3. Liga Week 26 Review

After last week’s 10 victories, only 4 teams managed to take all three points in Week 26 of the German third tier. Unsurprisingly, two of those were the top two, 1. FC Heidenheim and RasenBall Sport Leipzig, while Osnabrück also took advantage of the other team’s slip-ups and lowly Elversberg was the only club in the lower part of the table to do so too. Gaps are starting to create themselves at the top and the bottom of the table and, with only 12 matches to go, the race to the end of the season is very much on.

Frahn drives RB on

Before the start of the Rückrunde, RasenBall Sport Leipzig’s top goalscorer and captain Daniel Frahn was going through quite a dry patch. He hadn’t scred since a mid-October win against Jahn Regensburg and Leipzig’s spot in the top two positions in the table was beginning to look doubtful. Frahn missed Leipzig’s shock home defeat against Wacker Burghausen (0-1) in the opening day of the Rückrunde but returned and scored in the late, late 2-1 defeat at Duisburg the week after. Still, Frahn’s presence back in the side has seemed to have driven his team on, as he has scored two goals in the three games after that. With their captain back on top form, the team seem to be playing much better and pushing forward with much more confidence, picking up three victories on the trot without conceding a single goal, despite having a goalkeeper crisis – Benjamin Bellot, the club’s third goalkeeper, is currently filling in for the injured Fabio Coltorti and Erik Domaschke. With chasers Darmstadt dropping four points in the last three games, RB have built a five-point gap between them and the Lillies and look strong again for that second-placed finish. With their captain and main goalscorer on top form, things are looking rosy for the team from Saxony.

Chemnitz finally score (but still fail to win)

Anton Fink stretches to open the score

December 21st 2013 and it’s stoppage time at the osnatel-ARENA in Osnabrück. Chemnitzer FC are one up against the local side and Maik Kegel made sure of all three points in the 94th minute of the game after a counterattacking move. Five matches and six and a half hours of football later, Chemnitz found the net again. On the half hour mark of this weekend’s match against SV Darmstadt, CFC’s top scorer Anton Fink latched onto a cross by Ronny Garbuschewski and managed to stretch far enough to poke the ball at the far post past Jan Zimmermann. Chemnitz managed to go ahead into the break but, who else, Dominik Stroh-Engel leveled the score for the guests with a header from inside the box. Chemnitz thought they were heading after another defeat when a cross by Marcel Heller was met at the far post by Jérôme Gondorf who nodded it into the net but referee Markus Schmidt adjudged it was a foul on his marker Fabian Stenzel… a somewhat harsh decision.

This result was good for neither side, as Chemnitz could not overtake Holstein Kiel into the safe spots and Darmstadt failed to capitalise on the points dropped by the sides beneath them to increase the gap from 3rd to 4th place. However, Chemnitz will be looking forward to bringing back internally-suspended duo Maik Kegel and Christian Mauersberger next week, after a period of turmoil at the club on and off the pitch.

Yellow cards and suspensions galore for Matchday 27

It was a yellow-card happy Matchday 26 and, despite only one red card shown in all ten matches, a total of 15 (fifteen!) players will miss next week’s match through suspension. Preußen Münster goalkeeper Daniel Masuch got his marching orders mid-way through the second half of his side’s 0-0 draw with Stuttgart II on Friday evening but a total of 45 yellow cards were shown in all ten matches, which resulted in 13 players receiving their fifth booking of the season, suspensions which include Preußen Münster’s top-scorer Denis Grote, out for next week’s huge derby against Osnabrück; Heidenheim’s top striker Smail Morabit and centre-back Mathias Wittek; Borussia Dortmund II captain David Solga and Regensburg’s Jim-Patrick Müller. Elversberg’s captain and leader Timo Wenzel received his tenth yellow of the season and he’ll miss out on his side’s tricky trip to Leipzig while, of course, Daniel Masuch is also suspended for his sending off, pending further suspension.

Winless Erfurt struggle to keep up

After the Rückrunde has been underway for five matches now, only two teams have failed to take away all three points in at least a game: one of them is the aforementioned Chemnitzer FC and the other one is Rot-Weiß Erfurt. With three draws and two defeats, Erfurt find themselves 9th in the table, nine points from third-placed Darmstadt. This weekend they played out a 1-1 draw at Wehen Wiesbaden, a decent result by all means, but one that doesn’t quite get them started in this second phase of the league. The match started well enough with new signing Carsten Kammlott putting Erfurt ahead after just five minutes but Wehen’s Alf Mintzel headed level from inside the area on 27 minutes. Both sides had plenty of chances to take the lead but, in the end, a draw was a fair result in an even match.

