It was a matchday of surprises in the German third tier as results didn’t go the way that many of the league’s favourites would have expected. It was also a week of firsts, as some teams were dealt their first defeat of the campaign, some picked up their first three points and some important players scored their first goals. All in all, a matchday that shows how unpredictable this league can be and how no team can be taken for granted.
SPIEL DES TAGES
A match of the week doesn’t necessarily have to be between two teams at the top of the table. The 3. Liga’s fifth matchday pitched together two teams that are really struggling to get going: Hallescher FC and SV Elversberg. Halle were still without a single point in the league and Elversberg still without a win, having drawn two and lost three and also having only scored two goals.
It was the visitors who created the first big chance of the game through Dominik Rohracker, whose left-footed shot was well saved by Pierre Kleinheider. Halles’s Finnish contingent, made up by Kristian Kojola and the returning Timo Furuholm were the ones causing all the trouble at the other end. Furuholm’s quick feet inside the area ended up seeing his shot go high and Kojola’s header from a Maik Wagefeld free-kick was saved spectacularly by Kenneth Kronholm. In recent games, most importantly those against Holstein Kiel (1-0) and Wehen Wiesbaden (1-2) had Halle had put in a decent performance but received no compensation; against a direct rival like Elversberg, these chances needed to go in.
On 16 minutes, HFC’s Toni Schmidt was brought down inside the area by Bryan Melisse and there was no complaints when referee Florian Heft pointed to the spot. 16 minutes into his home debut, Furuholm stepped up to put his side ahead but skied his penalty above the bar. Could it be another match of missed chances that cost dear for HFC?
The penalty didn’t seem to bring HFC down and they continued to press and create chances. Pierre Merkel and Furuholm, who despite his penalty miss looked a class above the Elversberg defence, were looking threatening but still failing to get the ball in the net for a deserved opener. At the other end, it was Rohracker again who caused trouble and this time Toni Lindenhahn saved off the line. The feeling of déja vu flooded the Erdgas-Sportpark, as Halle seemed to once again be squandering chances that could later make them pay, as Elversberg were coming very close, forcing Kleinheider into important saves, which made the half-time whistle sound like celestial music to HFC’s ears.
The second half was all Halle. Furuholm and Schmidt were again at the head of all the danger for the hosts but still could not find the way to get their shots on target or were blocked by the Elversberg defence. Frustration crept in to the home side and Elversberg seemed happy to take the point but it was the other Finn who broke the deadlock on 82 minutes; a free-kick by Daniel Ziebig from 35 yards out was met at the far post by the head of Kojola, who rose above the SVE defence and headed it into the net for a deserved goal. Kronholm got his hand to it but couldn’t stop the goal from going up on the scoreboard.
Felix Luz could have equalised for SVE five minutes later but his header was weak and well saved by Kleinheider. The home goalkeeper was once again to thank after a fine save from a thundering free-kick by Elversberg captain Timo Wenzel. With Elversberg attacking in numbers and even goalkeeper Kronholm going up for a corner, the danger was cleared by the Halle defence and they went on the counter thanks to the skill, speed and a the luck of Marcel Baude, who ran 70 yards beating two opposition players (with a lucky rebound off his chest). Sören Bertram picked the ball off him and put in a cross for Furuholm to slot into the empty net to put the game beyond doubt and earn Halle their first three points. It was a deserved goal for Furuholm who had worked hard all game long but whose missed chances seemed to frustrate him and his side. It was all in all a deserved win for HFC who will have in Furuholm a player who will no doubt trouble 3. Liga defences from now on, looking to improve his tally of 8 goals from last season. Elversberg were too conservative in the second half and only reacted after Kojola’s goal, ultimately paying the price, a deserved price, for their complacency.
Both teams were enjoying their best form of the season so far and it promised to be a lively encounter at the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena. Chemnitz started bright with chances by Garbuschewski and Silvio Bankert but it was a tough match in the first 15 minutes, as tackles were flying in late and high from both sides which made life difficult for referee Bibiana Steinhaus. Duisburg took the lead on 20 minutes as Pierre De Wit whipped in a free-kick from the left flank that Kingsley Onuegbu headed in, getting in just in front of goalkeeper Philipp Pentke. CFC replied soon after as Fink missed his shot by inches and got their equaliser just before half time, when a Garbuschewski free-kick was met by Benjamin Förster’s head, to which Michael Ratajczak could do nothing. In the second half, Fink once again missed a clear chance to put the away side ahead, this time one-on-one with Ratajczak, as Michael Gardawski also called Pentke into action at the other end with a fine save. Thomas Birk got his marching orders on 86′ with his second yellow of the game but CFC held on for a valuable point.
