The 2. Bundesliga made its return after a two month pause forced by COVID-19. Here are the results from Matchday 26:
Erzgebirge Aue 3 – Sandhausen 1
Hosts Erzgebirge jumped out to an early lead vs 10-man Sandhausen at the Erzgebirgsstadion on Saturday morning and never looked back, taking their second win in 3 matches.
The visitors return to the pitch got off to a nightmare start after just 5 minutes, when full-back Dennis Diekmeier not only got himself sent off for a last man challenge on Erzgebirge’s Florian Krüger, but committed the foul in the box and gave away a penalty as well. Dimitrij Nazarov sent keeper Martin Fraisl the wrong way and gave the hosts an early lead.
Sandhausen managed to keep Erzgebirge at bay for the following 60 minutes, despite being a man down, but Erzgebirge’s pressure eventually broke through in the latter portion of the second half. Krüger beat his marker and headed in John-Patrick Strauß’s cross from the right in the 64th minute, and just 5 minutes later, substitute center-back Malcolm Cacutalua scored from Jan Hochscheidt’s corner to make it 3-0 and effectively seal the result.
The hosts couldn’t keep a clean sheet however, thanks in large part to midfielder Clemens Fandrich, who’s back pass to no one left keeper Martin Männel stranded in no man’s land. Männel raced forward to try and clear the ball, but Sandhausen’s Julius Biada beat him to it and hooked it just inside the far post to give the visitors a consolation goal that, in all fairness, they little deserved.
The defeat runs Sandhausen’s winless streak to 7, while Erzgebirge jump up to 6th in the table.
Karlsruher 2 – Darmstadt 0
Karlsruher stubbornly held visiting Darmstadt at bay for most of the match and struck late to score a vital win at the Wildparkstadion.
Freiburg loanee Jérôme Gondorf thought he’d given the hosts an early lead, only for his strike to be waved off due to an offside. KSC striker and leading goal scorer Philipp Hofmann then forced Darmstadt keeper Marcel Schuhen into a sprawling save moments later.
Darmstadt held the majority of possession on the day (57%-43%), but couldn’t put any of their 6 shots on target. Yannick Stark blasted over from Paik Seung-ho’s cutback in the first half and teammate Marvin Mehlem shot just wide of the far post in the second. KSC’s Daniel Gordon rattled the crossbar off a corner shortly thereafter, but the hosts didn’t have much longer to wait for the opener, as Hofmann volleyed past Schuhen from Marc Lorenz’s corner in the 66th minute.
Marvin Wanitzek put the match to bed in second half stoppage time by tucking in the rebound after Schuhen had parried away Marco Djuricin’s initial effort.
Despite the win, Karlsruher remain in the relegation zone, while Darmstadt fall to 7th.
Jahn Regensburg 2 – Holstein Kiel 2
A late comeback saw hosts Regensburg share points with visiting Kiel at the Arena Regensburg.
Lee Jae-sung opened the scoring for Die Störche in just the 3rd minute, when he was in the right place at the right time to slot in from Hauke Wahl’s flicked on corner. It was the first goal scored since German football was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regensburg’s Oliver Hein forced Kiel keeper Ioannis Gelios into a save later in the first half as the hosts looked to get back into the match, but it was the visitors who dominated for large stretches of the opening 70 minutes. They extended their lead about 10 minutes in the second half. It was Lee who set it up, brilliantly faking out keeper Alexander Meyer before selflessly passing to an unmarked Finn Porath who merely had to pass the ball into the net for 2-0.
But the visitors may have taken their foot off the gas too soon, because Regensburg pulled one back in the 75th minute. Gelios arguably should have done better with Sebastian Stolze’s effort, but it squirted between his legs and over the line to give the hosts a chance. Kiel center-back Phil Neumann then gave away a penalty in stoppage time when, attempting to clear a ball from his own box, he kicked an unsighted Marc Lais in the shin. Andreas Albers tucked the penalty just out of Gelios’s reach for a last gasp equalizer.
Holstein drop to 8th, just 2 points ahead of Regensburg in 10th.
Bochum 3 – Heidenheim 0
It was a good week to be at home and a not so good week to be in the top 4 of the table, as Bochum ran away from visiting Heidenheim at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion.
Bochum captain Anthony Losilla headed in the opener in the 11th minute from Danilo Soares’s free kick outside the box. Losilla just managed to get to the ball ahead of Heidenheim keeper Kevin Müller to give the hosts an early lead. Heidenheim captain Marc Schnatterer went for an equalizer moments later, but Bochum keeper Manuel Riemann was on hand to deny him.
Arsenal loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu doubled Bochum’s lead in the 34th minute with a splendid solo effort, dancing around two Heidenheim defenders before slotting past Müller. Heidenheim tried to get back into the match in the second half, but Bochum weren’t having it. Shortly after Riemann kept out Timo Beermann’s header, Bochum’s leading scorer Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy wrapped up the points by converting from teammate Robert Žulj’s excellent through ball.
The win pulls Bochum away from the relegation zone and up to 12th in the table, while Heidenheim remain 4th.
St Pauli 1 – Nürnberg 0
A solitary second half goal elevated hosts St Pauli over visiting Nürnberg in a bottom half of the table clash at the Millerntor-Stadion on Sunday afternoon.
Both keepers made big saves early on as first Kiezkicker’s Robin Himmelmann saved from Nürnberg’s Adam Zreľák, and then counterpart Christian Mathenia stopped Waldemar Sobota from close range shortly thereafter. Der Club had the better chances in the first 45, but couldn’t find a way past Himmelmann, who made two acrobatic saves on set pieces to deny first Tim Handwerker and then Johannes Geis. Nikola Dovedan then spurned a big chance when he skied the ball over the net after a nice cutback.
