It’s a weekend of opportunity for all those in the promotion race this weekend. None of the top 6 face each other, and all have winnable games against teams in the bottom half of the division. The question is, who will falter in the race for promotion?
The weekend of fixtures starts on Friday evening, with both leaders Greuther Furth, and 3rd placed Paderborn in action. Furth will host Aachen, hoping to preserve their incredible home form. Furth have the best home form in the division, with 10 wins from 12 home games. Aachen on the other hand have only won one of their 12 away fixtures. Aachen are draw specialists, and have drawn 6 of their last 9 games. They have been much better in recent months after a dreadful start to the season, but lost 3-0 against Paderborn last weekend. That game also saw them have two players sent off, so they’ll have selection problems going into the game at Furth.
Paderborn had faltered in recent weeks but victories against Eintracht Frankfurt and then Aachen have put them back in the chase for automatic promotion. They also have a home game against Bochum. The away side have improved in recent months, but they come into this game on the back of two disappointing defeats, losing 6-2 at Greuther Furth and then last weekend losing 2-0 at home to Dynamo Dresden. Paderborn won the reverse fixture 4-0 earlier in the season and will be looking for a similar scoreline this weekend.
Finally on Friday evening, Union Berlin host relegation-threatened Duisburg. Duisburg (16th) have lost 5 games in a row and face an uphill task travelling to Union Berlin who sit in 8th, particularly given they haven’t even scored in 3 games.
Onto Saturday, and both games feature promotion chasing sides. Fortuna Dusseldorf won 5-0 at Karlsruhe last weekend, to end a run of 6 games without a victory. They’ll look to continue that at home to Aue, who themselves won their first game in 8 last weekend with a vital 4-3 win against fellow strugglers FSV Frankfurt. Dusseldorf are very strong at home, with 26 points from a possible 33 and will be expected to win at home again.
Also on Saturday, 1860 Munich travel to strugglers FSV Frankfurt. After a draw against St Pauli on Monday night, 1860 are now unbeaten in 9 and on a great run of form that has pushed them into promotion contention. FSV Frankfurt have the worst home record in the division, with only 10 points picked up in 12 games and a solitary home win.
Sunday sees Eintracht Frankfurt travelling to face bottom of the table Hansa Rostock. Frankfurt sit 2nd in the table, only a point off the top but have dropped vital points against fellow promotion challengers in recent weeks. Rostock have only two wins all season though, and Frankfurt will be expected to pick up all 3 points.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Energie Cottbus host Eintracht Braunschweig and Dynamo Dresden host Ingolstadt.
Finally on Monday, St Pauli welcome Karlsruhe to the Millerntor. St Pauli picked up a good point in Munich last weekend, but need all 3 to keep themselves in contention at the top of the table. Fabian Boll will return from suspension, and Marius Ebbers could also make a return from injury. Fin Bartels missed the game in Munich with a virus but should return too, and hopefully Zambrano will be able to play after picking up a bruised toe on Monday night.
Karlsruhe have been abysmal away from home all season, with only 5 points from 12 away games, and come into the game after a 5-0 hammering at home to Dusseldorf. After two draws, St Pauli will be hoping and expecting a home victory on Monday.
So will all 6 promotion chasing sides gain victory, or will someone slip up? Here’s to a good weekend, particularly for one of our members, Mick, who will be visiting the Millerntor for the first time and will be taking our flag with him! Bring back 3 points to Yorkshire please.