The league leaders extend their lead in the table, while 4th through 15th are within 6 points of each other. Here are the results from Matchday 8:
Stuttgart 1 – Arminia Bielefeld 0
The biggest match of the weekend, featuring the division’s only two remaining unbeaten sides, took place at the SchücoArena on Friday evening as league leader’s Stuttgart visited 3rd placed Bielefeld.
Stuttgart showed that they arguably have the most complete squad in the division at the present moment, controlling much of the ball (68% - 32%) and creating several chances in the first half. Bielefeld keeper Stefan Ortega saved from Daniel Didavi and Philipp Förster, while Santiago Ascacibar smashed a free header just over the bar.
Bielefeld however, were threatening on the counter and fullback Florian Hartherz nearly gave the home side the lead in the 38th minute, but his rifled shot from distance caromed off the bar, saving Stuttgart’s blushes. Stuttgart keeper Gregor Kobel then saved Fabian Klos’s header from point blank range, and the match went into the half scoreless, despite some fluid attacking play.
The match changed in the 59th minute when Klos, Bielefeld’s captain, received a second yellow card and was sent off for a high elbow on Pascal Stenzel while going for a header. The second card was deserved, but the controversy over the first yellow made his dismissal seem somewhat harsh.
Klos picked up his first caution in the 39th minute for dissent, after a tussle with Holger Badstuber. Badstuber, himself having been cautioned in the 14th minute, clambered all over Klos’s back while defending a long ball, but referee Timo Gerach, perhaps wanting to exercise discretion in what had, up to this point, been an entertaining match, didn’t even call a foul. This of course, infuriated Klos, who Gerach then booked for his reaction.
Subsequently, when Gerach dismissed Klos in the 59th minute, despite Klos clearly not seeing Stenzel until he made contact with him, Bielefeld fans were undoubtedly asking why the ref didn’t exercise the same discretion he had in the first half. Despite their intense protests, Klos was off and Bielefeld had to finish the match with 10 men.
Stuttgart manager Tim Walter brought on former Germany international Mario Gómez for his first appearance in several matches to try and find a late winner, and Gómez thought he’d scored it in the 80th minute, only for VAR to flag him for a marginal, but correct, offside in the buildup.
Bielefeld center-back Amos Pieper then saw his header get deflected over the bar by counterpart Marc-Oliver Kempf and shortly thereafter, Stuttgart broke on the counter and Förster’s cutback found Hamadi Al Ghaddioui, who beat his marker and turned the ball into the net for the winner, a minute into stoppage time.
The result sees Stuttgart increase their lead at the top of the table, while Bielefeld, who felt quite harshly done by the result, remaining 3rd after their first defeat of the season.
Wiesbaden 2 – Osnabrück 0
League cellar dwellers Wiesbaden picked up their first win of the season in front of their home supporters at the BRITA-Arena, besting visiting Osnabrück.
After sub-par performances in previous matches, Wiesbaden manager Rüdiger Rehm replaced #1 keeper Lukas Watkowiak with Köln loanee Jan-Christoph Bartels. This change…lasted a whole 3 minutes, as Bartels picked up a leg injury in the infant stages of the match, forcing Rehm to recall Watkowiak to his place between the sticks.
Osnabrück controlled most of the ball (71%-29%), but put none of their 5 shots on target. Wiesbaden on the other hand, looked dangerous on the counter, and they took the lead in the 23rd minute. Center-back Niklas Dams got to a corner first, chested the ball down to himself, and then poked it past Osnabrück keeper Philipp Kühn.
Stefan Aigner missed a glorious chance to double his side’s lead before halftime, but he couldn’t keep his shot down after Max Dittgen’s cross found him unmarked at the back post. Just minutes later, Moritz Kuhn came within inches of scoring, but his curling free kick struck the crossbar.
Benjamin Girth came closest for the visitors in the second half, but he couldn’t get a handle on Moritz Heyer’s cross, and the Wiesbaden defense were able to scramble it away. Osnabrück’s profligacy allowed Wiesbaden talisman Manuel Schäffler to seal the result in the 83rd minute. Holding off his marker the entire time, Schäffler chested down a high ball, took a touch to his left, and then fired the ball emphatically into the net for his 6th goal of the season, tying him for the league lead.
