Important matches concerning the bottom part of the table predominated in Matchday 17 of the 3. Liga. Bottom two Wacker Burghausen faced the team directly above them, 1. FC Saarbrücken, in the Spiel des Tages, whereas Preußen Münster entertained fellow relegation candidates Stuttgarter Kickers. Holstein Kiel entertained Chemnitz in a clash of two teams that are being drawn into the relegation battle while, at the top, Rot-Weiß Erfurt tried to continue their good form by hosting SV Darmstadt.
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The clash between the bottom two sides of the 3. Liga would determine whether one of them could put a little bit of space between each other and get closer to the safety of 17th or remain perennially in the bottom spots. While Uwe Wolf has sparked a revolution at Burghausen since his arrival, his counterpart Milan Šašić has done an equally excellent job at Saarbrücken, going into the match with only one defeat in the last seven matches, a run of form including two wins. However, this form was still unable to get them out of the bottom spots and Burghausen’s recent good form at home wasn’t going to make things easier for the team from the Saarland.
The hosts started the match brighter, with chances coming from set pieces on either flank that turned out to be harmless and did not trouble FCS goalkeeper Timo Ochs in the slightest. With the confidence of their home form and Saarbrücken’s recent tendency to concede over two goals per match in average in recent matches, Burghausen started launching balls into the box hoping for the lucky break, with Tobias Schröck having the best chance of the match so far but his shot from inside the area ended up in the heavens. Timo Ochs was called into action a few minutes later after good combining passes saw Burghausen reach the opposition area and Stephan Thee’s shot from 20 yards was parried by the former Hertha Berlin and 1860 München goalkeeper. Burghausen’s slick and quick passing was causing much trouble to the visitors who simply could not cope with the pace imposed by their opponents, with Thee again coming close after a string of excellent passes from the home midfield and forwards.
Burghausen deserved to open the scoring but this league is unforgiving and Saarbrücken came back at them with their only chance of the match so far that put them in the lead. A free-kick from Nils Fischer on the halfway line was lofted into the area, flicked by the head of Marcel Ziemer and Philipp Hoffmann’s looping header beat Stephan Loboué and dipped into the goal. A bitter blow dealt by the visitors that did not deter Burghausen’s attacking moves, this time a combination between Henrich Benčík and Maurice Müller seeing the latter’s low effort drift inches wide.
Their own breakthrough came after Marcel Ziemer handled the ball inside the area after a corner was delivered and Christoph Burkhard thundered the ball into the net to give his side a deserved equaliser. The goal spurred them on even further, as Saarbrücken continued to struggle with the quick succession of exchanges between the home side’s players. Benčík had an another excellent chance before the half but his weak shot was tipped by Ochs. For a team stuck to the bottom of the table, Burghausen’s style of play rather belonged to a team at the top of the table and it was only their wasted chances, a characteristic which has haunted them since Matchday 1, that has prevented them from competing further up in the standings.
The second half began with what can only be called a heroic performance from Stephan Loboué. Within the space of a few seconds, the Ivorian goalkeeper made three stunning saves from Maurice Deville, Ziemer and Hoffmann diving across the goal to keep the scores level. There was nothing he could do minutes later as the home defence was split in half and Deville had space to run at Loboué, dispatching his goal coolly and putting FCS on top once again. Burghausen’s slick play and dominance were nowhere to be seen in the second half and Ziemer had an excellent chance to head in his side’s third but failed to find the target unmarked inside the six-yard box. Burghausen now resorted to hopeful balls into the area that came to nothing and the Saarbrücken defence duly dealt with them to take, in the end, the all-important points back home, leaving Burghausen impotent and wondering what could have been had they taken their clear chances in the first half.
- 1. FC Heidenheim have stretched their lead to nine points at the top of the table thanks to their excellent victory at Stuttgart II and the slip-ups of RB Leipzig and SpVgg Unterhaching. This exemplifies why Heidenheim are leaders: consistency. Whereas their rivals can still win on a regular basis, their defeats deter them from challenging or even cutting the lead at the top at the earliest possible chance. Heidenheim’s consistent excellent performances will, unless anything surprising happens get them out of this league. They are the only ones who seem to be able to get any run of form going, followed now by Rot-Weiß Erfurt and their three consecutive victories. However, Erfurt’s previous inconsistency has let them down and this run should still be no cause to believe that they are a consistent side just yet.
- The top goalscorers in the league seem to be going through a crisis. Dominik Stroh-Engel, the league’s top scorer with 14 goals, has failed to find the net in the last three matches, ever since the 4-0 victory against Preußen Münster over a month ago. His team’s dependency on him has meant that they only have one goal in the last three matches and that they have slipped from second to sixth in the table in that space of time. Duisburg’s Kingsley Onuegbu has not scored for four matches, the same amount as next-in-line Daniel Frahn from RB Leipzig.
- Dietmar Hirsch has signed a new contract as manager of Elversberg that will see him at the club until 2016. The former Gladbach and Duisburg player (41) replaced Jens Kiefer after he left on mutual consent and has lead Elversberg to an impressive run of 7 victories in 11 matches, seeing them move up from the bottom of the table to a safe mid-table position and his efforts have been rewarded with a new contract by the Saarland’s new #1 team.
- The East German derby between RB Leipzig and Hansa Rostock was witnessed at the Red Bull Arena by 23,421 spectators, the league’s highest attendance figure so far this season, replacing at the top the 21,243 that watched MSV Duisburg lose at home 2-1 against Borussia Dortmund II at the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena in September. However, the league record for attendance is the 50,095 spectators who watched Fortuna Düsseldorf host Werder Bremen II in the 2008/2009 season.
- However, the match between Leipzig and Rostock was, as expected, not trouble-free. While there was no trouble inside the stadium, the march of the 5,000 Rostock fans to the stadium did provide problems, with bottles being thrown and pyrotechnics on show. 200 Rostock fans also entered the stadium forcefully skipping all controls and, all in all, 22 policemen were injured in the clashes, although Rostock fans have also voiced their discontent regarding police behaviour on their social networks.
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Angelo Vaccaro’s hattrick against Jahn Regensburg for SV Elversberg has made it an easy choice for this week’s Player of the Week award. The Italo-German striker now has 7 goals in total in the league and is one of the main reasons behind Elversberg’s revival alongside goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm and manager Dietmar Hirsch.
Vaccaro (32) is an Italian striker born in Germany who started his career at VfB Stuttgart, making only two Bundesliga appearances for the Swabians against Unterhaching and Borussia Dortmund, both as a late substitute. He then moved on to a host of clubs that included Unterhaching (2002), Augsburg (2005), Stuttgarter Kickers (2006), Eintracht Frankfurt II (2008), Budapest Honvéd (2009), Sorrento (2010) RWDM Brussels on loan (2011), SSV Reutlingen (2011) and, finally, SV Elversberg (2012). Vaccaro’s most successful spell came in the Regionalliga Süd in the 2007/2008 season with Stuttgarter Kickers, a season in which he scored 12 goals in 31 appearances, a figure he looks set to beat this season at Elversberg if he continues in his current form.
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This week, Maximilian Welzmüller’s effort could not prevent Unterhaching from being on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat at Osnabrück but it was enough to win this week’s Goal of the Week. Notable mentions go to Akaki Gogia’s mazy run against Duisburg and David Blacha’s excellent effort at RB Leipzig.
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HOT AND COLD
1. FC HEIDENHEIM
1. FC SAARBRÜCKEN
SV DARMSTADT 98
HANSA ROSTOCK FANS
TABELLE 17. SPIELTAG