A pair of clutch wins created a 3-way tie for first place after Matchday 21. Here are the results:
Hannover 0 – Paderborn 0 (Friday, February 12 – HDI-Arena)
Hannover and Paderborn shared spoils in a rather quiet affair.
The opening 45 minutes featured only a single shot on target, a Marvin Ducksch 17th minute header that Leopold Zingerle claimed comfortably. At the other end, Michael Esser had practically nothing to do in the first half, as Paderborn failed to threaten the Hannover goal much at all.
While things picked up a bit in the second half, the match would finish with as many fouls as shots (22 each), with only 5 attempts being on-target. Of those, none really troubled Zingerle or Esser all that much, so the match ended with a whimper and finished nil-nil.
Holstein Kiel 1 – Würzburger 0 (Friday, February 12 – Holstein-Stadion)
A controversial second half penalty was enough to lift Kiel over Würzburger.
Die Störche were the better side on the day and dominated proceedings in the first half. Jannik Dehm sent a 21st minute free kick just over the bar and Janni-Luca Serra’s 32nd minute header was too close to Würzburger keeper Hendrik Bonmann. So, despite the hosts being in control, the match went into the halftime break scoreless.
Würzburger almost took the lead against the run of play early in the second half, but Ridge Munsy’s shot across the goal mouth slithered just wide of the far post. But then at the hour mark came the defining moment of the match.
Kiel’s Lee Jae-sung went up for a header in the box, but Bonmann beat him to it and punched the ball clear, colliding with the South Korean international in the process. But referee Thorben Siewer whistled Bonmann for a foul and subsequently awarded Kiel a penalty for the collision. Despite intense Würzburger protests, and a lengthy VAR review, the call on the pitch stood and substitute Alexander Mühling scored from the penalty spot to put Kiel ahead.
Würzburger ultimately had no answer and Kiel saw out the remaining minutes to take a vital 3 points.
Hamburg 0 – Greuther Fürth 0 (Saturday, February 13 – Volksparkstadion)
A determined effort from 10-man Fürth saw them hold league leaders Hamburg to a goalless draw.
The first half was closely fought, with neither side able to exert dominance over the other. Håvard Nielsen tested keeper Sven Ulreich at the 15 minute mark, but the HSV keeper made the stop. This would ultimately prove to be Kleeblätter’s only shot on target in the whole match. However, Fürth defended well and were able to keep Hamburg at bay for the whole first half.
The tense affair was made even more so at the hour mark, when Fürth’s Sebastian Ernst picked up a second yellow card for a foul on HSV’s Aaron Hunt and was sent off. Hamburg tried to take advantage immediately, but Simon Terodde’s 63rd minute shot was cleared off the line by Maximilian Bauer. David Kinsombi then thought he’d scored in the 76th minute, but VAR overturned the goal when it was clear the midfielder was offside when he received the ball.
Sascha Burchert made a critical save in the 87th minute to deny HSV substitute Khaled Narey a late winner and Fürth doggedly held on to salvage a point from the tightly contested fixture.
Karlsruher 3 – Sandhausen 2 (Saturday, February 13 – BWT-Stadion am Hardtwald)
Karlsruher staged a second half comeback to overcome Sandhausen and continue their recent hot streak.
The opening half hour was just that: open. Both sides created multiple chances, but it wasn’t until the 30th minute that Sandhausen finally broke through to take the lead. Alexander Esswein picked out Kevin Behrens in the KSC box and the Sandhausen striker niftily tucked the ball around keeper Marius Gersbeck to put the hosts in front. Heidenheim loanee Patrick Schmidt doubled Sandhausen’s lead with a 20-yard bullet ten minutes later.
Though they were down, Karlsruher were not out, and they pulled one back just moments after the second half began. Philipp Hofmann took advantage of a mistake by the Sandhausen defense and cut the deficit in half on 46 minutes. Marc Lorenz then found midfielder Kyoung Rok Choi on a cutback in the 53rd minute and seconds later, the match was tied.
Schmidt then had two chances to put Sandhausen back in front, but couldn’t beat Gersbeck. That allowed Kyoung to give KSC the lead on 76 minutes, notching a brace for himself in the process. Sandhausen couldn’t answer and KSC took the win, running their unbeaten streak in the league to 8 matches.
Heidenheim 2 – Erzgebirge Aue 0 (Saturday, February 13 – Voith-Arena)
Heidenheim made an early lead hold up against 10-man Erzgebirge, despite missing two penalties.
The hosts were awarded a penalty in just the second minute when Erzgebirge’s Gaëtan Bussmann fouled Christian Kühlwetter in the box. But keeper Martin Männel stopped Denis Thomalla’s subsequent penalty to deny Heidenheim the lead. That respite was ultimately short lived as Heidenheim center-back Patrick Mainka headed in from the corner immediately following to put Heidenheim belatedly in front.
Heidenheim continued to pressure the visitors and were awarded a second penalty on 36 minutes when Erzgebirge center-back Steve Breitkreuz was whistled for a handball in the box. The defender was also carded for the foul, his second of the match, and dismissed. Luckily for Erzgebirge, Männel again made a penalty save, this time stopping an effort from Kühlwetter.
