The final 2. Bundesliga matchday before the winter break saw things tighten up at the top of the table, as the three sides that had been dominant in the first half of the season, stumbled. Here are the results:
Wiesbaden 1 – Karlsruher 0
Despite having spent virtually the entire season in the relegation zone, Wiesbaden picked up a valuable 3 points at the Wildparkstadion on Friday evening, at the expense of a disappointing Karlsruher side.
Playing without leading scorer Manuel Schäffler, Wiesbaden set out to make things difficult for the hosts from the get go. The visitors were very physical in the first half and frustrated KSC early. Daniel-Kofi Kyereh tested Karlsruher early, but shot straight at keeper Benjamin Uphoff. Counterpart Heinz Lindner had a more difficult challenge, but he was able to tip Damian Roßbach’s bullet header over the bar just before the halftime whistle.
Lindner was again called into action five minutes into the second half, when he stopped Philipp Hofmann’s bouncing shot from the edge of the area. But despite putting more shots on target, KSC fell behind in the 69th minute, when Uphoff spilled Gökhan Gül’s shot and allowed Törles Knöll to follow-up and tuck in the rebound.
Karlsruher couldn’t do much in the remaining 20 minutes against a stubborn Wiesbaden defense, who were quite adept at wasting time, and substitute Tobias Schwede nearly made it 2-0 late, but his shot skirted just past the post.
Wiesbaden remain in the relegation zone, but they pulled themselves within 3 points of Karlsruher, who fall to 15th.
Nürnberg 2 – Dynamo Dresden 0
Nürnberg finally got back in the winner’s column at the expense of bottom club Dresden.
Dresden’s Niklas Kreuzer had the first chance of the match for the visitors, but his 11th minute shot was held by keeper Felix Dornebusch. Dresden keeper Kevin Broll stopped Fabian Schleusener’s bullet in the 30th minute, but the hosts were able to break through just moments later. Robin Hack scuffed his shot, but perhaps due to the sudden change of direction, the ball snuck past Broll’s right hand post and over the line.
Moussa Koné’s try early in the second half was kept out by Dornebusch and Hack notched his second of the match shortly thereafter. The midfielder chested down a lovely ball over the top and then fired in on the turn, to give Der Club a two goal advantage.
That was enough for the hosts, as Dresden were unable to do anything in response. Nürnberg remain 16th, while Dresden fall further behind everyone else at the bottom.
Hannover 2 – Stuttgart 2
A back and forth affair between two division heavyweights saw visiting Stuttgart held by Hannover at the HDI-Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts seized the initiative early. Linton Maina’s superb run down the left hand side drew the defense to him and his pinpoint cutback found Marvin Ducksch in stride. The striker made no mistake and gave Hannover a 13th minute lead. Stuttgart struggled to get much going in the first half and with both center-backs picking up yellow cards in the first 45, the halftime whistle couldn’t have come soon enough.
Tim Walter’s side finally responded after the break. A Daniel Didavi through ball in the 46th minute split the Hannover defense and substitute Nicolás González beat keeper Ron-Robert Zieler at the far post. González then turned provider in the 64th minute, when his cross from the left eluded everyone from both sides. Silas Wamangituka beat Hannover’s Edgar Prib to the loose ball and beat Zieler from a tight angle with a shot that bounced in off the back post.
Die Roten were down, but not out, however. Prib made up for his mistake by beating Stuttgart keeper Fabian Bredlow at his near post after a fast counterattack initiated by teammate Genki Haraguchi. Zieler denied Hamadi Al Ghaddioui from close range late and Wamangituka’s potential winning header clanged off the post in the final moments, meaning the spoils were shared on the day.
Stuttgart stay 3rd while Hannover head into the winter break in 13th.
Erzgebirge Aue 3 – Greuther Fürth 1
Hosts Erzgebirge go into the winter break on a high after seeing off visiting Fürth at the Erzgebirgsstadion.
Kleeblätter trigger man Branimir Hrgota came very close to giving his side the lead in the opening minutes, but his dipping shot from outside the box struck the post. Erzgebirge took full advantage and grabbed the lead minutes later. Keeper Sascha Burchert saved Dimitrij Nazarov’s initial shot, but his kick save went straight to Jan Hochscheidt who merely had to pass the ball into an empty net.
Erzgebirge were able to stymie Kleeblätter’s attack for most of the match, despite the visitors holding a hefty possession advantage (67%-33%). Fürth’s inability to deal with the hosts’ defensive organization cost them as Erzgebirge put the match to bed with two quick fire goals in the space of two minutes.
