It's a new year and Rückrunde in Germany's third division.
The Dritte Liga is back! After a well-earned rest, the teams are ready to battle it out once again and there’s plenty still up for grabs. To kickstart the new year, we have clashes at both ends of the table in including the bottom four all playing each other! The next few weeks will provide vital for every club as the ‘business end’ of the season draws near. Some teams have already been busy in the transfer window, buying and selling new players as well as changing coaches! There is always plenty to talk about when it comes to the 3. Liga. Here is your preview for matchday 21 in Germany’s third tier.
TSV Havelse vs MSV Duisburg (Friday)
2022 in the 3. Liga kicks off in Hannover as rock bottom Havelse take on fellow relegation candidates, Duisburg. Havelse have a mountain to climb and would require an incredible turnaround in fortune if they’re to survive this season. Currently on 13 points and 9 from safety, the forecast is bleak for the boys in red. They welcome 18th place Duisburg who themselves are 4 from safety but with a game in hand. Havelse have the worst defensive record in the league by some distance. They’ll play for a draw here but Duisburg should just have enough to seal all three points in a game that is crucial to both clubs.
(Predicition: Havelse 1:2 Duisburg)
Hallescher FC vs Türkgücü München (Saturday)
This is yet another massive game down the bottom of the table. Both clubs finished 2021 in terrible fashion and sit precariously just above the bottom four. This will also be the first game in charge for both sides new trainers. Halle appointed André Meyer at the turn of the year while Türkgücü hired Andreas Heraf. It goes without saying that each manager will want to get off to a positive start and a victory against a table rival would certainly do that. Though Halle are down the bottom, they are a tough side to break down, especially at home. Both sides will be scared of losing this one and for that reason, I think this may end all square.
(Prediction: Halle 1:1 Türkgücü)
FC Kaiserslautern vs SV Meppen
Looking at the standings, this should be a thrilling encounter with both teams sharing aspirations of achieving promotion. Kaiserslautern in 6th are just 3 points of Meppen in 3rd. With a far superior goal difference, the Red Devils could leapfrog their visitors with a win here. Also, with the best defence in the league, you’d think Meppen would have no chance of winning! But if there’s one thing we shouldn’t do this season, it’s write-off Meppen. They’ve pulled off quite a few results this year and deserve their place in the league. This should be an entertaining one for both sets of fans and neutrals.
(Predicition: Kaiserslautern 3:1 Meppen)
SC Freiburg II vs FC Magdeburg
Freiburg II have surprised many this season. Like myself, many fans of the 3. Liga would have expected them to be fighting for survival. Instead, they are in a respectful 12th position. Granted, they’re not out of the woods just yet but if they can emulate their 2021 form, they have nothing to worry about. Freiburg welcome top of the table Magdeburg who are currently 8 points ahead of the chasing pack. It’s hard to look anywhere else in terms of who is going to finish 1st this season. If Magdeburg hit the form of last year, they’ll be playing 2. Bundesliga football next term. This is a tough start for Freiburg II and I can only see one outcome.
(Prediction: Freiburg II 0:2 Magdeburg)
VfL Osnabrück vs FC Saarbrücken
This is a huge opportunity for the home side. With a game in hand on everyone above them, Osnabrück could put themselves in a commanding position with a victory here. Saarbrücken are in 5th and just 5 points ahead of their hosts. Having not started particularly well at the beginning of the season, Osnabrück could just sneak into a top-three place if they were to go on a run. However, standing in their way is a well-drilled Saarbrücken who have promotion dreams of their own. Saarbrücken are only two points away from 2nd and will feel this could be their year. This might just be this weekend’s top spiel!
(Prediction: Osnabrück 1:2 Saarbrücken)
1860 München vs SV Wehen Wiesbaden
This is a midtable clash with München in 10th and their visitors a point above them in 8th. Both teams are at a crossroads this season. With both having pretty underwhelming starts, this could be the match that reignites their campaign. 1860 appear to have overcome their internal issues with Mölders moving to Regionalliga South West side, SG Sonnenhof Großaspach. Meanwhile, Wiesbaden appointed a new coach not so long ago. A win for either team in this one could catapult them back in contention with the top 6.
(Prediction: 1860 München 2:1 Wiesbaden)
SC Verl vs Würzburger Kickers (Sunday)
It's another bottom four clash! It's rare that those in the relegation zone all meet on the same matchday. The situation could look a lot different come the end of the weekend. Verl are just two points from safety with the Kickers four points adrift. Both are leaking goals and not scoring many down the other end. Similar to Havelse vs Duisburg, neither team will want to concede early or lose this vital match. However, I do think they’ll be a winner in this one.
(Prediction: Verl 3:2 Würzburger)
Viktoria Berlin vs Eintracht Braunschweig
Berlin are having a fantastic season so far. Though they slipped down to 11th towards the end of 2021, they’ve adapted well to life in the 3. Liga. They welcome second-place Braunschweig who will be hoping to get some space between themselves and the four or five teams close behind. They won’t have it all their own way in the capital and I expect this to be a closely contested match. It’s also worth remembering that the opposite fixture saw Berlin 4:0 in Braunschweig a few months ago!
(Prediction: Berlin 2:1 Braunschweig)
Waldhof Mannheim vs Borussia Dortmund II (Monday)
The final game of matchday 21 ends with 4th vs 7th. Mannheim have spent most of the season in and around the top three and I expect them to stay there. Dortmund are having a great first season in the third division. Although it’s worth noting that they do have some youngsters in their ranks who have a little bit of first-team / Bundesliga experience. From 2nd to 8th there is only six points that separate them. I expect a tight game here but I believe there will be a victor.
(Predicition: Mannheim 2:0 Dortmund II)
*Zwickau vs Viktoria Köln has been postponed due to a covid outbreak in the Zwickau camp
Doesn’t it feel good to be back? It’s been a closely fought contest so far this season in one of Germany’s most competitive leagues and I don’t see it stopping now. Both promotion and relegation could be decided on the last day of the season if it stays this tight. We at Bundesliga News will be with you every step of the way providing you with all the latest ongoings as they happen. All the best to you and your teams this weekend!