BUNDESLIGA: Relegation battle

The relegation battle is huge, and is likely to go down to the wire. The clubs listed below are the ones that are fighting for survival. From what I’ve gathered, most clubs figure on cutting budget at least 50% if they go down. And unlike the Premier League, there aren’t those lucrative “parachute payments” from the massive TV contracts around to help out. Most players have clauses that renew their contracts for the 2.Liga, but the better ones can almost always force a transfer, and usually the club can’t afford to turn down an offer.

13th Hertha BSC Berlin 34 pts

Remaining Fixtures:
A Dortmund
H Frankfurt
A Hoffenheim

Berlin is probably safe, although sucking could perhaps drop them into the drop playoff. However they have a home match against Frankfurt, which is basically just dicking around, and that is likely full points. So their prospects are good and they should be around next season.

14th Hamburger SV 31 pts

Remaining Fixtures:
H Freiburg
A Stuttgart
H Schalke

Relegation would be a disaster. HSV is of course the only “eternal Bundesligist”, having been every season since founding in 1963. But the financial and sporting perspectives would be dire as well in the case of a drop. Star players would likely all be gone, as the salary budget would drop about 50%, sponsors have “outs”, and some of their talented non-stars might be able to force moves. As it is, a house cleaning is likely with some of the high-priced underperformers (70% of the squad). However, Bruno Labbadia might just be lucky with his timing as new coach, and the schedule is quite favorable. Two matches against fellow strugglers, and a home match against a less than impressive Schalke give them decent prospects of staying up.

15th SC Paderborn 07 (N) 31 pts

Remaining Fixtures:
H Wolfsburg
A Schalke
H Stuttgart

Paderborn would actually whether a relegation fairly well. Their salary budget was only around 14 million euros, which is half of even somebody like Freiburg, who are the next lowest. Management has already stated that even in the event of relegation, they wouldn’t go back to the previous 2.Liga budget of 8 million, so they could be competitive. They many problem is that the best players that have proven Bundesliga quality, such as midfielder Moritz Stoppelkamp, would probably receive offers. A difficult next two matches, and then perhaps a “final” at home to Stuttgart is also a tough end run.

16th SC Freiburg 30 pts

Remaining Fixtures:
A HSV
H Bayern
A Hannover

Freiburg has been here before. Although their player budget would drop from 28 million to around 14, that would still be decent in the 2.Liga. But some of their best players would likely be offered 1st division transfers. Nevertheless, they are prepared for a bounceback if needed. Their run in is fairly difiicult, since they likely lose their only home tie against Bayern, and the two away matches are at fellow strugglers who will also be desperate for points.

17th Hannover 96 30 pts

Relegation would be a disaster for Hannover. They expected to challenge for Europe and and are on the verge a collapse. The club is not prepared for budget slashing in the 2.Liga, and would lose all their best players in the event of a drop.

Remaining Fixtures:
H Bremen
A Augsburg
H Freiburg

18th VfB Stuttgart 27 pts

Oddly enough, Stuttgart might be able to survive a drop. The club has been planning, and although the salary budget would get slashed and star players like Harnik are likely gone, sponsors have apparently decided to stay, and the club financially would be OK for at least one 2.Liga year (the expectation is for average attendance to be around 30,000+, which seems reasonable.) And they may need it, as they have ground to catch up. They have to win both their home matches and set themselves up for a final in Paderborn. They have the talent to do it, but seem to do something stupid that costs points, so it seems likely they will be going down and test their theory of 2.Liga recovery…

Remaining Fixtures:
H Mainz
H HSV
A Paderborn

If I had to pick, I would say that Paderborn, Freiburg and Stuttgart go down, although any one of those could qualify for the playoff spot.

2.Liga, Round 31: Statements at top and bottom

Round 31, May 1-4

Some important “statements” were made in crucial matches at top and bottom. A couple of relegation threatened sides had huge wins against favored teams. A couple of others folded like wimps. One club hoping for promotion took a huge leap in a direct confrontation with a rival to stay alive.

Darmstadt needed a win against Kaiserslautern, whereas the visitors could almost book their Bundesliga ticket with a win. Indeed, the 98ers played like there was no tomorrow and overpowered FCK in the first half. The visitors had been running strong recently, but were simply outplayed by the hungrier team. They still have the edge, but the advantage has shrunk.

Erzgebirge Aue desperately needed something, and they faced Karlsruhe, who could jump into promotion with a win. The Auers outhustled the guests, and although they benefited from some terrible KSC defending, couldn’t get the second goal. Then KSC began to show their technical superiority in the 2nd half and equalized. Erzgebirge wildly threw everything forward, and were again rewarded by sloppy Karlsruhe defending. A huge win that gives them hope.

St.Pauli also made a statement that they want to survive. They faced the antithesis of everything the Paulista fans root for, corporate “Rasenball”. It was a fierce battle, and the Hamburgers came out on top, getting a massive win, pulling themselves out of the drop zone barely.

It was time for Greuther Fürth to “put up or shut up”. They’ve been sliding towards the drop, and desperately needed to apply the brakes. They answered critics with a thumping of Fortuna Düsseldorf. This broke their nine game winless streak and keeps their head barely above water. Fortuna is going nowhere, and they played like a club waiting for summer vacation.

Two threatened sides also made statements. Namely “We suck!”. 1860 was owned by Union Berlin. The Lions seemingly tried, but they were too incompetant, and Union easily got their first road win of 2015, and actually their first in 14 tries against 1860. München is in huge trouble and it is looking grim.

Aalen also got biatch-slapped. They have shown some spark, and you’d expect against a listless Bochum (whole season) they’d have a chance. Instead they got rolled like a joint and kicked in the balls. Both sides had players kicked out after only 18 minutes, but Bochum was the one that woke up and mercilessly dissected the hapless hosts. Aalen tried a late comeback, but that train had left the station..

Braunschweig looked like their last slim promotion chance was slipping away. FSV Frankfurt was fighting hard, and the Lions could get no advantage. But Danish Striker Emil Berggreen scored a double in the 2nd period that gives Eintracht some small hope, at least for the playoff spot. FSV has probably done enough work to stay safe from relegation.

An entertaining game in the “who cares?” match between Sandhausen and Heidenheim. Both clubs worked hard enough through the season to get the points to say up, and can presumably relax…

On Monday, Ingolstadt had a rare sellout as they strengthened their position at the top, splitting the points with Nürnberg.

Total attendance 128,641 (avg 14,293), 59.4% capacity, sellouts in Darmstadt, Hamburg, Ingolstadt

 	
Eintr. Braunschweig  -   FSV Frankfurt	        2:0 (0:0)   21,050

                    1:0  Berggreen (59., Decarli)
                    2:0  Berggreen (69., Boland)

SV Darmstadt 98	     -   1. FC Kaiserslautern	3:2 (3:1)   16,150 *

                    0:1  Demirbay (13., direct freekick)
                    1:1  Bregerie (19., penalty, Heller)
                    2:1  König (22.)
                    3:1  Behrens (40.)
                    3:2  Stöger (88., direct freekick)

SpVgg Greuther Fürth -   Fortuna Düsseldorf	3:0 (1:0)   11,845

                    1:0  Stiepermann (29., Lam)
                    2:0  Zulj (49., Schröck)
                    3:0  Sukalo (66., Stiepermann)

1860 München	     -   1. FC Union Berlin	0:3 (0:1)   18,800

                    0:1  Polter (19., Quiring)
                    0:2  Kreilach (80., Schönheim)
                    0:3  Polter (89., Nebihi)


