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2. Bundesliga Update - Matchday 26: Bochum Stay Top, 3 Other Sides Still in Promotion Fight

SpVgg Greuther Fürth v 1. FC Nürnberg - Second Bundesliga Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images

With just a quarter of the season remaining, the promotion fight seems to be coming down to four sides, but COVID-19 related postponements have convoluted the fixture list. Here are the results from Matchday 26:

Paderborn 2 – Karlsruher 2 (Friday, March 19 – Benteler-Arena)

A stoppage time goal allowed Karlsruher to draw even with 10-man Paderborn.

Striker Philipp Hofmann gave KSC an early lead in just the 2nd minute, heading home from a Philip Heise corner. Teammate Marvin Wanitzek and Paderborn’s Chris Führich saw chances saved over the following minutes, but the remainder of the first half was rather tame in terms of opportunities for either side.

Paderborn got their equalizer 8 minutes into the second half. Dennis Srbeny’s right-footed shot took a big deflection off center-back Robin Bormuth and gave keeper Marius Gersbeck no chance. Führich then made up for his miss in the first half by scoring from long range on 69 minutes to put Paderborn in front.

But Karlsruher were given a lifeline in the final moments, when Paderborn’s Marcel Correia fouled Hofmann in the box and gave away a penalty. However, keeper Leopold Zingerle appeared to have redeemed his teammate by saving Hofmann’s penalty. But just seconds later, Paderborn left-back Jamilu Collins picked up a second yellow card, dropping the hosts down to 10 men.

This ultimately proved to be Paderborn’s undoing, as KSC substitute Babacar Guèye scrambled the ball home from close range two minutes later, to salvage a point for the away side.

Hamburg 2 – Heidenheim 0 (Saturday, March 20 – Volksparkstadion)

Hamburg notched a second straight 2-0 win and finally came out on top of Heidenheim after recent poor performances in this fixture.

The hosts were dominant early on. Josha Vagnoman had an early goal chalked off due a foul by teammate Bobby Wood in the build-up, but HSV wouldn’t have to wait long for an opener. Aaron Hunt’s 15th minute chipped ball crept in at the back post after the slightest of touches from club captain Tim Leibold. Tim Kleindienst had a good chance to level for Heidenheim on 28 minutes, but keeper Sven Ulreich made a smart save with his feet.

Leibold grabbed his second goal of the match on 50 minutes, finishing off a lovely team move from the center of the box. Heidenheim wasted a great chance to get back into things just seconds later, when they failed to convert on a 2-on-1 opportunity without even putting the ball on target. Hamburg looked pretty comfortable from then on, calm in possession, confidently keeping Heidenheim at bay, and they saw out the remainder of the match to take a deserved win.

Erzgebirge Aue 2 – Sandhausen 0 (Saturday, March 20 – Erzgebirgsstadion)

Erzgebirge snapped a 3 match winless run by beating Sandhausen at home.

The visitors actually had the better chances early on, with Stuttgart loanee Nikolas Nartey forcing a 16th minute save out of Martin Männel. Erzgebirge gradually worked their way into things, but by the halftime whistle, no goal had been scored.

Erzgebirge came out on a mission in the second half and duly took the lead 8 minutes in. A Florian Ballas free kick found the foot of Florian Krüger and the striker calmly guided the ball in from close range to give his side the lead. Smelling blood in the water, Erzgebirge piled on the pressure and got a second goal in the 69th minute, Pascal Testroet the scorer this time.

Sandhausen once again came up short in the attacking department and dropped their 16th match of the season, remaining in the relegation zone in 17th. Erzgebirge meanwhile, sit comfortably in mid-table.

Braunschweig 1 – Darmstadt 1 (Saturday, March 20 – Eintracht-Stadion)

It hasn’t been pretty, but Braunschweig ran their unbeaten run to 5 matches by picking up another precious point against Darmstadt.

Darmstadt jumped out to an early lead on the road, midfielder Victor Pálsson crashing his 13th minute effort in off the underside of the crossbar. But Darmstadt would give the lead up just 4 minutes later from the penalty spot. Fabian Holland tripped Braunschweig’s Fabio Kaufmann in the box and Nick Proschwitz buried the resulting penalty to tie the match up.

Braunschweig keeper Jasmin Fejzić saved from Serdar Dursun and Patric Pfeiffer over the following 10 minutes and his side had another chance from the penalty spot on 25 minutes, when Pálsson was penalized for a handball in the box. But keeper Marcel Schuhen denied Proschwitz this time and kept the score tied.

There were chances at both ends throughout the second half, but no winning goal thanks to VAR overturning Darmstadt substitute Erich Berko’s 86th minute goal because the winger was offside in the build-up. Thus, Braunschweig added another point to their total, keeping themselves just above the relegation zone.

