The 2. Bundesliga kicks off the Rückrunde in style. Here are the results from Matchday 18:
Erzgebirge Aue 2 – Würzburger 1 (Tuesday, January 26 – Erzgebirgsstadion)
Two late goals lifted Erzgebirge to another a home win and heaped more misery on bottom-side Würzburger.
A quiet opening 20 minutes gave way to a flurry of chances at both ends over the course of the following 15. Erzgebirge didn’t hit the target, but Würzburger’s David Kopacz and Ridge Munsy tested Martin Männel three times between them, only for the Erzgebirge captain to deny them each time. Thus, the match entered the half scoreless.
Würzburger were the team in the ascendancy early in the second half and Munsy gave them the lead on 52 minutes with a fine solo effort. But the visitors couldn’t get another goal and Erzgebirge began to slowly take over the match as time passed.
Florian Krüger equalized at the end of a fast break in the 78th minute and Erzgebirge inevitably took the lead 7 minutes later when Krüger set up center-back Florian Ballas to blast in from long-range. Würzburger ultimately had no answer for the East Germans and suffered their league leading 13th loss of the season.
Düsseldorf 0 – Hamburg 0 (Tuesday, January 26 – Merkur Spiel-Arena)
The topspiel of the midweek action saw Düsseldorf hold Hamburg to a scoreless draw.
Hamburg were the dominant team in the first half, but could do nothing with their enormous possession advantage. In fact, thanks to their wastefulness, and the hosts’ impressive defensive work, the league leaders failed to put any of their 7 shots on target in the whole 90 minutes.
The second half was practically all Düsseldorf. Hamburg still maintained the majority of possession, but were nearly caught out several times by a counterattacking Düsseldorf. Keeper Sven Ulreich was a busy man, particularly late, but he managed to stop all 4 of the shots he needed to, which allowed HSV to come out of Düsseldorf with a point, to temporarily extend their lead at the top of the table.
Braunschweig 1 – Heidenheim 0 (Tuesday, January 26 – Eintracht-Stadion)
Matchday 18’s biggest upset took place at the Eintracht-Stadion, where Braunschweig outclassed Heidenheim to take just their 4th win of the season.
Chances were prevalent nearly from the opening whistle. Fabio Kaufmann saw an early shot saved by Heidenheim keeper Kevin Müller, and counterpart Jasmin Fejzić made an equally impressive stop at the other end moments later. Braunschweig kept up the pressure and were rewarded in the 34th minute. Kaufmann’s shot from the right was cleared only as far as Marcel Bär, who hammered home from the center of the box.
Heidenheim came out hungry in the second half, but despite a plethora of corners, they couldn’t find the back of the net. Fejzić kept out an Oliver Steurer header and stopped a Marc Schnatterer effort late. Braunschweig then had a pair of chances to nab a second, but couldn’t convert either of them. Fortunately, the lone goal was all that they needed, and the hosts came away with a deserved win.
Greuther Fürth 1 – Osnabrück 0 (Tuesday, January 26 – Stadion an der Bremer Brücke)
Fürth opened their Rückrunde with a deserved away win over Osnabrück.
Kleeblätter were on the front foot from almost the start, even after manager Stefan Leitl rotated his XI to give some of his starters a rest. The replacements did well to reward their manager’s faith, with 22-year old Dickson Abiama looking particularly dangerous early. Paul Seguin forced a save in the 36th minute and two minutes later, Abiama set up Julian Green for a splendid finish to give Fürth the lead.
Osnabrück barely made it to halftime without further damage, as Green’s attempt at a second goal was cruelly denied by the left-hand post. Fürth would ultimately not give Lila-Weiß much of a chance to get back into things, as they held the hosts to 0 shots on target throughout the 90 minutes. The woodwork once again saved Osnabrück on 71 minutes when Abiama’s shot rattled the crossbar, but the solitary goal proved to be enough to give Kleeblätter the win.
Darmstadt 2 – Sandhausen 1 (Wednesday, January 27 – Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor)
Darmstadt overcame an early deficit to beat Sandhausen and look to get their stuttering campaign back on track.
Sandhausen went ahead barely a minute into the match. Aleksandr Zhirov headed a free kick toward goal and the ball deflected in off the back of fellow center-back Nils Röseler. Darmstadt went on the attack and put the visitors under tremendous pressure. Tobias Kempe smashed an effort against the bar at the half hour mark and keeper Stefanos Kapino made a fine stop to keep out Serdar Dursun moments later.
But as has been the case on previous occasions, Sandhausen let an early lead slip from their grasp. Erich Berko set-up teammate Marvin Mehlem to blast in from close range on 36 minutes and the midfielder scored his second of the match on the other side of the halftime break to give Darmstadt the lead. Sandhausen tried desperately to get back on level terms, but Alexander Esswein was denied a goal on 69 minutes by the right-hand post.
Darmstadt’s Fabian Schnellhardt hit the bar with an 84th minute free kick and keeper Marcel Schuhen was able to do just enough to keep Sandhausen at bay on a flurry of stoppage time corners. Thus, Darmstadt snapped their 4 match losing streak and consigned Sandhausen to their third consecutive fixture without a win.
