Ingolstadt strengthened their grip on top spot with a narrow win over Red Bull Leipzig while Kaiserslautern moved into the second promotion spot with a comfortable victory over bottom-placed Aue.
Elsewhere, Karlsruher picked up an important 3 points against the in-form Eintracht Braunschweig and Sandhausen picked up a surprising victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf.
At the other end of the table, there were vital wins for Aalen, Union Berlin and Nürnberg and Peter Neururer’s final game as manager of Bochum ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw with St Pauli.
Let’s take a look at the team of the week for matchday 16.
Dirk Orlishausen – The Karlsruher goalkeeper was in fine form as he managed to keep his fourth consecutive clean sheet by keeping out a Braunschweig side that had previously scored in last 7 consecutive games. Orlishausen was an example of calm as he claimed almost every set-piece and pulled off a couple of very important saves, with his late save from Ryu proving to be a particular highlight.
Willi Orban – The Kaiserslautern native has come on leaps and bounds from last season and has formed one of the best centre-back partnerships in the league, with Dominique Heintz. Orban was solid at the back in Saturday’s win over Aue but his biggest contribution came at the other end as he scored 2 goals in Kaiserslautern’s 3-0 win over Aue. Orban was dominant from set pieces as he latched onto Kerem Demirbay’s corner to score his first before he grabbed his 2nd with a tap in after Srdjan Lakic’s free-kick came back off of the woodwork. Orban was desperate to grab a hat-trick and came close to a third on 3 separate occasions.
Benedikt Rocker – The towering centre-back was tasked with controlling the the formidable Dominik Stroh-Engel and the Fürth centre back put in an assured display against the Darmstadt talisman. Rocker’s tall frame enabled him to match the striker in the aerial battles as the Fürth man came out on top more often than not.
Marco Caligiuri – The former Braunschweig man has had a mixed time since joining Fürth and being converted into a centre-back. However, like his central defensive partner, Benedikt Rocker, Caligiuri put in an excellent display against the high-flying new-boys. Darmstadt went with a more attacking 4-4-2 for the visit of Furth but Caligiuri was equal to the task as he put in a composed performance.
Leandro Grech – Like Caligiuri, Leandro has spent most of his career in midfield but spent this weekend at centre-back and just like Caligiuri, he put in a fine display. Leandro did a wonderful job in a foreign position as the Aalen man was forced to contend with an in-form Heidenheim side. Aalen have now moved out of the relegation places after 2 consecutive wins and the Argentine has been excellent in both games.
Pascal Groß – Yet again, Groß makes the team of the week after yet another excellent display. This time, at Red Bull Leipzig. Ingolstadt further proved their promotion credentials with a narrow win over the league’s big-spenders and Groß was integral to the victory as he put in an excellent box-to-box performance and topped off his performance with the only goal of the game (his 3rd of the season).
Jean Zimmer – Zimmer has had no trouble adapting to his new right-wing role and he again impressed as Kaiserslautern comfortably beat Aue. Zimmer scored for the 2nd consecutive game as he volleyed beyond Mannel after the ball was deflected into his path. Zimmer almost grabbed another goal but his audacious 40 yard volley hit the cross-bar, with the goalkeeper beaten.
Kerem Demirbay – The Kaiserslautern midfielder, on loan from Hamburg, has been in supreme form since returning from an ankle injury. The 21 year old grabbed an early assist as his corner was volleyed in by Willi Orban but there was so much more to Demirbay’s game. He controlled the game from deep, spraying passes all over the field and causing havoc for the Aue midfield and defence.
Alessandro Schöpf – The Austrian has been the stand-out player for Nürnberg, this season and 1860 Munich were the latest team to suffer at the hands of the attacking-midfielder. Schöpf opened the scoring as he made a fine run into the box, leaving Christopher Schindler on his back-side, before finishing beyond Stefan Ortega in the 1860 goal.
Dominick Drexler – Drexler has had a disappointing start to life at Aalen, since joining from Greuther Fürth. However, the forward finally scored his first goal for his new club in their vital derby win over Heidenheim. Drexler scored the only goal of the game as his fine half-volley beat the despairing dive of Felix Korber.
Aziz Bouhaddouz – Bouhaddouz has been in and out of the Sandhausen side in recent weeks but the former Leverkusen striker justified his starting berth as he scored 2 goals in his side’s shock 3-1 victory at Fortuna Düsseldorf. The Moroccan striker opened the scoring as he held off the attentions of Adam Bodzek before beating Lars Unnerstall with a fine left-footed finish and he then sealed the victory with a tap-in, after good work from Nicky Adler.
Honourable Mentions: Ramazan Ozcan (Ingolstadt), Seyi Olajengbesi (Sandhausen), Dennis Chessa (Aalen), Denis Linsmayer (Sandhausen), Steven Skrzybski (Union Berlin), Matthew Leckie (Ingolstadt) and Jakub Sylvestr (Nürnberg).
Player of the week
Goal of the week
Ben Halloran’s superb equalising goal for F95 was the stand-out strike from this week’s round of matches. The Australian winger linked up well with Joel Pohjanpalo before calmly lobbing the ball over Manuel Riemann.
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