St Pauli 2 – Osnabrück 1 (Sunday, March 21 – Stadion an der Bremer Brücke)

Another ugly performance from Osnabrück saw them fall to St Pauli at home.

The opening half hour saw wastefulness by both sides, although Kiezkicker maintained the majority of possession. Guido Burgstaller finally put the ball on target on 36 minutes, but keeper Philip Kühn made a comfortable save in the Lila-Weiß goal.

St Pauli finally took the lead 5 minutes into the second half from the penalty spot. Osnabrück’s Maurice Trapp tripped Wolfsburg loanee Omar Marmoush in the box and Burgstaller sent Kühn the wrong way to put the visitors ahead. Marmoush would double his side’s advantage 15 minutes later with a nifty run past two defenders before rifling a shot into the bottom corner from just outside the box.

It looked like Marmoush had made it 3-0 just seconds later, but VAR chalked off this goal because the striker was offside. Osnabrück managed to pull one goal back on 79 minutes through Marc Heider, but once again, the quality in the final third just wasn’t there for Lila-Weiß, who suffered yet another defeat in the Rückrunde.

Greuther Fürth 2 – Nürnberg 2 (Sunday, March 21 – Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer)

Fürth needed a stoppage time goal to salvage a point against Nürnberg in the Franconian Derby.

Nürnberg’s Enrico Valentini had the first chance of the match after just 5 minutes, but it was Fürth who took an 8th minute lead through Håvard Nielsen, the Norwegian heading in from Marco Meyerhöfer’s cross. Derbies are always weird however and Nürnberg made it clear they weren’t going to go quietly, with Valentini smashing the ball against the crossbar in first half stoppage time.

The visitors were the hungrier side early in the second half and Valentini finally put the ball in the net on 57 minutes with a nice shot from long range. Nürnberg kept pushing, utilizing the counter effectively throughout the second half, and took the lead on 76 minutes. Teenager Erik Shuranov scored the biggest goal of his young career to put Der Club ahead.

But Nürnberg couldn’t hold on until the end and Fürth substitute Dickson Abiama headed in an equalizer 3 minutes into stoppage time. It was a bit of a harsh result for Nürnberg, but the point keeps Fürth within striking distance of the promotion spots.

Würzburger 1 – Regensburg 1 (Sunday, March 21 – flyeralarm Arena)

Würzburger garnered a point against Regensburg, but they still sit bottom of the table.

The hosts took the lead on 22 minutes through Ridge Munsy, who finished off a fast counter with a splendid finish around the penalty spot. Both sides had good chances for further goals in the first half, but keepers Hendrik Bonmann and Alexander Meyer made several big saves.

Regensburg continued to push for an equalizer into the second half and finally got it on 75 minutes. Andreas Albers, who’d seen several shots saved in the match up this point, at last bested Bonmann and put the ball in the net with a left-footed shot into the bottom corner. Würzburger nearly went ahead once more late, but Meyer denied substitute Dominic Baumann with a fine save.

Neither side are likely to be happy with the result, but Würzburger are running out of matches to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.

Bochum 3 – Düsseldorf 0 (Monday, March 22 – Vonovia Ruhrstadion)

Bochum rebounded from their defeat to Hamburg by thumping Düsseldorf at home.

Düsseldorf actually had the better chances early, but Bochum keeper Manuel Riemann saved a Dawid Kownacki effort inside the opening 10 minutes. But a mistake from keeper Florian Kastenmeier, allowed the returning Simon Zoller to tap in from close range and give Bochum the lead on 13 minutes.

This was pretty much how the first half went: Düsseldorf spurning chances at one end and Bochum taking advantage at the other. Moments after Kristoffer Peterson blew a one-on-one chance against Riemann, Gerrit Holtmann converted a similar chance at the other end and doubled Bochum’s lead on 35 minutes.

Bochum had two goals correctly ruled out for offside in the second half, but substitute Soma Novothny finally put the match to bed on 87 minutes, scoring from the rebound after Kastenmeier saved Thomas Eisfeld’s initial shot.

The win keeps Bochum top of the table, 2 points clear of Hamburg and 4 ahead of Fürth. Kiel aren’t out of things yet, just 5 points back, but with 2 matches in hand.

Table

1. Bochum – 51 points

2. Hamburg – 49 points

3. Fürth – 47 points

4. Kiel – 46 points**

15. Braunschweig – 26 points

16. Osnabrück – 23 points*

17. Sandhausen – 22 points

18. Würzburger – 16 points*

Top Scorers

1. Simon Terodde (Hamburg) – 20 goals

2. Serdar Dursun (Darmstadt) – 15 goals

3. Christian Kühlwetter (Heidenheim) – 13 goals

*Osnabrück and Würzburger have each played only 25 matches due to COVID-19 related postponements.

**Kiel have played only 24 matches due to COVID-19 related postponements.