It didn’t pay to be one of the sides chasing the league leaders. Here are the results from Matchday 24:
Dynamo Dresden 2 – Jahn Regensburg 1
Dresden picked up just their 5th win of the season with a come from behind win at the Arena Regensburg (formerly Continental Arena) on Friday evening.
The action was back-and-forth in the first half with keepers Kevin Broll and Alexander Meyer making several saves to thwart opportunities for the opposing attackers. Possession stats were about as even as they could be (52%-48% in favor of Regensburg) and both teams had adequate chances at goal, but things didn’t truly open up until well into the second half.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 63rd minute. Left-back Chima Okoroji sprinted down the left flank and Dresden didn’t deal with his cross effectively enough to clear their lines. The ball skittered over to substitute Erik Wekesser who finished emphatically past Broll to put Regensburg in front. It was Wekesser’s second goal in his last 3 matches.
Dresden however, were not eager to add to their league leading tally of losses. Just 7 minutes after Wekesser opened the scoring, Patrick Schmidt levelled things for the visitors. Excellent work from Dresden’s left-back Brian Hämäläinen allowed him to put in a low cross toward Schmidt and the midfielder hit the ball first time and squeezed it past Meyer.
Regensburg then compounded their fortunes by gifting Dresden their second in the 77th minute. Godsway Donyoh beat the offside trap and got in behind the Regensburg defense, but his weak cutback went right to a Regensburg defender, who then for some reason dallied on the ball and allowed Schmidt to dispossess him. Before the Regensburg defense could react, Dresden striker Simon Makienok reacted and shot past Meyer into the roof of the net.
The hosts were unable to respond and Dresden secured a massive 3 points. They remain bottom, but were able to close the gap to the sides in front of them.
Nürnberg 1 – Karlsruher 0
After a bad loss to Darmstadt in Matchday 23, Nürnberg rebounded with an important away win at the Wildparkstadion, against a rather toothless Karlsruher side.
The visitors were on the front foot early, with Nikola Dovedan and Robin Hack looking particularly dangerous. KSC eventually got into the action after about 20 minutes, but as would be the case for the rest of the match, they couldn’t get the ball on target, whether it was due to their own profligacy or Nürnberg’s stubborn defense.
It was a goalkeeping error that eventually provided Der Club with the opener deep in the second half. KSC keeper Benjamin Uphoff couldn’t get a handle on a Nürnberg corner and midfielder Patrick Erras was on hand to nod the ball into the net as a result.
KSC ultimately had no answer and Nürnberg took all 3 points and pulled further away from the relegation zone.
Greuther Fürth 2 – Stuttgart 0
Fürth made visiting Stuttgart pay for a wasteful first half and came away from the Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer with all 3 points on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts were on the back foot for most of the first half, but fortunately for the other 10 players on the pitch, keeper Sascha Burchert kept them in the match. First he denied Stuttgart’s Silas Wamangituka by pushing the wing-back’s shot around the far post with his fingertips. Then Burchert made an equally fine save in a one-on-one with Hamadi Al Ghaddioui, again turning Stuttgart away.
Kleeblätter were able to get into halftime level and took advantage of Stuttgart’s profligacy just a few minutes in the second half. Stuttgart couldn’t clear a Fürth free kick from their box and the ball bounced to the feet of Håvard Nielsen. With 4 Stuttgart players converging on him, Nielsen somehow had the presence of mind to pivot and play a pass with his left foot across the goalmouth, where an unmarked Marco Caligiuri waited. The center-back couldn’t miss from that close and the hosts took an unexpected lead.
Burchert denied Al Ghaddioui again from close range and then made a brave stop to charge down Wamangituka as he broke free of the Fürth defense. Kleeblätter rewarded their keeper’s fine display by nabbing their second in the 76th minute. Branimir Hrgota danced away from Stuttgart defender Nathaniel Phillips and then played in a zesty cross toward midfielder Sebastian Ernst. Ernst more or less stuck out his left leg and aimed the ball into the corner of the net to give his side a two goal advantage.
Stuttgart simply didn’t bring their finishing boots to the match and when Burchert denied Wamangituka for the third time in the waning moments, the result was sealed.
Erzgebirge Aue 3 – Hamburg 0
Erzgebirge finally picked up their first win of 2020 against a Hamburg side that is suddenly winless in its last 3 league matches.
The home supporters packed the Erzgebirgsstadion and were loud from the get go. Erzgebirge came out very aggressive, pressing against HSV and trying their best to unsettle them early. Like St Pauli the previous week, HSV seemed to break and lose focus under the pressure and Erzgebirge duly seized the lead in the 39th minute.
Philipp Riese’s free kick just outside the box was blocked and the ball went back up the pitch to midfielder Clemens Fandrich. Fandrich spotted Pascal Testroet alone in the box and his pass somehow snaked through the Hamburg defense and found its intended target. With only the keeper to beat, Testroet kept his composure and slotted past Daniel Heuer Fernandes to give the hosts the lead.
