Four matchdays worth of action in the 2. Bundesliga have given us a few possibilities and still many uncertainties. Here are the results from Matchday 4:
Erzgebirge Aue 0 – Stuttgart 0
Less than a week after parting with manager Daniel Meyer, Erzgebirge and new manager Marc Hensel hosted Stuttgart at the Erzgebirgsstatdion on Friday evening.
Stuttgart were the stronger side throughout, finishing with a huge advantage in possession (74%-26%), but despite several good chances, they could not best Erzgebirge keeper Martin Männel, who made 5 saves and kept his side in the match the entire way.
Things were made a bit easier for the hosts in the 67th minute, when Stuttgart full-back Borna Sosa, already on a yellow card from the first half, went down in the box, but was adjudged to have gone down too easily and received a second yellow from referee Felix Zwayer (remember him Dortmund fans?), reducing the visitors to 10 men. This was the second red card in four matches for Stuttgart.
Even with a man disadvantage, Stuttgart were still the better side, but were unable to find a way past Männel, giving Erzgebirge a hard earned point after a tumultuous week for the East Germans.
Darmstadt 0 – Dynamo Dresden 0
Neither match on Friday evening produced a goal, as Darmstadt and Dresden combined for more fouls, cards, corners and offsides than shots on goal in a rather dull affair.
Dresden’s possession based tactics continued here as they held the majority of the ball throughout the match (70%-30%), but Darmstadt continued to show that they can do a lot with a little and were able to keep the East Germans out for the full 90 minutes.
The closest either side came was in the 81st minute, when Dresden striker Alexander Jeremejeff fired the ball against the post, only for it to drop right into the waiting arms of Darmstadt keeper Florian Strizel.
Bochum 3 – Wiesbaden 3
Wiesbaden staked themselves to a 3-0 halftime lead at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion on Saturday afternoon, only for Bochum to haul themselves back into things and equalize in second half stoppage time.
Wiesbaden striker Manuel Schäffler opened the scoring in the 10th minute. A mistake by Bochum defender Armel Bella-Kotchap led to a Wiesbaden counter, and midfielder Marvin Ajani cut the ball back to Schäffler to finish the move off. 9 minutes later, Max Dittgen doubled the visitors lead, firing into the top left corner after a deflected shot fell to him. Schäffler then netted his brace near the end of the half with a clinical header from close range.
Bochum are no strangers to comebacks this season. After erasing a 2 goal lead against Bielefeld at their home ground in Matchday 2, they proceeded to claw back from a 3 goal deficit in the second half here.
Substitute defender Ulrich Bapoh, who replaced Bella-Kotchap after only 25 minutes, headed in from a corner on 56 minutes. Despite Bochum’s pressure, Wiesbaden appeared to have weathered the storm until the very back end of the second half. First, another Bochum substitute, Arsenal loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu, scored a belter of a volley on 87 minutes. Then Wiesbaden compounded their problems by fouling Bapoh in the box three minutes later. Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy dispatched the spot kick to draw things level.
The match ended in a bit of bedlam as an obviously frustrated Wiesbaden substitute Niklas Dams got into a fracas with Bapoh that resulted in yellow cards for both Dams and Ganvoula, and a rather harsh red for Bapoh, who was otherwise excellent in the second half. Wiesbaden obviously came away frustrated as, despite earning their first point of the season, they should have taken all 3.
Hannover 1 – Greuther Fürth 1
Both Die Roten and Kleeblätter came into Saturday afternoon’s match at the HDI-Arena looking to build upon big wins in Matchday 3, only to come away with shared spoils.
Hannover held the possession advantage throughout the match (67%-33%), but it was Fürth who ended up with more chances (6 shots on goal vs 2).
Fürth midfielder Paul Seguin gave his side the lead in the 22nd minute with their first real chance of the match. Hannover substitute Hendrik Weydandt equalized on the other side of halftime with an assist from Marvin Ducksch.
The closest either side came to a winner was in the 84th minute, when Hannover substitute Emil Hansson saw a header flash just wide of the post, the draw consigning Hannover to the bottom half of the table for another week.
Arminia Bielefeld 3 – Jahn Regensburg 1
Bielefeld seem to really love the number 3. Every football club does to an extent, since you get 3 points for winning a match, but Bielefeld’s victory at the Continental Arena on Saturday marked the third consecutive league match in which they’ve scored 3 goals.
Regensburg made things difficult for the visitors for the first 40 minutes, and thought they should’ve been awarded a penalty in the 41st minute for a handball. But it was not given, leaving many fans questioning the lack of consistent enforcement of the new handball rules. Bielefeld subsequently broke through in the 43rd minute with a Jóan Símun Edmundsson header.
Regensburg midfielder Max Besuschkow leveled things in the 47th minute, through the assistance of VAR after the goal was initially not given. Bielefeld retook the lead in the 63rd minute, Manuel Prietl scoring from close range after a Marcel Hartel free kick struck the crossbar and dropped to his feet. Fabian Klos set up Reinhold Yabo for the third and clinching goal in the 83rd minute, giving Bielefeld their second straight league win.
The handball decision will be the main talking point from the match, but Bielefeld moved into a tie with Stuttgart for 2nd in the league table, and have scored 10 goals across 4 league matches, tied for the most in the division.
