There’s a new top dog in the 2. Bundesliga. Here are the results from Matchday 23:
Paderborn 2 – Heidenheim 2 (Tuesday, February 23 – Benteler-Arena)
A stoppage time goal allowed Paderborn to claim a point against Heidenheim in a make-up fixture from Matchday 20.
Denis Thomalla had an early chance saved by Paderborn keeper Leopold Zingerle, but Heidenheim got on the board first six minutes later. Off a set piece, Zingerle collided with Heidenheim center-back Patrick Mainka. No foul was given and Tim Kleindienst shot into a vacant net for 1-0. Paderborn however, would equalize just before halftime from the penalty spot. VAR adjudged that Thomalla had fouled Sebastian Schonlau as they fought for a corner and Dennis Srbeny converted from the spot to tie things up.
A scrappy second half opened up in the final 15 minutes or so. Heidenheim retook the lead on 77 minutes when Zingerle parried Marvin Rittmüller’s shot directly to Christian Kühlwetter, who buried the rebound. But Srbeny struck again a minute into stoppage time, when the Heidenheim defense failed to clear their lines and the striker stuck the ball just inside the post to level things once more.
Regensburg 1 – Paderborn 0 (Friday, February 26 – Jahnstadion Regensburg)
Regensburg snapped a 4-match winless run by beating Paderborn at home.
The visitors had the lion’s share of chances in a relatively tame first half, but couldn’t find a way past Regensburg keeper Alexander Meyer. Both Paderborn center-backs, Sebastian Schonlau and Uwe Hünemeier put headers on target, but were unable to best Meyer.
Regensburg took advantage in the second half and thought they’d gone ahead on 48 minutes, but VAR pegged back a Max Besuschkow goal because Jann-Christopher George was offside in the build-up. Nevertheless, Regensburg would finally took the lead 5 minutes later, when Sebastian Stolze thumped home from Jan Elvedi’s cross.
Paderborn had a golden opportunity to equalize just after the hour mark when Benedikt Saller fouled Jamilu Collins in the box, but man-of-the-match Meyer saved Dennis Srbeny’s subsequent penalty. Paderborn were unable to find the back of the net in the final half hour and Regensburg took all 3 points.
Karlsruher 1 – Darmstadt 0 (Friday, February 26 – Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor)
A second-half goal lifted Karlsruher back into the win column at the expense of Darmstadt.
Darmstadt started brightest on the evening, with Mathias Hnosak and Serdar Dursun forcing saves in the opening 45 minutes. Tobias Kempe came the closest for the hosts, but his 42nd minute free kick blazed just over the crossbar.
KSC came out of the half on mission however, and Kyoung Rok Choi put them in front on 52 minutes. The midfielder played a nifty one-two with Marvin Wanitzek, and threaded a left-footed shot through the Darmstadt defense and just inside the far post. Karlsruher clamped down across the remaining half hour and didn’t let Darmstadt get very close to an equalizer, which allowed the visitors to take the win and the points.
Holstein Kiel 1 – Erzgebirge Aue 0 (Saturday, February 27 – Holstein-Stadion)
A late penalty gave Kiel the win, but Erzgebirge were likely more annoyed with VAR as they had two goals chalked off.
Ben Zolinski put the ball in the net for the visitors just 5 minutes in, but it was called back because Florian Krüger was just offside in the build-up. Kiel keeper Ioannis Gelios pulled off a massive double save moments later, first denying Dimitrij Nazarov and then getting back into position to stop Krüger’s follow-up. At the other end, Martin Männel made two fine saves to deny Alexander Mühling and Simon Lorenz.
Erzgebirge once more thought they’d taken the lead, only to be undone by a marginal offside. John-Patrick Strauß was the unfortunate phantom scorer this time. This kept Die Störche in the match, but it wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that they took the lead from the penalty spot. Erzgebirge’s Ognjen Gnjatić just caught Finn Porath in the box and Mühling put his penalty inches beyond Männel to give Kiel the lead and ultimately the win.
Bochum 3 – Würzburger 0 (Saturday, February 27 – Vonovia Ruhrstadion)
Bochum outclassed bottom-side Würzburger and went top of the league for the first time in almost 6 years.
The hosts broke things open after a dull opening 20 minutes. Würzburger failed to clear a Gerrit Holtmann cross from their box and the ball went straight to Robert Žulj who clinically scored into the far corner. Bochum could’ve had more in the opening half, but some top-class saves from Hendrik Bonmann kept it a one-goal match at the break.
Würzburger’s David Kopacz had a great chance to equalize just after the half, but Manuel Riemann stood in his way. And with the visitors pushing high in search of a goal, this allowed Bochum to counter, and Danny Blum doubled their advantage on 62 minutes with a sharp shot that Bonmann arguably could’ve done better with. Holtmann would ice the match in the final 10 minutes with another goal on the break.
The win, coupled with other results, moves Bochum to first in the 2. Bundesliga for the first time since Matchday 8 of the 2015-16 season.
Hannover 2 – Greuther Fürth 2 (Saturday, February 27 – HDI-Arena)
Fürth erased two deficits to salvage a point against Hannover.