Paderborn 1 – Holstein Kiel 1 (Wednesday, January 27 – Benteler-Arena)
A closely fought contest resulted in shared spoils between Paderborn and Kiel.
Chris Führich has had a fine season on loan from Borussia Dortmund II and scored his 8th goal of the campaign just 2 minutes into the match. Sven Michel set up the in-form winger to stroke calmly in from the center of the box. Alas, Führich missed a great chance for a second moments later, and this allowed Kiel to equalize in the 15th minute. Jannik Dehm’s initial effort was saved by keeper Leopold Zingerle, but the rebound went right to center-back Marco Komenda, who rolled the ball home for 1-1.
The remainder of the first half saw few chances, and after both keepers made sprawling saves early in the second half to keep the score line tied, the chances once again dried up. There were ultimately only 5 shots on target combined in the match and none after 57 minutes. So, both sides had to make do with a draw, which Paderborn will undoubtedly be happiest with.
Regensburg 1 – Nürnberg 0 (Wednesday, January 27 – Max-Morlock-Stadion)
Regensburg rebounded from a disappointing loss to St Pauli in Matchday 17 by taking a late win away to Nürnberg.
The sides were fairly evenly matched on the day, with an equal number of shots on target and yellow cards (3). The first half went by without many solid chances; Nürnberg keeper Christian Mathenia made the only save of the opening 45 minutes when he parried away Jan Elvedi’s 28th minute effort. Andreas Albers put the rebound into the back of the net, but was offside in the build-up.
The second 45 saw more chances, but neither side was able to put the final move together. Johannes Geis went closest, striking the bar in the 62nd minute from a free kick. It looked as if the match would end scoreless, but Albers had other ideas. He rose highest to head in Albion Vrenezi’s 88th minute cross and give Regensburg a late lead. They almost got a second in stoppage time, but Vrenenzi’s lob over Mathenia landed on top of the net, rather than in it.
Nevertheless, one goal was enough for Regensburg, dooming Nürnberg to a third straight defeat.
Karlsruher 1 – Hannover 0 (Wednesday, January 27 – Wildparkstadion)
Karlsruher continued their impressive mid-season run by taking their fourth win in five matches, at the expense of Hannover.
The opening half saw few chances, although Kingsley Schindler tested KSC keeper Marius Gersbeck on 25 minutes and Kyoung Rok Choi did the same of Michael Esser at the opposite end just before the break. Business picked up in the second half, but still no one could find a way through by the hour mark.
Finally, a bit of luck went Karlsruher’s way, as Schindler unwittingly headed the ball into his own net after a 65th minute corner. That ultimately would be the only goal of the match, although Die Roten did valiantly attempt to find an equalizer over the final 25 minutes. But they couldn’t find a way past Gersbeck, who stopped everything that came his way, and lifted his side to another win, taking them up to 6th in the table.
Bochum 3 – St Pauli 2 (Thursday, January 28 – Millerntor-Stadion)
Matchday 18’s most exciting fixture took place in Hamburg, as Bochum outlasted a rejuvenated St Pauli side to claw closer to the top of the table.
Guido Burgstaller kept up his hot run of form by putting Kiezkicker ahead on just 4 minutes. Leart Paqarada did the dirty work on the left hand side before crossing toward the Austrian striker. His initial effort clanged off the bar, but luckily for him, the ball bounced right back to his feet and he bungled it over the line to give St Pauli the lead.
Bochum would not be held down however. Shortly after Simon Zoller missed a good chance in the 19th minute, he made amends by nutmegging St Pauli keeper Dejan Stojanović and sticking the ball in the net from a tight angle after a fantastic through ball by teammate Robert Žulj.
Bochum nearly took the lead on 31 minutes, but somehow couldn’t force the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble following a corner. Just seconds later, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh put St Pauli ahead with a spectacular looping long-range shot that gave keeper Manuel Riemann no chance.
Žulj forced a nice save out of Stojanović on 42 minutes, but two minutes later, the keeper lost track of the ball and Zoller side-stepped his marker to head in from close range, equalizing once more. And 20 minutes in the second half, Žulj put Bochum ahead for good, although his shot took a big deflection off center-back Daniel Buballa.
St Pauli tried hard, but unfortunately couldn’t find a third, which meant that Bochum not only ran out winners, but pulled to within a point of Hamburg for the league lead.
1. Hamburg – 37 points
2. Bochum – 36 points
3. Kiel – 33 points
4. Fürth – 32 points (+11 GD)
5. Düsseldorf – 32 points (+5 GD)
15. Braunschweig – 17 points
16. St Pauli – 16 points
17. Sandhausen – 15 points
18. Würzburger – 9 points
1. Simon Terodde (Hamburg) – 16 goals
2. Christian Kühlwetter (Heidenheim) – 11 goals
T3. Robert Žulj (Bochum) – 10 goals
T3. Simon Zoller (Bochum) – 10 goals