clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2. Bundesliga Update - The Promotion Fight on the Season’s Final Day

New, comments
VfL Bochum 1848 v SV Sandhausen - Second Bundesliga Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

The final day of the 2. Bundesliga season did not lack for drama and suspense, at either end of the table.

Going into Matchday 34, three sides had clinched a place in the top 3 table positions, but the question of who would win the league, who would finish in the top 2 to gain automatic promotion to the Bundesliga, and who would finish third and be forced into the promotion playoff against Köln, were still to be determined.

Bochum, Kiel, and Fürth all went into Sunday’s fixtures with a chance of finishing in any of the top 3 positions. Here was how the table stacked up going in:

1. Bochum – 64 points (+25 GD, 63 GF)

2. Kiel – 62 points (+23 GD, 55 GF)

3. Fürth – 61 points (+24 GD, 66 GF)

For those unfamiliar, GF in this instance is Goals For, or goals scored.

All 3 sides were at home on Sunday: Bochum hosting 15th placed Sandhausen, Kiel entertaining 8th placed Darmstadt, and Fürth welcoming 4th placed Düsseldorf. And with every fixture kicking off at the same time, we were able to follow the ever-changing promotion situation in real-time.

Here’s how it went down:

FBL-BUNDESLIGA-SECOND DIVISION-BOCHUM-SANDHAUSEN Photo by INA FASSBENDER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Kickoff

The weather was good as the fixtures kicked off at 3:30 pm Germany time. Bochum went in knowing they needed just a point to be crowned champions, while Kiel and Fürth knew they needed a win, and some outside help in the latter’s case, to book a place in the Bundesliga for 2021-22.

The opening 15 minutes were feisty across all 3 contests. Kiel looked to exploit an improved, but still vulnerable Darmstadt defense, Fürth tested Düsseldorf keeper Florian Kastenmeier early, and Bochum keeper Patrick Drewes made a nifty double save to keep Sandhausen at bay.

At this point, the table was exactly how it appeared going into the day. But it didn’t stay like that for long.

Holstein Kiel v SV Darmstadt 98 - Second Bundesliga Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

18’ | Kiel 1 – Darmstadt 0 (Goal by Janni-Luca Serra)

Up north, Kiel’s Fin Bartels won a free kick about 10 yards outside the Darmstadt penalty area. Alexander Mühling’s lofted free kick found the head of striker Janni-Luca Serra, and the ex-Dortmund academy prospect headed home to put Die Störche ahead.

That was exactly what Kiel needed because if the scoreline stayed like it was, promotion would be theirs, no matter what Fürth did.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 65 points (+25 GD, 63 GF)

2. Kiel – 65 points (+24 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 62 points (+24 GD, 66 GF)

The table would only remain like this for 8 minutes however.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth v Fortuna Düsseldorf - Second Bundesliga Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

26’ | Fürth 0 – Düsseldorf 1 (Goal by Kristoffer Peterson)

Kleeblätter had been the better side in the opening 25 minutes of their match, but they allowed Kristoffer Peterson far too much space on the left. The Düsseldorf man let fly from outside the area and curled in a beautiful arcing effort just inside the far post, out of the reach of keeper Sascha Burchert.

It was a familiar feeling for Fürth. They’d gone behind the week before to Paderborn and now they would need to marshal themselves once more and overcome a deficit if they wanted to keep their promotion hopes alive.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 65 points (+25 GD, 63 GF)

2. Kiel – 65 points (+24 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 61 points (+23 GD, 66 GF)

Fürth sent numbers forward almost immediately after conceding and Kastenmeier made a nice save to deny Håvard Nielsen at the other end just after play resumed. Moments later, the table shifted again.