Wiesbaden remain bottom despite the win, but the result will be a huge sigh of relief to the squad and the supporters after such a poor start to the season.
Jahn Regensburg 2 – Hamburg 2
A back and forth affair at the Continental Arena on Saturday afternoon saw Hamburg drop points for the second time in three matches, while Regensburg took their first point in the same window.
Marco Grüttner unintentionally almost gave the hosts the lead at the start, when his intended cross bounced off the crossbar in the first minute. After that, Hamburg controlled most of the possession (64%-36%), but Regensburg’s press gave them opportunities on the counter.
The opener came in the 29th minute, when Regensburg striker, and Wolfsburg loanee, Sebastian Stolze scored from a rebound, but the goal was initially disallowed due to offside. VAR called for a review.
In the buildup to the goal, HSV keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes had beaten Grüttner to the ball and punched it away. Grüttner’s forward momentum carried him into the net and when Stolze fired in seconds later, his shot struck his teammate inside the goal mouth, which led to the offside call. On review, the ball had clearly crossed the line before it hit Grüttner, which meant that the goal stood and Regensburg had the lead.
HSV captain Aaron Hunt spurned a golden opportunity to level things moments later, when he shot over from an unmarked spot in the box, but Hamburg kept their momentum going into the second half. It took until the 72nd minute, but when Regensburg center-back Sebastian Nachreiner turned Lukas Hinterseer’s cross into the Regensburg net, Hamburg had a deserved equalizer.
Hunt then made up for his earlier miss by blasting his side into the lead with a ranged effort in the 75th minute. But Regensburg did not give up and five minutes from stoppage time, substitute Andreas Albers tied the score with a classy finish inside the far post.
The result saw Hamburg fall 3 points behind Stuttgart, while remaining second in the table.
Bochum 2 – Darmstadt 2
Darmstadt erased two separate leads thwarting Bochum’s attempts to gain their first league win of the season.
A VAR assisted handball by Darmstadt center-back Immanuel Höhn in the 9th minute, set up Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy’s penalty kick, which the Congolese striker duly dispatched. Höhn made quick amends for his mistake by heading in the tying goal from a free kick just 3 minutes later.
Ganvoula put Bochum back in front on 25 minutes. Simon Zoller’s pass fell to teammate Danny Blum, whose shot was deflected into the path of Ganvoula, who beat Darmstadt keeper Florian Stritzel to score his 6th goal of the season.
Despite Darmstadt’s subsequent pressure, it looked like Bochum would hold on, but substitute Marcel Heller had other ideas. His header in the 85th minute was well saved by Manuel Riemann, but the rebound went right back to Heller who scored on his second attempt. Riemann then had to make another fine save just a minute later to prevent Darmstadt from taking the lead.
Neither side will be pleased with the shared points, as they now have a combined 1 win from 16 matches.
Karlsruher 1 – Heidenheim 1
Shared points were the order of the day on Saturday, as Karlsruher and Heidenheim played out the day’s third draw at the Wildparkstadion.
The visitors enjoyed the majority of the possession (70%-30%), but KSC ended up with more shots (19-9) and shots on target (3-2). Leading scorer Philipp Hofmann gave KSC the lead in the 21st minute. A fine pass from Marc Lorenz split the Heidenheim defense and Hofmann ran onto the ball and pushed it past a defender and Heidenheim keeper Kevin Müller.
Hofmann came close to doubling KSC’s lead moments later, but this time fired his shot wide. Heidenheim’s possession advantage paid off in the 53rd minute, when striker and captain Marc Schnatterer scored from long range.
Both sides pushed for a winner, but the closest anyone came was when KSC substitute Marvin Pourié headed just over from a corner in the 89th minute.
Heidenheim fall to 5th while Karlsruher sit in 9th.
Erzgebirge Aue 4 – Dynamo Dresden 1
Erzgebirge shook off a 4-0 beatdown at the hands of Hamburg last weekend by giving fellow East German side Dresden a beatdown of their own on Sunday afternoon.
New Dresden signing Luka Štor set up the opener for fellow striker Moussa Koné in the 18th minute, but after that, despite Dresden controlling most of the ball, it was effectively all Erzgebirge.
