The 3. Liga was back from its Winterpause with two Friday matches and eight Saturday ones. It has been a busy winter break for relegation-strugglers 1. FC Saarbrücken, who have signed some important players in Stefan Reisinger (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Juri Judt (unattached) and Kevin Pezzoni (Erzgebirge Aue). They faced SV Elversberg in the Saarland derby in the match of the week and expectations were high for FCS to produce three points. Other matches to highlight were 7th placed Osnabrück against 3rd placed Darmstadt and relegation battlers Holstein Kiel against Stuttgarter Kickers.
Elversberg comfortably win Saarland derby
As mentioned, Saarbrücken came into the derby as favourites, not just because they came into the Winterpause in better form than their neighbours but also due to the additions they made during the break. 8200 fans packed the Waldstadion an der Kaiserlinde when the average crowd before this weekend was of just over 2000. The Saarbrücken fans were in good voice during the first half but the game did not live up to expectations straight away, with a slow start that saw chances that didn’t trouble either goalkeeper. The game came to life just before the half-time whistle when Milad Salem put the hosts ahead with a stunning strike from the corner of the area. The hosts doubled their lead ten minutes after the restart when Felix Luz headed from close range. Elversberg had no time to assert their dominance on the game because, just four minutes later, Marcel Ziemer tapped the ball in from a yard out after a corner. However, Saarbrücken’s glee lasted all of two minutes as Elversberg regained their two-goal lead thanks to a low shot by Sercan Göcer from the edge of the area. Göcer only made the move to Elversberg a few days ago from… Saarbrücken. The game had gone mad with three goals in just five minutes but the result stayed as it was and Elversberg gained their first win in five games while FCS drop to the foot of the table seven points from safety.
Upsets all round
Logic played no part in many results of Matchday 22 of the 3. Liga as many of the top sides were defeated by the league’s minnows. The most striking case was the defeat of RasenBall Sport Leipzig at home to bottom-of-the-table Wacker Burghausen, who managed to pull off a surprise 1-0 win in Saxony thanks to a goal just before half-time by Angelo Hauk, a goal that lifts them off the foot of the table. Another surprise result came at the expense of Hansa Rostock, who hadn’t lost a match since mid-October against Stuttgarter Kickers and their return to Stuttgart saw them get beat again, this time against Stuttgart II who thrashed them 4-1, earning the young Stuttgarters a first win in 9 matches. Last but not least, Wehen Wiesbaden suffered a heavy 3-0 home defeat against Hallescher.
Schnatterer hat-trick inspires unstoppable Heidenheim
It has been said many times before but Marc Schnatterer’s status as the league’s best player is becoming more and more obvious every week. His return from the winter break could not have been any better, as his hat-trick earned 1. FC Heidenheim three points against Chemnitzer FC. His first was a well-taken finish from a tight angle 20 minutes into the game and, with 15 minutes to go, two goals a minute apart (one of them from the penalty spot) were enough to see off the Sky Blues who conceded defeat for the first time since mid-November. After RB Leipzig’s slip-up, Heidenheim extended their lead at the top of the table to 10 points, making them obvious favourites for promotion to the 2. Bundesliga.
Tight at the foot of the table
While the fight at the top of the table might be a matter of two or three for the top two spots, the fight at the bottom is much tighter. Saarbrücken and Wacker Burghausen are favourites for the drop with 19 and 20 points respectively but, above them, Holstein Kiel sits on 25 points but with only three points separating them from 11th-placed Preußen Münster. A total of eight teams are separated by three points and ten teams by four points if we count Stuttgart II and MSV Duisburg. Any winning or losing streak could see teams drop or climb drastically up the table, which will make for a very interesting Rückrunde.
License problems at Leipzig
RasenBall Sport Leipzig’s hypothetical presence in next year’s 2. Bundesliga is far from secure. Speaking to journalists at a fan congress in Berlin, DFL Managing Director Andreas Rettig stated that the club will not obtain a license with their current structure. Rettig also said that investors and sponsors are welcome “as long as they stay within the rules” and that any problems that any license applicant may have “will be looked at very carefully”. However, the DFL board has the option of rejecting any license application without having to justify themselves, something which contrasts with the unconditional license given to the Red Bull club for the 3. Liga last season. With the license documents due to be submitted in March at the latest, RB Leipzig must act quickly to avoid any problems with it. However, if the license was to be denied, the club could sue the DFL due to a loophole with the 50+1 rule in their statues that they believe exists.
FULL RESULTS 22. SPIELTAG
TABELLE 22. SPIELTAG
|3.L||TEAM||GP||W||D||L||F/A||+ / –||Pts|
|3||SV Darmstadt 98||22||10||6||6||34:19||15||36|
|9||VfB Stuttg. II||22||8||5||9||30:30||0||29|
|13||B. Dortmund II||22||8||4||10||30:34||-4||28|