The second division in Germany is also approaching the business end of the season with just five games remaining to see who will win promotion to the Bundesliga and who will face the prospect of third tier football next season. The top teams are all jockeying for position while those at the bottom scramble for potentially vital survival points. Here’s what matchday 30 has in store.
Greuther Fürth v Heidenheim
Second place Heidenheim take the short trip north on Friday to kick-off the weekend’s action against Fürth. Having lost second spot last Friday temporarily to Hamburg, they produced a 3-0 home win over Kiel on Sunday to regain their spot in the top two.
They will still have designs on overhauling Darmstadt at the top, but their major concern is fending off the challenge from HSV for the automatic promotion spot. Heidenheim have previous bad memories of the play-off losing out to Werder Bremen in 2020 so Frank Schmidt’s side will want to guarantee themselves a top two finish and a win at the Sportpark Ronhof I Thomas Sommer will be a start.
The Kleeblätter suffered a 2-0 lost away to Rostock last week, but that came after two successive wins over Regensburg and Sandhausen. They look to be safe from getting dragged into the relegation fight and top ten finish is even on the cards. They have only lost once at home this season so will be a tough nut for Heidenheim to crack.
Paderborn v Eintracht Braunschweig
Paderborn remain nine points behind third place Hamburg and are going to need something big to get themselves up into the ply-off berth. HSV will need to meltdown (it’s happened before) and Lukas Kwasniok’s side are going to have to win their remaining fixtures. Being held last weekend by bottom side Sandhausen was far from the result they needed.
Braunschweig have put a little space between themselves and the bottom three, but it is too soon to start planning for life in the 2.Bundesliga next season yet. A home defeat to Magdeburg last weekend was a disappointment, but the club look capable of picking up the necessary points to secure a second season in the second tier having been promoted last season
St. Pauli v Arminia Bielefeld
Fabian Hürzeler is facing a challenge he hasn’t yet faced during his short tenure in charge of St, Pauli- namely picking the side up after a few losses. Last week’s painful loss in the debt with HSV came after Braunschweig ended their ten-match winning streak. They are nine points off the top three now so need a major turnaround to achieve a miracle top three finish.
Die Arminen’s home loss to Hannover last weekend sees them remain just one point above the drop zone and in desperate need of some points this weekend to avoid slipping further into trouble. Travelling north to the Millerntor won’t be an easy task and the unthinkable double relegation is still a reality for Bielefeld.
Magdeburg v Hamburger SV
HSV travel east on Saturday to face their former coach Christian Titz in Magdeburg. The Rothosen will be looking to build on their derby success last week and maintain their fight with Heidenheim and Darmstadt for an automatic promotion spot.
FCM have a seven point cushion between themselves and the bottom three so look relatively safe this season. However, until their safety is guaranteed every point will count.
Kaiserslautern v Hansa Rostock
Rostock’s win last week against Fürth, while much-needed, wasn’t enough to lift them out of the bottom two and they will need a repeat of last week’s performance if they are to extricate themselves from trouble. The Betzenberg won’t however be the easiest place to come away with the three points they desperately need.
FCK are the best performing of the sides that came up from the third division last season and are currently sitting seventh. A top eight finish would be a fantastic achievement for Dirk Schuster’s side. Their last match at home saw them beat HDSV, but they were held goalless last weekend by Regensburg.
Hannover v Nürnberg
The evening game on Saturday sees Hannover hosting Nürnberg at the Heinz von Heiden Arena. The home side lie tenth and enjoyed a 3-1 win at Bielefeld last weekend after successive defeats to promotion chasers Hamburg and Heidenheim.
Der Klub are still not mathematically safe yet, but under Dieter Hecking (their third coach of the season) they look to have enough to survive. A 2-0 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf last weekend provided a boost and they can move further clear of danger by picking up a positive result in Niedersachsen.
Holstein Kiel v Darmstadt
League leaders Darmstadt now have a four-point lead over Heidenheim and a five-point advantage over HSV, so the Championship is withing touching distance if they can just keep getting results. Torsten Lieberknecht’s side responded well last week to their loss at Fortuna the previous week and it is just a question of keeping their nerve at this crucial run-in.
Kiel are on course to finish in a similar position to last season. Eighth at the moment, they are one place better off than the 2021/22 season but a way short of the season before when they reached the play-off match. They were unable to make it three wins on the bounce last weekend when losing to Heidenheim.
Fortuna Düsseldorf v Karlsruhe
Fortuna have been all over the headlines across Europe this week for their audacious plan to stop charging fans to watch their matches. The focus however has to return to the current season and the paying customers will want to see a win on Sunday when Karlsruhe are the visitors to the Merkur Spielarena.
Düsseldorf are level on points with both St. Pauli and Paderborn and in theory still have a remote chance of a top three finish, but it is very remote. Last week’s defeat to Nürnberg didn’t help their cause, so a return to winning ways this weekend is a must. KSC are another one of the mid-table sides with nothing to worry about, but also with not a lot to play for except pride.
Sandhausen v Jahn Regensburg
Bottom side Sandhausen showed they still have fight left in them with a draw last week against Paderborn and they face a real relegation six-pointer when the host third from bottom Regensburg on Sunday. Their recent win over Magdeburg was their first three points after a run of nine winless games. A win against Jahn could potentially see them off the bottom of the table and level of points with Sunday’s opponents.
Regensburg were held 0-0 at the Jahnstadion last week by Kaiserslautern and are involved in a real fight. A win could see them out of the bottom three, but a defeat could see them kept off the bottom only by goal difference.