The 2. Bundesliga season is old enough to drink legally in the US. Here are the results from Matchday 21:
Heidenheim 1 – Sandhausen 0
Visiting Heidenheim outlasted hosts Sandhausen at the BWT-Stadion am Hardtwald on Friday evening in a battle between Baden-Württemberg sides.
Heidenheim came into the match seeking their first win of 2020 and it only took 16 minutes for them to take the lead. Tobias Mohr, newly signed from Fürth in the January window, got the move started with a fine pass out wide to the left. Left-back Jonas Föhrenbach latched onto the ball in acres of space, then put in an inch perfect cross to find striker Tim Kleindienst, who slotted past Sandhausen keeper Martin Fraisl to give the visitors the lead.
Ivan Paurević saw a shot from range narrowly deflected wide in the 38th minute as Sandhausen pressed for an equalizer, but they found chances difficult to create against a stubborn Heidenheim defense.
Both keepers made fine saves just seconds apart in the second half. First, Fraisl fought off Heidenheim center-back Patrick Mainka’s powerful header from close range, then counterpart Kevin Müller saved from Mario Engels with his foot just seconds later.
Ultimately, Sandhausen couldn’t find their way through and Frank Schmidt’s men took their first win of the calendar year.
Darmstadt 3 – Dynamo Dresden 2
It seems like no matchday goes without some sort of VAR controversy nowadays, even in Germany where officials, for the most part, have the practice down better than colleagues in other countries. The match between Darmstadt and Dresden at the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion on Friday evening was the setting for this week’s controversy.
The match was lively from practically the opening whistle. Dresden’s Josef Hušbauer gave his side a quick lead in the 4th minute after Darmstadt failed to clear a corner. The visitors hit back almost immediately, first when Victor Pálsson set up Seung-Ho Paik on 8 minutes, then Tobias Kempe scored their second just moments later.
Both keepers had a lot to do on the day, as both sides put 7 shots on target apiece, but Darmstadt appeared to be well in control when Serdar Dursun scored in the 43rd minute, giving them a 3-1 edge at the half.
But Dresden started the second half well and when Heidenheim loanee Patrick Schmidt scored in the 57th minute to tighten the scoreline, it set things up for a tight and controversial finish.
The critical moment came in the 72nd minute. A free kick somehow traveled all the way across the pitch to Schmidt, who beat keeper Marcel Schuhen for the apparent equalizer. But upon consultation with VAR, referee Michael Bacher disallowed the goal. His ruling was based on the fact that a Dresden player was offside when the ball was played in, but the player ultimately didn’t interact with the ball at all, which was a source of great consternation to Dresden, and quite a few neutrals who saw the match live.
Dresden substitute Simon Makienok was sent off in the 76th minute for a careless challenge, which forced the hosts to play out the remaining minutes with 10 men. Darmstadt were able to see out the result and took their first win since November.
Dresden meanwhile felt understandably hard done and continue to sit bottom of the table with a league high 12 losses.
Hamburg 2 – Karlsruher 0
Talk about tough first matches as a new manager. Christian Eichner’s first match in charge of Karlsruher took place at the Volksparkstadion on Saturday afternoon and despite a solid performance, Hamburg were ultimately too much for the visitors.
Köln loanee Louis Schaub has proven to be an astute signing for HSV in the January window, and he almost gave them an early lead in the 11th minute, but his left footed shot from the edge of the area rattled the crossbar. KSC’s Marc Lorenz sprang the offside trap in the 20th minute, but was denied by keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes, who made a fine stop.
Back-and-forth the action went, with Louis Beyer heading just over for the hosts in the 29th minute and Heuer Fernandes saving again from Lorenz on 37 minutes. Benjamin Uphoff made a fine save of his own just before halftime, stopping HSV leading scorer Sonny Kittel from close range.
The hosts held a huge possession advantage (69%-31%) and it finally paid off in the 67th minute. Tim Leibold’s ball into the box was deflected practically straight up in the air and striker Lukas Hinterseer got to it first at the back post and headed in to give HSV a deserved lead. Schaub hit the bar a second time in the 72nd minute, but Hinterseer picked his teammate up and doubled Hamburg’s lead in the 81st minute after a beautiful squared pass from Bakery Jatta.
KSC ultimately had no answer for Hamburg and lost their 5th consecutive match, which means they’re still stuck in the relegation zone.
Nürnberg 1 – Osnabrück 0
A second consecutive league win saw visiting Nürnberg pull further away from the relegation zone, as they took all 3 points at the Stadion an der Bremer Brücke.
