With the league title already decided, the season’s penultimate matchday was all about the remaining promotion spots and the relegation fight. Here are the results from Sunday afternoon:
Karlsruher 3 – Arminia Bielefeld 3
Two second half penalties allowed Karlsruher to get a point against champions Bielefeld at the Wildparkstadion and keep their chances for survival alive.
The hosts looked all but dead after Bielefeld scored 3 goals in the opening 20 minutes. Marcel Hartel opened the scoring in just the 3rd minute, when he pounced on a loose ball after KSC had failed to deal with Cedric Brunner’s cross from the right. League leading scorer Fabian Klos then took advantage of a miscommunication between keeper Benjamin Uphoff and one of his defenders in the 10th minute. Klos intercepted a back pass, rounded the keeper, and scored easily for his 20th on the season.
KSC center-back Christoph Kobald compounded his side’s misery when he turned a Nils Seufert pass into his own net for Bielefeld’s 3rd on 20 minutes. Karlsruher looked dead in the water, but Philipp Hofmann wasn’t about to let them fall without a fight. He scored a magnificent goal from a tight angle in the 24th minute to give his side some hope and Karlsruher were able to get to the half without further damage.
Bielefeld retained the majority of possession in the second half, but they seemed content to sit on their 3 goals and did not really threaten KSC in the final 45 minutes. This cost them, as left-back Anderson Lucoqui brought down Hofmann in the penalty area in the 70th minute. Hofmann dispatched the spot kick past keeper Stefan Ortega and KSC were within one.
Hofmann got a chance for a hat trick in the final moments, when Bielefeld gave away another penalty, this time when substitute Tom Schütz fouled the big striker in the box. Hofmann beat Ortega again and the match was suddenly level. Babacar Guèye tried to snipe a late win for KSC in stoppage time, but couldn’t find a way past Ortega.
KSC will be delighted with a point having been down 3-0 early. They remain 16th, but they still have a shot at getting to safety on the last day.
Osnabrück 4 – Holstein Kiel 1
Osnabrück secured safety with an emphatic win over ten man Kiel at the Stadion an der Bremer Brücke.
The hosts put the pedal to the metal early. Die Störche were too lax on a corner and Moritz Heyer reacted fastest to head the loose ball past keeper Ioannis Gelios for a 3rd minute lead. The sides traded attempts over the next 20 minutes, but then from out of nowhere Osnabrück’s Bashkim Renneke danced through the Kiel defense and beat Gelios with a fine left-footed effort to make it 2-0 on 24 minutes.
Marc Heider was played through on goal barely a minute later and Kiel center-back Phil Neumann had to foul him in order to stop a breakaway opportunity. Neumann received a straight red card for his last man challenge and Kiel were down to 10 men. They managed to hold Lila-Weiß at bay until halftime, but the visitors were still facing an uphill battle.
Osnabrück got their third goal from the penalty spot in the 51st minute. Heyer and teammate Sebastian Klaas had gone close moments before, but Lukas Gugganig made no mistake from the spot after Kiel’s Dominik Schmidt had fouled Heider in the box to stop another chance. Gelios had to make several acrobatic saves to keep things from getting out of hand quickly.
Gugganig put the ball in his own net in the 78th minute, but there were to be no late comebacks here, as substitute Etienne Amenyido restored Osnabrück’s 3 goal lead on the counter in the 86th minute and that was how it finished.
Osnabrück move up to 13th in the table with the win and assure themselves of another season in the 2. Bundesliga, making them the only newly promoted side to do so thus far this season.
Darmstadt 3 – Wiesbaden 1
A second half collapse saw Wiesbaden fall to Darmstadt at the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor, leaving the visitors staring down the barrel of relegation.
Wiesbaden’s Manuel Schäffler scored his 19th goal of the season in the 5th minute with a fine finish from Dominik Franke’s low cross. Serdar Dursun came within inches of equalizing for Darmstadt on 13 minutes, but his header sailed just wide. Dursun spurned two further opportunities before Max Dittgen threw Fabian Schnellhardt to the ground on a corner and referee Markus Schmidt awarded Darmstadt a penalty. Wiesbaden keeper Heinz Lindner guessed the right way and saved Tobias Kempe’s kick at full extension, before the rebound was hacked away to safety.
The pace slowed down considerably after, as Wiesbaden desperately fought to hold onto their lead. But Darmstadt looked increasingly dangerous as the second half progressed and they finally equalized on 63 minutes through what else, but a set piece. Dursun beat his marker and headed in Paik Seung-ho’s corner to move things back to square one.