Erfurt’s problems were accentuated when centre-back André Laurito broke his nose and will be out until mid-March and manager Walter Kogler was not impressed with the referee’s performance after he disallowed a goal by Kammlott after he adjudged the ball to have gone out of play before the assist. Aykut Öztürk replacement Christopher Drazan (on loan from Kaiserslautern) is slowly adapting to the team and improving game after game but Erfurt need something quick if they want to be in the reckoning for that promotion playoff spot.

Huge expectations for Münster-Osnabrück derby

The biggest local derby in the 3. Liga will once again take place in Matchday 27. Preußen Münster and VfL Osnabrück, just over 30 miles apart from each other, are contesting at different parts of the table and will see this match as the perfect chance not only of gaining three points but also crucial momentum and morale. Two weeks before the match, 12,000 tickets had already been sold and barely a couple of thousand just remain in what will most likely be a close-to full house at the 18,000-capacity Preußen-Stadion. Münster have won all three of the previous derbies at home (2006, 2012, 2013) and even an away one in last season’s Hinrunde (0-2), with the lila-weiß only managing two victories in the last seven derbies.

The derby in this season’s Hinrunde ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw for both sides in front of just under 16,000 people at the osnatel-ARENA but with Osnabrück coming into this match with better form, they’ll fancy taking all three points despite not having home advantage. As mentioned before, Münster will have the handicap of being without top-scorer Denis Grote and starting goalkeeper Daniel Masuch (suspension), two key players in the team, while Osnabrück have an injury-free first XI to exploit that. The match will be played on Saturday at 1400 CET and can be streamed live on Sportschau.

FULL RESULTS 26. SPIELTAG

VfB Stuttgart II - 0:0 - SC Preußen Münster
Borussia Dortmund II - 2:0 - MSV Duisburg
VfL Osnabrück - 3:0 - Hallescher FC
SpVgg Unterhaching - 2:2 - Stuttgarter Kickers
1.FC Heidenheim - 2:1 - 1.FC Saarbrücken
Chemnitzer FC - 1:1 - SV Darmstadt 98
SV Wehen Wiesbaden - 1:1 - FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt
Holstein Kiel - 0:2 - RasenBallsport Leipzig
SV 07 Elversberg - 1:0 - SV Wacker Burghausen
SSV Jahn Regensburg - 1:1 - FC Hansa Rostock

TABELLE 26. SPIELTAG

3.L Team P W D L GD + / – Pts.
- - 1.FC Heidenheim 26 18 6 2 45:15 30 60
- - RB Leipzig Aufsteiger 26 15 4 7 40:26 14 49
- - SV Darmstadt 98 26 12 8 6 41:23 18 44
- - Hansa Rostock 26 11 7 8 33:36 -3 40
- - VfL Osnabrück 26 11 6 9 36:28 8 39
- - Wehen Wiesbaden 26 10 8 8 30:32 -2 38
- - Stuttg. Kickers 26 10 6 10 32:30 2 36
- - MSV Duisburg Absteiger 26 9 9 8 33:33 0 36
- - Rot-Weiß Erfurt 26 10 5 11 37:31 6 35
10 - - Jahn Regensburg Absteiger 26 9 8 9 37:35 2 35
11 - - B. Dortmund II 26 10 4 12 36:39 -3 34
12 - - Hallescher FC 26 10 4 12 29:33 -4 34
13 - - VfB Stuttg. II 26 9 6 11 33:34 -1 33
14 - - Preußen Münster 26 7 11 8 36:36 0 32
15 - - Unterhaching 26 8 8 10 34:44 -10 32
16 - - SV Elversberg Aufsteiger 26 9 5 12 25:35 -10 32
17 - - Holstein Kiel Aufsteiger 26 6 10 10 27:27 0 28
18 - - Chemnitzer FC 26 6 10 10 25:36 -11 28
19 - - W. Burghausen 26 6 6 14 26:45 -19 24
20 - - Saarbrücken 26 5 7 14 28:45 -17 22

 

Header courtesy of facebook.com/rbleipzig

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Aleix Gwilliam

Is a 27-year-old living in Barcelona who gets more pleasure from watching German lower-league football than from going to watch his hometown team at the Camp Nou every other week. Passionate about European football, its history and culture, you can follow him on Twitter at @AleixGwilliam

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