September 23, 2017

2. Bundesliga – Matchday 4 Review: Three-way tie at the top as the league bunches up

With another break disrupting 2. Bundesliga action over the coming weeks, there would be a fantastic send off from Germany’s second tier clubs to the fans. Drama, penalties and saves of the highest order were seen across the board over Matchday 4 weekend as the table grew ever tighter.

MSV Duisburg 1-2 SV Darmstadt 98

After what was a relatively even opening, the game sprung into life thanks to some anticipation from Moritz Stoppelkamp. He managed to get on the end of poor backwards header, steal in before Daniel Heuer Fernandes and chip the ‘keeper with superb poise. However, that joy was short-lived and a quick response materialised. Fabian Holland cracked the post before a dropping ball was hammered home by Marvin Mehlem on the edge of the area. Before and after the break, both sides threatened but found respective defences and goalkeepers in fine form.

Darmstadt pushed for that crucial second goal and when awarded a penalty, Tobias Kempe looked set to make it two in two from the spot. Yet, Mark Flekken had other ideas and did brilliantly to deny him from 12 yards. The game went backward and forward after that until a long ball to the back post was brought down by Yannick Stark and curled into the far top corner. There was wild celebrations in the away block, and a sense of relief after an incredible tense finish as the Lilies moved joint top. Duisburg sit in 11th.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth 0-1 FC Ingolstadt 04

With both sides looking for their first win and first points of the season coming into Matchday 4, it was perhaps no surprise that things were slow to begin with. Neither team looked particularly impressive but Ingolstadt were fairly comfortable having just sacked Maik Walpurgis. Despite having more of the ball and being better with it, all the Shamrocks had to show for their efforts was a near-miss from Serdar Dursun. They had further attempts on goal, but none were of much concern to Ørjan Nyland.

The opening goal came in the second half, through a moment of magic from Sonny Kittel. A fine touch on the left wing saw him play the ball perfectly into his path before smashing a fine half-volley past Balazs Megyeri. From there, things went to bad to worse as Matti Langer was sent off after two quick yellow cards. It was always going to be an uphill task after that and chances were limited. Instead it was Ingolstadt who continued to probe but were equally wasteful on the counter. Janos Radoki’s men remain bottomwhile the Schanzer are beginning their climb.

Jahn Regensburg 1-2 Holstein Kiel

The battle of the promoted teams took place on Saturday, and after their first wins of the season last weekend both were full of confidence. After a confident start to the game, it was Kiel who took a deserved lead when Kingsley Schindler expertly peeled off his marker to head home Patrick Herrmann’s cross in the freedom of the six-yard box. One became two before long as a superb run from Dominick Drexler left Regensburg defenders motionless, and Marvin Ducksch open to slide the ball home from close range. The Storks’ attack was firing once again.

Regensburg would respond before the break and grab a goal of their own thanks to Marvin Knoll. He had gone close with a free-kick earlier in the half, but sent the ball in off the inside of the post this time to give his side a way back into the game. The second half brought more Kiel dominance, with Steven Lewerenz being denied by both the bar and Philipp Pentke as they tried to kill the game. Regensburg pushed towards the later stages but a late header from Knoll flew over and Kiel could celebrate moving onto seven points. Jahn remain on four, though both can be pleased with their starts.

FC St. Pauli 1-0 1. FC Heidenheim

While most games had a very distinct attacking feel, the Millerntor had to wait for their solitary goal. The first half was slow at best but Marc Schnatterer and John Verhoek tried to swing things in the visitors’ favour, only to see their efforts be of no real concern to the St. Pauli back-line. Jeremy Dudziak’s effort was well-tipped over by the retreating Kevin Müller, in what was the major opening for the home side. Those isolated chances aside, it was a 45 minute period that passed without major incident or excitement.

The second half brought about a flurry of activity from Heidenheim as John Verhoek and Nikola Dovedan both went close. However, after that, it was almost entirely St. Pauli’s game. The set-pieces rained down but provided little for the home fans to get excited about, though Aziz Bouhaddouz’s late headed miss seemed to have been all Pauli could through at Heidenheim. Yet, with the final kick of the game, Christopher Buchtmann somehow shifted the ball to Johannes Flum to relieve the pressure and secure a desperate late win. St. Pauli keep up their early season promise, while Heidenheim have slipped to 15th.

Erzgebirge Aue 3-1 1. FC Nürnberg

With Sebastian Kerk injured, it was always going to be a tough ask for Nürnberg to unlock a rigid five-at-the-back side like Aue and it showed. Cedric Teuchert did have the golden chance to open the scoring when clean through on goal, only for Martin Männel to deny him with an outstretched boot. However, the first half belonged to the Violets and Thorsten Kirschbaum had to be at his very best to keep the scores level. Superb stops to halt Sören Bertram and Pascal Köpke gave Michael Köllner the chance to regroup at half-time.

