It might not have had the explosiveness or amount of goals that the previous weeks have enjoyed, although Matchday 11 was one which featured several hard-fought games with little between the sides. With that all in mind, here’s how this weekend panned out.
FC Ingolstadt 04 3-0 1. FC Heidenheim
Ingolstadt started off strongly at this game and never let go from there. Heidenheim keeper Kevin Müller was the key man in the opening half, keeping Stefan Kutschke and Sonny Kittel at bay throughout. Christian Träsch hit the bar in some style, from a stunning 25-yard volley, while Marc Schnatterer and company struggled to create anything of note going forward. Ingolstadt’s Hauke Wahl finally broke the deadlock right on half time, as Kittel’s free-kick was met by a powerful header from his centre-back. Müller was powerless, and it was a real blow at the wrong time for Frank Schmidt’s side.
Heidenheim were spurred on somewhat after the break, with Maximilian Thiel going close just before the hour, though they were unable to really test Ørjan Nyland in the home goal. It was no real shock, then, that Ingolstadt doubled their lead with 20 minutes to go. It appeared Wahl had got his second from a Kittel free-kick, but instead it was the midfielder’s delivery that had slipped all the way through and in. Kittel was then fouled in the area by Marnon Busch, and Kutschke confidently stepped up to convert from the spot. A stark warning for Heidenheim, they’re in trouble. Ingolstadt’s form under Stefan Leitl continues to improve.
Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-0 SV Darmstadt 98
Fortuna have made a habit of getting off to good starts this season, and this game was no exception. Oliver Fink flicked on Takashi Usami’s corner to the back post, and Emir Kujovic was on hand to head home past the helpless Joël Mall. The Swiss stopper did well to prevent his side from going further behind, when he turned a powerful Usami effort onto the upright. Jan Rosenthal had the best chance of the half for the Lilies, who eventually battled back into the game, but he chipped wide of the far post when faced with Raphael Wolf.
Darmstadt were then thwarted by Kaan Ayhan after the restart, as the Turkish centre-half covered an incredible amount of ground to catch up with Marvin Mehlem and block his goal-bound shot. After a very fraught and exciting first half, the second failed to live up to that early promise and the two sides were largely ineffective going forward. Aside from some late drama involving Mall, where he ended up defending an indirect free-kick before ending up at the other end for the final chance of the game, it was fairly routine for Fortuna. Another win, which maintained their amazing start.
1. FC Union Berlin 3-1 SpVgg Greuther Fürth
Trying to keep their winning run going, Union couldn’t have wished for a better start. After someone tidy play around the area, Akaki Gogia fed Peter Kurzweg to mark his rare involvement in the starting side with a simple finish. Gogia was very lively, along with Marcel Hartel, and Sascha Burchert had to be alert to deny both and then make a stellar double save in order to keep the score down. The Shamrocks struggled all half to get going in attack, and it was no great surprise to see Union double their lead when Gogia sent a superb strike into the far bottom corner on the angle.
Damir Buric’s team-talk seemed to spur on the Franconians after the break, with Fabian Schönheim almost putting through his own net. Their improvement was duly rewarded before the hour, as Maximilian Wittek took aim from 25 yards and found the bottom corner as Jakob Busk failed to palm the ball away. Fürth took heart from that and began to push Union back, but failed to take advantage of any openings and were suitably punished. Simon Hedlund showed his pace and poise to get through on goal and finish the game off. Not pretty, but Jens Keller’s men continued their march.
Eintracht Braunschweig 1-0 VfL Bochum
With things taking a positive turn over the past seven days, many expected Bochum to start well in Braunschweig. That they did, with Braunschweig keeper Jasmin Fejzic called into action early on before being forced off with injury. Any concerns were immediately lifted when Maximilian Sauer got into space on the right, and cut back to the edge of the box for Özkan Yıldırım to sweep home a superb effort after just seven minutes. The remainder of the half belonged to the visitors, though neither Robbie Kruse or Lukas Hinterseer could make their possession really tell when it mattered.
After losing Fejzic, Torsten Lieberknecht really didn’t need to lose Joe Baffo with a serious looking knee problem either. Braunschweig did offer up some attacking threat in the second half as Yıldırım cracked the crossbar and Manuel Riemann denied Louis Samson, though Bochum remained in control. It was a frustrating afternoon for the away side, who found it even harder to find a way through in the second period. Both sides were left unhappy with some questionable refereeing decisions throughout, yet it was EBS who were left smiling after the game with a morale-boosting win.
Holstein Kiel 2-1 Arminia Bielefeld
The first half of a major encounter at the top end of the table was somewhat slow, which was to be expected. The two teams were doing their best to force a way through, only for that to quickly come to a head of frustration as yellow cards were brandished on a regular basis. Stefan Ortega and Kenneth Kronholm were forced into some saves after the period of physicality passed, with Ortega making a particularly impressive acrobatic stop to deny Marvin Ducksch. Konstantin Kerschbaumer had the visitors’ best effort, with Kronholm equal to the task.
