2. Bundesliga

St. Pauli deny Darmstadt promotion party


Darmstadt missed the chance to secure their place in next season's Bundesliga as they suffered a 3-0 defeat against St. Pauli, who are harboring promotion hopes of their own, at the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor.

Darmstadt 0-3 St. Pauli
Goals: 0-1 Dzwigala 45' (assist: Paqarada), 0-2 Saad 57' (assist: Daschner), 0-3 D. Otto 84' (assist: Daschner)

Hamburg's 2-2 draw with Paderborn on Friday meant a victory for Bundesliga 2 leaders Darmstadt would secure their promotion to the top flight and, throughout the first half, they were the more threatening of the two sides. However, Fabian Schnellhardt was the only Lilien player to test Nikola Vasilj between the St. Pauli sticks, forcing the goalkeeper into a low stop to his left in the eighth minute. Philipp Tietz, who leads Darmstadt's goalscoring charts with 10 goals this campaign, was lively, although his precision was a little off as he failed to hit the target with three efforts. The visitors, meanwhile, offered little in the way of goalmouth threat, yet they were in front at the interval. In the last 60 seconds of normal time in the first period, Adam Dzwigala headed Leart Paqarada's free-kick into the top corner, albeit via a deflection, to give the hosts plenty of work to do after the break.

That late first-half strike swung momentum in Die Kiezkicker's favour, and they almost doubled their lead within a minute of the restart, with Marcel Schuhen reacting brilliantly to deny Marcel Hartel's close-range header. Shortly before the hour mark, though, St. Pauli had their second through Elias Saad, who tapped home Lukas Daschner's pass across goal into an empty net after Schuhen had produced another fine stop to thwart Paqarada. Within an instant, and with a Saturday-night celebration slipping between their fingers, Darmstadt appeared to have halved the deficit via a well-taken Tietz shot, but substitute Mathias Honsak was clearly offside in the build-up. Torsten Lieberknecht's men had further chances to reduce the arrears, with Aaron Seydel twice failing to force Vasilj into action as the ball pinballed around the box, but they could not get the goal they needed to ensure a nervy climax for their guests. Instead, Pauli bagged a third, as David Otto finished a devastating counterattack. Although the result is bitterly disappointing for Darmstadt, they know a win at Hannover next week will still see them secure a top-two finish. St. Pauli, meanwhile, are just four points behind city rivals Hamburg in the play-off spot with three games remaining and, while it is not in their own hands, they can still dream of pipping HSV to the post.

Torsten Lieberknecht's Darmstadt remain just one win away from promotion to the Bundesliga. - IMAGO/Blatterspiel/IMAGO/Jan Huebner

Match stats

  • This was Darmstadt's first home league defeat of the 2022/23 season.
  • It was also only the second time they had conceded twice at their own ground this term, the first coming in a 2-2 draw against Heidenheim in August.
  • For the first time since February 2022, Darmstadt failed to score at home.
  • St. Pauli came away victorious from Darmstadt for the first time in their history, at the 12th attempt.
  • Paqarada has now notched up 10 assists this season - only Karlsruher's Marvin Wanitzek (12) and Jan-Niklas Beste of Heidenheim have managed more in the Bundesliga 2 this campaign.
  • St. Pauli have now won 12 of the 14 Bundesliga matches Fabian Hürzeler has presided over, keeping eight clean sheets in the process.


Darmstadt: Schuhen (c) - Pfeiffer, Zimmermann (Seydel 68'), Müller - Bader, Kempe, Schnellhardt (Honsak 46'), Mehlem, Karic - Manu (Stojilkovic 68'), Tietz
Unused subs: Brunst, Holland, Isherwood, Riedel, Bennetts, Gjasula
Out: Ronstadt (adductor)
Coach: Torsten Lieberknecht

Pauli: Vasilj - Dzwigala, Medic, Mets - Saliakas, Irvine (c), Hartel, Paqarada (Ritzka 78') - Afolayan (D. Otto 81'), Daschner (Beifus 90'+1), Saad (Metcalfe 81')
Unused subs: Ahlers, Fazliji, Zander, Boukhalfa, J. Eggestein
Out: Amenyido (adductor), Avevor (ankle), Matanovic (shoulder), Maurides (meniscus), Nemeth (pubic bone)
Coach: Fabian Hürzeler

Matchday 31 round-up

Fortuna Düsseldorf 3-0 Holstein Kiel
Goals: 1-0 Appelkamp (14‘), 2-0 Hoffmann (19‘), 3-0 Ginczek (24‘)

Fortuna Düsseldorf threw their hat back into the ring for promotion to the Bundesliga with a 24-minute first-half salvo seeing off Holstein Kiel. Shinta Appelkamp opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour and Andre Hoffmann struck a second just five minutes later. Daniel Ginczek made sure of the points five minutes later, taking Düsseldorf to within four points of the promotion play-off berth.