FC St. Pauli	     -   RasenBall Leipzig	1:0 (1:0)   23,584 *

                    1:0  Thy (45., Kalla)

VfR Aalen	     -   VfL Bochum	        2:4 (0:2)    8,566

                    0:1  O. Bulut (16., Perthel)
                    0:2  Terodde (32., Terrazzino)
                    0:3  Terrazzino (54., Gregoritsch)
                    0:4  Quaner (62., own goal, Celozzi)
                    1:4  Steinhöfer (66., penalty, Quaner)
                    2:4  Ademi (75., Ofosu-Ayeh)

SV Sandhausen	     -   1. FC Heidenheim	2:2 (0:0)    4,546

                    0:1  Niederlechner (54., Heise)
                    1:1  Bouhaddouz (71.)
                    1:2  Niederlechner (75., Heise)
                    2:2  Jovanovic (79., Kulovits)

Erzgebirge Aue	     -   Karlsruher SC	        3:1 (1:0)    9,100

                    1:0  Mugosa (19.)
                    1:1  Torres (71., Meffert)
                    2:1  Mugosa (75., Hertner)
                    3:1  Fandrich (85.)

FC Ingolstadt 04     -   1. FC Nürnberg	        1:1 (0:0)   15,000 * 


 1  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	31   16  12  3 	  49:27  +22 	  60 
 2  1. FC Kaiserslautern	31   14  12  5 	  44:28  +16 	  54
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  SV Darmstadt 98 (N)	  	31   13  14  4 	  42:25  +17 	  53
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  Karlsruher SC	  	31   13  13  5 	  42:25  +17 	  52 
 5  Eintracht Braunschweig (A)	31   15  5  11 	  43:34  +9 	  50 
 6  RasenBallsport Leipzig (N)	31   12  11  8 	  36:25  +11 	  47 
 7  Fortuna Düsseldorf	  	31   10  11  10   44:47  -3 	  41 
 8  1. FC Union Berlin	  	31   10  11  10   40:48  -8 	  41 
 9  1. FC Heidenheim (N)	31   10  9   12   40:40   0 	  39 
10  1. FC Nürnberg (A)	  	31   11  6   14   36:43  -7 	  39 
11  VfL Bochum	  	        31    8  14  9 	  49:49   0 	  38 
12  SV Sandhausen	  	31    9  11  11   28:35  -7 	  38 
13  FSV Frankfurt	  	31    9  9   13   37:47  -10 	  36 
14  SpVgg Greuther Fürth	31    7  13  11   33:37  -4 	  34 
15  FC St. Pauli	  	31    8  7   16   33:49  -16 	  31
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  Erzgebirge Aue	  	31    8  7   16   28:44  -16 	  31
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  1860 München	  	31    7  9   15   38:48  -10 	  30 
18  VfR Aalen	  	        31    6  12  13   29:40  -11 	  28
	
Aalen deducted two points for being wankers, err, financial shenanigans.

1st line: Promotion to Bundesliga
2nd line: Playoff with 16th Bundesliga
3rd line: Playoff with no.3 of 3.Liga
4th line: Relegation to 3.Liga

A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

3.Liga, Round 35: Zebras leap to promotion spot

Round 35, May 2-3

It’s officially over for Regensburg, as Jahn becomes the first relegated side, losing in Halle. Next year the “Bayern-liga”

Duisburg is driving to the 2.Liga. The Zebras beat down Preußen Münster to vault over Kiel into 2nd. After a near collapse in teh relegation year, MSV has recovered and

Bielefeld was hoping to drive in the final nail for promotion, but was unable to beat down Kiel. The hosts were much improved from the midweek 0-4 Cup drubbing at the hands of Wolfsburg, but despite nursing the lead until the very end, they just weren’t able to put things away. Kiel remains on target, but they will have to battle out with Duisburg for the 2nd promotion spot.

Unterhaching showed great spirit in coming from behind constantly against Cottbus and wringing out a draw. However the fierce relegation struggle remains. Mainz-II got a critical win against in-form Sonnnehof, and was able to leap over the mini-Münch(en)kins

Stuttgarter Kickers are almost done. They needed a win, but were stunned at home by Dresden. Things looked especially grim as they were down 1-3 and down a man. But they put in a last great effort to level the score, only to lose at the end. Even with a point, things were looking grim for promotion, and it is just about finished now.

Dortmund-II took their last slim chance to save themselves and defeated VfB-II. It’s still going to be very difficult, but they have a chance. The Neon Bubis are coached by ex-US international David Wagner.

Erfurt gets a draw! Woo-hoo! OK, there was a tiny reason to celebrate for RWE in their draw at Fortuna Köln. If they had lost Erfurt would have broken the 3.Liga record for consecutive losses at 9 (dubious honor goes to Werder Bremen-II). Of course even this will come with some flak, since they blew a two goal lead and should have had a win…

Total attendance 83,651 (avg 8,365), 46.9% capacity


1. FSV Mainz 05 II   -   SG S-hof Großaspach	3:1 (2:1)      746
Hallescher FC	     -   Jahn Regensburg	2:1 (2:0)    6,054
Chemnitzer FC	     -   SV Wehen Wiesbaden	2:1 (1:1)    5,200
Arminia Bielefeld    -   Holstein Kiel	        2:2 (2:1)   24,249
Fortuna Köln	     -   Rot-Weiß Erfurt	2:2 (2:2)    1,623
Stuttgarter Kickers  -   Dynamo Dresden	        3:4 (1:2)    8,000
SpVgg Unterhaching   -   Energie Cottbus	3:3 (1:2)    3,000 	
Borussia Dortmund II -   VfB Stuttgart II	2:0 (0:0)    2,516
VfL Osnabrück	     -   Hansa Rostock	        1:0 (1:0)    9,500
MSV Duisburg	     -   Preußen Münster	2:1 (1:0)   22,763


 1  Arminia Bielefeld (A)	35   21  6   8 	  71:38  +33 	  69 
 2  MSV Duisburg	  	35   18  11  6 	  58:38  +20 	  65
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  Holstein Kiel	  	35   17  13  5 	  48:25  +23 	  64
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	35   16  10  9 	  56:45  +11 	  58 
 5  Preußen Münster	  	35   15  9  11 	  50:43  +7 	  54 
 6  Energie Cottbus (A)	  	35   14  11 10 	  47:44  +3 	  53 
 7  Hallescher FC	  	35   15  8  12 	  49:47  +2 	  53 
 8  Chemnitzer FC	  	35   15  7  13 	  40:35  +5 	  52 
 9  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	35   14  7  14 	  51:41  +10 	  49 
10  Dynamo Dresden (A)	  	35   13  8  14 	  42:44  -2 	  47 
11  VfL Osnabrück	  	35   13  8  14 	  46:50  -4 	  47 
12  Rot-Weiß Erfurt	  	35   13  8  14 	  46:52  -6 	  47 
13  Fortuna Köln (N)	  	35   11  10 14 	  36:38  -2 	  43 
14  SG Sonnenhof Großaspach (N)	35   11  10 14 	  37:56  -19 	  43 
15  Hansa Rostock	  	35   11  8  16 	  51:62  -11 	  41 
16  VfB Stuttgart II	  	35   11  7  17 	  42:53  -11 	  40 
17  1. FSV Mainz 05 II (N)	35   9 	 10 16 	  39:49  -10 	  37
--------------------------------------------------------------------
18  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	35   10  8  17 	  49:61  -12 	  36 
19  Borussia Dortmund II	35   6 	 15 14 	  34:47  -13 	  33 
20  Jahn Regensburg	  	35   7 	 6  22 	  38:62  -24 	  27

A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

1st line: Promotion to 2.Liga
2nd line: Promotion Playoff with 2.Liga 16th place 
3rd line: Relegation to Regionalliga

BUNDESLIGA, Round 31: Relegation battles

Round 31, May 2-3

The relegation battle remains the primary focus in The Bundesliga. The bottom five clubs are scrambling to get points, and only Stuttgart seems to be lagging. The fierce battle seems likely to go down to the wire, and even Hertha Berlin, which looked completely safe, may be a bit nervous.