Despite starting the second half off better than their opponents, with Julian Börner going close with a headed effort, it was Bielefeld who found themselves behind. Steven Lewerenz came off the bench to great effect, as he set up Ducksch to continue his good form with another fine finish. Just two minutes later, the roles were reversed as the winger got on the scoresheet himself from Ducksch’s pass. Bielefeld pushed on still after that, and Jeff Saibene’s men found a way back after Rafael Czichos’ header ended up in his own goal. They couldn’t find a second, as Kiel kept pace with Fortuna.
1. FC Kaiserslautern 0-1 MSV Duisburg
Given the situation of both sides before the game, almost the direct opposite of Kiel and Arminia, it was as tense as expected. That said, once the early shackles came off both sides tried to find a way through. Joel Abu Hanna’s cross was inches away from reaching Sebastian Andersson, while Moritz Stoppelkamp was denied by the boot of Marius Müller. However, it was that same boot that was adjudged to have brought down Cauly Souza Oliveira in the box just before the break. There appeared to be no contact, and the Red Devils felt justice was done when Stoppelkamp shot over.
Despite Kaiserslautern ending the first period on the front foot, Duisburg came out stronger from the break. Enis Hajri almost found the breakthrough after the hour, before Müller did well to tip over Kevin Wolze’s dipping effort. The resulting corner was whipped in by Fabian Schnellhardt and Dustin Bomheuer came storming in to bullet his header in from close range. The game went from end to end in the final stages but brought little to no success, as the Zebras held on for three vital points to increase the gap between themselves and Kaiserslautern to six points.
1. FC Nürnberg 2-1 Dynamo Dresden
In the traditional clash on Sunday afternoon, Nürnberg got the start they were looking for after just seven minutes. Mikael Ishak scored his eighth goal of the season with a simple tap-in after Hanno Behrens flicked a Enrico Valentini ball to the back post for the Swede. Dynamo’s midfield were behind their revival from there on, and it was the likes of Aias Aosman who ended up with the chances. It was Lumpi who came closest, when he cracked the upright. FCN’s only real attacking threat of the first half came in the latter stages, where Marvin Schwäbe denied both Cedric Teuchert and Kevin Möhwald.
Things were just as tough after the break, with neither side wanting to give an inch to their opponents. Dynamo were slightly more attacking, and found a way back into the game through a second dive in as many weeks. This time it was Erich Berko who tricked the referee, but the result did not change as Peniel Mlapa scored his fifth goal in three games from the spot. However, Nürnberg had the last laugh when Patrick Erras split the visiting defence and Teuchert rounded Schwäbe to slot home. FCN rose to third as a result, with Dynamo stuck in mid-table.
Erzgebirge Aue 1-0 Jahn Regensburg
A theme of the weekend was physicality, and this game was no exception. Jann George hobbled off with an early injury before Dimitrij Nazarov’s throw-in his Sebastian Stolze in the face. Sven Waschitzki produced the red card, much to Nazarov’s dismay. Marco Grüttner and Sargis Adamyan brought big saves from Martin Männel immediately afterwards, who would be busy for the remainder of the game. Aue managed to reply any further attacks before the break, with Hannes Drews’ men doing a fine job to that point.
Fouls in the first half were followed by more in the second, though there was one real piece just before the hour mark that would prove decisive. Jahn were dispossessed in a dangerous area, and Dennis Kempe picked out Mario Kvesic in the middle. He worked his way around the area to find some space before rifling the ball into the bottom corner with Philipp Pentke rooted to the spot. Männel made a string of saves while the visitors built up pressure, but they failed to make the man advantage count and it was Aue who moved further clear of the drop zone.
SV Sandhausen 1-1 FC St. Pauli
The visitors were the stronger side in the first period but it was one which saw both teams unable to make their chances count. Jose Pierre Vunguidica was denied by a smart save from Robin Himmelmann after 15 minutes, while Christopher Buchtmann’s shot was taken off his toes by Philipp Klingmann moments before he pulled the trigger. The clearest opening fell for Bernd Nehrig late on, as the ball dropped kindly for the captain. However, Marcel Schuhen rushed out and spread himself to deny the frustrated midfielder.
Philipp Förster had the first effort after the break on goal, though that was quickly followed by St. Pauli turning on the style. No matter what they tried, however, they couldn’t find a way past Schuhen. The goals finally came in the final 10 minutes, as Manuel Stiefler met a half-cleared corner on the edge of the area to rifle a swerving shot into the bottom corner. His first goal in 961 days was soon followed by a first-ever professional goal. Jan-Marc Schneider was on hand to turn and fire home after some wonderful work by Sami Allagui to earn a share of the spoils in leave both sides in fifth and sixth.