Erzgebirge defended valiantly, but it became clear that they weren’t going to be able to find a way back in the second half. Heidenheim were just too good on the day and things finally came to a conclusion when Tim Kleindienst scored their second goal in second-half stoppage time to ice the win.
Regensburg 1 – Düsseldorf 1 (Saturday, February 13 – Jahnstadion Regensburg)
Düsseldorf’s sputtering Rückrunde continued as they were held by Regensburg.
A back-and-forth first half saw both sides give themselves good chances to score, but neither could find the finishing touch to take the lead until the 39th minute. Hoffenheim loanee David Otto broke the deadlock with a shot into the top left corner off an assist from Jann-Christopher George.
Düsseldorf struck back 7 minutes into the second half, when Kenan Karaman finally headed the ball over the line after a goalmouth scramble saw Regensburg block two shots before the striker finally put his effort in. Karaman almost made it two in as many minutes, but Regensburg keeper Alexander Meyer stopped him the second time.
Neither side could find a winner, which consigned Düsseldorf to a fourth straight winless result to open the Rückrunde.
Darmstadt 1 – Osnabrück 0 (Sunday, February 14 – Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor)
Osnabrück’s miserable run continued as Darmstadt handed them their 7th straight league defeat.
The opening half hour saw few chances, but Darmstadt finally opened things up in the 32nd minute. Serdar Dursun’s low cross from the right wasn’t dealt with by the Osnabrück defense, who allowed Mathias Honsak to sneak in and poke the ball home to give the hosts the lead. Dursun almost made it 2-0 moments later, but dragged his shot just wide of the far post.
Darmstadt looked to have gone 2-0 up on 53 minutes when Marvin Mehlem put the ball in the net, but VAR overturned it as the midfielder was a clear 2 yards offside when the ball was played in. Honsak then somehow shot straight as keeper Philip Kühn from point-blank range on 63 minutes to spurn another great chance.
Lila-Weiß managed to put together some decent chances in the waning moments, but Darmstadt keeper Marcel Schuhen made several outstanding saves to keep them at bay and secure the win for his side.
Bochum 2 – Braunschweig 0 (Sunday, February 14 – Vonovia Ruhrstadion)
A relatively easy home win over Braunschweig propelled Bochum into a tie for first place in the league.
Shortly after Simon Zoller missed an early chance, center-back Armel Bella-Kotchap rose highest to head in a Robert Žulj corner to put Bochum ahead in just the 8th minute. Braunschweig won a penalty in the 24th minute when Zoller kicked Marcel Bär in the box, but keeper Manuel Riemann guessed the right way and got down to his left to stop Ji Dong-won’s penalty shot.
Bär then had a golden opportunity to equalize when he caught Riemann off his line, but his long-range curler went just over the bar. That miss allowed Bochum to extend their lead on 32 minutes through full-back Danilo Soares, whose mazy run caught the Braunschweig defense napping. They almost made it 3-0 moments later, but Žulj pulled his volley just wide of the post.
The second half was all Bochum, but a better name for it might’ve been the Robert Žulj Profligacy Tour, as the Bochum man spurned at least 3 great scoring opportunities. He was denied by a combination of misses, saves by Braunschweig keeper Jasmin Fejzić, and even the woodwork. Fortunately for the Austrian, Braunschweig offered little going forward in the second half, which allowed Bochum to cruise to the win.
St Pauli 2 – Nürnberg 1 (Sunday, February 14 – Max-Morlock-Stadion)
St Pauli took their third straight win and fifth in their last six, at the expense of Nürnberg.
An entertaining first half saw Nürnberg’s Nikola Dovedan force St Pauli keeper Dejan Stojanović into a 9th minute save. Guido Burgstaller had a chance for Kiezkicker at the other end 20 minutes later, but though he beat keeper Christian Mathenia, he couldn’t beat the crossbar and the ball caromed away to safety. After being denied twice more by Mathenia, Burgstaller finally broke through just before halftime, with a bender into the top corner off the outside of his boot.
The action continued in the second half, but St Pauli were clearly in the ascendancy and doubled their lead from the penalty spot on 65 minutes. Daniel-Kofi Kyereh was brought down in the box by Nürnberg’s Lukas Mühl and Wolfsburg loanee Omar Marmoush got just enough on his spot kick to beat Mathenia. That goal proved crucial as Nürnberg substitute Dennis Borkowski scored in the 77th minute.
Fortunately for St Pauli, Stojanović was in form over the final 10 minutes and made two critical stops to keep them ahead and ultimately preserve another win.
1. Hamburg – 42 points (+21 GD)
2. Bochum – 42 points (+18 GD)
3. Kiel – 42 points (+16 GD)
4. Fürth – 39 points
15. Osnabrück – 22 points
16. Sandhausen – 18 points
17. Braunschweig – 17 points
18. Würzburger – 12 points
1. Simon Terodde (Hamburg) – 19 goals
2. Christian Kühlwetter (Heidenheim) – 12 goals
3. Simon Zoller (Bochum) – 11 goals