29’ | Bochum 1 – Sandhausen 0 (Goal by Miloš Pantović)

Bochum broke into the Sandhausen half on the counter with striker Simon Zoller leading the charge. The hosts got numbers forward and Zoller crossed into the box toward a trailing Miloš Pantović. The Serbian’s header was on target and snuck between keeper Stefanos Kapino and the post, giving the league leaders the lead.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 64 GF)

2. Kiel – 65 points (+24 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 61 points (+23 GD, 66 GF)

The following 15 minutes saw no change in the situation, but in the 44th minute of their match, Fürth midfielder Anton Stach caught Düsseldorf striker Rouwen Hennings in the head with a high elbow while going for a header. Referee Harm Osmers brandished a yellow card to the Fürth man.

This would ultimately come back to bite Kleeblätter just minutes later.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth - Fortuna Düsseldorf Photo by Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images

45’ +1 | Fürth 0 – Düsseldorf 1 (Red Card, Anton Stach)

After losing possession in their own half, Fürth had to scramble back defensively and Stach caught Düsseldorf’s Shinta Appelkamp with a boot to the ankle. Referee Osmers didn’t initially give a foul, but VAR noticed something and called him over to have another look.

Upon review, it became clear how bad the foul was and Osmers had no choice but to give Stach a second yellow card in as many minutes. This meant that Fürth would have to play the entire second half down a man.

Fürth somehow needed to conjure up a comeback with only 10 men, but with Bochum and Kiel both leading at the half of their respective fixtures, Kleeblätter’s prospects looked bleak, and the supporters that had gathered outside the Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer knew it.

Halftime

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 64 GF)

2. Kiel – 65 points (+24 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 61 points (+23 GD, 66 GF)

After their opener, Bochum hadn’t created many scoring opportunities against a shaky Sandhausen defense, but at this point, they were exactly where they needed to be.

Kiel had greedily gone in search of a second goal, but Darmstadt keeper Marcel Schuhen made a series of fine saves to keep out Mühling and Fabian Reese. It was likely that Kiel needed another goal, because Darmstadt had the league’s leading goalscorer Serdar Dursun and he missed a glorious chance in the first half when he ballooned a close range effort over the bar. Still, they too were getting the result they needed.

Conversely, Fürth manager Stefan Leitl needed to come up with something at the halftime interval to help get his side back in the match. Fortunately for him and his side, they would get some help from afar just a handful of minutes into the second half.

50’ | Kiel 1 – Darmstadt 1 (Goal by Serdar Dursun)

Set pieces can certainly giveth. But set pieces can also taketh away.

Mühling gave away a free kick in his own half, and picked up a yellow card to boot. Darmstadt’s Christian Clemens sent the ball in from long range and that man Dursun managed to get just enough of his head to it to flick it past keeper Thomas Dähne and level things in Kiel.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 64 GF)

2. Kiel – 63 points (+23 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 61 points (+23 GD, 66 GF)

At virtually the same moment, VAR intervened for a second time in Franconia.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth v Fortuna Düsseldorf - Second Bundesliga Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

53’ | Fürth 1 – Düsseldorf 1 (Goal by Branimir Hrgota)

Fürth came out for the second half determined to get back into things and Düsseldorf’s Christoph Klarer gave them some assistance when he needlessly stuck out a hand and brushed the ball with his fingers to deny Hrgota a shooting opportunity.

Referee Osmers again didn’t see anything, but VAR did. A quick check revealed the clear infraction and Osmers awarded the hosts a penalty. Hrgota took the spot kick himself and sent Kastenmeier the wrong way to equalize.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 64 GF)

2. Kiel – 63 points (+23 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 62 points (+24 GD, 67 GF)

Everything was back on the table for Kleeblätter, but they gave their newly found chance back almost immediately.

56’ | Fürth 1 – Düsseldorf 2 (Goal by Shinta Appelkamp)

Did Düsseldorf suddenly remember that they had a man advantage? They must have, because they sent numbers forward right from the resumption of play, looking to exploit it. Marcel Sobottka found space down the right hand side and cut the ball back for Appelkamp, who buried the shot to put the visitors back in front.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 64 GF)

2. Kiel – 63 points (+23 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 61 points (+23 GD, 67 GF)

10-man Fürth now had it all to do again, but they got some more help from multiple locations in the following moments.