Center-back Paul Jaeckel leaned into a clumsy challenge as he tried to stop Florian Krüger from getting past him and ended up giving away a penalty as a result. Nazarov sent Burchert the wrong way and doubled Erzgebirge’s lead in the 64th minute. Krüger then made it 3-0 just barely a minute later when he sped past the Fürth defense and scored with a splendid solo effort.
A consolation Hrgota penalty kick in the 80th minute came too little, too late for the visitors, as Erzgebirge saw out the final minutes and go into the winter break with two straight wins. They sit 5th, while Fürth sit 8th.
St Pauli 3 – Arminia Bielefeld 0
St Pauli handed league leaders Bielefeld just their second loss of the season at the Millerntor-Stadion on Saturday afternoon.
If you’d only just started following the 2. Bundesliga this matchday, you would’ve probably thought St Pauli were the league leaders, rather than a side battling to stay above the relegation zone. It took just 3 minutes for the hosts to take a shock lead, when Henk Veerman rose highest to head in Waldemar Sobota’s corner.
Bielefeld would hold the majority of possession (59%-41%) and more shots (21-9), but Kiezkicker were more clinical with their chances. Veerman scored again in the 25th minute, but this one was made largely by teammate Viktor Gyökeres, who’s cutback from the left byline was inch perfect, and Veerman left Bielefeld keeper Stefan Ortega no chance.
St Pauli keeper Robin Himmelmann was on his game and stopped all 5 Bielefeld shots on his goal, saving from Andreas Voglsammer and Marcel Hartel among others. The hosts made it 3-0 early in the second half, when Gyökeres finished off a fine team move with a low shot into the far corner. Bielefeld tried to get something going to get back in the match, but they just didn’t seem to have it on this day and St Pauli ran out deserved winners.
Bielefeld go into the winter break as leaders, but with only 1 win in their last 5 league matches. St Pauli meanwhile move up to 11th in the table with the 3 points.
Darmstadt 2 – Hamburg 2
2nd placed Hamburg squandered two leads on the road to Darmstadt as they tried to gain ground on Bielefeld in the table.
HSV were the dominant side on the day possession wise (61%-39%) and they silenced the home supporters at the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor by taking the lead in the 18th minute. Right-back Khaled Narey’s cross found the head of striker Lukas Hinterseer and he directed his shot past keeper Marcel Schuhen into the far corner.
Darmstadt gave Hamburg all they could ask for in the reverse fixture, and they wouldn’t go quietly into the night this time either. Club captain Fabian Holland picked out striker Serdar Dursun’s run into the box and the big man beat his marker and keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes to equalize on 32 minutes. But the visitors went back in front just before halftime. Tim Leibold’s free kick struck the post, but the ball rebounded directly to Bakery Jatta who had the simplest of tap-ins to make it 2-1 at halftime.
Dursun brought his side back into the match once more in the 58th minute. Heuer Fernandes saved Tobias Kempke’s initial shot with his fists, but he punched the ball directly into Dursun’s path and the striker made no mistake in notching a brace. HSV pressed for a winner and thought they’d found it in the 79th minute, but Rick van Drongelen’s header was disallowed for an offside infraction against Jatta. Schuhen saved Jairo Samperio’s rasping effort in stoppage time to preserve a point for the hosts.
Hamburg gain a point on Bielefeld, but remain in 2nd, while Darmstadt are 12th.
Sandhausen 2 – Holstein Kiel 2
Sandhausen and Kiel played out a back and forth affair at the BWT-Stadion am Hardtwald on Sunday afternoon and both sides had to be content with a draw.
Kevin Behrens headed just over for hosts Sandhausen early and Die Störche grabbed the lead shortly thereafter. Köln loanee Salih Özcan continued his good run of form and headed in from Dominik Schmidt’s cross from the right, although Sandhausen keeper Martin Fraisl would probably admit he should’ve done better to keep the effort out.
Leart Paqarada stung the palms of Kiel keeper Dominik Reimann later in the first half and Reimann had to save another Behrens header just moments later. Fraisl then made amends for his earlier mistake by stopping Özcan’s shot after the attacker had been played through on goal.
Sandhausen got on the board 8 minutes into the second half. Kiel could only clear a corner as far as the edge of their box and substitute Mario Engels scored with a delightful curling effort. Only a few seconds after the subsequent kickoff, Sandhausen took the lead, when Besar Halimi shot past Reimann with his left foot from just behind the penalty spot.