The onslaught began when Dresden full-back Linus Wahlqvist took down Erzgebirge midfielder Jan Hochscheidt in the box in the 26th minute. Dimitrij Nazarov scored the subsequent penalty and then the Azerbaijani attacker gave his side the lead 12 minutes later with a fine finish from just outside the box. Ex-Dresden man Pascal Testroet made it 3-1 on the stroke of halftime.
Koné and Dresden thought they’d pulled one back after halftime, but VAR showed that Erzgebirge keeper Martin Männel had been fouled in his attempt to win the ball, and the goal was disallowed. Testroet put the match away in the 71st minute with his second goal of the match.
The win moves Erzgebirge up to 4th, while Dresden remain in the bottom half of the table.
St Pauli 2 – Sandhausen 0
Two clubs at opposite ends of the form spectrum met at the rain-soaked Millerntor-Stadion on Sunday afternoon, with Jos Luhukay’s men taking the win and the points against visiting Sandhausen.
Kiezkicker took an early lead when midfielder Finn Ole Becker picked up the ball far up the pitch and was then allowed to run forward with it. Becker put himself in a good position and then smashed a left-footed drive into the bottom corner from 20 meters away.
Brighton loanee Viktor Gyökeres spurned a chance to make it 2-0 when he headed against the crossbar in the 43rd minute, but two minutes later, the Swede made good when he finished off a fine move from teammates Mats Møller Dæhli and Ryo Miyaichi for his side’s second goal of the match.
Sandhausen did their best to get back into the match, but St Pauli’s organized defense and some fine saves from keeper Robin Himmelmann kept the visitors at bay all the way up to the final whistle.
The win moves St Pauli up to 6th in the table, two spots ahead of Sandhausen, who are winless in their last 3.
Holstein Kiel 3 – Greuther Fürth 0
Arguably the weekend’s most surprising result occurred when Kiel, winless in their last 4 matches, went into the Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer in Fürth and ran out comprehensive winners.
After playing league leaders Stuttgart close last weekend, a letdown performance was always a possibility for Kleeblätter, but it was still unexpected when Die Störche swept into the lead in the 26th minute, when striker Janni Luca Serra got past keeper Sascha Burchert and finished smartly from a tight angle.
Fürth manager Stefan Leitl made an attacking switch at halftime to try and find an equalizer, but instead it was Kiel who struck again shortly after the break, when David Atanga’s cross was turned in by Makana Baku. Baku then secured a brace in the 61st minute with a lacing shot that left Burchert with no chance.
The win sees Kiel haul themselves out of the relegation zone, while Fürth fall to 10th in the table after consecutive league defeats.
Nürnberg 4 – Hannover 0
Nürnberg snapped a 3 match winless run with a clinical win over a toothless Hannover side at the HDI-Arena in the weekend’s final fixture.
Despite having more shots (10-9), corners (6-1), and a massive possession advantage (77%-23%!), Die Roten could do nothing with it, failing to put a single shot on target the entire match, which allowed Der Club to strike on the counter.
The visitors started fast out of the gate. Johannes Geis’s free-kick was headed across goal by Michael Frey to center-back Georg Margreitter for an easy finish. Twenty minutes later, club captain Hanno Behrens headed in Robin Hack’s cross for a second tally.
They made it three on the stroke of halftime, with Hack prodding the ball home after Behrens had capitalized on a mistake by Hannover defender Marcel Franke. Margreitter bookended the scoring by heading in from a Geis corner in the 83rd minute, to seal a well-earned win for the Franconians and cap off a disastrous performance from the hosts, who sit a lowly 15th in the table.
1. Stuttgart – 20 points
2. Hamburg – 17 points
3. Arminia Bielefeld – 15 points
4. Erzgebirge Aue – 14 points
5. Heidenheim – 12 points (+3 GD)
6. St Pauli – 12 points (+2 GD)
7. Nürnberg – 12 points (+1 GD)
T1. Fabian Klos (Arminia Bielefeld) – 6 goals
T1. Manuel Schäffler (Wiesbaden) – 6 goals
T1. Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy (Bochum) – 6 goals
Key Upcoming Matches – Matchday 9 (October 4 – 7)
Wiesbaden @ Stuttgart – Friday 10/4, 12:30 pm EST
Fürth @ Hamburg – Saturday 10/5, 7:00 am EST
St Pauli @ Nürnberg – Sunday 10/6, 7:30 am EST