GERMANY-KIEL-FOOTBALL-2. BUNDESLIGA-KIEL VS DARMSTADT Photo by Kevin Voigt/Xinhua via Getty Images

58’ | Kiel 1 – Darmstadt 2 (Goal by Serdar Dursun)

For the second consecutive weekend, Kiel not only couldn’t hold onto a lead, but went behind in the second half.

Darmstadt’s Victor Pálsson got free down the right hand side, but his cross into the box looked very innocuous. But Kiel’s league best center-half pairing of Hauke Wahl and Simon Lorenz somehow lost track of Dursun and allowed the striker to sneak between them and poke the ball through Dähne’s legs to put Darmstadt ahead.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 64 GF)

2. Kiel – 62 points (+22 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 61 points (+23 GD, 67 GF)

59’ | Bochum 1 – Sandhausen 1 (Goal by Kevin Behrens)

At nearly the same moment, Sandhausen equalized at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion in Bochum.

This one was all Kevin Behrens. Teammate Robin Scheu sent a long ball forward toward the striker, who headed the ball away from an onrushing Drewes. Behrens then rushed to get to the ball before it went past the byline and somehow squeezed it into the net from a very tight angle.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 65 points (+25 GD, 64 GF)

2. Kiel – 62 points (+22 GD, 56 GF)

3. Fürth – 61 points (+23 GD, 67 GF)

Meanwhile, Serra came agonizingly close to equalizing for Kiel at the Holstein Stadion, but his header struck the post. And Kastenmeier kept Fürth behind with an impressive double save against Nielsen.

All of a sudden, none of the top 3 were winning at the hour mark. This still favored Bochum and Kiel, but the latter seemed to be running out of gas. Perhaps the congested fixture list in the final month of the season was finally catching up with them?

Regardless, someone needed to take matters into their own hands and seize the opportunity. It ended up being 10-man Fürth.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth v Fortuna Düsseldorf - Second Bundesliga Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

69’ | Fürth 2 – Düsseldorf 2 (Goal by Julian Green)

Düsseldorf had nothing to play for on Matchday 34 but pride. While that can sometimes be enough, it may not have been against a determined side like Fürth, who’s promotion fate was suddenly back in their own hands thanks to events elsewhere.

As such, Düsseldorf didn’t deal with a cross in from the left from left-back David Raum. Kastenmeier allowed it to go all the way across the box where Kleeblätter right-back Marco Meyerhöfer ended up with it. Meyerhöfer sent it immediately back into the middle and it found its way to Julian Green, who’d made a run into the center of the box. Green mishit the ball from point blank range, but got enough on it to push it past Kastenmeier and in for 2-2.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 65 points (+25 GD, 64 GF)

2. Fürth – 62 points (+24 GD, 68 GF)

3. Kiel – 62 points (+22 GD, 56 GF)

Now for the first time on the day, Fürth moved ahead of Kiel in the table on goal difference. And things were about to get worse for Kiel.

75’ | Kiel 1 – Darmstadt 3 (Goal by Immanuel Höhn)

For the second time on the day, a set piece spelled doom for Die Störche.

Darmstadt midfielder Nicolai Rapp flicked on a corner and center-back Immanuel Höhn managed to contort himself enough to get his head to the ball. He put it perfectly beyond the keeper and gave Darmstadt a two-goal lead.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 65 points (+25 GD, 64 GF)

2. Fürth – 62 points (+24 GD, 68 GF)

3. Kiel – 62 points (+21 GD, 56 GF)

With Kiel’s match seemingly slipping away, their competitors for promotion would turn up the wick and take the prize for themselves.

VfL Bochum 1848 v SV Sandhausen - Second Bundesliga Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

78’ | Bochum 2 – Sandhausen 1 (Goal by Anthony Losilla)

Anthony Losilla is Bochum’s captain and has made over 200 appearances for the club since 2014. It was fitting that he’d be the one to deliver the goal that brought the club back to the Bundesliga for the first time in a decade.