After last week’s late home defeat to Hansa Rostock, Osnabrück were looking to stay close to the top with a visit to the Saar against inconsistent FC Saarbrücken. The visitors came close as a free-kick from long distance by Osnabrück captain Alexander Dercho was missed by everyone and bounced off the underside of the crossbar but was cleared by the Saarbrücken defence. The home side had the ball in the net through Tim Knipping but was given offside, when it was actually his teammate Thomas Rathgeber who was, despite not interfering with play. In the second half, Rathgeber was in the thick of it once again but his shot from two yards out inexplicably hit the post. FCS continued to press but their efforts were not precise enough to get the coveted goal. As the game ended goalless, it was a below-par performance by Osnabrück as they slip down the table, with Saarbrücken feeling like they dropped two points rather than gained one.
After last week’s excellent victory at Osnabrück, Hansa Rostock looked to consolidate their position in the top places with the visit of lowly Unterhaching, still winless in the league with only two points. Rostock got off to a bad start when David Blacha shot wide inside the area with only Korbinian Müller to beat. It got worse on 7 minutes as Florian Bichler put ‘Haching ahead with a shot from the edge of the area in his side’s first attacking move. ‘Haching continued to press with chances by Alexander Hack and Janik Haberer but the home defence did just enough to keep them out. The game was wide open with plenty of quick transitions but neither side could materialise their chances. Rostock ended the first half and started the second creating plenty of chances and dominating play, but Müller and poor finishing prevented them from getting the equaliser. In the end, it was an unexpected result for the Bavarians in a sunny day on the Ostsee, as they earned their first victory while Rostock will have plenty of shooting practice to do on the back of their first defeat.
It was another surprise result as league leaders Heidenheim succumbed to defeat against a rising Darmstadt side. Jan Zimmermann again was on top form for Darmstadt as he made a fantastic early save from Marc Schnatterer. Both teams defended tightly at the back which prompted them to shoot from long distance, with the shots mostly ending up over the bar. Marco Sailer was SV98’s most dangerous man as the Heidenheim defence were keeping last week’s hattrick hero Dominik Stroh-Engel quiet, but the former Heidenheim man’s chances were dealt with well by the visitor’s defence. SV98 started the second half in the best possible fashion; Excellent combination between Sailer, Marcel Heller and Jerome Gondorf saw the latter put in a cross from the left that was met by the head of Stroh-Engel, a header that Rouven Sattelmaier could only parry; Milan Ivana was first onto the bouncing rebound and headed it into the net to make it 1-0 to Darmstadt. Darmstadt’s high pressure and attacking plays restricted Heidenheim to a handful of chances, which Zimmermann dealt with excellently. In the end, the three points went to the home side as Heidenheim fall out of the top 3 with their first and deserved defeat of the season.
With both teams coming off the back of heavy defeats, it was a chance for them to redeem themselves. Jürgen Klopp was watching in the stands and would have been impressed with both goalkeepers, especially with Zlatan Alomerović, as they both kept the score at 0-0 when called into action with fine saves. BVB started the second half better with excellent chances by Marvin Ducksch, saved by Patrick Wiegers, David Solga who hit the underside of the post from a free kick and Bálint Bajner, who hit the crossbar. However, it was Regensburg who went ahead on 73 minutes against the run of play when Benedikt Schmid poked the ball from inside the six-yard box past Alomerović. Ten minutes later, BVB were back into it when Ducksch was brought down inside the area by substitute Dimitris Anastasopoulos and Solga sent Wiegers the wrong way to make it 1-1. Regensburg were back in front only three minutes later in the most bizarre of fashions; an 80-yard goal-kick by Wiegers found Marius Müller out wide on the left and Müller himself ran into the area and put a diagonal shot past Alomerović to make it 2-1 to the visitors and ensure their first win of the season.
It was always going to be a tough one for Erfurt without suspended striker Mijo Tunjić, injured playmaker Nils Pfingsten-Reddig and with Simon Brandstetter still not 100% after his shoulder injury. Tough it was indeed. Leipzig took the lead after just 28 seconds when Stefan Kleineheismann made a mess of his backpass and Yussuf Poulsen nipped behind him to slot the ball past Philipp Klewin. It was the first goal of the season for the league’s record signing and a nightmare start for Erfurt. Brandstetter was, as always, Erfurt’s most dangerous man and nearly equalised when his header hit the bar on 26 minutes. Poulsen had a clear chance to make it 2-0 but was not able to resolve his one-on-one situation with Klewin on 37′, a situation that Anthony Jung couldn’t solve either, shooting just wide minutes later with a crossed shot. Erfurt started the second 45 better and created chances mostly through Marius Strangl, but Fabio Coltorti was equal to his efforts. The game was put beyond doubt on 87 minutes when Poulsen curled in a shot with his left foot from just inside the area that beat Klewin to his far post and gave all three points to Leipzig. Erfurt continue with their struggle to find a win, a streak which now stands at three games and sees them drop to seventh, while Leipzig move up to third.