It was a touchy opening half hour as both sides tried to find a way to unlock the opposing defense. Bremen loanee Niklas Schmidt looked dangerous for the hosts, but he headed wide twice in the first half. Kiel loanee Benjamin Girth then hit the post in the 37th minute, which cruelly denied Lila-Weiß a first half opener.
Osnabrück’s misfortune was to Nürnberg’s benefit as the visitors took the lead against the run of play at the hour mark. Fabian Nürnberger (yes, Nürnberg has a player literally named Nürnberger in their squad), found space on the left of the penalty area and lofted a superb cross to captain Hanno Behrens who headed into the far corner to give Nürnberg the lead.
Lila-Weiß upped the pressure in a bid for an equalizer, but this created opportunities for Der Club on the counter and Behrens almost notched a second in the last 10 minutes, but this time couldn’t put the ball on target.
Nürnberg were able to hang on and pick up just their 6th win on the season, while Osnabrück remain winless in 2020.
Stuttgart 3 – Erzgebirge Aue 0
Stuttgart put in a dominating display at the Mercedes-Benz Arena to overwhelm visiting Erzgebirge.
After a slow start to the match, in which Erzgebirge were clearly content to sit back and absorb pressure, Stuttgart finally began to boss things around the half hour mark. Pascal Stenzel forced keeper Martin Männel into a save in the 27th minute and Stuttgart would break open the Erzgebirge defense just moments later. Gonzalo Castro’s corner was headed on by teammate and Liverpool loanee Nathaniel Phillips, and Daniel Didavi was in the right place at the right time to slot past Männel for a 1-0 lead.
Didavi then doubled his side’s lead in the 43rd minute after being picked out by Philipp Förster, who had come into the match for the injured Nicolás González just moments before. Didavi came close to a hat-trick via a free kick in the 69th minute, but was denied by Männel.
Erzgebirge were thoroughly outclassed on the day and when Mario Gómez scored Stuttgart’s third in second half stoppage time, it brought a merciful end to the match.
Stuttgart keep pace with the other front runners, while Erzgebirge remain in the top half of the table, but fall further off the pace.
Bochum 1 – Wiesbaden 0
Bochum snapped a 3 match losing streak in the league at the BRITA-Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The first half was full of activity. Keeper Manuel Reimann was a force early on, saving twice from Wiesbaden’s Stefan Aigner and once from Manuel Schäffler. Bochum were active at the opposite end of the pitch as well, but Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy shot too high on two separate occasions and when he finally put one on target, it was cleared off the line by center-back Benedikt Röcker.
Wiesbaden keeper Heinz Lindner then denied Ganvoula twice more toward the end of the first half, but on the second try, the keeper couldn’t control the rebound and Simon Zoller was in the right place at the right time to poach the opener in the 39th minute. Wiesbaden nearly leveled things on the stroke of halftime, but Paterson Chato’s header struck the bar and Niklas Dams couldn’t corral the rebound and put it wide.
Schäffler had two good chances early in the second half, only to be denied first by center-back Saulo Decarli, who deflected the striker’s shot wide with an outstretched leg, and then again by Reimann from close range. Wiesbaden desperately searched for an equalizer throughout the second half, but Bochum were just able to hold them at bay and claim all 3 points.
The win pulls Bochum 3 points above the relegation zone, while Wiesbaden remain 16th.
Hannover 3 – Greuther Fürth 1
Die Roten scored a big away win at the Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer, ending a 4 match winless run in the league.
Daniel Keita-Ruel had an early chance for the hosts from a corner, but Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler was up to the task. Kleeblätter held the advantage for much of the first half, but Hannover midfielder Genki Haraguchi scored the opener against the run of play in the 41st minute. Keeper Sascha Burchert stopped Linton Maina’s initial effort, but the Japan international got to the rebound first and slipped it through a sea of legs to give Die Roten the lead.
Marvin Stefaniak beat Zieler in the 53rd minute, but was denied by the crossbar. Hannover center-back Josip Elez then appeared to deny substitute Jamie Leweling on the line, but a VAR check showed that he’d done so with his hand, and this resulted in a second yellow card and the visitors had to play the remaining 30 odd minutes with 10 men.
But things didn’t get any better for Fürth. First, Zieler saved Hrgota’s resulting penalty and then striker Cedric Teuchert scored on the counter in the 70th minute to give the visitors a 2 goal lead. Kleeblätter pulled one back just 4 minutes later when Maximilan Wittek’s shot from range was turned in by Hannover midfielder Waldemar Anton for an own goal.