Robert Žulj swung a free kick in from outside the box. Center-back Maxim Leitsch headed the ball goalward, but Kapino made the save. The rebound bounced back into the center of the box where Losilla was waiting and he buried the shot to put Bochum back out in front.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 65 GF)

2. Fürth – 62 points (+24 GD, 68 GF)

3. Kiel – 62 points (+21 GD, 56 GF)

At this point, with 10 minutes to go, Bochum had the league title and promotion all but sewn up, if they could hang on to their lead this time. The other promotion spot was still in question, but it wouldn’t be long until that came more into focus as well.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth v Fortuna Düsseldorf - Second Bundesliga Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

83’ | Fürth 3 – Düsseldorf 2 (Goal by Dickson Abiama)

The term impact sub is widely used in football, but Dickson Abiama was the epitome of one when he came off the bench for Fürth with less than 10 minutes to go.

Abiama had only been on the pitch for 30 seconds or so when he received the ball in stride from Meyerhöfer. The striker held off defender Kevin Danso and scored a belter with just his second touch of the match to put Fürth in front!

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 65 GF)

2. Fürth – 64 points (+25 GD, 69 GF)

3. Kiel – 62 points (+21 GD, 56 GF)

It was Meyerhöfer’s second assist of the match and amazingly, the side with 10 men was now on course for a win and promotion to the Bundesliga.

But things weren’t finished just yet.

87’ | Kiel 2 – Darmstadt 3 (Goal by Fin Bartels)

To their credit, Kiel didn’t give up the fight and pulled a goal back through veteran Bartels.

Schuhen had just saved from Joshua Mees moments before, but he could do nothing with Bartels’ powerful shot from close range after his defense failed to clear the ball from the box.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+26 GD, 65 GF)

2. Fürth – 64 points (+25 GD, 69 GF)

3. Kiel – 62 points (+22 GD, 57 GF)

At almost exactly the same moment, the league title was wrapped up in Bochum.

VfL Bochum 1848 v SV Sandhausen - Second Bundesliga Photo by Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

87’ | Bochum 3 – Sandhausen 1 (Goal by Robert Žulj)

Robert Žulj is likely the player of the season in the 2. Bundesliga.

He finished the season tied for the league-lead in assists (13) and his spectacular free kick to put Bochum up 3-1 late was his 15th goal of the season. It was a perfect way to cap off a great season and effectively gave his side the league title.

Live Table:

1. Bochum – 67 points (+27 GD, 66 GF)

2. Fürth – 64 points (+25 GD, 69 GF)

3. Kiel – 62 points (+22 GD, 57 GF)

Final Whistle

When the last ball was kicked, there were celebrations in both Bochum and Fürth. Both sides had gotten the result they’d needed and the wins proved a fitting cap to deserving promotion campaigns.

VfL Bochum 1848 v SV Sandhausen - Second Bundesliga Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Bochum lifted the trophy for the fourth time in their history, marking their return to the Bundesliga for the first time since 2010.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth v Fortuna Düsseldorf - Second Bundesliga Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Fürth didn’t get a trophy, but they all ran down the tunnel toward their supporters to celebrate promotion nonetheless. Next season will be their first Bundesliga campaign since 2012.

GERMANY-KIEL-FOOTBALL-2. BUNDESLIGA-KIEL VS DARMSTADT Photo by Kevin Voigt/Xinhua via Getty Images

For Kiel meanwhile, it was a disappointing end to the regular season. In each of the last two matchdays, they’d let a halftime lead slip away and this allowed Fürth to overcome a 4-point deficit and snatch the second promotion spot.

Nonetheless, Kiel still have a chance to earn a spot in the 2021-22 Bundesliga. They’ll need to defeat Köln across the two legs of the promotion playoff to do it, but this is the side that knocked Bayern out of the DfB-Pokal this season, so they definitely have it in them.

Wait!

Weren’t there 6 other matches on Matchday 34?

And what about the relegation fight at the opposite end of the table?

Stay tuned for that in the next piece.