Marcel Schuhen stopped Wiesbaden’s Paterson Chato shortly after and Darmstadt grabbed the lead in the 77th minute when Wiesbaden again didn’t deal with a corner properly and Paik bashed the ball into the net. Needing any kind of result desperately, Wiesbaden pushed for an equalizer, but substitute Jeremias Lorch’s 80th minute effort struck the post. The hosts then wrapped up the result 6 minutes later when substitute Enser Arslan squared to fellow sub Marcel Heller, who scored into an empty net.
The win keeps Darmstadt in 5th, but it leaves Wiesbaden 17th, three points out of the relegation playoff spot.
St. Pauli 1 – Jahn Regensburg 1
St Pauli needed just a point to confirm survival and they got it thanks to a first half goal against Regensburg at the Millerntor-Stadion.
Dimitris Diamantakos scored in the 11th minute, after teammate Henk Veerman intercepted an undercooked back pass intended for keeper Alexander Weidinger and squared for the Greek striker to tap into an empty net. Veerman nearly scored himself 5 minutes later, but his header at the back post sailed just wide.
Regensburg right-back Oliver Hein tied things in the 27th minute with a laser from outside the box that keeper Robin Himmelmann didn’t see until too late. Both sides traded chances for the remainder of the first half, but no further goals were coming. Kiezkicker seemed content to play for the draw and were able to hold Regensburg at bay in the second half. The only shot on target in the final 45 minutes was via St Pauli’s Viktor Gyökeres, but Weidinger made the stop.
The draw confirms another season in the second division for Kiezkicker.
Erzgebirge Aue 2 – Hannover 1
Erzgebirge’s home form has been their saving grace this season and their win over Hannover gave them 11 wins at the Erzgebirgsstadion.
The hosts were on the front foot early, but Pascal Testroet couldn’t beat keeper Michael Ratajczak with a 3rd minute chance. Die Roten seemed to be getting back into the match, but they conceded the opener in the 23rd minute. Florian Krüger did the dirty work before passing to Testroet for the finish.
Erzgebirge can be very stout when they get a lead and are not afraid to sit back and defend. Hannover had a hard time getting anything going at their end of the pitch for the remainder of the first half and into the second. Hendrik Weydandt registered their first shot on target in the 57th minute, but his header was claimed by keeper Robert Jendrusch.
Their problems were compounded in the 68th minute when Erzgebirge doubled their lead. Krüger played teammate Clemens Fandrich through on goal and the midfielder rounded Ratajczak and scored. Erzgebirge went into a defensive shell, but Hannover were able to put the ball on target despite this.
Marvin Ducksch headed home in the 79th minute from Cedric Teuchert’s cross and the result was suddenly up for grabs. Die Roten tried valiantly to find a second, but Jendrusch stood tall after the first goal and stopped everything else they threw his way to secure all 3 points for the home side.
Erzgebirge move up to 9th while Hannover sit 7th.
Bochum 2 – Greuther Fürth 2
Fürth used a late second half goal to take a point from hosts Bochum at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion.
Kleeblätter started brightest on the day and seized the lead in just the 7th minute. Daniel Keita-Ruel set up Branimir Hrgota and the ex-Frankfurt man beat keeper Manuel Riemann from 20 yards out. Robert Tesche almost leveled things for Bochum immediately after, but keeper Marius Funk grabbed the ball at close range. Tesche spurned another chance on 26 minutes before Julian Green headed just wide for Fürth at the half hour mark.
The third time was the charm for Tesche as he rose highest to head in a Thomas Eisfeld corner in the 43rd minute to level things. He nearly got another before the halftime whistle, but Funk more or less got in the way to keep it out.
Arsenal loanee Jordan Osei-Tutu has scored some wonderful goals for Bochum since the restart and he nabbed another in the 52nd minute. Manuel Wintzheimer played in the English youngster and after faking past Funk, Osei-Tutu fired into the empty net to give Bochum the lead. He could have bagged another in the 64th minute, but he chose to unselfishly pass to Wintzheimer, only for the striker to shoot over the bar.
The miss proved to be a big one as Kleeblätter right-back Marco Meyerhöfer found space in the Bochum half and picked out Sebastian Ernst who shot past Riemann from close range to tie things at 2. Neither side could find a winner in the final 10 minutes and had to be content with shared spoils.
Bochum remain 6th. Fürth are 8th.
Dynamo Dresden 1 – Sandhausen 0
As much as I’d like to ignore this ghastly affair, the result has potential implications for the relegation fight, so we must subject ourselves to it.
