It’s two for one this week as the 3. Liga and the rest of the German leagues enjoyed two games in the space of just a few days. Week 30 saw two top of the league vs bottom of the league matches, as Heidenheim and RasenBallsport Leipzig took on Wacker Burghausen and Unterhaching respectively and on Sunday, the East German derby between Chemnitzer FC and Hallescher FC saw tempers flare. The pick of the Tuesday night matches was faltering Stuttgarter Kickers against SV Darmstadt while the big game on Wednesday was the top-of-the-league clash between Heidenheim and RB Leipzig.
Heidenheim recover from slump… just
It was said last week that Heidenheim were in a slump. They finally managed to get three points at the weekend in a dull 1-0 victory over lowly Wacker Burghausen, courtesy of a goal by Marc Schnatterer. While the performance wasn’t an improvement, the three points were crucial because waiting for them on Wednesday were persecutors RB Leipzig. The Saxonians could have entered the match putting real pressure on the team above them but surprisingly failed to beat Unterhaching at the weekend, with the match finishing in a 1-1 draw. With the gap at six points and with Darmstadt closing in at just three from the Red Bulls, the top-of-the-table clash was set to be a clash of titans that would leave either team either looking ahead or over their backs. In the end it was the latter, as a 1-1 draw left the visitors slightly happier than the home side. Yussuf Poulsen scored his second in as many games before the break but Matthias Wittek equalised with 20 minutes to go, leaving Leipzig now looking how Darmstadt are closing in for that second spot.
Tempers flare in East German derby
The lone Sunday match saw in-form Chemnitz take on Halle, two teams on a pretty decent run but with different targets. The home side are trying to put away relegation fears before the last few games of the season while one could say that Halle are already there and are solely playing for pride, with neither promotion nor relegation a possibility. It was a match played at fast pace, with both sides being dispossessed often and with plenty of transitions. Pierre Kleinheider was the busiest of the two goalkeepers and made some spectacular saves to keep the score level but was unable to do anything when Chemnitz captain Silvio Bankert pounced on a chance from a corner, although the goal seemed to involuntarily go in after hitting his hand. Before the goal, the game was marred by ugly scenes when HFC fans lit up some flares and started throwing objects at the home fans, who responded accordingly, with the game being stopped for five minutes. Halle had glorious chances to equalise through substitutes Pierre Merkel and Francky Sembolo but, in the end, they made the most of the nine minutes of stoppage time, as Sembolo finished from close range in the 99th minute to give his side a point. Heartbreak for the Sky Blues as the result would have been their fourth win in a row; as for Halle, a point that makes no difference to them other than the pride of beating their regional rivals.
Saarbrücken win, relegation race tightens up
On the back of three consecutive defeats without having scored a goal and nine points from safety, relegation was almost a certainty for the team from the Saar. With Hansa Rostock coming to town, nobody in black and blue expected much more than a point (at the most!) which would do little… and yet not only did they get a good performance but three points to go with it, as they ran out 2-0 winners against the slumping side from the Ostsee. First-half goals by Patrick Schmidt and Raffael Korte were enough to see off the East Germans and close the gap to Wacker Burghausen to one point, with salvation now just six points away, a position held by Stuttgart II. With Burghausen and Saarbrücken all having won within the last three games and ‘Haching and the Swabians having only one point out of the last fifteen, smart money would go on the latter to get relegated, giving the bottom two a fighting chance to play 3. Liga football next season.
Holstein Kiel’s excellent defense provides breathing space
What a season it has been for Holstein Kiel so far. After impressing everyone at the beginning of the season with four wins and two draws in the first six matches, they followed it with 13 games without a win and just two wins in twenty. However, two wins and four clean sheets in the last five games, including a crucial 3-0 victory over Stuttgart II on Wednesday has seen the team from Schleswig-Holstein rise four points from the relegation zone, giving them a little bit of breathing space to what seemed like an inevitable relegation battle a few weeks ago. With Unterhaching and Chemnitz both rivals in the next few weeks, it looks like their cushion will do them a lot of good, considering that they also face trips to Heidenheim and Darmstadt before the end of the season. However, with their excellent defensive record and on the back of a fantastic victory, a result in next weekend’s trip to slumping Osnabrück might just give them the edge they need to keep their noses above water.
Pyrotechnics galore; DFB hand out hefty fines
With the DFB taking pyrotechnics in grounds so seriously, it seems that the 3. Liga is perhaps its biggest headache when it comes to this. Preußen Münster have been handed a 7,500€ fine for their antics in the derby match against Osnabrück while Duisburg have also been handed a 2,500€ fine for smoke coming out of their stands in the match against Preußen Münster in December. With Halle fans causing similar trouble this weekend, expect another fine to go their way in the coming weeks.
RESULTS 30. SPIELTAG
|Borussia Dortmund II||1:1||Stuttgarter Kickers|
|VfB Stuttgart II||1:2||SV Wehen Wiesbaden|
|FC Hansa Rostock||0:1||MSV Duisburg|
|SV Darmstadt 98||1:0||1.FC Saarbrücken|
|SV 07 Elversberg||0:0||Holstein Kiel|
|VfL Osnabrück||1:1||FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt|
|SpVgg Unterhaching||1:1||RasenBallsport Leipzig|
|1.FC Heidenheim||1:0||SV Wacker Burghausen|
|SSV Jahn Regensburg||2:0||SC Preußen Münster|
|Chemnitzer FC||1:1||Hallescher FC|
RESULTS 31. SPIELTAG
|FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt||2:0||SpVgg Unterhaching|
|SV Wehen Wiesbaden||1:0||VfL Osnabrück|
|1.FC Saarbrücken||2:0||FC Hansa Rostock|
|SV Wacker Burghausen||2:2||SSV Jahn Regensburg|
|Stuttgarter Kickers||0:0||SV Darmstadt 98|
|Hallescher FC||0:0||Borussia Dortmund II|
|Holstein Kiel||3:0||VfB Stuttgart II|
|MSV Duisburg||3:0||SV 07 Elversberg|
|SC Preußen Münster||3:1||Chemnitzer FC|
|RasenBallsport Leipzig||1:1||1.FC Heidenheim|
TABELLE 31. SPIELTAG
|3||SV Darmstadt 98||31||16||9||6||47:23||24||57|
|13||B. Dortmund II||31||11||6||14||38:44||-6||39|
|17||VfB Stuttg. II||31||9||7||15||38:47||-9||34|
Header courtesy of Getty Images