So much could be decided on this penultimate weekend of the 2.Bundesliga season at both ends of the table. The champions won’t be crowned, but the automatic promotion slots could be decided as could some of the relegation berths. Here’s what an exciting matchday 33 has in store…
Darmstadt v Magdeburg
Darmstadt seem determined to delay confirming promotion for as long as possible after losing their last two matches and missing the opportunity to seal their place in next season’s Bundesliga. A return to winning ways on Friday will clinch automatic promotion, but they will have to wait to be crowned champions. An unthinkable third loss would allow both Heidenheim and Hamburg the chance to usurp them.
After beating HSV and taking a point from Heidenheim in recent weeks, you wouldn’t put it past Magdeburg to put a spanner in the Darmstadt promotion party at the final home game of the season at the Böllenfalltor.
Holstein Kiel v St. Pauli
This battle of the North sees St. Pauli taking on a Kiel side with their chances of sneaking into the top three now just a pipedream. Last week’s goalless draw with Fortuna helped nobody except Hamburg, but Fabian Hürzeler will still want to finish the season on a high.
Kiel ended a run of three defeats in a row last weekend with their victory over Karlsruhe and the match against the Kiezkicker will see an emotional farewell to Fin Bartels, who is retiring. Having had a four-year spell with St. Pauli both sets of fans will be sure to give him a great send-off.
Arminia Bielefeld v Paderborn
Three points in their last home game of the season are a must for Bielefeld if they are going to have any chance of chasing down Nürnberg and Braunschweig. Janni Serra’s 97th minute winner last weekend against Kaiserslautern has kept them in with a fight, but they know the fight goes on. They could in theory go as high as 14th by the end of the weekend, but then again they could find themselves even closer to the bottom automatic relegation places with a loss and results elsewhere going against them.
Paderborn, like St. Pauli have seen their slim chances of a top three spot fade, but their win over Heidenheim last weekend has at least kept the door slightly open. Having taken points off of both HSV and Heidenheim in recent games, it will be hugely disappointing for Paderborn to miss out on promotion.
Heidenheim v Sandhausen
Heidenheim’s last two matches are against the bottom two, so you would think that promotion is theirs for the taking. They will clinch promotion this weekend regardless of their result should Hamburg lose at home to Fürth, but that cannot be relied on, so going out to beat Sandhausen is all they will be thinking about. They will of course be very wary of a relegation threatened side fighting with all they have to survive.
Sandhausen’s fate is not exactly in their own hands after their loss last week to Hansa Rostock saw a five-point black hole open up at the bottom. Even if they win both their remaining fixtures, they will still have to rely on those above also losing. It really does look like time is up for Gerhard Kleppinger’s side.
Eintracht Braunschweig v Jahn Regensburg
Joe Enochs had quite the baptism last week in his debut match in charge with Regensburg on the end of a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Hamburg. They desperately need a win to get themselves out of the bottom two, but with five defeats in their last seven (and three on the trot) form is not on their side. The best they can hope for is 16th and the play-off spot, but that is still reliant on a slip from Bielefeld. It could be a swift return to the 3.Liga for Enochs.
Braunschweig could have made things easier had they not given away their lead last week to only draw with Fürth, but they do look in pole position to decide their own fate. A win will all-but confirm a second season in the second tier after promotion last year- something which has looked in peril all season.
Hamburg v Greuther Fürth
It was the perfect weekend for Hamburg last weekend. With Darmstadt and Heidenheim both losing, the Rothosen’s big win over Jahn Regensburg closed the gap on the top two and reignited their hopes of a top-two finish. The 0-0 draw between St. Pauli and Düsseldorf also kept them away as challengers for third.
Another win will be demanded this weekend versus Fürth and then it just a case of fingers crossed that the top two stutter again. The Kleeblätter are clear of danger so just have the role of party poopers to play.
Nürnberg v Hansa Rostock
Nürnberg’s mission in the remaining two fixtures this season is just to keep their noses in front of Bielefeld. As long as they match or better the Arminen they will be safe by the skin of their teeth. Survival is all that counts right now and any closer introspection will have to wait until the post-season once Klassenerhalt has been achieved.
Rostock however are on a run of four successive wins after previously losing four on the bounce, so will pose a real threat to the Nürnberg mission. Expect a rocking Max Morlock Stadion to help der Klub achieve their aims.
Fortuna Düsseldorf v Hannover
The goalless draw with St. Pauli probably felt more like a defeat last weekend as it all-but ended Fortuna’s distant hopes of breaking into the top three. A final chance to entertain the home fans will be there this weekend when Hannover are the visitors to the Merkur Spiel-Arena on Sunday.
The Niedersachsen side inflicted a surprise defeat on leaders Darmstadt last weekend so could still have a sting in the tail when they travel South to Düsseldorf.
Karlsruhe v Kaiserslautern
The final match of the weekend sees Kaiserslautern travelling to Karlsruhe looking to defend their seventh place in the table. Following promotion, survival was the main aim so to finish in the top half has been a real achievement for the Red Devils.
KSC also have ambitions of a top ten finish this season so we could be in for an entertaining match.