The official fixture list now released for the 2022/23 campaign, teams across Bundesliga 2 are all set to begin their preparations in earnest for what is certain to be one more nail-biting campaign in Germany's second tier.
Hamburg came oh so close to returning to the top flight last time out, Tim Walter's men losing to Hertha Berlin in a promotion/relegation play-off in May. The Red Shorts will thus be keen to finish a spot higher than the third place they managed in 2021/22, and they will start their challenge this season with a visit to newly promoted Eintracht Braunschweig.
The Dinos' continued presence in the second tier means we will be treated to at least two more Hamburger Stadtderbies, with city rivals St. Pauli also missing out on promotion last season. Despite topping the standings for large parts of the campaign, the Kiezkicker eventually finished fifth, meaning Guido Burgstaller & Co. will be hungry to kickstart one more shot at the big time with a win when they host Nuremberg on opening day this season.
For Derby watchers, Pauli's first meeting with HSV is scheduled for the Millerntor-Stadion on Matchday 12, which falls on the weekend of 14-16 October. Hamburg will host the return at the Volksparkstadion on Matchday 29, which is set for 21-23 April.
Elsewhere, Bundesliga 2 returnees Arminia Bielefeld get their campaign underway under recently appointed coach Ulrich Forte, who will oversee a trip to Sandhausen. Bielefeld were Bundesliga 2 champions back in 2020 and a repeat of that feat would be more than welcome for Die Blauen, who dropped out of the top-flight following a 17th-place finish last season.
Bielefeld finished 10 points above Bundesliga basement side Greuther Fürth in 2021/22, but with Swiss tactician Marc Schneider now at the helm of the Cloverleaves, better days surely lie ahead. That said, a tricky opener against Holstein Kiel will provide a solid test for Fürth as they retake their place in Bundesliga 2.
There will be plenty of interest too to see how last season's third division runaway winners FC Magdeburg will fare a division higher. Christian Titz and his swashbuckling side from Saxony-Anhalt ended up winning the 3.Liga championship by an incredible 14 points from next best Braunschweig. The only side from the former East Germany ever to win a European title are at home to Fortuna Düsseldorf on the first day of the new season.
There will be celebratory scenes too at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion, where two-time Bundesliga champions Kaiserslautern will step back in from the wilderness after four years in the third division to host Hannover on Matchday 1. "The whole region was longing for this," Red Devils' coach Dirk Schuster said of his side's promotion following a play-off win against Dynamo Dresden.
Opening day fixture list in full:
Greuther Fürth - Holstein Kiel
St. Pauli - Nuremberg
Paderborn - Karlsruher
Hansa Rostock - Heidenheim
Sandhausen - Arminia Bielefeld
Jahn Regensburg - Darmstadt
Magdeburg - Fortuna Düsseldorf
Eintracht Braunschweig - Hamburg
Kaiserslautern - Hannover
Ricardo Pepi primed for breakout season
If the trajectory of his compatriots in the Bundesliga is anything to go by, the USMNT forward could be set for a watershed 2022/23 campaign.
Official Bundesliga transfer centre: Summer 2022
All the official ins and outs at your favourite Bundesliga club...
Official Bundesliga 2 transfer centre: Summer 2022
Every move in Germany's second division during the summer window...