Hamburg’s only shot on target came at the close of the first half, but they failed to convert. Their task got that much harder when Gideon Jung was dismissed in the 58th minute. The HSV man was already on a booking and stupidly dove right in front of the referee in an attempt to win a penalty. Referee Nicolas Winter wasn’t fooled and duly dismissed him, reducing the visitors to 10 men.
From there, it was all Erzgebirge. Testroet set up Jan Hochscheidt to hammer in the second in the 72nd minute and Hochscheidt himself capped off a banner day for the East Germans with a long-range blast for the third goal in the 88th minute.
The win keeps Erzgebirge in the top half of the table, while Hamburg remain third, but fall further behind in the table.
Darmstadt 2 – Heidenheim 0
Darmstadt made it four league wins in a row by turning away visiting Heidenheim at the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor.
The hosts struck quickly in the opening moments of the first half. Full-back Patrick Herrmann (no, not the Gladbach player) played midfielder Marvin Mehlem in down the right side and Mehlem’s low cross found striker Serdar Dursun, who swept the ball past keeper Kevin Müller to give Darmstadt an 11th minute lead.
Darmstadt doubled their lead just 5 minutes later through Mathias Honsak. In a nearly carbon copy situation to the first goal, Honsak was played in down the right by Victor Pálsson and had Dursun to his left, but this time, the midfielder took the shot himself and squeezed the ball through Müller’s legs.
Marcel Schuhen made two fine saves in the second half to maintain his side’s two goal lead, first stopping Oliver Hüsing’s header from a corner, and then pushing away Sebastian Griesbeck’s effort from the left shortly thereafter. Müller prevented a third Darmstadt goal by saving from Tobias Kempe, but the match was effectively sealed when Hüsing was sent off in the 90th minute after catching Darmstadt’s Dario Đumić in the head with a high boot.
Half of Darmstadt’s 8 wins this season have now come in the last 4 matchdays and the 3 points from this weekend pulls them within 3 points of Heidenheim in the table.
One last note about Darmstadt. The Saturday afternoon matches in the second division take place earlier than the top flight ones. As a result, the first group of ultras to launch the collective protest on the weekend wasn’t Bayern. It was Darmstadt and their ultras could not have been clearer about who their anger was directed at.
Arminia Bielefeld 1 – Wiesbaden 0
With the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place teams all losing on Saturday, league leaders Arminia Bielefeld had a great opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the teams chasing them when they faced off against Wiesbaden at the Schüco-Arena.
The visitors set out to make things difficult for Bielefeld and they succeeded for large portions of the first half. Bielefeld had most of the ball, but with Wiesbaden content to sit mostly in their own half, chances were hard to come by. The closest Bielefeld came in the 37th minute when Amos Pieper headed just over from a Marcel Hartel corner. Max Dittgen had a good chance at the opposite end, but couldn’t hit the target.
Bielefeld turned up the wick in the second half, but it almost cost them. Daniel-Kofi Kyereh found space on the left and beat keeper Stefan Ortega, but the ball bounced off the post. Despite the near miss, Bielefeld continued to tighten the screws and all their pressure finally paid off in the 75th minute. Substitute Reinhold Yabo released left-back Florian Hartherz down the touchline and the fullback’s cross into the area was met by who else, but league leading scorer Fabian Klos, who powered his header past Wiesbaden keeper Heinz Lindner.
Lindner had to be on his toes to keep Bielefeld to only one goal, but Wiesbaden ultimately had no answer for the league leaders, despite a solid performance.
Bielefeld’s second consecutive 1-0 win moves them 6 points clear of Stuttgart at the top of the table, and a full 12 points ahead of 4th place.
Bochum 4 – Sandhausen 4
Penalties, big saves, an ultra protest and a hat-trick. The Sunday afternoon match between Bochum and Sandhausen at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion had it all. Buckle up.
It took just 6 minutes for things to ramp up. Sandhausen center-back Gerrit Nauber inadvertently stepped on the heel of Bochum full-back Danilo Soares as they raced into the penalty area and referee Johann Pfeifer pointed to the spot. Danny Blum sent keeper Martin Fraisl the wrong way and gave Bochum an early lead.
Blum one-upped himself just two minutes later when, from a seemingly innocuous Jordi Osei-Tutu cross from the right, he produced an audacious lofted back heel shot that fooled everyone including Fraisl to find its way into the back of the net, giving him a brace.
Sandhausen would answer shortly thereafter with a brace of their own. After a scramble in the Bochum box, midfielder Julius Biada raced onto the ball and fired a thunderbolt past keeper Manuel Riemann. This pulled the visitors within 1 and they equalized just before halftime when Biada, who apparently decided to follow Blum’s lead and one-up his earlier strike, shot a free kick through the Bochum wall and just inside the left hand post.
The scoring continued in the second half and Blum notched his hat-trick just 4 minutes after the restart. It was unfortunate again for Nauber, who in his attempt to block Blum’s shot from just 10 yards out, ended up deflecting the ball past Fraisl to give Bochum a 3-2 lead. Fellow center-back Aleksandr Zhirov nearly did the same just a few moments later, but fortunately for Sandhausen, this time the ball caromed off the post. Osei-Tutu then scored Bochum’s 4th from a splendid solo run through the Sandhausen half in the 65th in minute.