Hamburg might have been given up for dead, but perhaps their latest coaching change came at the right moment. Usually you get a short-term bonus when the new coach comes in, and Bruno Labbadia may be the beneficiary. HSV travelled to Mainz and got a huge away win that lifts them out of the drop. It was a decent performance, never letting Mainz control the match.

Paderborn got a stunning win at Freiburg and have suddenly made themselves relevant again. This is the type of match you’d expect Freiburg to win, given they have lots of experience in relegation battles. Indeed, the Breisgauer dominated the first period, and took the lead as on-loan Nils Petersen stroked home once again. It seemed like they would have no trouble holding on, but Paderborn coach Andre Breitenreiter decided to go for broke. He threw everything into attack and brought on more offensive players – and hos moves worked brilliantly. Lukas Rupp got both goals, Mahir Saglik assisted on the 2nd. Freiburg was stunned an reacted with last minute furious attack that resulted in a shot crashing off the post, but that was it.

Hannover had perhaps their best performance of the year (2015 that is). The 96ers faced off at Wolfsburg in a Niedersachsen derby and should have lost. The VWs are in decent form and the 96ers have stunk. And Wolfsburg was up by two goals at half-time and cruising. However Hannover showed fight that has been lacking since winterbreak and came storming back to salvage a point, the piece-de-resistance a bicycle-kick goal by Sane from almost top of the box. Despite their heroics, the 96ers drop into the relegation zone given the other results.

Stuttgart continues to have no luck. VfB put in a decent performance at Schalke, who have been struggling. The Blues got an early boost as Huntelaar scored – his first in something like 1,100 minutes. But Stuttagrt fought back and surprisingly took the lead. Schalke reacted with gumption, something that has been missing recently. Huntelaar scored again, and then at the death, A Stuttgart own goal gave them the win. It’s not over, but time is running out for VfB.

Normally Bayern München losing would be the headline, but this wasn’t too unexpected. Pep Guardiola wasn’t too happy with the midweek DFB-Cup failure against Dortmund, and decided also to rest some players for Champions League. So teh champs showed up with a make shift side that included youngsters like Gaudino, Weiser and Streider. Dinosaur Claudio Pizarro started, and was eventually replaced by another youngster, Görtler. So a determined Leverkusen side could very well be expected to have some advantage. By and large the Aspirins were the better team, although World Champion Mario Götze wasted a coupe of sitters in embarrassing fashion. Hakan Calhanhoglu brought Leverkusen into the lead with another of his wonderful freekicks, and the home was on their way to victory.

Hoffenheim and Dortmund battled to a fair draw, as both teams try to sneak into Europe. The Neons got a somewhat suspect equalizer, as the first half was rather bereft of chances. The 2nd period was more lively, both teams having chances for a lead, but nothing scored, and both keep their hope for Euroliga alive.

Largely a snoozer in Augsburg, as FCA was unable to turn their positional advanatge into anything against Köln. I think was the 9th 0-0 for the guests, likely a Bundesliga record.

The highlight of the Bremen-Frankfurt match was probably the return of Bremen legend Thomas Schaaf…as coach of Frankfurt. He received a standing ovation from the Werder fans for his almost lifetime of service as a player and coach. The match itself was a bit ragged, neither side able to impose their will, and Bremen ended up winning, probably fair enough given the balance of play.

Gladbach won at Hertha to re-claim the auto-group qualifier for the Champions League. They were the better side and deserved the win. Berlin was too defensive, and really needs to be careful that they don’t slip into the drop zone. They could use a couple of points to be safe, but as perhaps the most boring team in the league, they are relying on their opponents to fall asleep, which may not be a clever strategy.

Total attendance 337,986 (avg 37,554), 94.6% capacity, sellouts in Schalke, Hoffenheim, Bremen, Freiburg, Leverkusen, Mainz

 	
 	
FC Schalke 04	     -   VfB Stuttgart	        3:2 (1:1)   61,973 *

                    1:0  Huntelaar (9.)
                    1:1  Harnik (22., Ginczek)
                    1:2  Kostic (51., Ginczek)
                    2:2  Huntelaar (78., K.-P. Boateng)
                    3:2  Klein (89., own goal, K.-P. Boateng)

VfL Wolfsburg	     -   Hannover 96	        2:2 (2:0)   29,514

                    1:0  Dost (24., De Bruyne)
                    2:0  Perisic (45., De Bruyne)
                    2:1  Briand (47., Prib)
                    2:2  S. Sané (58.)

FC Augsburg	     -   1. FC Köln	        0:0 (0:0)   29,158

TSG Hoffenheim	     -   Borussia Dortmund	1:1 (1:1)   30,150 *

                    1:0  Volland (33., Schwegler)
                    1:1  Hummels (35., H. Mkhitaryan)

Werder Bremen	     -   Eintracht Frankfurt	1:0 (0:0)   42,100 *

                    1:0  Selke (66., Lukimya)

SC Freiburg	     -   SC Paderborn 07	1:2 (1:0)   24,000 *

                    1:0  Petersen (40., Schmid)
                    1:1  Rupp (70., Lakic)
                    1:2  Rupp (80., Saglik)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen  -   Bayern München	        2:0 (0:0)   30,210 *

                    1:0  Calhanoglu (55., direct freekick)
                    2:0  Brandt (81., Bellarabi)

1. FSV Mainz 05	     -   Hamburger SV	        1:2 (0:1)   34,000 *

                    0:1  Baumgartlinger (37., own goal, Westermann)
                    1:1  Malli (76., Jairo)
                    1:2  Kacar (87.)

Hertha BSC	     -   Bor. Mönchengladbach	1:2 (1:1)   56,881

                    0:1  M. Kruse (11., Raffael)
                    1:1  Stocker (13., Kalou)
                    1:2  Traoré (85., Hazard)
 


 1  Bayern München (M, P)	31   24  4  3 	  77:15  +62 	  76 
 2  VfL Wolfsburg	  	31   18  8  5 	  65:34  +31 	  62 
 3  Bor. Mönchengladbach	31   17  9  5 	  47:23  +24 	  60
 4  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	31   16  10 5 	  59:32  +27 	  58
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 5  FC Schalke 04	  	31   12  9  10 	  41:36  +5 	  45 
 6  FC Augsburg	  	        31   13  4  14 	  38:40  -2 	  43
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 7  Werder Bremen	  	31   11  9  11 	  47:59  -12 	  42 
 8  TSG Hoffenheim	  	31   11  8  12 	  46:49  -3 	  41 
 9  Borussia Dortmund	  	31   11  7  13 	  41:38  +3 	  40 
10  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	31    8  13 10 	  43:43   0 	  37 
11  1. FC Köln (N)	  	31    8  12 11 	  30:36  -6 	  36 
12  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	31    9  9  13 	  51:60  -9 	  36 
13  Hertha BSC Berlin	  	31    9  7  15 	  35:48  -13 	  34 
14  Hamburger SV	  	31    8  7  16 	  21:47  -26 	  31 
15  SC Paderborn 07 (N)	  	31    7  10 14 	  29:59  -30 	  31 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  SC Freiburg	  	        31    6  12 13 	  32:43  -11 	  30
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  Hannover 96	  	        31    7  9  15 	  35:53  -18 	  30
18  VfB Stuttgart	  	31    6  9  16 	  36:58  -22 	  27


M = Meister, defending Champion
P = Pokalsieger, Cup winner
N = Neuling, just promoted

2.Liga, Round 30

Round 30, Apr 24-27

Kaiserslautern took a huge step forward towards promotion as the won away at Bochum. Not any easy place to play, the Red Devils were in control throughout.

