The 2. Bundesliga is back after the winter break. Here is everything you need to know about the return of the second division.
Friday 14th January - all kick-offs 18:30 local
FC Hansa Rostock vs Hannover 96
Hansa Rostock's final match before the break was a difficult away trip to Karlsruhe. They managed to draw the game, however not convincingly. Pascal Breier netted a scrappy goal from a corner to give Rostock the lead after seven minutes. The lead didn't last for long, and before 30 minutes had passed, Hansa were trailing 2-1. Daniel Gordon's 12th minute header from a dangerous free-kick started the comeback, which was later completed by Philipp Hofmann's fantastic left-footed finish from a difficult position on 26 minutes. Breier secured a valuable Hansa Rostock point with a goal that symbolized Rostock. The football was thrown long and acted as a pinball in the penalty area, before falling cleanly for a strike, which was parried by Karlsruhe keeper Gersbeck, and the ball presented itself perfectly to Pascal Breier, who couldn't miss. Rostock picked up their 20th point of the season - only 3 points adrift of the relegation-playoff position.
Their opponents, Hannover 96, are riding through a tough season. They fired Jan Zimmermann after only five months, and the Lower Saxony club are still without a head coach. The interim coach, Christoph Dabrowski, has done a decent job. He won his opening two matches (1:0 HSV and 1-2 FCI), but lost his most recent one against Werder Bremen 1-4. Bremen, under new management, were exceptional. Romano Schmid opened the scoring for the away team after 22 minutes. Sebastian Kerk's leveller on 34 minutes was quite exceptional. The free-kick - which was closer to the halfway line than the penalty area - was curled to perfection by Kerk and a worthy goal-of-the-season contender, Jiri Pavlenka couldn't prevent it. Unfortunately for Hannover, they crumbled in the second half. Bremen had 9 shots, 3 on target and 3 goals in the second half, not many teams in the division could keep up with that.
In the head-to-head, Hannover has the advantage with 5 wins and 2 draws in 10 matches. Hansa Rostock did win the reverse game 3-0, though. Only one position separates the two teams in the table; Hansa Rostock are 14th with 20 points, Hannover 15th with 20 points. Hansa have a +3 better goal difference.
FC Hansa Rostock: Kolke - Neidhart, Meißner, Roßbach, Rizzuto - Fröde, Rhein - Mamba, Duljevic, K. Schumacher - Verhoek
Hannover 96: Zieler - Muroya, M. Franke, Börner, Hult - Ondoua, Diemers - Maina, Kerk, Teuchert - Beier
SG Dynamo Dresden vs Hamburger SV
The other Friday match is a spicy affair.
SG Dynamo Dresden needed a break: they had lost the final match before the 'Winterpause'. Not just to a mid-table side, or a promotion team. They were defeated 3-0 to Ingolstadt 04. The worst team in the 2. Bundesliga by some way. That is just not acceptable. It wasn't even close! Ingolstadt created 3.14 expected goals - I don't have to do any research: that is definitely the most single-game xG that Ingolstadt have created this season.
Hamburger SV participated in the final 'Topspiel der Woche' of 2021. They battled hard with promotion foe Schalke 04. Robert Glatzel must've thought his 2nd minute towering header from a corner won all the points for HSV, but Ko Itakura had different ideas. His flick from a low cross found its way past HSV keeper Fernandes and Schalke won a point from a losing position. Hamburger SV remained unbeaten at home, albeit 6 of the 10 matches have been draws.
You'd have to back HSV here. Although 15 of Dresden's 22 points have come at home this season, they were just so poor in Ingolstadt. They have had too many disappointing performances this season and they are quite inconsistent. You don't really know which Dynamo Dresden team will turn up, but HSV is almost the opposite to that. They are very consistent and will always be in the game. HSV comfortably win it on the head-to-head too, with 4 wins in 8 matches, 3 of those were draws. The reverse match ended in a draw at the Volfparkstadion - yes, a big surprise I know.
SG Dynamo Dresden: K. Broll - Akoto, Ehlers, Sollbauer, C. Löwe - Y. Stark - M. Schröter, Kade - Daferner - Königsdörffer, Borrello
Hamburger SV: Heuer Fernandes - Heyer, Vuskovic, Schonlau, Muheim - Meffert - Reis, Kittel - Wintzheimer, Glatzel, Alidou
Saturday 15th January - all kick-offs 13:30 local unless specified
SV Werder Bremen vs Fortuna Düsseldorf
We move to the Saturday matches now, starting with Werder Bremen taking on Fortuna Düsseldorf.