Karlsruhe 2-1 Hannover
Goals: 1-0 Kaufmann (4’), 2-0 Schleusener (12‘), 2-1 Schaub (43‘)

Karlsruhe secured their place in Bundesliga 2 for another season thanks to a 2-1 win over Hannover, who fell behind their guests in defeat. Mikkel Kaufmann opened the scoring after only four minutes and a second from Fabian Schleusener in the 12th minute put KSC in command. Louis Schaub pulled one back just before half-time, but a resolute rearguard action ensured Karlsruhe held on to the points, and a guaranteed place in Bundesliga 2 next term.

Hansa Rostock 2-0 Jahn Regensburg
Goals: 1-0 Pröger (34‘), 2-0 Verhoek (79‘)

Hansa Rostock left Regensburg in serious danger with a 2-0 win in a relegation six-pointer in northern Germany. Kai Pröger gave the hosts a deserved lead in the 34th minute, and their continued efforts were rewarded with a second from John Verhoek ten minutes from time. Regensburg struggled to match the desire of their hosts and head into the final three games of the season stuck inside the bottom two, six points behind their hosts and safety.

Hamburg 2-2 Paderborn
Goals: 1-0 Glatzel (39’), 1-1 Justvan (43‘), 2-1 Kittel (49‘), 2-2 Muslija (73‘)

Hamburg’s promotion hopes suffered a setback as Paderborn pegged them back twice to keep their own promotion dream alive at the Volksparkstadion. Needing a win to narrow the gap on second-placed Heidenheim to just a point, Hamburg took the lead through Robert Glatzel, who stuck out a boot at the far post to convert his 18th goal of the season. Julian Justvan levelled within five minutes, though, as both sides went in at the break level. Sonny Kittel restored Hamburg’s lead early in the second half, accepting a gift from Paderborn goalkeeper Huth and tucking the ball into an open goal. HSV wasted chances to double their lead and paid the price when Paderborn levelled with a penalty. Florent Muslija faced the intimidation whistles of over 55,000 fans, but kept his cool to convert for what could prove to be a decisive goal in the battle for promotion.

Watch: Hamburg 2-2 Paderborn - highlights

Arminia Bielefeld 1-1 Greuther Fürth
Goals: 1-0 Lasme (17’), 1-1 Hrgota (26’)

Arminia Bielefeld held on for a crucial point in their battle to avoid the drop against a Greuther Fürth side, whose own relegation fears are practically over. Bryan Lasme gave the hosts the lead against the run of play in the 17th minute, finishing off a swift counter-attack which relieved the early Fürth pressure in the best way possible. The home fans’ joy did not last even 10 minutes, however, before Branimir Hrgota brought the Bavarians level from the penalty spot. His first attempt was saved, but too many Bielefeld players had encroached, meaning he got a second opportunity, which he tucked into the bottom right-hand corner. Robin Hack came closest to snatching victory for Bielefeld in the second half, but his effort struck the left-hand upright as both sides had to settle for a point.

Heidenheim 0-0 Magdeburg

Heidenheim missed the opportunity to put six points between themselves and third-placed Hamburg after being held at home to a goalless draw by Magdeburg. The hosts had numerous chances to take the lead in a frenetic second half, but Magdeburg also went close through Ito and Atik, making the final result a fair reflection.

Nuremberg 3-3 Kaiserslautern
Goals: 1-0 Daehli (4’), 2-0 Castrop (35‘), 2-1 Boyd (40‘), 3-1 Duah (50’), 3-2 Niehues (88’), 3-3 Klement (90’)

Kaiserslautern came from two goals down to salvage a draw at Nuremberg with the last kick of the game, Philipp Klement converting a direct free-kick to deny the Bavarians what would have been a significant win. Mats Moller Daehli and Jens Castrop put Nuremberg into the driving seat, but Terrence Boyd pulled one back for the Red Devils just before the break. Kwadwo Duah restored Nuremberg’s two-goal lead early in the second half, but two goals in the final two minutes – first through Julian Niehues and then Klement – stunned the Max-Morlock-Stadion faithful.

Eintracht Braunschweig 2-1 Sandhaussen
Goals: 1-0 Decarli (82‘), 1-1 Zhirov (88‘), 2-1 Donkor (89‘)

Eintracht Braunschweig left Sandhausen rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga, and boosted their own survival hopes, with a 2-1 win at the Eintracht Stadion. All the drama was reserved for the final 10 minutes with Saulo Decarli putting the hosts in front in the 82nd minute. Aleksandr Zhirov gave the guests a glimmer of hope with just two minutes left, but their joy lasted less than 60 seconds before Anton Donkor grabbed a winner to take Braunschweig five points clear of the relegation play-off berth.