Things became a lot tougher for the visitors in the 55th minute however, when Mathenia, in an attempt to clear away a through ball, brought down St Pauli striker Henk Veerman when he was through on goal, and was subsequently given his marching orders. Nürnberg and substitute keeper Felix Dornebusch managed to hold the hosts at bay for most of the second half, but Kiezkicker’s man advantage finally bore fruit in the 84th minute when Brighton loanee Viktor Gyökeres beat Dornebusch and squeezed the ball in at the far post.
St Pauli elevate themselves back into the top half of the table to 9th, while Nürnberg are 15th, just a point above the relegation playoff spot.
Arminia Bielefeld 1 – Osnabrück 1
Visiting Osnabrück picked up what could be a precious point versus league leaders Bielefeld at the Schüco-Arena.
Bielefeld, looking to extend their 6 point margin at the top of the table, took the lead in the 17th minute from the penalty spot. Lila-Weiß center-back Joost van Aken brought down league leading scorer Fabian Klos in the area, and the Bielefeld captain made no mistake from the spot to give his side the lead.
The hosts were the dominant team on the day in terms of possession (64%-36%), but Osnabrück, still seeking their first win since December, hung tough and ended up putting as many shots on goal (3) as Bielefeld. Bremen loanee Niklas Schmidt gave the hosts a scare later in the first half, but his free kick from outside the box sailed just wide of the post.
Reinhold Yabo forced Lila-Weiß keeper Philipp Kühn into a save in the second half and it looked as if Bielefeld would take all 3 points, but the visitors stunned them in stoppage time. Keeper Stefan Ortega failed to deal with substitute Manuel Farrona-Pulido’s cross from the left, which bounced off the crossbar and back into the penalty area. Marcos Álvarez reacted fastest and shot past Ortega to equalize.
The late strike sees Osnabrück move up to 13th in the table, 2 points above the relegation playoff spot, while Bielefeld in fact, did widen their lead at the top, as we shall see.
Greuther Fürth 2 – Hamburg 2
Hamburg needed a win against Fürth at the Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer to put the pressure on Bielefeld heading into their Matchday 27 clash, but the hosts had other ideas.
HSV were on the prowl early on, with Jairo Samperio nearly getting the opener in the 20th minute, only for keeper Sascha Burchert to tip his effort past the post. Kleeblätter then took the lead against the run of play in the 35th minute when Håvard Nielsen headed past keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes from Maximilian Wittek’s cross.
Leverkusen loanee Joel Pohjanpalo tied the match just 6 minutes later by heading in a Tim Leibold cross from the left. And at the outset of the second half, shortly after Fürth’s Branimir Hrgota shot high from close range, Jeremy Dudziak gave HSV the lead in the 48th minute with a shot from the edge of the box.
Burchert denied Pohjanpalo a second later in the half and Hamburg looked to have things all but sewn up until the fourth minute of stoppage time. A late corner led to a mad scramble in the box and the ball ultimately squirted out to Nielsen, standing not 5 yards away from goal. The Norwegian duly nabbed a brace and a point for his side.
Despite squandering a potential win, Hamburg moved up to 2nd in the table, while Fürth remain 5th.
Wiesbaden 2 – Stuttgart 1
Stuttgart couldn’t take advantage of a golden opportunity to close the gap on Bielefeld and lost to hosts Wiesbaden at the BRITA-Arena.
After a dull opening 45 minutes, Wiesbaden striker Manuel Schäffler showed that the long layoff had not worn out his scoring boots. Stefan Aigner’s header across the penalty area found Schäffler unmarked and he coolly shot past keeper Gregor Kobel to give Wiesbaden a shock lead.
Stuttgart were the dominant side on the day with advantages in terms of possession (68%-32%) and shots (14-11), but it took them until the 83rd minute to find the back of the net. Substitute Roberto Massimo’s cross from the left sailed all the way across goal and an onrushing Nicolás González steered the ball just past keeper Heinz Lindner to make it 1-1.
It looked as if things would end up all square, but it wouldn’t be the 2. Bundesliga without a little VAR controversy now would it? In the waning moments of second half stoppage time, VAR called for a review of a late Wiesbaden corner. On review, it appeared that the ball struck a Stuttgart defender on the arm and that was enough for referee Sascha Stegemann to award a penalty at the death. Phillip Tietz beat Kobel from the spot and Wiesbaden somehow managed to win both legs against Stuttgart on the season.
Stuttgart fall to 3rd in the table, while Wiesbaden remain in 16th.
1. Arminia Bielefeld – 52 points
2. Hamburg – 45 points (+20 GD)
3. Stuttgart – 45 points (+12 GD)
4. Heidenheim – 41 points
5. Fürth – 37 points (+4 GD)
6. Erzgebirge Aue – 37 points (+2 GD)
14. Sandhausen – 29 points (-5 GD)
15. Nürnberg – 29 points (-12 GD)
16. Wiesbaden – 28 points
17. Karlsruher – 27 points
18. Dresden – 24 points
1. Fabian Klos (Arminia Bielefeld) – 17 goals
2. Manuel Schäffler (Wiesbaden) – 16 goals
T3. Tim Kleindienst (Heidenheim) – 12 goals
T3. Philipp Hofmann (Karlsruher) – 12 goals
T3. Silvère Ganvoula M’boussy (Bochum) – 12 goals
Key Upcoming Matches – Matchday 27 (May 22 – 24)
Wiesbaden @ Heidenheim – Friday 5/22, 12:30 pm EST
Erzgebirge Aue @ Nürnberg – Friday 5/22, 12:30 pm EST
Arminia Bielefeld @ Hamburg – Sunday 5/24, 7:30 am EST
Stuttgart @ Holstein Kiel – Sunday 5/24, 7:30 am EST