Matchday 18 round-up: Ko Itakura rescues Schalke draw against promotion rivals Hamburg
Hamburg and Schalke go into the winter break level on points, but outside the automatic promotion places, after Manchester City loanee Ko Itakura scored late to cancel out an early Robert Glatzel goal at the Volksparkstadion.
Hamburg 1-1 Schalke
Goals: 1-0 Glatzel 2' (assist: Kittel), 1-1 Itakura 87' (assist: Bülter)
Hamburg could not have wished for a better start as Glatzel built on his two-goal heroics against Hansa Rostock by heading in Sonny Kittel's second-minute corner. Thomas Ouwejan fired off a warning shot for Schalke, before Glatzel was denied his second of the contest by Martin Fraisl. Ludovit Reis wasn't far away with a shot from distance, while Marko Johansson had to be on his toes to tip away Rodrigo Zalazar's 20-yard strike. After Reinhold Ranftl screwed off target from 12 yards at one end, Faride Alidou went closer still at the other, whipping a low effort narrowly wide of the upright.
Darko Churlinov spurned a glorious opening to level matters after the restart, the Schalke youngster shooting wide from 10 yards in a one-on-one with Johansson. The chances continued to flow as Fraisl denied Bakery Jatta from close range, before Churlinov's shot on the turn was blocked. Kittel fired against the woodwork with HSV's sixth effort on goal to Schalke's 22, with the visitors' persistency paying off with three minutes left on the clock. Substitute Marius Bülter turned his man inside-out and crossed for Itakura to rescue Schalke a deserved share of the spoils.
- Itakura scored his second Bundesliga 2 goal.
- Schalke's strike was their 13th in the final 15 minutes of their matches this season. HSV conceded for just the second time in that period this term.
- Glatzel is Hamburg's nine-goal top scorer this season, while Sonny Kittel has provided the most assists with eight.
- The last time HSV allowed an opposing team as many shots on their goal in a single game was in March 2016, in a 3-2 defeat away to Schalke in the Bundesliga. That day the Royal Blues had 29 attempts to HSV's eight.
- The Royal Blues edge their head-to-head record with the Red Shorts having won 42 of their meetings to Hamburg's 40. There have also been 25 draws.
- HSV are still unbeaten at home this season (W4, D6).
Hamburg: Johansson - Heyer, Vuskovic, Schonlau (c), Gyamerah (Wintzheimer 89') - Reis (Kinsombi 62'), Meffert, Kittel - Jatta, Glatzel (Kaufmann 89'), Alidou (Muheim 74')
Unused subs: Oppermann, David, Doyle, Suhonen, Meißner
Out: Ambrosius (knee), Heuer Fernandes (ankle), Leibold (knee), Mickel (shoulder), Muheim (groin), Vagnoman (thigh)
Coach: Tim Walter
Schalke: Fraisl - Thiaw, Itakura, Kaminski - Palsson (c) - Ranftl (Aydin 60'), Zalazar, Idrizi (Sane 85'), Ouwejan - Pieringer (Bülter 60'), Churlinov
Unused subs: Wienand, Matriciani, Flick, Rzatkowski, Mikhailov, Dadashov
Out: Langer (knee), Latza (knee), Terodde (calf)
Coach: Dimitrios Grammozis
Matchday 18 round-up
Holstein Kiel 3-0 St. Pauli
Goals: 1-0 Bartels (8'), 2-0 Porath (29'), 3-0 Pichler (45')
Holstein Kiel put some daylight between themselves and the relegation zone with a stunning win against leaders St. Pauli, the hosts scoring three times without reply before the break. Timo Schultz’s men - who remain top despite this setback - started brightly, but remained largely frustrated against a resolute Kiel formation that threatened often on the counter attack. Marcel Rapp’s team hit the front after just eight minutes when Fin Bartels applied the finish after goalkeeper Nikola Vasilj could only parry a Lewis Holtby shot. Finn Porath made it 2-0 from close range later in the half, before Benedikt Pichler rounded Vasilj and slotted home a third for a jubilant Kiel.
Erzgebirge Aue 1-3 Nuremberg
Goals: 0-1 Dovedan (2'), 1-1 Hochscheidt (8'), 1-2 Dovedan (22'), 1-3 Dovedan (81')
Nuremberg responded to a heavy loss at Schalke last weekend to get their promotion hunt back on track with a straightforward win at second-from-bottom Erzgebirge Aue. Hat-trick hero Nikola Dovedan signalled a frantic opening to the game in the very first minute when the midfielder slotted home following a corner. Jan Hochscheidt skilfully steered Nicolas Kühn’s ball into the box past goalkeeper Christian Mathenia to bring parity, but Nuremberg were in front again when Dovedan connected with Erik Shuranov’s centre from the right. And it was the same combination that resulted in the visitors’ third of the game, substitute Shuranov again finding Dovedan who made no mistake when firing into the corner to complete his treble.
Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-1 Sandhausen
Goal: 0-1 Testroet (7')
Sandhausen claimed a big three points at Fortuna Düsseldorf's Merkur Spiel-Arena, with the relegation battlers enjoying a timely lift ahead of the winter break thanks to Pascal Testroet’s sixth goal of the campaign. The forward’s shot on the spin in the seventh minute preceded a solid defensive display from the visitors. Fortuna - who have now lost three of their last five Bundesliga 2 games - went close through a Christoph Klarer header and would later have a penalty decision in their favour overturned, leaving the Flingeraner with a costly defeat that draws them ever closer to the drop zone.
Ingolstadt 3-0 Dynamo Dresden
Goals: 1-0 Antonitsch (1'), 2-0 Ehlers (o.g. 17'), 3-0 Bilbija (85')
Ingolstadt beat Dynamo Dresden to give Rüdiger Rehm his first win as head coach. Dresden were behind in the opening minute when a free kick from the left missed everybody except defender Nico Antonitsch, who happily prodded in his side’s opener. Dresden had won their previous two games before their trip to Bavaria, making it all the more surprising that Alexander Schmidt’s team should fall further behind to a Kevin Ehlers own goal shortly after the quarter-hour mark. Ingolstadt’s joy was complete late on when substitute Filip Bilbija netted to offer Bundesliga 2's bottom side some much-needed Christmas cheer.
Paderborn 1-2 Heidenheim
Goals: 0-1 Mainka (64'), 1-1 Carls (65'), 1-2 Kleindienst (81')
A tense opening half of few chances between two teams with designs on the promotion places gave way to a more open encounter after the restart, when Heidenheim eventually emerged with a first-ever win against opponents Paderborn. Frank Schmidt’s team settled quickest after the restart and, following a flurry of chances, eventually hit the front with Patrick Mainka taking advantage of some defensive uncertainty in the Paderborn ranks. The hosts were allowed to respond immediately when Heidenheim’s failure to successfully clear their lines saw Jonas Carls take full advantage. The balance tipping FCH’s way before the end, there was little surprise when Tim Kleindienst fired home the winner with nine minutes to spare.
Hannover 1-4 Werder Bremen
Goals: 0-1 Schmid (22’), 1-1 Kerk (34’), 1-2 Ducksch (51’), 1-3 Jung (72), 1-4 Friedl (84’)
Werder Bremen climbed up to seventh in the Bundesliga 2 standings after a dominant showing in Hanover on Sunday in a third straight win under new coach Ole Werner. Romano Schmid opened the scoring in the first half, but the hosts replied a short while later through Sebastian Kerk with what would be their only significant effort of the game. But the visitors turned on the style after the interval and struck three times through Marvin Ducksch, Anthony Jung and Marco Friedl to move on to 29 points, just one behind third-placed Hamburg.
Watch: Highlights of Bremen's win in Hanover
Regensburg 0-2 Darmstadt
Goals: 0-1 Karic (70’), 0-2 Kempe (90’+3)
Darmstadt moved to within one point of league leaders St. Pauli on Sunday with an impressive win away to fellow promotion hopefuls Regensburg. Just four points separated the teams at kick-off, and although it was the visitors who dominated, the sides went in on level terms at the break as Darmstadt struggled to convert a number of presentable openings. That all changed in the second half when Emir Karic broke the deadlock on 70 minutes, with Tobias Kempe sealing the points with a stoppage-time strike.
Karlsruhe 2-2 Hansa Rostock
Goals: 0-1 Breier (7’), 1-1 Gordon (13’), 2-1 Hofmann (26’), 2-2 Breier (82’)
Karlsruhe were left kicking themselves after conceding a late goal against Hansa Rostock, dropping two potentially crucial points in what is shaping up to be the tightest promotion battle in years. The visitors took the lead early on through Pascal Breier, but his effort was soon cancelled out by Daniel Gordon’s header, before Philipp Hofmann fired Karlsruhe in front shortly afterwards. However, Breier pounced again in the closing stages to rescue a point for Hansa in their bid to avoid the drop.
Top 5 goalkeepers in 2022/23
Frederik Ronnow wasn't just Union's undisputed No.1 - but who else were the league's best-performing custodians?
Top 5 tacklers in 2022/23
Jude Bellingham won more challenges than any other Bundesliga player, but who else made the grade?
Kimmich and Musiala among Bayern title winners in Germany squad
First games since the end of the campaign will see Hansi Flick's side take on Ukraine, Poland and Colombia.