After last week’s surprise draw against RB Leipzig, Wacker Burghausen were looking to gain yet more points against another of the league’s favourites. It all pointed to another upset as Burghausen took the lead in an even game on 28 minutes when Marco Holz slotted into an empty net after a square ball by Maurice Müller. Wehen equalised just seven minutes later as Tobias Jänicke went unchallenged on a 50-yard solo run all the way to the area, and his shot deflected off the knee of defender Alexander Eberlein past a helpless Stephan Loboué to make it 1-1. Burghausen started the second half well pushing up and creating chances, but it was Jänicke again who was their nemesis, putting his side ahead with a low and dry shot from the right-hand side of the area on 63 minutes. Wehen were reduced to ten men just three minutes later when Nico Herzig received his second yellow card in three minutes; a lifeline for Burghausen but one that they wouldn’t take. On 71 minutes, striker Jean-Pierre Vunguidica on the counterattack raced towards the area and beat Loboué, who was incomprehensibly off his line, to make it 3-1 to the visitors. Despite the man advantage, there was little Burghausen could do and Wehen imposed their dominance and quality to go top of the table with a two-point advantage whilst Burghausen drop to last place after Halle’s victory.
There is no doubt that Holstein Kiel are this season’s surprise package. After their promotion from the Regionalliga Nord, they now sit in second place after three victories and two draws in five games. Their latest victory, a thrashing of a faltering Münster side who is now winless in four games. Kiel took the lead on 16 minutes as, who else, Marcel Gebers, now the league’s top scorer with four goals and Kiel’s centre back, nodded in from short range, a weapon that Kiel are using well to their advantage. Things got worse for the home side just ten minutes later as Kiel doubled their lead through Marc Heider, who put in a low shot that bead Daniel Masuch at his near post. While still in shock, Preußen conceded their third goal after just 34 minutes and what a goal it was; after a clever back-heel from Rafael Kazior, Marc Heider was through towards goal and squared it for Tim Siedschlag, who also backheeled it into the net. With three goals down, it was a sad anniversary for Preußen Münster, who commemorated their match against HSV in the first ever Bundesliga matchday 50 years ago. Maximilian Riedmüller was mostly responsible for Münster not getting back in the game in the second half and Kiel held on for the victory whilst Münster keep on sliding further down the table unable to react.
On the only Sunday match, VfB Stuttgart’s amateur side beat their city rivals in the Stuttgart derby. Two goals at either side of the game did just the trick for the away side, who enjoyed their second victory in a row, while Kickers are still down in the relegation zone, this time in 19th place. Stuttgart started the match well and went ahead after just 9 minutes when Marvin Wanitzek’s free-kick rebounded off the Kickers wall and deflected into the net past a helpless Markus Krauss. Kickers created almost nothing in the first 45 but came out in the second half looking a bit more alive, with Kevin Dicklhuber shooting straight at Kevin Müller. As Kickers pushed all their men forward for the last few minutes, Stuttgart hit them on the counterattack; Marco Grüttner played a magnificent ball with the outside of his foot that found Alexander Riemann and set him through one-on-one with Krauss. Riemann kept his cool and slotted past the home goalkeeper to win the derby for his team. Kickers’ weak performance all game long in what was one of the season’s most significant games for them quashes no doubts as to why they are relegation candidates for this season.
SPIELER DES TAGES
Tobias Jänicke’s (b. 1989) excellent performance against Wacker Burghausen wins him this week’s Spieler des Tages. His excellent first goal after a 50-yard run indeed did have a touch of luck but his second goal, an effort that emphasises his attacking mindset meant that Wehen could come out with all three points from a match that was getting tricky. With Jänicke being a midfield man, his contribution to Wehen’s campaign so far has been invaluable, with three goals so far and being a key part of their excellent build-up play which translates in 12 goals in 5 matches.
Jänicke started his career at Hansa Rostock, going up through the youth ranks and reaching the first team in 2009, establishing himself as a key part of Rostock’s 2. Bundesliga campaign in 2009/2010, playing 31 matches in total and unable to avoid relegation to the 3. Liga despite his 4 goals. In the third tier, Jänicke continued to be a key man for die Kogge, playing 38 matches and scoring 9 goals, earning promotion straight away after a 2nd place finish. As Rostock finished bottom of the 2. Bundesliga the season after, Jänicke stayed in East Germany but made the move to Dynamo Dresden for the 2012/2013 season on a free transfer, playing only 18 games and scoring just the one goal. He was released by Dresden at the end of the season and signed for Wehen, where he will no doubt use his experience in the 3. Liga and the league above to push for promotion.
TABELLE 5. SPIELTAG