2. Bundesliga: Fortuna Düsseldorf, SC Paderborn Continue Climb Upwards

Fortuna Düsseldorf climbed to a tie for second place in 2. Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt following their 3-1 win Monday at the Millentor over St. Pauli.  SpVgg Greuther Furth still lead the league with 26 points, only one above Düsseldorf and Frankfurt.  Düsseldorf are still the only undefeated team in the league, and their +15 goal differential trails only the Eagles of Frankfurt (+18) and Greuther Furth (+16).  Meanwhile, SC Paderborn 07 won their fourth consecutive match Friday, downing Eintracht Braunschweig 1-0.

Fortuna Düsseldorf had their work cut out for them, facing a St. Pauli team that also had achieved 22 points before Monday’s matchup.  It’s been three decades since Düsseldorf experienced the glory of two consecutive German Cups (1979-80), but Coach Norbert Meier looks to have F95 on the right track for success in 2011/2012.

The  2. Bundesliga featured match Monday evening didn’t start off well for Dusseldorf.  St. Pauli’s energetic Max Kruse took a backheel pass from Fins Bartels and blasted a shot goalwards in the 15th minute, which Dusselforf goalkeeper Michael Ratajczak got two hands on.  Unfortunately for the veteran stopper, the ball bounced backwards off his hands and into the goal to give St. Pauli an early lead.

But Meier’s club didn’t give up and a combination of effort and good fortune got them the three points to separate themselves from cult club St. Pauli in the league standings.  Sascha Rosler and Max Beister had chances to equalize but the first Düsseldorf goal came courtesy of Andreas Lambertz, who worked past three defenders to gain space and unleash a lethal long-distance blast in first half stoppage time.

Lambertz struck again in the 57th minute.  Rosler played provider as he found Lambertz who delivered a shot that went right through the legs of buccaneers keeper Phillip Tschauner to give Dusseldorf a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.  Lambertz, the F95 captain, has been with Fortuna Düsseldorf since 2002,  and the 26 year-old midfielder has appeared in over 200 matches for the club.

But Düsseldorf weren’t done for the day.  St. Pauli’s efforts to recover were hindered by the second yellow card earned by former Augsburg and 1860 Munich man Markus Thorandt in the 68th minute.  The Hamburg side lost their cool as goalkeeper Tschauner received a yellow card for protesting the ejection of his teammate a minute later.  Max Beister, who led both teams Monday with five shots on goal, sealed the deal for the visitors against the self-defeating St. Pauli side in the 75th minute, as he came down the right, cut hard to his left and created the space to place a fine shot past Tschauner to insure the continuance of Düsseldorf’s undefeated campaign.

Monday’s loss was a tough one for Coach Andres Schubert and his buccaneers before an enthusiastic Millentor home crowd.  To some degree, St. Pauli were short on luck, as they hit the woodwork twice and were denied a call for a penalty kick before the game got out of hand.  But Düsseldorf are an insistent bunch that feature a great degree of mental toughness, and were well-prepared for this important fixture.   They outshot their hosts 18-6.  Lambertz had an outstanding game for the visitors, not only converting both of his shots into goals but also leading both teams in tackles (19) while completing 28 of 30 passes.

After eleven league matches, Düsseldorf have already faced every team in the top half of the table with the exception of FC Union Berlin and SpVgg Greuther Furth and earned a positive result.  With scoring coming from Rösler, Beister, Thomas Bröker, Jens Langeneke and now Lambertz, Meier doesn’t have to rely on one or two players for successful finishing.   F95 play at Union Berlin November 19 and host Greuther Furth on November 28th.

SC Paderborn 07 Making Noise in the Second Tier

Another team on a great run of form are SC Paderborn 07, currently inhabiting the 5th spot in the table.  Despite their humble ambitions, Paderborn are undefeated in their last seven matches and have won their last four times out.  Goalkeeper Lukas Kruse has only allowed eight league goals in 990 minutes, while Nick Proschwitz leads the club with five goals.  Following a 12th place finish last year, this season’s performance has been quite a turnaround for Coach Roger Schmidt and Sport Director Michael Born.

Last Friday’s match at the Energieteam Arena saw the club from North Rhine-Westphalia surpass the surprising Braunschweig squad to move into fifth place.  Defender Christian Strohdiek, 23, got his head on a ball from teammate Alban Meha following a free kick and converted, staking his club to an early 7th minute lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.  It was Strohdiek’s first goal since coming to Paderborn in 2007.

Paderborn held on thanks to goalkeeper Kruse, who made four saves in the first 15 minutes of the second half when Braunschweig was pressing.  Paderborn were outshot 14-7 (with seven of Braunschweig’s shots coming from inside the box) on the day, and faced five corner kick opportunities by Braunschweig to only two they forced.  But Paderborn won 56% of the games’ tackles, led by Jens Wemmer and Proschwitz with 16 each.  Defender Enis Alushi also had a productive match for Paderborn, completing 44 of 46 passes while leading the team in touches with 64.  Wemmer, Proschwitz, Alushi and Kruse have played every minute so far this season for Paderborn and provide a reliable foundation for Paderborn’s improvement.

With Paderborn surrendering only one goal in its last six league matches, Coach Roger Schmidt has his team earning results consistently now.  The 44 year-old German will likely be unable to keep Paderborn in the season long push for promotion with Greuther Furth, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Dusseldorf and St. Pauli playing well, and more expected from Energie Cottbus, but it’s nice to see the fans of the small club rewarded with some winning football.

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Gerry Wittmann

Gerry is the founder of the Bundesliga Fanatic. Besides loving German football, he also enjoys the NBA, collecting jerseys and LPs, his pets and wishes he had more time for fishing, bicycling and learning the bass guitar.

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