Karlsruhe was one of the “big” winners” this week. By beating down Greuther Fürth, they kept pace. And since Darmstadt slipped up, they now control 3rd place. Fürth put in a decent effort, but their suckiness has gotten to the point that they are a serious drop candidate.

Leipzig kept their small promotion hopes alive and seriously wounded Darmstadt in the process. The hero was Swiss GK Fabio Coltorti, who went forward in injury time and scored the winning goal.

Braunschweig also kept pace, along with their small hopes. They had a hardv time with desperate Erzgebirg Aue, as the guests fiercely battle against the drop. Aue had the lead, but a powerful assault down the stretch in the 2nd half gave the points to the hosts.

Aalen got bad news in that their appeal against the two-point deduction was denied. They could still try a legal maneuver through the courts, but that doesn’t seem likely. However the squad has apparently decided that they will try and do it on the field, and they battled to a draw at FSV Frankfurt, despite being under a fair amount of FSV pressure.

St.Pauli is at the bottom, and you have to think that 3.Liga treasurers are already licking their chops at the prospect of a nice crowd next year. The Paulistas remain one of the top draws in the 2.Liga, as they bring a lot of their own fans (and largely well behaved, albeit a bit weird). Heidenheim was the beneficiary, and FCH responded with a strong performance to keep all the points as well.

1860 and Düsseldorf drew, both GKs were sharp. Obviously, 1860 is happier with the point, as it keeps their head just above water.

Ingolstadt was on their back foot against a motivated Union Berlin. The leaders managed to salvage a draw, but it wasn’t easy. The bad news for the Schanzer is that captain Marvin Matip went down with a season ending injury. Ingolstadt probably has enough of a cushion to weather it though, and should be in the Bundesliga next season.

Total attendance 168,418 (avg 18,713), 60.2% capacity, sellout in Heidenheim


1. FC Nürnberg	    -  	SV Sandhausen	        2:0 (0:0)   25,233

                   1:0  Kerk (75., D. Blum)
                   2:0  G. Burgstaller (90. + 2, Schöpf)

VfL Bochum	    -  	1. FC Kaiserslautern	0:2 (0:1)   19,057

                   0:1  Zoller (31., M. Schulze)
                   0:2  P. Hofmann (76., Demirbay)

RasenBall Leipzig   -  	SV Darmstadt 98	        2:1 (0:0)   25,336

                   0:1  Behrens (77., Kempe)
                   1:1  Klostermann (79.)
                   2:1  Coltorti (90. + 3, Damari)

Karlsruher SC	    -  	SpVgg Greuther Fürth    2:1 (0:1)   15,237

                   0:1  Rapp (13., Wurtz)
                   1:1  Hennings (58., Max)
                   2:1  Hennings (60., Gordon)

Fortuna Düsseldorf  -  	1860 München	        1:1 (0:1)   25,461

                   0:1  Adlung (42., M. Wolf)
                   1:1  Liendl (48., Halloran)

1. FC Union Berlin  -  	FC Ingolstadt 04	2:2 (0:1)   17,761

                   0:1  Matip (5., P. Groß)
                   1:1  Jopek (75., Kreilach)
                   2:1  Jopek (79., direct freekick)
                   2:2  Levels (82., P. Groß)

FSV Frankfurt	    -  	VfR Aalen	        1:1 (1:0)    5,133
 
                   1:0  Aoudia (45. + 2, Huber)
                   1:1  Steinhöfer (64., Quaner)

1. FC Heidenheim    -  	FC St. Pauli	        2:1 (0:0)   15,000 *

                   1:0  Leipertz (62., Niederlechner)
                   2:0  Schnatterer (82., penalty, Leipertz)
                   2:1  Nöthe (90. + 3, Gonther)

Eintr. Braunschweig -  	Erzgebirge Aue	        4:2 (1:2)   20,200 	


 1  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	30   16  11  3 	  48:26  +22 	  59 
 2  1. FC Kaiserslautern	30   14  12  4 	  42:25  +17 	  54
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  Karlsruher SC	  	30   13  13  4 	  41:22  +19 	  52
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  SV Darmstadt 98 (N)	  	30   12  14  4 	  39:23  +16 	  50 
 5  RasenBallsport Leipzig (N)	30   12  11  7 	  36:24  +12 	  47 
 6  Eintracht Braunschweig (A)  30   14  5  11 	  41:34  +7 	  47 
 7  Fortuna Düsseldorf  	30   10  11  9 	  44:44   0 	  41 
 8  1. FC Heidenheim (N)  	30   10  8  12 	  38:38   0 	  38 
 9  1. FC Nürnberg (A)	  	30   11  5  14 	  35:42  -7 	  38 
10  1. FC Union Berlin	  	30    9  11 10 	  37:48  -11 	  38 
11  SV Sandhausen	  	30    9  10 11 	  26:33  -7 	  37 
12  FSV Frankfurt	  	30    9  9  12 	  37:45  -8 	  36 
13  VfL Bochum	  	        30    7  14  9 	  45:47  -2 	  35 
14  SpVgg Greuther Fürth        30    6  13 11 	  30:37  -7 	  31 
15  1860 München	  	30    7  9  14 	  38:45  -7 	  30
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  VfR Aalen	  	        30    6  12 12 	  27:36  -9 	  28
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  Erzgebirge Aue	  	30    7  7  16 	  25:43  -18 	  28 
18  FC St. Pauli	  	30    7  7  16 	  32:49  -17 	  28


Aalen deducted two points for being wankers, err, financial shenanigans.

1st line: Promotion to Bundesliga
2nd line: Playoff with 16th Bundesliga
3rd line: Playoff with no.3 of 3.Liga
4th line: Relegation to 3.Liga

A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

BUNDESLIGA, Round 30: Fierce relegation battles, Bayern champs

Round 30, Apr 24-26

All eyes on Hamburg as Bruno Labbadia made his debut as HSV coach. And the Hamburgers responded with fight, jumping out to a quick lead against Augsburg. But soon they were pegged back, and the Fuggers took control, and HSV was in danger of losing the thread. However unlike other matches, HSV bounced back and managed to win the game, which allows them to regain some hope. Labbadia might be also encouraged that his pathetic “attack” looked good, as Olic and Lassogga came to life with the needed goals. AUgsburg has shhown that they are a tough opponent, but uneven results mean that their once secure Euro spot is under serious threat.

Mainz bitch-slapped Schalke to end any relegation worries. And they even have an outside chance of Euroliga, given that they’re only 5 points back. The Blues looked tired and listless, although they had more possesion and shots, they never looked like rocking the boat.

Not very impressive by Dortmund, but Frankfurt was hapless and hopeless. The Neons were in control and if they hadn’t wasted some clear chances, it would have been a rout. Still, the win moves BVB within striking distance of a Euro spot, which would be pretty amazing given their horrible mid season run. Not sure why Eintracht was so toothless, but that pretty much ends any hopes they might have had.

