Last weekend saw Greuther Furth and Eintracht Frankfurt pick up wins and extend their lead in the automatic promotion places, whilst those below them all slipped up in the fight for 3rd place. Going into the weekend, the table looks like this:
1) Greuther Furth – 56
2) Eintracht Frankfurt – 55
3) Fortuna Dusseldorf – 52
4) St Pauli – 50
5) Paderborn – 50
St Pauli let a lead slip away in Aue last weekend, whilst Paderborn were hammered 4-0 at Ingolstadt and Dusseldorf had to rely on a late equaliser to secure a point on Monday night away to Cottbus. All three now have home games which they’ll need to capitalise on in order to stake their claim for 3rd place.
None of the top 5 are in action on Friday evening, but there are several crucial games. FSV Frankfurt host Aachen in a relegation battle, with Aachen currently sitting in the relegation playoff place and without a win in their last 6, they’ll be desperate to pick up something against FSV Frankfurt. FSV sit 4 points and 2 places above Aachen having picked up 7 points in their last 4 games, pulling them slightly away from the relegation zone. Elsewhere, Bochum will host Ingolstadt at the Rewirpower Stadion. Ingolstadt will be in high spirits after their huge win against Paderborn last weekened which means they are now unbeaten in 9 games (3 wins, 6 draws) but they’ve only won one away game all season. Finally, Dynamo Dresden will play 1860 Munich. Dresden have done well this season and sit 9th, and face the Bavarians who haven’t won in 4 now having slipped out of contention for promotion.
Onto Saturday, where leaders Greuther Furth face Karlsruhe at the Trolli Arena. Karlsruhe sit 17th in the table and have only 5 points in 13 away games. Anything other than a win for Furth would be a huge shock. Furth have the best home record in the league, with 11 wins and 2 defeats from 13 games, and they’ve scored 37 goals in those 13 games so goals will be expected. Elsewhere, Fortuna Dusseldorf will host Eintracht Braunschweig. Like Dynamo Dresden, Braunschweig have coped well in the 2.Bundesliga having been promoted last season and find themselves in 8th place. They are a resolute side, who don’t score many but don’t concede many either. Their recent form proves this, with 5 draws and 1 win in their last 6 games. The reverse fixture earlier in the season was 1-1, and Dusseldorf will have to work hard to avoid another draw.
On Sunday, the two teams chasing Fortuna Dusseldorf are in action, with wins a must. St Pauli will face Energie Cottbus at the Millerntor, where the grass has been relayed in the hope that it will assist the team in their promotion push. Cottbus sit 11th in the table, and whilst they struggling scoring goals, they’ll be difficult to break down defensively. This doesn’t bode well for St Pauli, who have found it difficult in recent weeks scoring goals and attacking in the final third, a stark contrast to the superb attacking play that we saw in the first half of the season. Individual mistakes and lapses have also cost us dearly in recent weeks, and the team will have to pick themselves up after the last minute defeat at Aue last week. If St Pauli have any chance of promotion, they’ll definitely have to improve on their performances since the winter break, which have been lacklustre at best. Andre Schubert has said in the last week though that everyone needs to stick together, the players and the fans, and continue the promotion push. It’s certainly not out of reach despite the poor performances, particularly with those around us also dropping points. Cottbus haven’t picked up any points in their last 5 away games, but this will not be an easy task at all for Schubert’s men.
Elsewhere, Paderborn will face Duisburg who are right in the middle of the relegation battle. Duisburg picked up a huge 2-1 win at home to local rivals Bochum last weekend, and also picked up a decent 1-1 draw in Union Berlin prior to this. So is this a resurgence in the form of Duisburg, or will they go back to losing ways this weekend? Paderborn were humbled last weekend with a 4-0 defeat at Ingolstadt, a game many expected them to win. Some have said that this will now see Paderborn slip away from the promotion race, but a win here will put them right back in contention. The form book is also with them, Paderborn have only lost once at home, Duisburg have only won once away this season. The other game on Sunday is another relegation battle, pitting bottom of the league Hansa Rostock against Aue. Aue are now 6 points away from the relegation zone after the victory against St Pauli last weekend, and travel to Rostock with the home side having not won in 5 games and with only 2 wins all season.
Finally, the Monday night game is a potentially tricky one for Eintracht Frankfurt who travel to Union Berlin. Union Berlin sit in 7th and have a good home record, however Eintracht Frankfurt have won 3 straight games and are picking up speed in their push to win the title. They’ve scored 9 in 3 games, conceding only 1 but they’ll face difficult opposition in Berlin.
So, enjoy the weekend, hopefully the boys in brown will give us St Pauli fans something to cheer about.