Try as they would however, Fürth couldn’t get past Zieler for a leveler, and with all their men in the opposing half on a final push forward, Maina and substitute Simon Fabio Stehle wrapped up the result on the counter with the final kick of the game in stoppage time.
The loss drops Fürth to 5th, while Hannover are now 5 points clear of the relegation zone.
Arminia Bielefeld 6 – Jahn Regensburg 0
Hosts Bielefeld gave visiting Regensburg a comprehensive thrashing at the Schüco-Arena to get back into form and remain at the top of the table.
The league leaders went after Regensburg from the start. Keeper Alexander Meyer stopped two early chances, but Bielefeld finally broke through in the 14th minute. Jonathan Clauss and Marcel Hartel split the Regensburg defense open and Cebio Soukou finished off the move by shooting through Meyer’s legs. Clauss then set up Jóan Símun Edmundsson for the second goal in the 35th minute.
Regensburg were on the back foot practically the entire match and failed to put a single shot on target. Bielefeld holding a big possession advantage (63%-37%), and being clinical in front of goal didn’t help matters.
Manuel Prietl scored the third in the 65th minute on the volley, after Meyer palmed Hartel’s free kick directly into the midfielder’s path. Regensburg then completely capitulated in the final 5 minutes. First, center-back Marcel Correia scored an embarrassing own-goal when he over hit a back pass intended for Meyer and the ball rolled over the line. Clauss then recorded his second assist of the match (or third if you want to count his role in the opener) moments later when he set up substitute Reinhold Yabo.
Captain and league leading scorer Fabian Klos didn’t get to add to his goal tally, but he got an assist on the day when he set up the final goal for Cédric Brunner in second half stoppage time.
Regensburg couldn’t get out of Bielefeld fast enough and the league leaders remain top, with Hamburg and Stuttgart just behind.
Holstein Kiel 2 – St Pauli 1
Kiel ran their unbeaten run in the league to 5 matches with a crazy home win over St Pauli at the Holstein-Stadion on Monday evening.
After a cautious opening 10 minutes, both sides had chances to open the scoring. Viktor Gyökeres dragged a shot wide for the visitors in the 15th minute and then a loose backpass nearly played the hosts in on goal, but St Pauli keeper Robin Himmelmann made a last ditch save to deny Die Störche.
The hosts began to exert more pressure and it paid off at the half hour mark. Finn Porath’s pass found Salih Özcan with a clear chance at goal and, despite scuffing his shot, he put just enough on it to sneak it into the corner of the net.
Kiezkicker came out hungry in the second half and it took them only 7 minutes to equalize. Gyökeres made up for his earlier miss by picking out teammate Henk Veerman with a long ball forward and the Dutchman deftly took a touch before slotting past keeper Ioannis Gelios. But they couldn’t hold it as Kiel substitute Janni Luca Serra headed in from a corner in the 69th minute to restore the hosts’ lead.
It appeared as though Kiel would hold as the match entered the second minute of second half stoppage time, but the drama had only just begun.
A seemingly innocuous St Pauli free kick was flicked on into the penalty area and for some reason, a Kiel defender ended up controlling the ball with his arm when he could’ve simply let it run through the Gelios unobstructed. A VAR check later, a penalty was given.
Gelios then saved Veerman’s rather tame penalty, but again, for some odd reason, a Kiel defender passed the ball directly back to the keeper instead of hoofing it away. This resulted in an indirect free kick being awarded right in front of the Kiel goal.
With all 11 players on the goal line, Kiezkicker squared the ball to Gyökeres, but his shot couldn’t find a way through the maze of legs and bounded over for a corner. Gelios claimed the final ball and was swarmed by his teammates as they celebrated a dramatic win.
Kiel move up to 6th in the table, while St Pauli stay in 15th, two points above the relegation zone.
1. Arminia Bielefeld – 41 points
2. Hamburg – 40 points
3. Stuttgart – 38 points
4. Heidenheim – 34 points
5. Fürth – 31 points
1. Fabian Klos (Arminia Bielefeld) – 14 goals
2. Manuel Schäffler (Wiesbaden) – 12 goals
3. Sonny Kittel (Hamburg) – 11 goals
Key Upcoming Matches – Matchday 22 (February 14 – February 17)
Nürnberg @ Heidenheim – Friday 2/14, 12:30 pm EST
Arminia Bielefeld @ Fürth – Saturday 2/15, 7:00 am EST
Hamburg @ Hannover – Saturday 2/15, 7:00 am EST
Stuttgart @ Bochum – Monday 2/17, 2:30 pm EST