With four games left this season time is running out for teams in need of vital points. HSV have a struggle on their hands to finish in then top two, while the fight to avoid relegation also far from over. Here’s what the weekend has in store in the 2.Bundesliga…
Arminia Bielefeld v Greuther Fürth
Sitting just a point off the bottom of the table, Bielefeld could be set for a long weekend if they fail to beat Fürth at home on Friday as they kick-off the matchday 31 action. A second successive relegation would be extremely painful for the Arminen, but if they don’t start picking up the points that’s exactly what lays in store for them. They have now lost their last three so momentum needs to change.
The Kleeblätter have lost their last two after previously notching up consecutive wins over Sandhausen and Regensburg. They currently sit 12th and as the other side relegated from the Bundesliga last season, they are relatively safe from the troubles affecting Bielefeld.
Hamburger SV v Paderborn
Hamburg reverted to type last weekend when following up their excellent win over St. Pauli by losing at Magdeburg. They handed to initiative over to Heidenheim, who now have a four-point advantage and it looks like HSV are going to have to settle for the play-off route if they are to return to the Bundesliga. There is still a slight danger that the chasing pack of Paderborn, St. Pauli and Fortuna Düsseldorf could overhaul them- particularly if Paderborn win at the Volksparkstadion on Friday.
A win for Paderborn would take them to three points behind the Rothosen and put real pressure on Tim Walter’s side to defend third spot.
Fortuna Düsseldorf v Holstein Kiel
Like Paderborn Fortuna still have an outside chance of making third place, but they will need to keep winning while hoping for more Hamburg slip ups. They recovered well last week from their previous loss to Nürnberg by beating Karlsruhe and nothing but wins will do right now for Daniel Thioune’s side if they are to pip his former club to the play-off berth.
Kiel are looking on course for a top half finish, although they were undone last week by leaders Darmstadt. Another team at the top end of the table awaits them at the Merkur-Spiel Arena this weekend as they look to finish the season on a high.
Karlsruher SC V Hannover
KSC in tenth place entertain eighth place Hannover with just a point separating them in the table. A win for Christian Eichner’s side would end a run of two successive losses and see them leapfrog over their Niedersachsen visitors.
Hannover are looking for a third win in a row after beating both Nürnberg and Bielefeld in their last two matches. They won the reverse fixture 1-0 on matchday 14 so are looking to do the double when they travel to the BBBank Wildpark this weekend.
Hansa Rostock v Jahn Regensburg
Rostock and Regensburg go head-to-head in a big North versus South clash with both sides involved in the scrap to avoid relegation. Hansa are just two points ahead of Bielefeld (who occupy 16th) but go into the Saturday clash on the back of two consecutive wins over Kaiserslautern and Fürth. They had previously lost four on the trot.
Jahn are only off the bottom of the table on goal difference from Sandhausen and they know that there is a real possibility they will be the last place team at the end of the weekend if they fail to beat Rostock. A potentially massive three points is on offer at the Ostseestadion.
Darmstadt v St. Pauli
Darmstadt know that another three points would inch them closer to confirmed promotion, but face a tough game when they host St. Pauli. The current league leaders have a four-point advantage at the top of the table and can almost smell the Bundesliga.
St. Pauli’s wonderful run under Fabian Hürzeler hit the rocks with two defeats but they got back to winning ways last weekend against Bielefeld and will be looking to launch a late run of form to potentially see them usurp HSV into third. It certainly promises to be quite a clash at the Böllenfalltor.
Heidenheim v Magdeburg
If Heidenheim can just keep their noses in front of HSV this season then they will make it to the Bundesliga for the first time in their club history. With a four-point lead, the ball is very much in their court and automatic promotion is within grasp. Losing out in the play-offs to Werder Bremen two years ago was a bitter pill to swallow, which will make promotion this year all the sweeter if it comes to pass.
Magdeburg however showed last week that they can provide a shock and handed out a painful defeat to Hamburg. Could Christian Titz’s side pull off another surprise this weekend to shock the table toppers?
Nürnberg v Kaiserslautern
There is a clash of two giant Traditionsvereine at the Max Morlock Stadion on Sunday as Nürnberg host Kaiserslautern. The hosts are still too close to the relegation zone for comfort and are just four points clear of the bottom three. A win would go a long way to calming the nerves in Bavaria, while a loss to the Red Devils would mean a very edgy end to the season for der Klub. Kaiserslautern are safe in the top ten, but will want to finish the season on a high.
Eintracht Braunschweig v Sandhausen
Another big relegation clash ends the weekend action with 14th place Braunschweig hosting bottom side Sandhausen. The home side are just four points ahead of their visitors, who have shown in recent matches that they still have the fight to try and avoid the drop.
Sandhausen have taken seven points from their last nine, while Eintracht have lost three out their last four. An intriguing match awaits.