As previously mentioned, Werder's last match was a complete rout. There has been more of those with new coach Ole Werner. Since Werner was appointed, Bremen have won all three matches: 11 goals scored (average of 3.6 goals per game) and they have looked completely different. There hasn't just been one option scoring, either. Many players have contributed to the goal scoring in recent times. For the eleven goals in the last three matches, top scorer Marvin Ducksch has scored three. Other scorers include Romano Schmid (2), Marco Freidl (2) and many more. This Bremen team is finding more than just a few players to score, and I think that is what gives them the real dangerous quality. The only worry I have for them is the defense. They have conceded 3 goals in the 3 games, which isn't bad at all, but if they nail down on that, they are the best team in the division. Period.
Fortuna Düsseldorf may be the most inconsistent team in the division, they lost 1-0 to Sandhausen in their most recent match. Pascal Testroet scored for Sandhausen on 7 minutes, and Fortuna couldn't find an answer. They win enough games to be just about ahead of the relegation fight, but then lose the next two. That's the story of Düsseldorf's season. We cannot write them off against Werder Bremen, though. Many (including me) wrote them off when facing Darmstadt on matchday 16, they proved everyone wrong.
Werder wins the head-to-head record 4-2. They are heavy favorites to win, and I'm backing them to as well.
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka - Veljkovic, Toprak, Friedl - Agu, C. Groß, A. Jung - Bittencourt, Schmid - Füllkrug, Ducksch
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Kastenmeier - M. Zimmermann, Klarer, Siebert, Koutris - Appelkamp, Ao Tanaka - Narey, Peterson - Piotrowski - Hennings
FC St. Pauli vs FC Erzgebirge Aue
The current top team St. Pauli should be gaining another three points in their race to promotion, but Aue is not as easy as people think.
A month break for St. Pauli is probably what they wanted after a 3-0 defeat to Kiel. It was the first wake-up call in many matches, and they were outclassed. Fin Bartels opened the scoring for the Kielers after 8 minutes, the goals just continued in the first half. Finn Porath's neat finish made it 2 after 30 minutes, Benedikt Pichler beat Vasilj in a one-on-one and made it 3 before half-time. St. Pauli couldn't believe it. They had no answers in the second half and Kiel looked like they were the team that was so close to promotion just last season. It wasn't to be for St. Pauli on that Friday night, but they are still one of the best teams in the division.
As for Aue, they have lost their last four 2. Bundesliga matches, only scoring 2 goals in the stretch. They opened 2022 with a 5-0 defeat to Dynamo Dresden, too. All hope is not lost for the Aue team. They are only 3 points behind the relegation-playoff position and 6 points behind 15th. They have to start winning matches.
The head-to-head is actually favorable to the away team! Aue have won 11 out of the 20 matches played between the two teams, St. Pauli have only won three. St. Pauli are top of the league, Aue 17th. You would and should predict a St. Pauli win here, but this is the 2. Bundesliga! Anything can happen.
FC St. Pauli: Vasilj - Ohlsson, Ziereis, Medic, Paqarada - Smith - Irvine, Hartel - Buchtmann - Matanovic, Burgstaller
FC Erzgebirge Aue: Männel - Barylla, Gonther, Carlson - Strauß, Messeguem, Fandrich, George - Kühn - Nazarov, Jonjic
That concludes the more in-depth look at the teams recently, a feature that will come out every week for the 2. Bundesliga preview. I will look at the first four matches in more detail. The second half of the preview will consist of statistics from the official 2. Bundesliga website.
1. FC Nürnberg vs SC Paderborn 07
The duel on the 2nd matchday
In the first leg, goals from Manuel Schäffler and Mats Möller Daehli turned the 1. club from 0-1 behind (Jannis Heuer had made it 1-0), but Sven Michel equalized 2-2 shortly before the end.
FCN won both home games against Paderborn 2-1.
In 2018 Lukas Kwasniok and Robert Klauß completed the coaching course together, Klauß was the best of his year with a grade of 1.0.
