Your weekly warm-up to all of Germany's third division action this weekend.
Welcome to your 3. Liga spieltag 14 preview and predictions! After last weekend’s action and some cracking results for third division teams in this week’s Pokal, there are many interesting ties to look forward to. Though we’re getting closer towards the midway point in the season, the table is still as close as ever. Just three points separate Türkgücü München in 12th and Saarbrücken in 3rd. There’s no reason to say that a team in the bottom half can’t go on a run and quite possibly find themselves battling for a top-three finish! Without further ado, here is your preview and predictions for spieltag 14.
Viktoria Köln vs FC Magdeburg (Friday)
The weekend’s action kickstarts in Der Dom Stadt. V.Köln come into this one after an impressive win to Borussia Dortmund II. Not many would have given them a chance to get anything from that fixture, let alone all three points. It’s that kind of result and game plan that they’re going to have to emulate as they host the league’s table-toppers. If you’d offer V.Köln a draw before this game I’m sure they’d snatch you’d off. Magdeburg are five points clear in 1st. Having dismantled Havelse 4:0 last weekend, they’ll be looking for a similar result here. The first goal is crucial in this one. If V.Köln can find the opening, they might just be able to get something. However, all signals point to an away win in this one.
Waldhof Mannheim vs FC Saarbrücken
In the week, Mannheim were close to causing a Pokal upset when they took Bundesliga side, Union Berlin, all the way into extra time. In the end, Mannheim ran out of energy and ended up losing 3:1. It’s a display that the Waldhof Buben will take confidence from. Currently sitting in 5th, they host 3rd place Saarbrücken. A home win could see Waldhof move up to as far as second with a game in hand on the teams around them. Saarbrücken, on the other hand, will want to create more breathing space as they chase second themselves. You feel that something might just give here. If three points are won in this one, it could prove vital for either side.
FSV Zwickau vs TSV Havelse
Zwickau are in a purple patch at the minute. Unbeaten in their last six league games, they’ll certainly fancy themselves to make it seven as they host rock bottom side, Havelse. If TSV are to give themselves any chance of survival this season, they need to start gaining points. With by far the worst goal difference in the league, I have another bad feeling for Havelse here. Away to one of the most in-form teams in the league whilst already being low on confidence only spells one outcome. I’m often an optimist and tip an upset but I just can’t see it here.
1860 Münich vs SC Freiburg II
It’s 16th vs 15th here and a big game for both sides. 1860 have been the draw kings so far in the league this season. However, they got a very much needed morale booster as they beat Schalke 04 in the Pokal midweek. This might just be the type of result that galvanizes the players and their fans. If Die Löwen fail to win this one, they could be in the bottom four at the end of the weekend. Their opponents, in contrast, should be in high spirits after defeating SC Verl 4:2 last time out. Freiburg II would have been expected to be in this sort of position 14 games in. They’re ready for battle and will be keen to get one over on a table rival. For me, however, I can’t ignore the marvellous display by 1860 against Schalke.
Hallescher vs MSV Duisburg
Halle are one of the many teams on 18 points who are not sure whether to look above or behind them. With no win in their two games, they’ll be feeling a bit of pressure going into this one. Another loss here could make their fans a bit more worried than excited. They face an MSV side who got a draw in their first game under Hagen Schmidt. In the second half of that one, Die Zebras were impressive at times and showed a bit of fight (something that had certainly been lacking). I sense a nervy and cagey affair in this one.
Eintracht Braunschweig vs SV Wehen Wiesbaden
Sitting pretty in second, Braunschweig are looking like real contenders for promotion. Unbeaten in their last five league games, the boys of Brunswick will fancy their chances in front of a noisy Eintracht-Stadion. And who could blame them? In their last two games, they’ve scored 8 and conceded just 2. Their visitors are placed 9th and are one of the teams currently on 18 points. Having lost a seven-goal-thriller last weekend to Meppen, Wiesbaden will be looking for their first win in four league games. They’re going to have to improve defensively if they’re to get anything from this tough fixture.
Viktoria Berlin vs Borussia Dortmund II
Berlin in 8th have slipped down the table in recent weeks. After a fantastic start, the Berliner Zug is slowly beginning to slow down ever so slightly. In fact, they’ve now gone five leagues without a win. In the week their manager, Muzzicato, said the side admitted his sides poor form but “are in a process”. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too harsh on Berlin. They’re newcomers to the league and certainly don’t look as if they’re going to finish in the bottom four. The opponents are also newcomers, however. After a surprise loss last weekend, Dortmund II will arrive at the capital determined to turn the tide. So, the question remains, can Berlin add some more coal to the Zug or will Dortmund further derail their season? I expect goals and a fast-flowing game here.
SV Meppen vs Türkgücü München (Sunday)
It’s 11th vs 12th with both teams at that oh so common 18 point mark. Meppen come into this one in slightly better form than Türkgücü. Having only lost once in their last four, Meppen are slowly but surely picking up points. In that time, Türkgücü have won two and lost two. It’s this inconsistent pattern that leads me to believe these two might not have enough to go on a run and head towards the top. Never say die but it’s unlikely looking at teams elsewhere. It’s honours even for me in Lower Saxony.
FC Kaiserslautern vs Würzburger Kickers
FCK conceded their first league goal in six games last Monday. Defensively, they’ve been brilliant of late and this has allowed them to leap up the table into 7th. Their last home game was a convincing 3:0 win against Freiburg II. Their opponents, Würzburger, are having a poor season and are currently languishing in 19th. Despite this, they’ve achieved four points in their last two matches which has given them more hope. FCK are a different breed though. They’re much more organised than some of the teams Würzburger has recently faced. It’s hard to see beyond one outcome here.
SC Verl vs VfL Osnabrück (Monday)
The spieltag concludes as 14th host 4th. Fans of Verl will be looking behind them feeling a tad nervous. Just three points outside of the relegation zone, they could easily be dragged into a tough season. You feel if they can get the win here, however, it might just reignite their campaign. Osnabrück are looking good in 4th despite not winning their last two. If the Lila-Weiß can get back to winning ways on Monday night, they might just end up in the top two if other results go their way. I don’t think they need more incentive than that.
Thus ends our preview and predictions for spieltag 14 in the 3. Liga. Every week is bringing up more and more turns. As we head to that crucial midway stage, the table might just begin to take a bit more shape with gaps appearing at both ends of the table. As always, enjoy your football and have a great wochenende.