But then it was Kiel’s turn to equalize in the 75th minute. Lee Jae-sung crossed from the left and teammate Emmanuel Iyoha got behind his marker and steered the ball past Fraisl. Lion Lauberbach (yes, you read that name correctly) had a chance to win it for Die Störche late, but Fraisl was able to tip his shot onto the far post.
Sandhausen sit 9th, while Kiel are just a point behind in 10th.
Heidenheim 3 – Osnabrück 1
Hosts Heidenheim snapped 10-man Osnabrück’s three match winning streak and put themselves firmly in the race for promotion.
The Voith-Arena was rocking on Sunday afternoon, as the supporters and players for both sides knew that, with Bielefeld, Hamburg, and Stuttgart all dropping points the day before, their teams had the chance to put themselves right in the thick of the promotion fight going into the winter break.
Frank Schmidt’s charges came out firing, with Tim Kleindienst testing Lila-Weiß keeper Philipp Kühn early on. Heidenheim kept pressing forward and broke through in the 21st minute. A long ball forward eluded the Osnabrück defense and Robert Leipertz took possession and beat Kühn with a right footed strike. Patrick Mainka almost made it a two goal lead moments later, but Kühn stopped his header and Leipertz’s follow-up was blocked.
Lila-Weiß struggled to solve Heidenheim’s defense or keeper Kevin Müller. Kleindienst made them pay when he headed in Marc Schnatterer’s 66th minute corner for a deserved two-nil lead. But shortly after Oliver Hüsing headed another corner narrowly wide, Osnabrück got on the scoreboard. The Heidenheim defense seemed to switch off and allowed Bryan Henning to get possession just inside the box and he fired past an irate Müller to open up the match once more.
Unfortunately for the visitors, midfielder Ulrich Taffertshofer picked up a second yellow card in the 81st minute for a rash challenge on Hoffenheim loanee David Otto, and Osnabrück had to finish the match a man down. Kleindienst duly put the match away in the 89th minute with a long-range blast.
Heidenheim remain in 4th position in the table, but the win means that they now sit just 1 point behind both Hamburg and Stuttgart, while Osnabrück fall to 6th.
Jahn Regensburg 3 – Bochum 2
10-man Regensburg survived a tough challenge from Bochum at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion and picked up a vital win.
Regensburg keeper Alexander Meyer did well to save a deflected Simon Zoller shot in the opening minutes and Wolfsburg loanee Sebastian Stolze paid back his keeper’s good work by beating counterpart Manuel Riemann with a classy finish at the other end just moments later. Stolze turned provider in the 32nd minute when, after being played through on goal, he unselfishly squared for teammate Andreas Albers, who scored with the easiest of tap-ins.
A bad back-pass and a slip by Meyer allowed Zoller to play in Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy in the 42nd minute and the striker duly cut the lead in half. Riemann denied Stolze early in the second half and then the match turned on its head in the 56th minute when a heavy touch from Regensburg midfielder Andreas Geipl caused him to go in with his studs raised on Arsenal loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu. Already on a yellow card, the referee had little choice but to dismiss Geipl with a second booking.
Bochum quickly squandered their opportunity to equalize when Stolze finally secured a brace in the 64th minute via a Jann-Christopher George assist. The man advantage allowed Bochum to run up a gaudy possession advantage (67%-33%), but it wasn’t until the 83rd minute that they were able to take advantage, when Anthony Losilla headed in a Danny Blum corner. But that was ultimately as close as the hosts would get and Regensburg held on for the win.
Regensburg are 7th. Bochum are 14th.
1. Arminia Bielefeld – 34 points
2. Hamburg – 31 points (+17 GD)
3. Stuttgart – 31 points (+6 GD)
4. Heidenheim – 30 points
5. Erzgebirge Aue – 29 points
6. Osnabrück – 26 points (+6 GD)
7. Jahn Regensburg – 26 points (+4 GD)
1. Fabian Klos (Arminia Bielefeld) – 13 goals
2. Manuel Schäffler (Wiesbaden) – 12 goals
T3. Philipp Hofmann (Karlsruher) – 10 goals
T3. Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy (Bochum) – 10 goals
Key Upcoming Matches – Matchday 19 (January 28 – 30)
Bochum @ Arminia Bielefeld – Tuesday 1/28, 12:30 pm EST
Erzgebirge Aue @ Wiesbaden – Tuesday 1/28, 2:30 pm EST
Heidenheim @ Stuttgart – Wednesday 1/29, 12:30 pm EST
Nürnberg @ Hamburg – Thursday 1/30, 2:30 pm EST