Horrible situation in Hannover might be worse. The 96ers have been sucking for a while – zero wins in 2015! – and under new coach Michael Frontzeck were looking for improvement. Well, they did look a lot better, so I guess you could say the glass is still half-full. But Hoffenheim was clever and grabbed the win, so the emergency alarms continue to go off. Hoffenheim has to be thinking that they can steal one of the Euroliga spots.

Stuttgart continues to throw away points, and that may end up costing big time. VfB was in total control in the first half of the southwestern derby with Freiburg, but they let it slip away as Nils Petersen is quickly becoming a “Fussballgott” in the Breisgau. Since coming over from Bremen in winterbreak, he has scored some important goals, and once again he saved the day. SCF is fighting for every point, and although they’re still in extreme danger, you get the feeling that they might pull it off. Obviously Stuttgart needed all points in this relegation six pointer, and have only themselves to blame.

A thrilling Rheinderby in Köln. You’d expect Leverkusen to easily win this, as they are one of the “in-form” squads. But the Aspirins were having a hard time, and nothing was coming easy. Köln GK Timo Horn stopped a penalty by Hakan Calhanoglu right before half, and although the visitors managed to take the lead after an hour, they were still in a dogfight. Köln seized control and attacked furiously, eventually getting the deserved equalizer.

After their Champions League gala performance thrashing Porto 6-1, you might have expected Bayern München to let up on the weekend. And you’d be right. Hertha BSC was able to hang with the champs, and although the hosts dominated as they usually do, Berlin held down the chances and even had a couple of decent ones themselves. Of course, eventually Bayern decided they wanted to win this one too, so a clever run by youngster Mitchell Wesier served up a chance for Bastian Schweinsteiger, and another 3 points in the bag. Hertha probably didn’t expect anything from this match anyway, and they would appear to be safe from relegation, barring total collapse.

On Sunday, Paderborn had a huge opportunity to jump out of relegation. They hosted Bremen, who had fought off relegation worries, and perhaps could sneak into Euro contention. SCP was determined and focused, and jumped to a 2-0 lead, seemingly in control. But Werder fought back to wrest a point and leave Paderborn in dire straights. Much like Stuttgart, they may rue this game at the end of the season.

Gladbach got a last second goal to defeat Wolfsburg and perhaps challenge for 2nd place. The home side probably deserved the win, as they controlled most of the match and generated better chances. The VW loss officially gives the title to Bayern München, not that it wasn’t a formality anyway.

Total attendance 457,935 (avg 50,882), 96.9% capacity, sellouts in Mainz, Dortmund, Hannover, München, Paderborn

 	
1. FSV Mainz 05	     -   FC Schalke 04	        2:0 (2:0)   34,000 *

                    1:0  Bell (28., Bungert)
                    2:0  Bell (31., Geis)
 
Borussia Dortmund    -   Eintracht Frankfurt	2:0 (2:0)   80,667 *

                    1:0  Aubameyang (24., Hand penalty)
                    2:0  Kagawa (32., Aubameyang)

Hannover 96	     -   TSG Hoffenheim	        1:2 (1:1)   46,200 *

                    0:1  Modeste (2., Roberto Firmino)
                    1:1  Stindl (24., penalty, Schmiedebach)
                    1:2  Schipplock (83., Szalai)

VfB Stuttgart	     -   SC Freiburg	        2:2 (2:0)   58,000

                    1:0  Ginczek (24., Harnik)
                    2:0  Harnik (27., Kostic)
                    2:1  Petersen (58., penalty, Schmid)
                    2:2  Petersen (85., Sorg)

Hamburger SV	     -   FC Augsburg	        3:2 (2:1)   51,321

                    1:0  Olic (11., Stieber)
                    2:0  Lasogga (19., Ostrzolek)
                    2:1  Bobadilla (25., To. Werner)
                    2:2  To. Werner (69., Höjbjerg)
                    3:2  Lasogga (71., Stieber)

1. FC Köln	     -   Bayer 04 Leverkusen	1:1 (0:0)   45,600

                    0:1  Brandt (60., Bellarabi)
                    1:1  Finne (83., Ujah)

Bayern München       -   Hertha BSC	        1:0 (0:0)   75,000 *

                    1:0  Schweinsteiger (80., Weiser)

SC Paderborn 07	     -   Werder Bremen	        2:2 (2:1)   15,000 *

                    1:0  Vrancic (25., Stoppelkamp)
                    2:0  Stoppelkamp (27., Koc)
                    2:1  Selke (45., Prödl)
                    2:2  Hajrovic (76., Lukimya)

Bor. Mönchengladbach -   VfL Wolfsburg	        1:0 (0:0)   52,147 


 1  Bayern München (M, P)	30   24  4  2 	  77:13  +64 	  76 
 2  VfL Wolfsburg	  	30   18  7  5 	  63:32  +31 	  61 
 3  Bor. Mönchengladbach	30   16  9  5 	  45:22  +23 	  57
 4  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	30   15  10 5 	  57:32  +25 	  55
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 5  FC Schalke 04	  	30   11  9  10 	  38:34  +4 	  42 
 6  FC Augsburg	  	        30   13  3  14 	  38:40  -2 	  42
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 7  TSG Hoffenheim	  	30   11  7  12 	  45:48  -3 	  40 
 8  Borussia Dortmund	  	30   11  6  13 	  40:37  +3 	  39 
 9  Werder Bremen	  	30   10  9  11 	  46:59  -13 	  39 
10  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	30    8  13 9 	  42:41  +1 	  37 
11  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	30    9  9  12 	  51:59  -8 	  36 
12  1. FC Köln (N)	  	30    8  11 11 	  30:36  -6 	  35
13  Hertha BSC Berlin	  	30    9  7  14 	  34:46  -12 	  34 
14  SC Freiburg	  	        30    6  12 12 	  31:41  -10 	  30 
15  Hannover 96  	        30    7  8  15 	  33:51  -18 	  29
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  Hamburger SV	  	30    7  7  16 	  19:46  -27 	  28
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  SC Paderborn 07 (N)	  	30    6  10 14 	  27:58  -31 	  28
18  VfB Stuttgart	  	30    6  9  15 	  34:55  -21 	  27 

M = Meister, defending Champion
P = Pokalsieger, Cup winner
N = Neuling, just promoted

3.Liga, Round 34

Round 34, Apr 24-26

Großaspach continued their great end run with a win over Osnabrück. That made it 6 wins, 3 draws down the stretch, giving the Sonnenhofer security. Meanwhile, the bitterly disappointing season continues to suck for the Osnabrücker, who had clear expectations of challenging for promotion.

Regensburg had perhaps the last chance, and blew it. Jahn got nothing against Mainz-II, and that pretty much seals their drop. In reality, they would have to make up 8 points with only four games left, virtually impossible. An important point for the mini-Mainzers, but they’re still in trouble.

Rostock may have also condemned Dortmund-II to relegation. Hansa has been quite strong down the stretch, and is secure from the drop. BVB-Bubis needed something, get zero, and have little prospect of staying up.

It’s too late for Cottbus to play in the promotion race, but Energie can be spoilers. And they overpowered Stuttgarter Kickers to hurt the visitors chances, although it’s still open. For Cottbus, they have an outside chance for 4th place, which at least guarantees auto-entry into the main round of the lucrative DFB-Cup.

Münster struggled against Fortuna Köln, but at least stopped their drought (winless in 5). It’s probably too late for the Eagles, they’re in the same boat as Cottbus. Fortuna has no worries, at least on the field.

