The race for promotion is hotting up at the top, while the battle to avoid the drop into the third tier getting tense. Matchday 26 of the 2.Bundesliga brought plenty of talking points.
Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-2 Hamburger SV
Hamburg’s winless run continued as they failed to make a return to the top two and had to settle for a point at Düsseldorf, although things could have ended worse. The visitors got off to the ideal start with a goal in the third minute Laszlo Benes converted from the rebound after his initial penalty had been saved. Fortuna were level on 20 minutes with Dawid Kownacki heading home unopposed from a corner. They then got their noses in front when Felix Klauss raced through on goal before a clinical finish just before the half hour mark.
With some 15 minutes left HSV got themselves level when Robert Glatzel combined well to set up Sonny Kittel, F96 defender Christoph Klarer got the final touch however for an unfortunate own goal. The Rothosen had Spaniard Javi Montero sent off late on for the second consecutive game following two yellow cards.
1.FC Nürnberg 0-1 Darmstadt
Darmstadt increased their lead at the top of the table but were rather fortunate to beat Nürnberg at the Max Morlock Stadion on Friday evening. An own goal scored by Christopher Schindler in the 31st minute was all that separated the two sides. The Lilien extended their lead over HSV in third to five points whereas der Klub still find themselves in a relegation fight.
Karlsruhe 1-1 Eintracht Braunschweig
Karlsruhe came back from an early goal to draw with Braunschweig, but were unable to profit from the visitors having to play the final 20 minutes with just ten men.
A fourth minute opener from Lion Lauerbach put Eintracht in front and they later had a goal ruled out on the hour mark. Nine minutes later and KSC were level through Leon Jensen, but Braunschweig keeper Jasmin Fejzic was sent off. He had earlier been booked for time-wasting and when he took his protests over the goal too far, he was given a second yellow by referee Florian Lechner.
St. Pauli 1-0 Jahn Regensburg
In form St. Pauli made it nine wins in a row with a 1-0 victory at home to Jahn Regensburg. The victory sees them move fourth in the table, but they remain six points adrift of city rivals HSV. A first half own-goal from Prince Osei Owusu was enough to seal the win. St. Pauli travel to take on Hamburg at the Volksparkstadion on matchday 29 in match that could have a huge impact on the promotion race.
Hannover 3-1 Sandhausen
Hannover grabbed their first win of 2023 at the ninth attempt with a comeback win over Sandhausen at the Heinz von Heiden Arena. The visitors took the lead in the 14th minute through Christian Kinsombi, but an improved second half display saw Stefan Leitl’s team to victory.
Maxi Beier equalised in first-half injury time and further goals from Derrick Köhn (61) and Louis Schaub (88) sealed a long-awaited three points. The defeat sees Sandhausen rooted to the bottom of the 2.Bundesliga table
Kaiserslautern 2-2 Heidenheim
The real drama on Saturday was saved for the Betzenberg as Kaiserslautern stunned FC Heidenheim with a late comeback to share the points. The second placed team look all set to close the gap again on leaders Darmstadt as they led 2-0 as the 90 minutes elapsed.
Second half goals from Tim Kleindienst and Florian Pick looked enough to take the win as the game looked in the bag. A 92nd minute penalty gave them the chance to well and truly seal the deal only for Kleindienst to hit the post.
Nicolas de Preville’s 93rd minute goal 60 seconds later looked to be nothing more than a late consolation, but the drama wasn’t over. A cross from the right in the 95th minute saw Kevin Krauss lay the ball on for Philipp Hercher to score a late, late equaliser.
Paderborn 3-2 Greuther Fürth
The home side were had a few nervous moments towards the end of the match as they looked to be cruising to victory. Two late goals from Fürth proved too little, too late as Paderborn kept themselves in touch with the promotion-chasing pack.
A first half header from Ron Schallenberg put the hosts in front and second half goals from Florent Muslija via a free-kick and Sirlord Conteh looked to have easily sealed the three points. However, goals from substitute Dickson Abiama and Branimir Hrgota in the final ten minutes made it a more nervous affair than it should have been.
Holsten Kiel 2-3 Arminia Bielefeld
A fourth game without defeat was secured by Bielefeld away at Kiel in a hard-fought win. Two goals from Frederik Jäkel and Robin Hack in the opening 30 minutes were answered by a Steven Skrzybski strike to keep Kiel in the game. Masaya Okugawa restord the two-goal lead ten minutes into the second period only for Icelandic substitute Holmbert Aron Fridjonsson to get the home side back in the game.
Magdeburg 3-0 Hansa Rostock
Rostock find themselves in the bottom two after a 3-0 loss to East German rivals Magdeburg. Two goals from Jason Ceka and one from Amara Condé sealed the win and to make matters worse Rostock had John Verhoek sent off for two yellow cards 12 minutes into the second period.