It was another enthralling weekend of action in Germany's third division.
Coming into this one, Mannheim were in 5th and just four points behind their visitors who sat 2nd. The game burst into life just after the half-hour mark. Clever play down the Osnabrück right-hand side released Marcel Costly who cut the ball back to the edge of the box where Sebastian Klaas put the ball into the far corner. The midfielder’s technique and composure to attempt the first time shot was sublime. You’ll have to travel far and wide to see a better first-time finish than this one. However, the lead only last 6 minutes when Osnabrück was caught out three-on-three at the back. A clever ball through released Dominik Martinovic who calmly put the ball beyond the onrushing keeper.
Just before the break, things were to get even worse for the visitors. Joseph Boyamba’s rather tame effort was split by Lila-Weiß goalkeeper, Philip Kühn. Boyamba was quickest to react and was subsequently fouled by the incoming Kühn. Up stepped Martinovic who sent the keeper the wrong way and put Mannheim 2:1 heading into halftime.
Early in the second period, Osnabrück continued to push for the equaliser. When Ba-Muaka Simakala went down inside the box many Lila-Weiß fans were outraged to see the referee wave away the appeals. Upon review, there was certainly contact made by the defender. The only thing I can imagine that went against Simakala was the theatrical way in which he fell to the ground. If VAR was present in the 3. Liga, this decision may well have been overturned.
To Simakala’s credit, he didn’t let the decision affect his game. On the 65th minute, he planted his head from a resulting corner and put his side level. It was poor marking by the Mannheim defence who essentially allowed the forward a direct run at the ball having not kicked him up in the first place. With the third-best defensive record in the league, you’d certainly expect better from Mannheim there.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, the game took another turn when Mannheim was awarded their second penalty. Miscommunication by the Osnabrück defence led to Jesper Verlaat challenging for an aerial ball which he didn’t have to make. Failing to get a clear connection, the ball glance off his head and left Mannheim forward, Gillian Jurcher, clear on goal. In an attempt to go around the goalkeeper, Jurcher was wiped out by Kühn. Some might argue that the man in the sticks didn’t attempt to make the challenge and was therefore not a foul. However, if the contact wasn’t made, the forward would have had an empty net to aim at. Up stepped Martinovic for his third who once again sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. “eiskalt” was the shout from the commentator and Ice cold he certainly was. Martinovic celebrated as if he’d just won the game but there’s was to be one last twist in the tale.
With just 8 minutes remaining, Osnabrück had the home side pinned in their own half. A cross from deep was headed towards the centre of goal and into the path of forward, Felix Higl. Manheim skipper and centreback, Marcel Seegert, came across to deal with Higl who was surely about to put his side level. In an attempt to clear the ball out for a corner, Seegert accidentally steered the ball into the roof of his own net. A real sucker-punch for Mannheim who were on course for an important three points. Looking at the replays, if Seegert were to just try and shield the ball, you feel the Mannheim keeper would have come and claimed the ball for himself. It’s fine margins and a little bit of luck that can change a game and lady luck was definitely shining down on Osnabrück here. The sixth goal in this thrilling tie was the end of the action as the points were spoiled at the Carl-Benz-Stadion.
1 - Meppen made it four wins from their last four with a fantastic 4:0 win over Viktoria Köln. Meppen, who were spared relegation due to KFC Uerdingen’s financial issues last season, now sit 3rd in the league. Having taken the lead shortly before the halftime whistle, SVM never looked back. It was a fantastic victory against an often resilient V.Köln side. Who, despite their league standing, were unbeaten in their previous 5 league matches going into this one. It’s a win that makes people really take notice of Meppen who will be looking to stick around the top three for a little while longer.
2 - Türkgücü München has sacked Peter Hyballa after only seven games in charge. In possibly one of the shortest managerial stints in the league’s history, Hyballa hasn’t been able to change the club’s fortunes around. Instead, they have continuously dropped down the table and are now just outside the four relegation places. In his seven games, Hyballa only won twice and lost the last four on the bounce. After the defeat to Braunschweig on the weekend, Hyballa admitted “I have no idea” when asked if he still had a future at the club. We now know the answer and it’s fair to say, no one is surprised.
3 - 1860 Münich played out a five-goal thriller in a 3-2 victory over MSV Duisburg. It was a critical win for the Bavarian’s in this early basement 6 pointer. Under new head coach, Hagen Schmidt, MSV has improved and managed to get themselves in front after just ten minutes. Die Löwen got back into via the penalty spot and then took the lead early in the second period. Things could have and should have gotten better for the home side. A second elf meter was awarded only for MSV keeper, Leo Weinkauf to save this time around. Duisburg then went up the other end got the leveller through Ademi’s wonderful volley. Die Löwen have drawn many times this season but they managed to find the often elusive finishing touch through Bear just 15 minutes from time. It was a vital win that will certainly boost morale in Bavaria whereas MSV will have to rally again to get their survival campaign up and running.
4- Elsewhere, Kaiserslautern moved up to 5th with a 1:0 vicotry over Wehen Wiesbaden. FCK have the best defence on paper and look set to challenge for a top-three place as we approach the midway stage in the season. There were also wins for Saarbrücken (2:4), Dortmund II (1:2), and Braunschweig (2:0).