The only thing worse than the weather on Matchday 20 were some of the performances on the pitch. Here are the results:
St Pauli 2 – Sandhausen 1 (Friday, February 5 – Millerntor-Stadion)
St Pauli continued their resurgent run of form by using two second half goals to upend Sandhausen.
Sandwiched between two Rodrigo Zalazar near misses, Guido Burgstaller saw an early chance cleared off the line by Sandhausen’s Alexander Rossipal. Kiezkicker were the better side in the first half and should’ve taken the lead on 43 minutes, but Omar Marmoush couldn’t beat keeper Stefanos Kapino after being played through on goal.
Sandhausen were largely invisible in front of goal and St Pauli finally took a deserved lead on 67 minutes. Marmoush played the ball out wide to Finn Ole Becker, whose cross into the box caught Kapino off his line and left Daniel-Kofi Kyereh with a simple tap in. Kyereh would turn provider four minutes later when his shot from the edge of the box was turned in by Burgstaller to give St Pauli a two goal lead.
Kevin Behrens managed to pull one back for Sandhausen just 3 minutes later, but that would ultimately prove to be the only major attacking threat the visitors would launch on the night. Thus, St Pauli took their fourth win in their last five league matches.
Erzgebirge Aue 3 – Hamburg 3 (Friday, February 5 – Erzgebirgsstadion)
Erzgebirge clawed their way back from a pair of 2 goal deficits to share points with league leaders Hamburg.
HSV were the dominant team at the start and it took them just 13 minutes to find the back of the net. Tim Leibold’s cross from the left was allowed to go all the way across the goal mouth to Bakery Jatta, who lobbed the ball first time back toward the goal. The Erzgebirge defense got caught ball watching and allowed Simon Terodde to sneak away and head into an open net.
Moritz Heyer struck the post for the visitors 5 minutes later, but David Kinsombi picked him up by lashing in Hamburg’s second on 22 minutes. It looked like HSV would run away with the result, but Erzgebirge struck back on the counter just 4 minutes after, with Jan Hochscheidt providing the finishing touch.
But Hamburg restored their two goal cushion at the half hour mark from the penalty spot. Leibold put the ball in the net during open play, but the referee instead waved it off and instead awarded a penalty for a foul on Sonny Kittel in the build-up. Terodde took the spot kick and stuck it into the far corner just out of the reach of keeper Martin Männel.
Nevertheless, Hamburg couldn’t add to their lead by halftime and the second half would prove to belong to Erzgebirge. Shortly after Florian Krüger curled one just over the bar, Hochscheidt set-up teammate Clemens Fandrich to guide the ball just inside the far post and pull the hosts within one. And they tied the score just after the hour mark, when Krüger volleyed in from a difficult angle after keeper Sven Ulreich saved substitute Gaëtan Bussmann’s initial effort.
One would think that the remainder of the match would be just as intense, but alas, the final half hour or so was relatively quiet, with neither team creating a particularly dangerous chance. As a result, 3-3 it finished, which will delight Erzgebirge and frustrate Hamburg.
Hannover 2 – Braunschweig 1 (Saturday, February 6 – Eintracht-Stadion)
Two quick-fire goals in the first half powered Hannover past Braunschweig.
Nick Proschwitz came ever so close to an opener for Braunschweig, but he just couldn’t quite get on the end of Fabio Kaufmann’s 4th minute cross. Fortunately for the hosts, Ji Dong-won made up for the miss by curling the ball into the far corner on 17 minutes to give Braunschweig an early lead.
Braunschweig had a couple of chances to extend their lead in the opening half hour, but Hannover keeper Michael Esser made a series of saves to keep them out. This allowed Die Roten to gradually work their way back into the match, and they equalized on 34 minutes, when Valmir Sulejmani headed in acrobatically from close range.
With the momentum on their side, Hannover took the lead just two minutes later, when Marvin Ducksch headed in from a Niklas Hult cross from the left. This would prove to be all that Hannover needed as Braunschweig, despite their best efforts, were unable to find a way past Esser for the remainder of the match.
Nürnberg 2 – Darmstadt 1 (Saturday, February 6 – Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor)
After blowing a late lead, 10-man Nürnberg were gifted a winner from nowhere to take a vital win over Darmstadt.
Pitch conditions in Darmstadt were abysmal, but despite the appalling conditions, both sides managed to put together quite a few chances in the first half. Marvin Mehlem and Christian Clemens went close for Darmstadt while Nikola Dovedan and Fabian Nürnberger did the same for Nürnberg at the other end. No one could find a way past either keeper however, so it was all to play for in the second half.