Kiel had a huge win in a hard fought win over Chemnitz, which allows the Holsteiner to keep 2nd. CFC pressed them, but the hosts were strong enough to grind out a win. Duisburg however keeps up the pressure with a solid win away at Dresden

Eight rounds ago Erfurt was knocking on the door of a promotion. Forward to present, 8 losses in a row, well they’re going nowhere. And the gap to the top was laid bare as they were viciously ripped to shreds by leaders Arminia Bielefeld. The guests were somewhat polite in the first half, holding a deserved lead, but then turned nasty and repeatedly kicked the Rot-Weissen in the balls to start the 2nd period.

A true, “ho-hum, who cares?” match in Wiesbaden. Wehen overran Halle in the 2nd half in a relatively boring match that neither side appeared interested in playing. HFC should have at least had some motivation, as an away win might have kept hopes for 4th place alive.

Unterhaching had a massive win at Stuttgart-II, allowing them to leap out of the drop zone.

Total attendance 68,910 (avg 6,891), 39.1% capacity


SG S-hof Großaspach -  	VfL Osnabrück	        1:0 (0:0)    1,800
Jahn Regensburg	    -  	1. FSV Mainz 05 II	0:0 (0:0)    3,515
Hansa Rostock	    -  	Borussia Dortmund II	3:2 (2:2)   11,500
Energie Cottbus	    -  	Stuttgarter Kickers	2:0 (2:0)    5,426
Preußen Münster	    -  	Fortuna Köln	        1:0 (1:0)    8,136
Rot-Weiß Erfurt	    -  	Arminia Bielefeld	0:4 (0:1)    5,889
Holstein Kiel	    -  	Chemnitzer FC	        2:1 (1:1)    7,381
SV Wehen Wiesbaden  -  	Hallescher FC	        3:0 (0:0)    2,280
VfB Stuttgart II    -  	SpVgg Unterhaching	1:3 (0:1)      630
Dynamo Dresden	    -  	MSV Duisburg	        0:2 (0:0)   22,353 


 1  Arminia Bielefeld (A)	34   21  5   8 	  69:36  +33 	  68 
 2  Holstein Kiel	  	34   17  12  5 	  46:23  +23 	  63
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  MSV Duisburg	  	34   17  11  6 	  56:37  +19 	  62
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	34   16  10  8 	  53:41  +12 	  58 
 5  Preußen Münster	  	34   15  9  10 	  49:41  +8 	  54 
 6  Energie Cottbus (A)	  	34   14  10 10 	  44:41  +3 	  52 
 7  Hallescher FC	  	34   14  8  12 	  47:46  +1 	  50 
 8  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	34   14  7  13 	  50:39  +11 	  49 
 9  Chemnitzer FC	  	34   14  7  13 	  38:34  +4 	  49 
10  Rot-Weiß Erfurt	  	34   13  7  14 	  44:50  -6 	  46 
11  Dynamo Dresden (A)	  	34   12  8  14 	  38:41  -3 	  44 
12  VfL Osnabrück	  	34   12  8  14 	  45:50  -5 	  44 
13  SG Sonnenhof Großaspach (N)	34   11  10 13 	  36:53  -17 	  43 
14  Fortuna Köln (N)	  	34   11  9  14 	  34:36  -2 	  42 
15  Hansa Rostock	  	34   11  8  15 	  51:61  -10 	  41 
16  VfB Stuttgart II	  	34   11  7  16 	  42:51  -9 	  40 
17  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	34   10  7  17 	  46:58  -12 	  35 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
18  1. FSV Mainz 05 II (N)	34    8  10 16 	  36:48  -12 	  34
19  Borussia Dortmund II	34    5  15 14 	  32:47  -15 	  30 
20  Jahn Regensburg	  	34    7  6  21 	  37:60  -23 	  27


A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

1st line: Promotion to 2.Liga
2nd line: Promotion Playoff with 2.Liga 16th place 
3rd line: Relegation to Regionalliga

2.Liga, Round 29: Bottom clubs revolt

Round 29, Apr 17-20

The relegation battle was turned up another notch, as the threatened clubs were desperately seeking points. And in fact all bottom four clubs got full points as they show that the battle will go to the bitter end.

St.Pauli set the stage on Friday night, with a tough performance against Nürnberg. The visitors were the better team for most of the match, having better chances and controlling the match. The Paulistas defended desperately and the packed house went nuts when Lars Sobiech headed home the winner in the final minute.

The story had a similar end in München. 1860 was locked in a difficult struggle with Bochum, and an injury time goal gave the Lions a crucial victory.

Aalen hasn’t given up either. They have the point deduction, and that is unlikely to be overturned. Therefore they desperately needed points, and the got them surprisingly against Braunschweig. Although the visiotrs took the lead, Aalen quickly bounced back and got the win in a gritty match.

Aue also got a win, perhaps somewhat easier, since FSV Frankfurt did very little in the whole match. Erzgebirge didn’t exactly impress, but pressured enough to get a deserved win.

Greuther Fürth should have been the fifth club with full points. However the hosts had trouble with Union, who basically defended the whole match. The Greuther fell behind early and spent most of the match chasing.

Ingolstadt can’t be stopped on their Bundesliga quest. The Schanzer were locked in a tough battle with Düsseldorf, and on the losing end until a late goal gave them the equalizer. Then in the 6th(!) minute of added time, Marvin Matip notched the winner for the homeside.

If Darmstadt fails, perhaps they will look back at this match. The 98ers struggled against Heidenheim, and didn’t really look like winners. But then they took the lead on a penalty, and only a couple of minutes later FCH was down a man, as Heise got his second yellow. So it looked all said and done for a Darmstadt victory. But the fellow promoted side from the 3.Liga wasn’t done. Florian Niederlechner came on as a sub, and after only seconds scored the equalizer. The remaining minutes actually had the visitors pressing, despite numerical disadvantage. The final result probably was fair, but Darmstadt seemingly had it in the bag.

Monday night is a huge match, as Kaiserslautern can move 2nd, and Leipzig needs a win if they are to keep their tiny promotion hope alive.

Total attendance 132,645 (avg 14,738), 51.7% capacity, sellout in Hamburg

 	
FC St. Pauli	      -   1. FC Nürnberg	    1:0 (0:0)   23,854 *

                     1:0  L. Sobiech (90., Daube)
 
FC Ingolstadt 04      -   Fortuna Düsseldorf	    3:2 (0:1)   10,606

                     0:1  Pohjanpalo (33.)
                     1:1  Mo. Hartmann (65.
                     1:2  Bebou (74., Bellinghausen)
                     2:2  Leckie (86., P. Groß)
                     3:2  Matip (90. + 6, P. Groß)

SV Sandhausen	      -   Karlsruher SC	            0:0 (0:0)   12,136

1860 München	      -   VfL Bochum	            2:1 (0:1)   16,000

                     0:1  Gregoritsch (16., Sestak)
                     1:1  M. Wolf (56., Adlung)
                     2:1  S. Hain (90. + 2, Vallori)

VfR Aalen	      -   Eintracht Braunschweig    2:1 (0:0)    7,019

                     0:1  Boland (51., Omladic)
                     1:1  Quaner (54.)
                     2:1  Ofosu-Ayeh (69.)
 	