Dresden and Sandhausen combined for more fouls than shots on target over the course of 90 minutes at the BWT-Stadion am Hardtwald. Kevin Broll saved a Marlon Frey shot from range in the 3rd minute and that was the only shot on target in the opening half. Dresden needed a win to have any realistic shot at getting to the relegation playoff spot, but both sides looked rather toothless going forward.
Former BVB man Chris Löwe, who made headlines days earlier with his tearful outburst on live television after Dresden’s loss to Kiel, in which he lambasted the DfB for forcing the squad to play 7 matches in 19 days due to their municipally enforced COVID-19 quarantine, did his side no favors when he was given a straight red card in the 72nd minute. Sandhausen’s Enrique Peña Zauner fouled the defender hard from behind as he tried to move the ball up the pitch and Löwe, obviously still bearing the burden of frustration, lashed out at the Sandhausen substitute after the fact. Zauner was given a yellow card by referee Robert Kempter for the original foul, but Dresden had to play the remaining 20 or so minutes a man down.
Sandhausen couldn’t take advantage of the situation however, and they themselves went down to 10 men in the 89th minute when substitute Erik Zenga was first cautioned for a foul on Dresden’s Barış Atik, and then sent off seconds later after for his petulant reaction. Seconds later, to the amazement of everyone, Dresden took the lead with ultimately their only shot on goal of the match.
Patrick Ebert danced away from a pair of Sandhausen defenders and found center-back Jannis Nikolaou alone in the box. The defender drew the keeper to him and then squared to Marco Hartmann, who passed the ball into the empty net for the winner.
Despite the win, Dresden remain bottom of the table and Karlsruher’s point against Bielefeld means that they are all but relegated.
Stuttgart 6 – Nürnberg 0
Just 5 days after demolishing Wiesbaden 6 goals to nil, Nürnberg were thrashed by Stuttgart to the same score line at the Max-Morlock-Stadion.
Stuttgart took the lead early, ran roughshod over the visitors, and were never threatened. Silas Wamangituka won the ball in Nürnberg’s end in the 11th minute, eluded the trailing defenders and stuck the ball past keeper Christian Mathenia for the opening goal. Center-back Atakan Karazor got the second on 26 minutes from a Nicolás González cross and Wamangituka set up the third just before halftime, with another timely interception, mazy run, and superb pass to set up Sasa Kalajdzic for an easy finish.
Nürnberg did not register a shot on target on the day and Stuttgart scored three more goals in the second half: González in the 55th minute, Karazor the 65th and González again on 77 minutes. They very nearly had more, but ultimately settled for a six-pack.
The win clinches a top 3 finish for the Baden-Württemberg heavyweights, who have now scored 11 goals in their last 2 matches, and all but assures them of a return to the Bundesliga in 2020-21. Nürnberg meanwhile find themselves just 2 points above the relegation playoff spot, as a result of Karlsruher’s draw with Bielefeld.
Heidenheim 2 – Hamburg 1
The matchday’s Topspiel, and possibly the key match in terms of the promotion fight, did not disappoint as Heidenheim scored a dramatic last-second win over Hamburg at the Voith-Arena.
Heidenheim came into the match in 4th place, 2 points behind Hamburg, and with a trip to Bielefeld looming on the final matchday of the season, Frank Schmidt’s men faced a must-win situation for any realistic chance at promotion. Hamburg meanwhile, could clinch a Top 3 finish with a win, while a draw would maintain their advantage and also put Dieter Hecking’s side in good position heading into the final round.
The opening half hour was uneven, as both sides tried to feel each other out. Hamburg had most of the possession, while Heidenheim maintained a disciplined defensive formation. Gideon Jung nearly gave HSV a 7th minute lead, but his header from an Aaron Hunt corner glanced off the front post and looped over teammates Martin Harnik and Louis Beyer, who were waiting for the rebound.
The hosts began to move into the Hamburg half around the 30 minute mark. Niklas Dorsch and Tim Kleindienst both tested keeper Julian Pollersbeck from range, but couldn’t find a way past. Hamburg also had opportunities late in the half, but were unable to test keeper Kevin Müller, leaving it all to play for in the second half.
Hamburg grabbed the lead shortly after the restart. A long ball up from the back was flicked into the path of Joel Pohjanpalo. The Leverkusen loanee bullied his way through the Heidenheim defense and in one clinical stroke, gave HSV the lead. Harnik nearly doubled it just two minutes later, but his half-volley was straight at Müller.