Shortly thereafter, the Bochum ultras got in on the weekend action in a similar fashion to their counterparts from Munich, Berlin, and Koln. Pfeifer stopped the match momentarily when the ultras unveiled a banner that effectively stated the following (apologies for mistranslation if there is one):
”A son of a b**** is humiliated.”
”Germany was shocked.”
”Nothing was done against racism every day.”
If the DfB was hoping that the collective actions of the ultras would be confined to the top flight, they were badly mistaken. And the Bochum ultras deserve a tip of the cap for a simple, yet straightforward and accurate message.
Sandhausen may have been down but they weren’t out. Shortly after Riemann stopped Biada from matching Blum’s hat-trick, Bochum substitute Miloš Pantović was whistled for a handball in his own box after a corner bounced up into him. It was harsh, but Pfeifer gave the penalty. Kevin Behrens scored high into the top corner to make it a 1 goal match once more.
Then in stoppage time, Pfeifer awarded the third and final penalty of the match, again for a handball, this time from Bochum’s Anthony Losilla. Teammate Robert Tesche headed a Sandhausen free kick right into Losilla’s outstretched arm, another inadvertent, but called, handball. Sandhausen substitute Philip Türpitz scored with practically the last kick of the match to give Sandhausen a deserved point.
Despite the entertaining match, both sides remain in the bottom half of the table.
St Pauli 3 – Osnabrück 1
St Pauli returned to the Millerntor-Stadion as conquering heroes, having vanquished derby rivals Hamburg for the second time this season, the first time in their history they’ve taken both legs of the derby in a single season. To the thrill of their fans, Kiezkicker put in a clinical display to dispatch visiting Osnabrück and pull further clear of the relegation zone.
The hosts were on the front foot early and often, but were unable to find a way through the stubborn Lila-Weiß defense in the first 20 minutes. Patience finally paid off for St Pauli however, when striker Henk Veerman headed in Marvin Knoll’s corner in the 23rd minute. This opened the match up and midfielder Waldemar Sobota took full advantage in the 35th minute, with a weaving run through the Osnabrück defense before threading a low shot into the bottom corner of the net to give his side a 2-0 lead.
Striker Dimitris Diamantakos, making his first start in a while, netted the third goal just after halftime, smacking in Knoll’s low cross from the left. Osnabrück now had nothing to lose and ventured forward en mass and as rain began to fall midway through the second half, they managed to pull one back through Bashkim Renneke in the 76th minute. But despite further chances, they couldn’t haul their way back into the match and Kiezkicker ultimately took a deserved win.
The result puts St Pauli on level points with Osnabrück, though both remain in the bottom half of the table.
Hannover 3 – Holstein Kiel 1
Hannover scored a rare home win on Monday evening at the HDI-Arena at the expense of visiting Kiel.
On a night in which their ultras capped off a weekend long string of protests that are undoubtedly going to continue for the foreseeable future, Die Roten took an early lead in the 11th minute, when John Guidetti scored with a flying header from Sebastian Jung’s cross.
Die Störche gradually worked their way into the match however and ended up with more possession (60%-40%) and more shots on target (8-7). It took until midway through the second half for them to find an equalizer however, but when Lee Jae-sung finally scored from a Salih Özcan corner in the 68th minute, it looked like Kiel might be on the verge of completing a comeback.
But the hosts dug deep and retook the lead in the 80th minute. Guidetti turned provider this time and set up debutant Philipp Ochs for his first goal for Die Roten. Fellow substitute Hendrik Weydandt rounded out the scoring in stoppage time with a long range effort that Kiel keeper Ioannis Gelios couldn’t keep out.
Hannover move up to 12th in the table, 7 points clear of the relegation zone, while Kiel fall to 8th.
1. Arminia Bielefeld – 50 points
2. Stuttgart – 44 points
3. Hamburg – 41 points
4. Heidenheim – 38 points
5. Fürth – 35 points (+4 GD)
6. Darmstadt – 35 points (0 GD)
1. Fabian Klos (Arminia Bielefeld) – 15 goals
2. Manuel Schäffler (Wiesbaden) – 12 goals
T3. Sonny Kittel (Hamburg) – 11 goals
T3. Philipp Hofmann (Karlsruher) – 11 goals
T3. Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy (Bochum) – 11 goals
T3. Serdar Dursun (Darmstadt) – 11 goals
Key Upcoming Matches – Matchday 25 (March 6 – 9)
Jahn Regensburg @ Hamburg – Saturday 3/7, 7:00 am EST
Karlsruher @ Heidenheim – Saturday 3/7, 7:00 am EST
Fürth @ Holstein Kiel – Sunday 3/8, 8:30 am EST
Arminia Bielefeld @ Stuttgart – Monday 3/9, 3:30 pm EST