 	
SpVgg Greuther Fürth  -   1. FC Union Berlin	    2:2 (0:1)   11,080

                     0:1  M. Thiel (8., Kreilach)
                     1:1  Freis (50., Stiepermann)
                     1:2  Parensen (79., Schönheim)
                     2:2  Wurtz (89., Gießelmann)

Erzgebirge Aue	      -   FSV Frankfurt	            1:0 (0:0)    7,650

                     1:0  Benatelli (59., Alibaz)

SV Darmstadt 98	      -   1. FC Heidenheim	    1:1 (0:0)   14,300

                     1:0  Stroh-Engel (64., penalty, Sulu)
                     1:1  Niederlechner (77., Titsch-Rivero)

1. FC Kaiserslautern  -   RasenBall Leipzig	    1:1 (1:1)   30,000

                     0:1  Poulsen (16., Forsberg)
                     1:1  Zoller (20., Stöger)
 



 1  FC Ingolstadt 04	  	29   16  10  3 	  46:24  +22 	  58 
 2  1. FC Kaiserslautern        29   13  12  4 	  40:25  +15 	  51
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  SV Darmstadt 98 (N)	  	29   12  14  3 	  38:21  +17 	  50
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 4  Karlsruher SC	  	29   12  13  4 	  39:21  +18 	  49 
 5  RasenBallsport Leipzig (N)	29   11  11  7 	  34:23  +11 	  44 
 6  Eintracht Braunschweig (A)	29   13  5  11 	  37:32  +5 	  44 
 7  Fortuna Düsseldorf	  	29   10  10  9 	  43:43   0 	  40 
 8  SV Sandhausen	  	29    9  10  10   26:31  -5 	  37 
 9  1. FC Union Berlin	  	29    9  10  10   35:46  -11 	  37 
10  VfL Bochum	  	        29    7  14  8 	  45:45   0 	  35 
11  1. FC Heidenheim (N)	29    9  8  12 	  36:37  -1 	  35 
12  FSV Frankfurt	  	29    9  8  12 	  36:44  -8 	  35 
13  1. FC Nürnberg (A)	  	29   10  5  14 	  33:42  -9 	  35 
14  SpVgg Greuther Fürth	29    6  13 10 	  29:35  -6 	  31 
15  1860 München	  	29    7  8  14 	  37:44  -7 	  29
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  FC St. Pauli	  	29    7  7  15 	  31:47  -16 	  28
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  Erzgebirge Aue	  	29    7  7  15 	  23:39  -16 	  28 
18  VfR Aalen	  	        29    6  11 12 	  26:35  -9 	  27


Aalen deducted two points for being wankers, err, financial shenanigans.

1st line: Promotion to Bundesliga
2nd line: Playoff with 16th Bundesliga
3rd line: Playoff with no.3 of 3.Liga
4th line: Relegation to 3.Liga

A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

BUNDESLIGA, Round 29: Klopp era over

Round 29, Apr 17-19

This wasn’t a great week for the Bundesliga, as Bayern was stunned in Porto for Champions League – although they still have a chance of overcoming that. Furthermore, high flying Wolfsburg was embarrassed at homeby Napoli, and almost zero chance of turning that around.

However, the big news midweek, was Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp announcing that he would resign from Borussia at the end of the season. He has been there 7 years, and probably built Dortmund’s greatest teams, winning back-to-back title, playing in the Champions League, basically having outstanding seasons after coming over Mainz, whom he had put on the map. Certinly the last couple of years have been trying, and he seemed a bit baffled, frustrated and tired, but he remains one of the best football minds on the planet. Interestingly enough, he has also stated “that he could come back to Borussia some day”. However after the win, BVB announced that Thomas Tuchel will be taking over next season. This is interesting in that not only is Tuchel considered one of German football’s brightest minds, he is a protege of Klopp. He followed Klopp at Mainz and continued, perhaps even raised the bar for the club. Now he will try and do the same at Dortmund.

Frankfurt and Gladbach battled to draw which keeps both sides aspirations alive. Gladbach of course would prefer automatic qualification for the Champions League, but they’ll be in it next season. Frankfurt is trying to sneak in to Europe, and they could have used a win. They were a bit better than Gladbach, but the draw is probably correct.

The Neons took a while to get fully in gear, but totally dominated Paderborn in what is Klopp’s “goodbye tour”. It looked like old times as BVB controlled the match and left the opponents with nothing.

Leverkusen is certainly in top form these days. The Aspirins easily crushed a hapless Hannover side, getting their 7th straight Bundesliga win, a club record. The 96ers decided to blame their coach, Tayfun Korkut, who was fired shortly afterwards, and replaced by Michael Frontzcek.

Hoffenheim had some chances against leaders Bayern, but in the end the champs were able to hold on for another win. Guardiola’s team has a lot of injuries, so it was a bit of a makeshift lineup, but it was still good enough to get eth job down. Especially in the first half Hoffenheim had some decent chances, but failed to convert and were ultimately punished.

Hertha and Köln have done enough work to stay up, and they “celebrated” their achievement with a dour, boring, defensive draw. Splitting an extra point gives each side a bit more comfort. Köln also set a dubious club record, this was their 8th scoreless draw of the season.

Mainz are like the annoying guest who shows up at your party, gets drunk and ruins everything. Freiburg certainly was hoping to grab some key points and give themselves some breathing room. And the Briesgauers did create a lot of chances, but wasted them. Instead, Shinji Okazaki added to his tally as the Bundesliga’s all-time leading Japanese goal scorer (37), reaching a respectable 12 this season. The Mainzers of course also needed something to allow them to not worry about getting dragged into relegation, and got the result.

Stuttgart largely outplayed hosts Augsburg, but wasted too many chances. The Fuggers on the other hand seized their opportunities and got a win that keeps them in Europe. Stuttgart really should have won this, which would have allowed them to leap out of the drop zone. Instead they remained mired in the dreck for another week at least.

Hamburg remains last as they lost the 102nd Northern Derby at Bremen. It was a typical derby atmosphere, hard fought, with not too many chances. HSV was close to a point, despite being on the back foot for most of the match. But then Behrami was whistled for a foul in the box, and di Santo knocked home the penalty. This was Bremen’s 500th Bundesliga home win, but more importantly it’s another stab that could send HSV down, which should provide a fair amount of glee for the Werder fans. Bremen has turned around their season since Viktor Skripnik took over. HSV had just appointed Bruno Labbadia as their new boss. Their effort was there (which was usually missing in previous matches), but he clearly has his hands full.

Wolfsburg dominated Schalke, but teh Blues defending fiercely and drew blood on a counter. The VWs finally broke through to equalize, but were unable to get anymore. Obviously a better result for the visitors, as they look to secure their Euro spot. Wolfsburg is secure in 2nd, and will be more worried about whether there is continued fallout from their ass-whupping from Napoli.

Total attendance 369,762 (avg 41,085), 93.4% capacity, sellouts in Frankfurt, Dortmund, Hoffenheim, Freiburg, Augsburg, Bremen, Wolfsburg – 7 of 9 venues!

