankfurt host Energie Cottbus riding a five-match losing streak. Ending that streak would finally put the FSV out of even the most-tenuous reach of Cottbus, who could finally punch their 3.Liga ticket for next season.

Cottbus need at least six points from their final three matches to have even a chance at the relegation playoff spot, and even that would require Dynamo Dresden to drop all remaining nine on their own slate.

Fortuna Düsseldorf : FC Erzgebirge Aue

  (Hinrunde result – Aue won 3:0)

Erzgebirge Aue celebrated the stitching up of their 40th point last weekend at home, where the Vielchen have not lost in 2014. The road, however, has been a different story, with just one point coming from the last four away matches.

Awaiting Aue Saturday is one of the 2.Bundesliga’s hottest sides: Fortuna Düsseldorf. Under the leadership of Oliver Reck, who is standing in for Lorenz-Günther Köstner while the coach recovers from a pinched nerve0, Fortuna has reeled off three consecutive victories, outscoring opponents 11-2.

With promotion out of reach and relegation no longer a concern, the talk in Düsseldorf is largely about Reck, and whether or not the man who won two of his three matches as interim coach after the December sacking of Mike Büskens shouldn’t be somehow be given the job permanently.

Sunday

FC St. Pauli : VfR Aalen

  (Hinrunde result – St. Pauli won 0:1)

One point from their last two matches has set St. Pauli a bit adrift of the promotion picture, but not all is lost quite yet. Dropped points at home to VfR Aalen, though, could finally finish the discussion.

VfR Aalen is looking to put the final touches on securing their third-consecutive season in the 2.Bundesliga, though results below them are likely to do the job, regardless of what the trip to Hamburg yields.

SC Paderborn : SV Sandhausen

  (Hinrunde result – Sandhausen won 3:2)

The Hinrunde loss to SV Sandhausen was the last before SC Paderborn went on their unbeaten run of eight matches, which ended with SCP in third place, a spot they have surrendered for just one week since.

Sandhausen, despite having been relegated to 3.Liga last season, has used the chance given them via MSV Duisburg’s punishment relegation to not only maintain their second-league status, but remain mathematically within reach of Paderborn’s playoff spot this late into the season, even despite having dropped two of their last three matches. Sandhausen is poised to play a spectacular spoiler in their final two road matches, with a season-ending trip to Fürth potentially figuring into the final promotion scenario.

Karlsruher SC : Dynamo Dresden

  (Hinrunde result – Karlsruhe won 3:0)

Dynamo Dresden need to rebound from their first loss in six matches in a tough environment Sunday, as their host, Karlsruher SC, hope to keep their flickering promotion chances alive by taking all three points.

The KSC has long been safe to stay in the second league, making it an exceptional season for a newly promoted club, however the final three matchdays play out, but the club clearly continues to foster the bigger dream of marching straight through the 2.Bundesliga in just a single season.  Knowing they shut out all three teams remaining on the schedule in the Hinrunde should give the club a bolster of confidence they can achieve their end of the deal, while hoping for help in other matches.

Dresden continues, of course, to fight to stay in the playoff spot with hopes of pulling themselves level with FSV Frankfurt just three points ahead of them in a safety spot. As the FSV have two of their three remaining matches against the table’s two bottom sides, the pressure is on Dresden to increase the pace of their point collection immediately. Monday

FC Union Berlin : 1. FC Kaiserslautern

  (Hinrunde result – Kaiserslautern won 3:0)

When these clubs last met, 1 FC Kaiserslautern pounded their visitors from Berlin to storm into first place in the table, a spot the Red Devils surrendered seven days later and have not held since. First place is now out of reach, but the Devils still have plenty to play for in the return leg, heading into the weekend just three points behind the promotion playoff spot.

Union Berlin also once held first place in the table, though it was several weeks before their sound defeat in Kaiserslautern. Die Eisernen had been lingering in the promotion picture through the start of the 2014 portion of the campaign, but winning just one of the first eight matches back from holidays eventually put that story to rest. Now, Union has lost four of their last five matches, dropping to their lowest table position since matchday two and now in need of a three-match winning streak to better last season’s point total.

Matchday 30 Table

Wins Draws Losses Goals
F:A
Diff. Points
1 - 1.FC Köln 18 10 3 48:17 31 64
2 - SpVgg Greuther Fürth 15 9 7 55:36 19 54
3 - SC Paderborn 07 15 8 8 57:47 10 53
4 - 1.FC Kaiserslautern 14 8 9 48:34 14 50
5 - Karlsruher SC 12 12 7 43:29 14 48
6 - FC St. Pauli 13 8 10 42:40 2 47
7 - SV Sandhausen 12 8 11 29:29 0 44
8 - Fortuna Düsseldorf 11 10 10 35:40 -5 43
9 - 1.FC Union Berlin 11 9 11 46:42 4 42
10 - TSV 1860 München 11 8 12 33:39 -6 41
11 - FC Erzgebirge Aue 11 7 13 40:46 -6 40
12 - VfR Aalen 9 11 11 29:37 -8 38
13 - FC Ingolstadt 04 9 10 12 29:32 -3 37
14 - VfL Bochum 10 7 14 28:37 -9 37
15 - FSV Frankfurt 9 7 15 41:50 -9 34
16 - Dynamo Dresden 5 16 10 32:44 -12 31
17 - Arminia Bielefeld 7 7 17 33:55 -22 28
18 - FC Energie Cottbus 6 7 18 34:48 -14 25

Matchday 30 Results

FC Energie Cottbus - 1:1 - FC St. Pauli
SV Sandhausen - 0:3 - Fortuna Düsseldorf
FC Erzgebirge Aue - 2:0 - Dynamo Dresden
TSV 1860 München - 2:1 - Arminia Bielefeld
Karlsruher SC - 3:2 - 1.FC Union Berlin
1.FC Kaiserslautern - 3:2 - FSV Frankfurt
VfR Aalen - 0:0 - FC Ingolstadt 04
SC Paderborn 07 - 2:2 - SpVgg Greuther Fürth
1.FC Köln - 3:1 - VfL Bochum
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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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