It's time to check in with one of Germany's most closely contested leagues.
With a few postponements last matchday, we’re hoping that all teams get to showcase their stuff this weekend. As we look ahead to all the matches in the 3. Liga and fans being able to attend in person, there are plenty of interesting ties. From first vs bottom to relegation scraps as well as a München derby, it’s set to be another intriguing week of action in Germany’s third tier. Here is your 3. Liga matchday 22 preview.
Borussia Dortmund II vs Freiburg II (Friday)
It’s the battle of the II’s to kickstart our 3. Liga this weekend! Both are having fairly reasonable debuts in the third division and that especially goes for the home side. In 7th and just 3 points off 2nd, Dortmund II still have a lot to play for. Though I do often point out that some in this Dortmund II team do have first league experience I’ll leave that discussion for another time. The hosts will be met by a resilient Freiburg II who pushed first place Magdeburg all the way last weekend but ultimately lost 2:3. This should be an entertaining game and could go either way. So guess what I’m going to predict?
(Prediction: Dortmund II 2:2 Frieburg II)
Eintracht Braunschweig vs Hallescher FC (Saturday)
3rd place Braunschweig are just shy of the top two by a few goals. With a game in hand, they’re in a terrific position to make second their own. This weekend they face a Hallescher team who are in need of a few wins themselves. Currently in 14th and just a point outside the relegation zone, they could easily find themselves in a race to avoid the drop. It’s at this point in a season where teams down the lower half of the table seem to pull off shock results. However, going to the Eintracht Stadion is also a tough job to navigate.
(Prediction: Braunschweig 3:1 Hallescher)
SV Wehen Wiesbaden vs VfL Osnabrück
Having lost last time out to 1860 from a 2:0 winning position, Wiesbaden are wandering about in 10th. Still only six points off 2nd, hope is not lost. However, they'll need to go on quite the run if they’re to push for promotion this campaign. One of the teams they will need to beat to achieve such a feat is Osnabrück. The Lila-Weiß beat 5th place Saarbrücken last Saturday to keep them within the chasing pack. Another three points won’t only keep them in the peloton but keep teams such as Wiesbaden at arm’s length. It’s a must-win for both teams and I do think there is going to be a victor.
(Predicition: Wiesbaden 1:2 Osnabrück)
Türkgücü München vs 1860 München
It’s the München derby as Türkgücü host Die Löwen! Both of these teams have had their season’s flipped on their head in recent weeks. Türkgücü have been in free-fall and are now in the relegation zone whilst their better-known neighbours have climbed into the top half and are now 4 points behind second. Türkgücü coach, Andreas Heraf, could get his first win in charge and what a win it would be for their fans and players. It’s going to be a tough ask to stop an 1860 side who are clearly on a mission.
(Prediction: Türkgücü 1:3 1860 München)
Würzburger Kickers vs Waldhof Mannheim
Having lost to fellow relegation candidates, Verl, last weekend, Würzburger are in danger of being cut adrift just like Havelse. Their task this weekend doesn’t get any easier as they host Mannheim who themselves will need to bounce back from defeat last time out. Pardon the pun but Würzburger need to get kicking and screaming if they’re to survive back-to-back relegations. It’s hard not to see anything but an away win here but it’s moments like this that can change a season.
(Prediction: Würzburger 0:2 Mannheim)
FC Kaiserslautern vs Viktoria Berlin
What can I say about Kaiserslautern that hasn’t already been said? They’re on such a high right now and currently sit second in the league. It’s crazy to think that after matchday 8 they were just above the relegation zone. Their turnaround in fortunes is remarkable. This weekend, they host Viktoria Berlin who sit 11th on 26 points. Berlin will be happy with how their season is going. I don't think they’ll challenge the top six but won’t go down. They travel to a KFC side who score plenty and don't concede many. Will the Kaiserslautern train keep rolling on? I think so…
(Prediction: Kaiserslautern 2:0 Viktoria Berlin)
Viktoria Köln vs SC Verl
This is a huge game down the bottom of the table. Both of these teams sit just outside the bottom four in 16th and 15th respectively. However, Köln does have a game in hand on their opponents. If they can get a win here, it puts them in a fantastic position to get clear of those below them. Likewise, Verl know this is a game they can't afford to lose. Köln have put in some great performances this season against some of the top sides in the division. When push comes to shove, they often get a result.
Prediction: Viktoria Köln 2:1 Verl)
SV Meppen vs FSV Zwickau (Sunday)
Meppen have had a great season so far although they’ve been on the wrong side of a few hidings including last weekend against FCK. Despite this, they’re still 4th in the league and are plotting a huge undergo story in their pursuit for promotion. They welcome Zwickau who have drawn 11 on their 20 league games this season. If only they could turn a few of those draws into wins and they’d be up where Meppen are. I expect a close game here with only a few goals. When Zwickau are in town it’s often a good bet to stay on the fence.
(Prediction: Meppen 1:1 Zwickau)
MSV Duisburg vs FC Saarbrücken
Duisburg are coming off the back of an important victory away to Havelse. It wasn’t a vintage win by any means but a win nonetheless. Another victory here could catapult them out of the bottom four for the first time since the end of September. It’s not going to be straightforward, however. Saarbrücken are a much better team than Havelse and will be looking to bounce back having lost to Osnabrück last weekend. Duisburg’s home record is going to be key if they’re to avoid the drop. They might just be able to keep Saarbrücken at bay here if Hagen Schmidt’s tactics are spot on.
(Prediction: Duisburg 1:1 Saarbrücken)
FC Magdeburg vs TSV Havelse
The final match also occurs on Sunday (hurray no Monday game!). This looks sets to be a complete mismatch with top hosting bottom and two clubs going in completely different directions. Havelse will be playing defensive no doubt and will try to hit Madgeburg on the counter. However, I think it’s fair to say that they’re in for a tough one this Sunday. I expect goals for the home team here.
(Prediction: Magdeburg 4:0 Havelse)
This concludes our preview to matchday 22 in the 3. Liga. The league is still as close as ever down both ends. The next few weeks will be crucial in how everyone’s season plays out. Stayed tuned for more 3. Liga content as one of Germany’s most competitive leagues draws to a close.