 	
Eintracht Frankfurt  -   Bor. Mönchengladbach	0:0 (0:0)   51,500 *

Borussia Dortmund    -   SC Paderborn 07	3:0 (0:0)   80,667 *

                    1:0  H. Mkhitaryan (48., Aubameyang)
                    2:0  Aubameyang (55., Ginter)
                    3:0  Kagawa (80., H. Mkhitaryan)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen  -   Hannover 96	        4:0 (2:0)   29,482

                    1:0  Toprak (20., Calhanoglu)
                    2:0  Brandt (40., Kießling)
                    3:0  K. Papadopoulos (49., Kießling)
                    4:0  Kießling (70., L. Bender)

TSG Hoffenheim	     -   Bayern München	        0:2 (0:1)   30,150 *

                    0:1  Rode (38., Lewandowski)
                    0:2  Beck (90. + 3, own goal, T. Müller)

Hertha BSC	     -   1. FC Köln	        0:0 (0:0)   51,203

SC Freiburg	     -   1. FSV Mainz 05	2:3 (0:2)   24,000 *

                    0:1  Okazaki (39., Jairo)
                    0:2  Okazaki (45., Noveski)
                    1:2  Mehmedi (81., Schmid)
                    1:3  Malli (84., Brosinski)
                    2:3  Schmid (90. + 1, Petersen)

FC Augsburg	     -   VfB Stuttgart	        2:1 (1:1)   30,660 *

                    1:0  To. Werner (7., Esswein)
                    1:1  Ginczek (22., Kostic)
                    2:1  Bobadilla (73., To. Werner)
 	
 	
Werder Bremen	     -   Hamburger SV	        1:0 (0:0)   42,100 *

                    1:0  di Santo (84., penalty, Junuzovic)

VfL Wolfsburg	     -   FC Schalke 04	        1:1 (0:0)   30,000 *

                    0:1  L. Sané (53.)
                    1:1  De Bruyne (78., D. Caligiuri)


 1  Bayern München (M, P)	29   23  4  2 	  76:13  +63 	  73 
 2  VfL Wolfsburg	  	29   18  7  4 	  63:31  +32 	  61 
 3  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	29   15  9  5 	  56:31  +25 	  54
 4  Bor. Mönchengladbach	29   15  9  5 	  44:22  +22 	  54
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 5  FC Schalke 04	  	29   11  9  9 	  38:32  +6 	  42
 6  FC Augsburg	  	        29   13  3  13 	  36:37  -1 	  42 
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 7  Werder Bremen	  	29   10  8  11 	  44:57  -13 	  38 
 8  TSG Hoffenheim	  	29   10  7  12 	  43:47  -4 	  37 
 9  Borussia Dortmund	  	29   10  6  13 	  38:37  +1 	  36 
10  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	29    9  9  11 	  51:57  -6 	  36 
11  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	29    7  13 9 	  40:41  -1 	  34 
12  1. FC Köln (N)	  	29    8  10 11 	  29:35  -6 	  34 
13  Hertha BSC Berlin	  	29    9  7  13 	  34:45  -11 	  34 
14  SC Freiburg	  	        29    6  11 12 	  29:39  -10 	  29 
15  Hannover 96	  	        29    7  8  14    32:49  -17      29
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14  SC Paderborn (N)            29    6  9  14	  25:56  -31 	  27
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17  VfB Stuttgart	  	29    6  8  15 	  32:53  -21 	  26 
18  Hamburger SV	  	29    6  7  16 	  16:44  -28 	  25
	
M = Meister, defending Champion
P = Pokalsieger, Cup winner
N = Neuling, just promoted

3.Liga, Round 33: Tighter at top and bottom

Round 33, Apr 17-19

Things continue to stay packed for both promotion and relegation. In both cases it now looks like there are 4 teams battling. On the top, one will be left out. On the bottom, one gets the prize of staying up.

Unterhaching had a huge win against Rostock in a critical relegation six pointer. The Mini-Münch(en)kins were on the back foot early, but Hansa failed to take advantage. A hard fought second period gave the home side the much needed points. Hansa still needs to look over their shoulder, but their recent good work might be enough.

The Kickers kept their hopes alive of the Stuttgart derby next season being more attractive. This time it was a hard fought match against VfB-II, but with some luck, it could be against VfB-I next year.

Großaspach has probably secured the final points needed to stay up, and are sending Regensburg down. Realistically, Jahn has little chance of surviving now. They needed a win, tried hard, but a late goal left them with nothing.

A huge Westfalen derby in Bielefeld leaves Arminia still in control and ends Münster’s chances for promotion. The visitors had an early edge, but Bielefeld seized control in the 2nd half and the Preußen were unable to hold them off. Arminia has a slight cushion at the top, but can’t afford to get complacent.

Duisburg had a similar result. The Zebras held onto the playoff spot and ended Cottbus minor chance for promotion. Kiel was in a tough battle at Halle, and was losing 0-2 to HFC. The Holsteiners mounted a comeback as their captain Rafael Kazior netted a brace to salvage a difficult point. With both Duisburg and Kickers Stuttgart breathing down their neck, this could be a huge point.

Total attendance 80,033 (avg 8,003), 44.7% capacity

 	
SpVgg Unterhaching   -   Hansa Rostock	        2:1 (0:0)    5,000
Stuttgarter Kickers  -   VfB Stuttgart II	2:1 (1:1)    8,100
VfL Osnabrück	     -   Borussia Dortmund II	1:1 (1:0)    7,637
SG S-hof Großaspach  -   Jahn Regensburg	2:1 (1:1)    1,900
1. FSV Mainz 05 II   -   SV Wehen Wiesbaden	1:1 (1:0)    1,024
Chemnitzer FC	     -   Rot-Weiß Erfurt	2:1 (0:0)    7,077
Arminia Bielefeld    -   Preußen Münster	2:1 (0:1)   25,172
Fortuna Köln	     -   Dynamo Dresden	        1:0 (1:0)    3,284
MSV Duisburg	     -   Energie Cottbus	3:2 (1:1)   12,556
Hallescher FC	     -   Holstein Kiel	        2:2 (1:0)    8,283


 1  Arminia Bielefeld (A)	33   20  5   8 	  65:36  +29 	  65 
 2  Holstein Kiel	  	33   16  12  5 	  44:22  +22 	  60
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 3  MSV Duisburg	  	33   16  11  6 	  54:37  +17 	  59
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 4  Stuttgarter Kickers	  	33   16  10  7 	  53:39  +14 	  58 
 5  Preußen Münster	  	33   14  9  10 	  48:41  +7 	  51 
 6  Hallescher FC	  	33   14  8  11 	  47:43  +4 	  50 
 7  Chemnitzer FC	  	33   14  7  12 	  37:32  +5  	  49 
 8  Energie Cottbus (A)	  	33   13  10 10 	  42:41  +1 	  49 
 9  SV Wehen Wiesbaden	  	33   13  7  13 	  47:39  +8 	  46 
10  Rot-Weiß Erfurt	  	33   13  7  13 	  44:46  -2 	  46 
11  Dynamo Dresden (A)	  	33   12  8  13 	  38:39  -1 	  44 
12  VfL Osnabrück	  	33   12  8  13 	  45:49  -4 	  44 
13  Fortuna Köln (N)	  	33   11  9  13 	  34:35  -1 	  42 
14  VfB Stuttgart II	  	33   11  7  15 	  41:48  -7 	  40 
15  SG Sonnenhof Großaspach (N)	33   10  10 13 	  35:53  -18 	  40 
16  Hansa Rostock	  	33   10  8  15 	  48:59  -11 	  38 
17  1. FSV Mainz 05 II (N)	33    8  9  16 	  36:48  -12 	  33
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18  SpVgg Unterhaching	  	33    9  7  17 	  43:57  -14 	  32 
19  Borussia Dortmund II	33    5  15 13 	  30:44  -14 	  30 
20  Jahn Regensburg	  	33    7  5  21 	  37:60  -23 	  26

A = Absteiger just relegated 
N = Neuling just promoted

1st line: Promotion to 2.Liga
2nd line: Promotion Playoff with 2.Liga 16th place 
3rd line: Relegation to Regionalliga