Matchday 34: Spielst ganz wo anders in Liga Zwei.

St. Pauli’s empathic 5-1 victory against Bochum on matchday 33 means the club go into the final day of the season with their safety in their own hands. A win away at Darmstadt will secure 2.Bundesliga safety, but anything less could see the club relegated. Darmstadt sit second and a victory for them will ensure they’re promoted automatically ahead of Karlsruhe. In the second half of the season, primarily through the stewardship of Ewald Lienen, St. Pauli sit 5th in the form table. They’ve picked up 24 points from 16 games, have scored 22 goals and conceded just 14. Contrast that to the first half of the season, with only 3 wins from 17, 18 goals scored and 36 conceded. It’s hard to understate the job that Lienen has done from an extremely difficult situation, but it could all be for nothing if the club lose on the final day and results go against them.

For St. Pauli to be relegated automatically, each of the following must happen:

St. Pauli lose, 1860 draw or win, Aue win, and FSV Frankfurt win – unless St. Pauli lose by 4 or more goals, then an FSV Frankfurt draw would be sufficient for them to stay up on goal difference.

For St. Pauli to be finish 16th and have to play the relegation playoff:

St. Pauli draw, Greuther Furth draw, 1860 Munich win and FSV Frankfurt win.

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Mercifully, all 6 teams who could possibly end up finishing 16th or 17th face away ties. Here’s who they have to face:

Aue – away at FC Heidenheim 

Aue have been resurgent in recent weeks, picking up 4 wins and 2 draws in 8 matches, including vital wins against 1860 Munich and FSV Frankfurt. But they’ll need to overcome a decent FC Heidenheim who are unbeaten in 5 and who have a good home record.

FSV Frankfurt – away at Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Two teams bang out of form. After 3 straight wins after the winter break, FSV Frankfurt couldn’t have envisaged they’d be occupying 16th place. But they haven’t won since then, 11 games without a victory, and have only picked up 2 points in their last 7 games. Dusseldorf’s season has been average – 11 wins, 11 draws, 11 losses. They’ve been nothing short of terrible since the winter break, but they won 2-0 at Sandhausen last week. They’ve only won 4 of 16 home games, though…

1860 Munich – away at Karlsruhe. 

1860 picked up a vital home victory against rivals Nurnberg on matchday 33 to give them a fighting chance going into the las game of the season, but they face a Karlsruhe side who could seal automatic promotion or a playoff spot depending on results elsewhere.

Greuther Fürth – away in Leipzig.

It’s unclear from the fixture schedule who Furth will be playing, however they are pencilled in for an away trip to Leipzig against an unrecognised opponent. Only 3 teams have travelled to Leipzig and picked up 3 points in the league this season, and Furth have only 2 away wins all season, managing only 12 goals in 16 away games. However Furth have a 4 goal advantage over St. Pauli, so would need an unlikely chain of results to see them go down.

Sandhausen – away at Bochum.

A 3 point deduction a couple of weeks ago means that it is still mathematically possible for Sandhausen to be relegated on the final day. They have perhaps the easiest trip of the relegation candidates, an away trip to Bochum who sit only 1 place and 3 points above them. Sandhausen are one of the best away teams in the league this season, picking up 21 points on their travels. Bochum have been draw specialists at home this season, with 9 draws in 16 games. A point for Sandhausen will do for them, and it’d be highly unlikely for them to be relegated.

How will the events of Sunday unfold? Unfortunately the beauty of football means that we can only speculate. The head says that St. Pauli should be safe from automatic relegation at least except for an exceptional run of results, but the heart says that it would be typical St. Pauli to fuck it up from this position…

You’ll Never Walk Alone.