1. FC Nürnberg: Mathenia - Valentini, Schindler, Sörensen, Handwerker - Geis - Krauß, Tempelmann - Möller Daehli - Dovedan, Schäffler
SC Paderborn 07: Huth - Yalcin, Hünemeier, Correia, Justvan - Schallenberg - Srbeny, Ma. Schuster - Muslija - Platte, Michel
SV Darmstadt 98 vs Karlsruher SC - 20:30 local
Darmstadt received its highest defeat of the season (0: 3) in the first leg in the Wildpark, but to be fair it has to be mentioned that the Hessians started with an emergency team because of several quarantine cases. Of the D98 team, which won the last game in Regensburg in 2021, only four players were in the starting line-up on that 2nd match day in Karlsruhe.
Darmstadt's last home win against Karlsruhe was over 40 years ago and the current players weren't even born! On May 9, 1980, the Lilies won in the 2nd Bundesliga under coach Werner Olk 3-0 against KSC, the goal scorers were Walter Bechtold, Jürgen Kalb and Peter Cestonaro. Since then, Karlsruhe has visited Böllenfalltor ten times, there have been four draws and six away wins!
In the last six competitive home games against Karlsruhe, Darmstadt only scored one goal.
SV Darmstadt 98: Schuhen - Bader, P. Pfeiffer, Isherwood, Holland - Kempe, Gjasula, Skarke, Marvin Mehlem - P. Tietz, L. Pfeiffer
Karlsruher SC: Gersbeck - van Rhijn, O'Shaughnessy, Kobald, Heise - Wanitzek, Gondorf, Sihlaroglu - Thiede, P. Hofmann, Schleusener
Sunday 16th January - all kick-offs 13:30 local
FC Schalke 04 vs Holstein Kiel
In the first duel between both teams in professional football, Simon Terodde scored twice early (2nd and 21st minute), Marius Bülter set the end point.
Before that, there were three competitive matches in bygone times: Schalke prevailed against the storks in the DFB Cup in 1962 (4: 3 in Kiel) and 1941 (6: 0 at home), which in turn won the quarter-finals at the Holstein Stadium Schalke in 1943 defeated the German championship 4-1.
FC Schalke 04: Fraisl - Thiaw, Itakura, Sané - Palsson - Vindheim, Ouwejan - Zalazar, Idrizi - Bülter, Terodde
Holstein Kiel: Dähne - Carrera, Wahl, Thesker - Korb, Mühling, Porath, Sterner - Skrzybski - Bartels, Pichler
1. FC Heidenheim vs FC Ingolstadt 04
n the first leg, Ingolstadt was 1-0 up with a goal from Filip Bilbija, then came a completely crazy minute and a half: In the 73rd minute, Patrick Schmidt equalized 1:1 in the FCH jersey, in return Rico Preißinger failed on the crossbar and seconds later it was 1:2 because Tim Kleindienst scored from 45 meters!
Heidenheim lost all of the first six competitive games against FCI, but scored seven points in the last three duels against Ingolstadt and recently won two times in a row.
1. FC Heidenheim: Ke. Müller - Busch, P. Mainka, Hüsing, Theuerkauf - Schöppner, Burnic - Leipertz, Malone, Thomalla - Kleindienst
FC Ingolstadt 04: Stojanovic - Heinloth, Röseler, Antonitsch, D. Franke - Sarpei, Linsmayer - Pick, Gaus - Kutschke, Eckert Ayensa
SV Sandhausen vs SSV Jahn Regensburg
The balance between the two teams is exactly balanced after 21 competitive matches (eleven of them in the 2nd Bundesliga): There were seven sand houses wins, Regensburg won seven times and the points were shared seven times.
Most recently, however, Jahn was ahead of the game, losing only one of the last eight games against SVS (four Regensburg wins) and clearly prevailing 3-0 in the first leg of the current season. All 3 goal scorers celebrated their first goal in the 2nd Bundesliga (Carlo Boukhalfa, Joel Zwarts, Scott Kennedy), Sandhausen was only ten in the end (yellow-red Oumar Diakhite in the 75th minute).
SV Sandhausen: Drewes - Diekmeier, Dumic, Zhirov, Okoroji - Zenga, Ritzmaier, Seufert - Ajdini, Soukou - Testroet
SSV Jahn Regensburg: A. Meyer - Saller, Elvedi, S. Breitkreuz, Wekesser - Gimber, Besuschkow - Yildirim, Caliskaner, Singh - Albers
Expected line-ups courtesy of Kicker