It looked as if Heidenheim had levelled things in the 55th minute when substitute Stefan Schimmer beat Pollersbeck from a tight angle, but VAR showed that the ball had struck Sebastian Griesbeck’s arm just before the midfielder could swing it safely behind his back, and the goal was correctly disallowed. Hamburg slowed things down for the following 10 minutes before Jung had another chance from a set piece, but Müller claimed his header with ease.
Hamburg appeared to have things in hand, but then things started to unravel. Marc Schnatterer, who came on as a substitute in this match, whipped in a cross from the right that skipped past several bodies before striking Kleindienst on the inside of his thigh. The ball spun into Beyer, standing behind him, and deflected off his knee and over the line for an own goal and an equalizer. This set up a frantic final 15 minutes.
Müller prevented an immediate response from Hamburg by snuffing out David Kinsombi’s 81st minute shot. Pollersbeck stopped substitute Denis Thomalla at the other end moments later. The hosts had to push forward however; a draw this late in the season would only benefit HSV. But Thomalla and Schimmer wasted chances in stoppage time and it appeared as though a draw would be the result.
But in the 6th minute of stoppage time, Schnatterer hoisted a rather hopeful ball toward the Hamburg penalty area from the left touchline. Schimmer, unsighted by Hamburg center-back Rick van Drongelen, hit it back across goal with his first touch into the path of an onrushing Konstantin Kerschbaumer. Jung and Tim Leibold couldn’t close the Austrian down in time, and Kerschbaumer got just enough on the ball to put it past Pollersbeck and squeeze it inside the left hand post.
Kerschbaumer sprinted straight for a nearby television camera, screamed his head off, and was mobbed by his teammates and coaches, while Hamburg looked on in disbelief.
The win gives Heidenheim a season sweep over Hamburg and most importantly moves them up to 3rd in the table heading into the final matchday.
1. Arminia Bielefeld – 65 points (champions, promoted)
2. Stuttgart – 58 points (will finish at least 3rd, likely 2nd)
3. Heidenheim – 55 points
4. Hamburg – 54 points
15. Nürnberg – 36 points
16. Karlsruher – 34 points
17. Wiesbaden – 31 points (-22 GD)
18. Dresden – 31 points (-26 GD)
1. Fabian Klos (Arminia Bielefeld) – 20 goals
2. Manuel Schäffler (Wiesbaden) – 19 goals
3. Philipp Hofmann (Karlsruher) – 16 goals
4. Serdar Dursun (Darmstadt) – 15 goals
Key Upcoming Matches – Matchday 34 (June 28, 9:30 am EST)
Osnabrück @ Dresden
Sandhausen @ Hamburg
Karlsruher @ Fürth
Nürnberg @ Kiel
Heidenheim @ Arminia Bielefeld
Darmstadt @ Stuttgart
St. Pauli @ Wiesbaden
With one matchday remaining, here’s how things stand at both ends of the table:
-Stuttgart are guaranteed a top 3 finish and are all but certain to finish 2nd. Heidenheim can equal them on points, but Stuttgart have an 11 goal advantage in terms of goal difference (+23 to +12). Heidenheim have not scored more than 4 goals in a league match all season, which is also the most that Stuttgart’s final opponent, Darmstadt, have scored in a league fixture. Barring an unbelievable result, Stuttgart will be heading back to the Bundesliga.
-Heidenheim have their fate in their hands. A win away to champions Bielefeld will get them into the promotion playoff against either Düsseldorf or Bremen. Anything less and they’ll need Hamburg to drop points, as HSV have the edge in terms of goal difference. Don’t expect Bielefeld manager Uwe Neuhaus to do Heidenheim any favors; he fielded a strong lineup in their meaningless match against Karlsruher and it’s likely he’ll do so again against Heidenheim.
-Hamburg need to get a result and hope Bielefeld do them a favor by either holding or beating Heidenheim. They lead Heidenheim on goal difference (+20 to +12), so a win at home against Sandhausen, coupled with a Heidenheim draw or loss will get them into 3rd; a draw and a Heidenheim loss will also work.
-Nürnberg need a win away to Kiel to guarantee them a spot in the 2. Bundesliga next season. Anything less gives Karlsruher a chance to either tie or leapfrog them.
-Karlsruher must beat Fürth away to have any chance at safety. Then they need Kiel to at least hold Nürnberg. The goal difference is close (-13 for Nürnberg, -12 for KSC). Karlsruher likely won’t finish lower than 16th which means they’ll still have the relegation playoff against the 3rd (or 4th) placed 3. Liga side.
-Wiesbaden and Dresden need to win emphatically and hope Fürth blows out Karlsruher to have any chance of getting into the relegation playoff spot.