Preview: Matchday 24. ‘Into the Lions Den’.

Matchday 24 sees a huge Monday night game as St Pauli visit Bavaria to take on 1860 Munich. St Pauli will hope to welcome back influential striker Marius Ebbers who has been missing in recent weeks, which has resulted in St Pauli struggling in front of goal. Whilst St Pauli struggled to a 0-0 home draw against Eintracht Braunschweig, the lions 1860, affectionately known as ‘The Lions’ picked up another impressive win away at Union Berlin. 1860 Munich are the form side in 2.Bundesliga at the moment and have won 7 and drawn 1 of their last 8 games – a sensational run of form, including games against difficult opposition such at Fortuna Dusseldorf and Eintracht Frankfurt. St Pauli however beat 1860 earlier in the season, with a 4-2 victory back in September. St Pauli had found themselves losing by two goals in that game, but a second half comeback saw them score 4 goals in 18 minutes – including two goals from Max Kruse. English fans may also recognise 1860’s goalkeeper, the tracksuit bottom wearing Gabor Kiraly. This game will be vital to the chances of promotion for both sides.

Elsewhere, Friday evening will see leaders Greuther Furth travel to strugglers Duisburg. Duisburg find themselves in a relegation dog fight after four straight defeats, whilst Furth top the table by a point after they hammered Bochum 6-2 at the weekend. However, Furth have relied heavily on their home form this season and have struggled away from home. Furth haven’t won in their last 5 away games, picking up 3 draws. But confidence will be high travelling to Duisburg, and an away win is the likely outcome. Also on Friday evening, Ingolstadt (15th) – unbeaten in 6, host Union Berlin (7th) who have lost their last 3 away games, and only have 1 win in 5 games. Finally, 9th placed Bochum will host 10th placed Dynamo Dresden.

On Saturday, draw specialists Aachen will host Paderborn. Aachen are unbeaten in 8 games and picked up a good point away at Fortuna Dusseldorf on Monday night, which was their sixth draw in 7 games (the only win coming against St Pauli…). The visitors, Paderborn, picked up a crucial win against promotion rivals Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, and they have the chance to go top if Furth fail to beat Duisburg and Paderborn win. Elsewhere, Fortuna Dusseldorf travel to Karlsruhe. Dusseldorf have been an enigma in recent seasons – for the previous two seasons they’ve had incredible home form, but an abysmal away form which cost them promotion. This season it all seemed to be going to plan, they were top and unbeaten going into the last game before the winter break – but they lost 3-2 at home to Paderborn and haven’t won since. They are now without a win in 6, but they are still only 2 points off the top. Karlsruhe are struggling in 17th place in the league though, so Dusseldorf will be favourites for the tie. Fact of the Matchday for you: Karlsruhe have scored 24 goals this season, conceding 46. Dusseldorf on the other hand have scored 46, and conceded 24.

On Sunday, promotion favourites Eintracht Frankfurt (2nd) take on Energie Cottbus (11th). Eintracht Frankfurt are unbeaten at home this season, winning 7 of their 11 games. Cottbus on the other hand have lost their last 4 away trips – so a home win is the obvious outcome for that one. Elsewhere, Eintracht Braunschweig – now without a win in 6, host Hansa Rostock who only have 2 wins all season and sit bottom of the table, and neither of those wins came away from home. Also, Aue host FSV Frankfurt in a huge battle at the bottom of the table. Aue sit on 20 points, their visitors on 21 points.

And the weekend will conclude with 1860 Munich v St Pauli on Monday evening. Enjoy!