A tense, but tame opening 40 minutes was broken by Hannover’s Genki Haraguchi. The Japanese international skipped into the Kleeblätter box and finished smartly into the bottom corner to give Hannover the lead. Marvin Ducksch nearly doubled it just before the half, but his shot was saved by keeper Sascha Burchert.
Die Roten held onto the lead until the 68th minute, when Håvard Nielsen scored for Fürth off a set-piece. The tie lasted only two minutes as Hannover retook the lead on a set-piece of their own, substitute Moussa Doumbouya rising highest to head in from Dominik Kaiser’s delivery. But Fürth clawed their way back level once more on 76 minutes, Dickson Abiama scoring on a deflected effort.
The final 10 minutes or so were quiet, so both sides had to be content with a draw on the day.
Sandhausen 3 – Osnabrück 0 (Sunday, February 28 – BWT-Stadion am Hardtwald)
Osnabrück are in trouble after a comprehensive beating at the hands of Sandhausen.
Center-back Adam Sušac stupidly got himself sent off just 5 minutes into the match with a senseless push on Sandhausen’s Kevin Behrens, after the Lila-Weiß defender coughed up the ball in his own end. The foul also resulted in a penalty, which Alexander Esswein converted to give Sandhausen an early lead they would not relinquish.
Wasteful finishing by Sandhausen kept Osnabrück in the match into the second half, but a second penalty conceded just after the hour mark by Ulrich Taffertshofer, allowed Sandhausen to score once more from the spot, Behrens doing the deed this time. Substitute Philipp Klingmann made it 3-0 in the final moments and Sandhausen could’ve made it a hat-trick of penalties at the end, but Osnabrück keeper Moritz Nicolas finally stopped one, denying Heidenheim loanee Patrick Schmidt near the end.
The win moves Sandhausen to within a point of Osnabrück, who have still yet to win in 2021.
Nürnberg 0 – Braunschweig 0 (Sunday, February 28 – Max-Morlock-Stadion)
A nil-nil draw with only 1 shot on target combined doesn’t make for great reading material.
Nikola Dovedan had the sole shot on target in the match, a 40th minute effort that Braunschweig keeper Jasmin Fejzić dealt with rather easily. Otherwise, the match was a snoozefest that featured four times as many cards as shots on target.
Neither team will be very happy with the result, but the point does keep Braunschweig level with Sandhausen and just a point behind Osnabrück.
Heidenheim 3 – Düsseldorf 2 (Sunday, February 28 – Voith-Arena)
Heidenheim blew two leads against Düsseldorf, but managed to claim the win anyway with a late goal.
Kevin Sessa gave the hosts the lead on 20 minutes, with a bullet shot into the bottom corner. It should’ve been 2-0 before the halftime break, but Christian Kühlwetter fluffed his chance and allowed keeper Florian Kastenmeier enough time to deflect the shot over the bar.
While they were down, Düsseldorf were certainly not out and after Kühlwetter missed another great chance in the second half, Marcel Sobottka equalized on 63 minutes with a fierce volley that deflected off center-back Oliver Hüsing and left keeper Kevin Müller no chance. Müller made a fantastic save moments later to deny Thomas Pledl from point blank range.
A careless giveaway by the Düsseldorf defense in their own half allowed Tim Kleindienst to score his 6th goal for Heidenheim since his return in the January window. This lead lasted only 4 minutes, as substitute Kristoffer Peterson levelled once more for Düsseldorf in the 76th minute.
But Heidenheim were not to be denied on this day. Stefan Schimmer struck the crossbar on 83 minutes and seconds later, Kleindienst bagged his 7th goal in 5 matches by heading in from Norman Theuerkauf’s cross. A late save from Müller put an end to Düsseldorf’s chances and gave the hosts a big win.
St Pauli 1 – Hamburg 0 (Monday, March 1 – Millerntor-Stadion)
St Pauli put the relegation fight firmly in their rear-view winner by taking the season’s second Hamburg Derby over rivals HSV.
Hamburg were the dominant team early, with Sonny Kittel smashing against the bar from a 2nd minute free-kick. Teammate Gideon Jung struck the woodwork himself with a header in the 21st minute. Kiezkicker fought back and Guido Burgstaller forced HSV keeper Sven Ulreich into a smart save just moments later.
Things tightened up in the second half, but neither side could seem to find a goal, as HSV’s Jeremy Dudziak and Burgstaller forced saves just after the hour mark. Finally, St Pauli broke through on 88 minutes. Rodrigo Zalazar picked out substitute Luca Zander, whose cut-back made its way to Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, who hammered the ball into the roof of the net to give St Pauli the lead.
Hamburg captain Tim Leibold was sent off with a straight red card in stoppage time, eliminating any chance HSV had of equalizing. It marks the second consecutive season in which Hamburg has failed to win either leg of the Hamburg Derby.
1. Bochum – 45 points (+20 GD)
2. Kiel – 45 points (+16 GD)
3. Fürth – 43 points
4. Hamburg – 42 points
15. Osnabrück – 22 points
16. Sandhausen – 21 points (-16 GD)
17. Braunschweig – 21 points (-22 GD)
18. Würzburger – 15 points
1. Simon Terodde (Hamburg) – 19 goals
2. Christian Kühlwetter (Heidenheim) – 13 goals
T3. Simon Zoller (Bochum) – 11 goals
T3. Robert Žulj (Bochum) – 11 goals