On the hour mark, Aue finally got their deserved opener from Dominik Wydra. The Austrian has been fantastic in purple thus far and a helpful deflection helped his 25-yard drive speed past Kirschbaum. Two goals in four minutes followed to completely devastate the Franconians’ hopes of rescuing a point, as Dimitrij Nazarov and then Köpke struck after some fantastic build-up play to put the result beyond doubt. Kevin Möhwald did slide in a consolation before Enrico Valentini cracked the bar with a fine free-kick. Nürnberg tasted defeat for the first time this season, while Aue and Robin Lenk got their first three points. 

VfL Bochum 3-2 Dynamo Dresden

Still trying to get their first win of the season, it looked set to be another long day for the Ruhrstadion faithful as Philip Heise fired home after Erich Berko had destroyed the Bochum defence. Yet there would be an immediate response, as Felix Bastians equalised with a fine finish from 10 yards before going on to fire home from the penalty spot after Robbie Kruse had been fouled. After that the hosts’ possession play finally began to come into its own as they controlled the game, aside from a series of Dynamo attacks, where they looked reasonably comfortable.

However, towards the latter stages, things began to unravel. After Bastians headed wide and the visitors prevented Bochum’s break from cutting them open, Dynamo took hold. They went close on several occasions before the pressure paid off and a fine touch and 20-yard drive from Aias Aosman saw them level the game. Despite the game edging to a close Bochum had the last laugh as a deflection fell kindly to Lukas Hinterseer who smashed home from 16 yards to send the home crowd wild. The two teams are now level on four points.

1. FC Union Berlin 1-1 Arminia Bielefeld

With Arminia protecting a 100% record coming into this game, they were quickly forced back to protect their own goal as Union threatened early on through both Marcel Hartel and Felix Kroos. In spite of the early forays forward, the game quickly fell back into a tough affair that was broken up by the excitement of Simon Hedlund bursting down the wing or Brian Behrendt crashing a shot off the crossbar from all of 40 yards. Hartel had one final effort in the half but, once again, it was close yet not good enough to find a way past Stefan Ortega.

The second half began with a bang, as some excellent work from Patrick Weihrauch and a superb solo and finish from Andreas Voglsammer had suddenly turned a game they were being dominated in to one which was now 44 minutes away from seeing them secure a fourth straight win. Just nine minutes later, Sebastian Polter set-up Hartel with a clever touch to slam past Ortega from close range to level the scores. Try as Union might, that crucial second goal just would not fall their way and they had to make do with another draw. Bielefeld remain top.

SV Sandhausen 1-2 Fortuna Düsseldorf

In the second top of the table clash that Sunday brought, the game was somewhat of a slow-burner to begin with. The first real chance of any conviction brought about the opener as Philipp Klingmann crossed for Lucas Höler to power home his second goal of the season. Things remained slow as Emir Kujovic’s header was the only moment of real promise Fortuna enjoyed in the first half. However, just seven minutes after the restart, Jean Zimmer played in Ihlas Bebou who did the dutiful to bring his side level and shift the visitors’ mood to a more positive one.

Raphael Wolf and Marcel Schuhen exchanged equally incredible reaction saves to keep out Klingmann and Rouwen Hennings, while things continued to go back and forth. Just as the game looked to be coming to a close, Fortuna found the winner. A long ball over the top fell into Hennings’ stride and he sent a superb half-volley over Schuhen and into the far corner. The bench and the away fans could hardly believe it, as the goal sent them top of the league. Sandhausen remain in the chasing pack on seven points.

 

1. FC Kaiserslautern 1-1 Eintracht Braunschweig

Without Christoffer Nyman, there were fears that the Lions might not have their usual attacking threat. However, that was quickly rubbished as Braunschweig went close early on as his replacement, Suleiman Abdullahi, linked up well with Salim Khelifi. They couldn’t convert their first chance, but 10 minutes later they combined again. Onel Hernandez was clinical and gave Torsten Lieberknecht’s men the lead. From there, the game didn’t go anywhere quickly as the lead seemed to shift Braunschweig’s emphasis and Kaiserslautern grew into the game more and more.

The Red Devils hit the bar through Osayamen Osawe and saw Jasmin Fejzic in top form to make two quick and vital stops. Marius Müller then made a crucial intervention to deny Joe Baffo before the crucial blow. Gervane Kastaneer, who had ditched his glasses by this stage, got on the end of a Marcel Correia long ball and managed to finally get the better of Fejzic – with the aid of a Ken Reichel deflection – to secure a share of the spoils. Braunschweig failed to take their chance in the game again and sit on six points, while Kaiserslautern move onto two, a total that has them in 17th place going into the international break. .

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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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