Nürnberg finally grabbed the lead on 76 minutes, when Dovedan’s close range shot was stopped by keeper Marcel Schuhen, but the rebound went straight to substitute Fabian Schleusener, who tapped in for the lead. But their hopes of a win were seemingly dashed on 88 minutes, when Oliver Sorg blocked Aaron Seydel’s goal bound shot with his arm and was duly sent off with a straight red card.
Fabian Holland dispatched the subsequent spot kick with ease and it seemed as though Darmstadt had at least rescued a point, but then from nothing, their dismal defense let them down in agonizing fashion. Nicolai Rapp, under no pressure whatsoever, misjudged his keeper’s position and headed the ball over Schuhen’s head for an own goal in the second minute of stoppage time.
Thus, Nürnberg took their first win of 2021 in unbelievable circumstances.
Bochum 2 – Osnabrück 1 (Saturday, February 6 – Stadion an der Bremer Brücke)
Bochum used a dominant first half display to outlast Osnabrück and pull within 2 points of Hamburg at the top of the table.
Chances were plentiful for the visitors in the opening 20 minutes, with Anthony Losilla, Simon Zoller, and Gerrit Holtmann each forcing a save. Finally, Zoller got his head to an 18th minute Robert Žulj cross and guided the ball into the net for the lead. Lila-Weiß had a good chance to equalize on 32 minutes, but Bielefeld loanee Sebastian Müller couldn’t get the ball past Bochum keeper Manuel Riemann.
Bochum took advantage and doubled their lead 3 minutes later, when Losilla headed in from another Žulj cross. Osnabrück managed to pull one goal back in the second half, when Sebastian Kerk scored from a free kick in the 64th minute, but they ultimately didn’t have a second in them, which allowed Bochum to see out the final moments and take all the points.
Karlsruher 0 – Regensburg 0 (Sunday, February 7 – Wildparkstadion)
A scoreless draw was a fair result between Karlsruher and Regensburg.
Both Marius Gersbeck and Alexander Meyer stopped every shot that came their way and both sides had roughly equal possession numbers on the day, although KSC did put more shots on target (7-3) in the 90 minutes.
Regensburg had to play the final 10 minutes or so a man down after center-back Benedikt Gimber committed a tactical foul to stop a Karlsruher counter. Nevertheless, the visitors were able to hold KSC off and salvage a point on the day.
Greuther Fürth 4 – Würzburger 1 (Sunday, February 7 – Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer)
Fürth made it three wins in succession to begin the Rückrunde by dispatching bottom side Würzburger.
The visitors actually took the lead on 15 minutes, when Patrick Sontheimer broke free and somehow dinked the ball past an onrushing Sascha Burchert. Ridge Munsy followed his teammate’s run and was on-hand to bury the loose ball and the goal stood after VAR confirmed the striker was not offside when he shot the ball.
From that point, it was all Kleeblätter, although their equalizer was a gift from the Würzburger defense. Center-back Christian Strohdiek tried to head the ball back to his keeper in traffic, but under hit it. Hendrik Bonmann managed to save Branimir Hrgota’s initial shot, but the rebound went right to Dickson Abiama, who scored into an open net.
The match stayed one-one until the 50th minute, when Hrgota scored from close range to give Fürth a lead they would not relinquish. Würzburger had some excellent chances to tie it back up, but a combination of Burchert and some desperate defending kept them at bay.
Kleeblätter’s third goal was controversial, as it came via a penalty that was awarded when Jamie Leweling went down with little to no contact in the box. Nevertheless, VAR awarded a spot kick, which Hrgota buried. Substitute Robin Kehr added a fourth on 87 minutes to end the scoring and wrap up the result for Fürth.
Holstein Kiel 2 – Düsseldorf 0 (Monday, February 8 – Merkur Spiel-Arena)
Kiel rode a clinical offensive display to an away win over Düsseldorf and closed the gap to the top of the table.
It was a tense opening 25 minutes, with neither side offering much of a threat at either end, until Janni-Luca Serra finally put a shot on target for Kiel that was comfortably saved by Florian Kastenmeier. 10 minutes later, Die Störche were awarded a penalty when Serra was lightly fouled in the box by Kevin Danso. Alexander Mühling converted from the spot to give Kiel the lead.
Lee Jae-sung doubled their lead just two minutes into the second half, by tucking in the rebound from his own initial saved shot. Kiel arguably could have had more than the two they ended up with had it not been for Kastenmeier, while Düsseldorf only managed a solitary shot on target in the whole 90 minutes.
The win puts Kiel level on points with Bochum, although they trail on goal difference.
1. Hamburg – 41 points
2. Bochum – 39 points (+16 GD)
3. Kiel – 39 points (+15 GD)
4. Fürth – 38 points
14. St Pauli – 22 points (-6 GD)
15. Osnabrück – 22 points (-10 GD)
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