Sandhausen 2 – Heidenheim 1
Uwe Koschinat’s Sandhausen side made it two wins out of two, upsetting favored Heidenheim on the road at the Voith-Arena on Sunday afternoon.
It was a fairly even match throughout, possession close to equal between the two sides, and both had an equal number of shots (14) across the course of the match. A matchup of two sides well known for their tactical organization, meant that chances on goal were hard to come by for the first 60 minutes or so of the match.
A handball in the 58th minute by Heidenheim center-back Oliver Hüsing gave Sandhausen a chance from the penalty spot, and Philipp Förster duly scored to give Sandhausen the lead. It capped off a poor 5 minutes for Hüsing, who was cautioned for a hard challenge shortly before he gave away the penalty.
It’s said that the most dangerous time for a team is shortly after conceding, and Heidenheim proved this in spades, as they conceded again 3 minutes later. Leart Paqarada’s long-range bullet was well saved by Heidenheim keeper Kevin Müller, but the rebound went straight to Kevin Behrens, who fired into an open net to double the visitors’ lead.
Heidenheim were unable to get past the Sandhausen defense, meaning that Sandhausen find themselves in the top 4 of the league, while Frank Schmidt’s charges have now dropped two consecutive league matches.
Also, shoutout to goal scorer Förster for being willing to use this as his celebration video for the club’s twitter feed.
Nürnberg 1 – Osnabrück 0
Der Club rebounded from poor performances in Matchday’s 2 & 3 to secure a vital win before a raucous crowd at the Max-Morlock-Stadion.
Osnabrück kept the hosts on their heels throughout the match, but their attacks were ultimately short-circuited by a staggering 9 offside flags. Nürnberg meanwhile put 7 shots on target, and won 14 corners, but were kept at bay by a stingy defense and Lila-Weiß keeper, and Hertha loanne, Nils Körber.
It wasn’t until the 80th minute that the deadlock was broken, and it was former Mainz, Smurfs, and Köln man Johannes Geis who sent the Nürnberg supporters into a frenzy, scoring a beautiful goal from 20 yards out.
Nürnberg keeper Christian Mathenia saved from Anas Ouahim in the 85th minute and despite 8 minutes of stoppage time, caused by a spate of injuries suffered by both sides, the hosts held on and took all the points.
Hamburg 4 – Karlsruher 2
The weekend’s top clash saw league leaders Hamburg continue their impressive run of form by going into the Wildparkstadion and coming away with the victory against then 4th placed Karlsuher.
The visitors sprinted out to a 2-0 lead in the first half. HSV’s Tim Leibold clashed with KSC’s Lukas Fröde in the box and the referee awarded Hamburg a penalty as a result. Lukas Hinterseer buried the penalty in the 16th minute to give his side the lead. A beautiful team move involving Hinterseer and Bakery Jatta resulted in Sonny Kittel doubling HSV’s advantage on 34 minutes.
Kittel secured a brace in the 67th minute, which looked to have put the result to bed, but KSC kept pushing and caught Hamburg perhaps taking their foot off the accelerator too soon. Center back Daniel Gordon rose highest and headed in from a corner in the 76th minute. Nervy moments followed for a suddenly rattled HSV side and when KSC star man Philipp Hofmann scored his league leading fourth goal of the season in the 88th minute, the hosts were suddenly very much in the match and the home supporters roared them on to a potential equalizer.
Alas for KSC, Hamburg substitute Jairo Samperio went on a driving run through the home defense and scored a beauty into the bottom left-corner to seal the points for Der Dino, putting them alone at the top of the table with 10 points.
St Pauli 2 – Holstein Kiel 1
Welsh international James Lawrence scored on his debut for St Pauli on Monday evening, as Kiezkicker took their first win of the season at the expense of Die Störche.
Jos Luhukay’s men needed to get something going after taking only 1 point in their first 3 matches, and after a dull first half, it was new man Lawrence who put them in front on 49 minutes. Mats Møller Dæhli floated in a beautiful free kick and the Welshman rose highest to head home past Kiel keeper Domink Reimann.
Dimitris Diamantakos fed fellow St Pauli striker Christian Conteh with a delightful pass and the teenager smashed home into the bottom corner to give Kiezkicker a precious 2 goal advantage. Kiel would pull one back on 81 minutes through Makana Baku, whose unstoppable shot from the left beat Robin Himmelmann.
St Pauli were able to see out the match, despite going down a man in stoppage time when midfielder Matt Penney petulantly kicked the ball away as it was being set up for a Kiel set piece, earning a second yellow card. The result puts Kiezkicker back into the middle mass of teams, where Kiel also reside.
Here is how the top of the table stacks up through Matchday 4:
1. Hamburg – 10 points
2. Arminia Bielefeld – 8 points (+4 GD)
3. Stuttgart – 8 points (+2 GD)
4. Sandhausen – 7 points (+2 GD)
5. Erzgebirge Aue – 7 points (+1 GD)
6. Fürth – 7 points (+1 GD)
Key Upcoming Matches – Matchday 5 (August 30 – September 2)
Heidenheim @ Nürnberg – Friday August 30, 12:30 pm EST
Fürth @ Arminia Bielefeld – Saturday August 31, 7:00 am EST
Hannover @ Hamburg – Sunday September 1, 7:30 am EST