Schalke will be playing in the Bundesliga next season after the Royal Blues produced a come-from-behind win to down fellow promotion chasers St. Pauli, a Simon Terodde double and a further strike from Rodrigo Zalazar sending Die Knappen up, while Werder Bremen closed to within a point of joining them in making an immediate return to the top flight.
Schalke 3-2 St. Pauli
Goals: 0-1 Matanovic 9' (assist: Irvine), 0-2 Matanovic 17' (assist: Irvine), 1-2 Terodde (pen. 47'), 2-2 Terodde 71' (assist: Churlinov), 3-2 Zalazar 78' (assist: Bülter)
Red cards: Beifus 81', Matanović 90'+5
Knowing victory would take them back the Bundesliga at the first time of asking, Schalke entered a pulsating Veltins-Arena atmosphere looking to seal the deal against a Pauli side without a win in five games. Indeed, it looked like that party might get started right from the get-go when striker Terodde burst through on goals. With just Dennis Smarsch to beat, the division's top goalscorer sent his strike straight at the goalkeeper and Pauli survived their first scare. Soon afterwards, Marius Bülter menaced for the hosts who continued to draw energy from a capacity home crowd. Prior to their penultimate game of the season, visiting coach Timo Schultz called on his players to give their promotion hopes a shot in the arm. Against the run of play, the away side responded, with Matanovic spinning and driving a finish into the corner. Terodde looked to make amends for his earlier miss but couldn't quite make clean contact in front of goal. It would prove costly for the hosts who fell further behind when Matanovic twisted and turned his way loose before netting his second. At the other end, Terodde and then Danny Latza spurned chances to reduce the arrears in a pulsating first half.
The action spilling over into the second half, the Royal Blues were presented with the perfect opportunity to pull one back when Jakov Medić fouled Terodde inside the Pauli box. When the Schalke No.9 stroked home his 28th goal of the season from the spot, it was game on. Again the home side came, and they were level in just under 20 minutes to go when Terodde was presented with an easy chance to finish following substitute Darko Churlinov's headed assist. By this stage, Die Knappen's fans were bouncing but there was still work to be done by their heroes out on the pitch. Goalkeeper Martin Fraisl was forced into a save when Marcel Beifus thundered a shot goalwards as Pauli rallied. Yet as the clock ticked down, and momentum on the side of interim coach Mike Büskens's charges, it appeared there would be only one outcome to this game. Sure enough, when the visitors gave up possession in midfield and the ball was swept left to Rodrigo Zalazar, the midfielder belted a shot in off the upright to send the stadium into pandemonium. As Pauli's challenge faltered, Beifus and Igor Matanović were shown red and Schalke's celebrations on heading back to the promised land could begin in earnest.
- Terodde scored his 29th goal of the season; equalling his personal record in a single campaign, which he last achieved in 2018/19 for Cologne.
- Zalazar scored his fifth goal of the season, and also scored in the corresponding fixture against his former club.
- On three of the last four occasions Schalke were relegated from the Bundesliga, they bounced back the following season.
- Matanovic scored his first and second goals of the season.
- Pauli scored more than one goal in a game for the first time since the beginning of March (or matchday 25).
- By the 17th minute, St. Pauli had managed two shots on goal, both from Matanovic, and both leading to goals.
- Pauli have scored 13 goals inside the opening quarter-hour of games this season, leading the league with Hamburg in that feat.
Schalke: Fraisl - Vindheim (Aydin 55'), Flick, Kaminski, Ouwejan - Latza (Palsson 79'), Itakura - Drexler (Zalazar 67'), Bülter, Churlinov (Idrizi 79') - Terodde
Unused subs: Fährmann, Calhanoglu, Matriciani, Pieringer, Thiaw
Out: Langer (knee), Lee (ankle)
Coach: Mike Büskens
Pauli: Smarsch - Zander, Medic, Beifus, Paqarada (c) (Makienok 80') - Irvine, Aremu (Ritzka 58'), Hartel - Benatelli (Daschner 79') - Kyereh, Matanovic
Unused subs: Vasilj, Ahlers, Lawrence, Amenyido, Jessen, Roggow
Out: Avevor (ankle), Burgstaller (muscular), Ohlsson (knee), Smith (calf), Wieckhoff (knee), Ziereis (unavailable)
Coach: Timo Schultz
Matchday 33 round-up
Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-1 Darmstadt
Goals: 1-0 Iyoha (3'), 2-0 Zimmermann (10'), 2-1 Kempe (60')
Red cards: Ginczek (87'), Gjasula (88')
Darmstadt went into Friday night's double header that got the penultimate matchday of the season underway sitting second in the table and victory would have moved them to within touching distance of promotion. But they instead fell to a 2-1 loss at Fortuna that suddenly leaves their chances of playing top-flight football next term hanging by the balance. Goals from Emmanuel Iyoha and Matthias Zimmermann gave Düsseldorf a 2-0 lead after just 10 minutes and, although Tobias Kempe pulled one back with half an hour to play, there was no way back for the visitors. Daniel Ginczek and Klaus Gjasula saw red cards late on, meaning the latter will miss Darmstadt's final day fixture with Paderborn.
Paderborn 2-0 Sandhausen
Goals: 1-0 Muslija (27'), 2-0 Klement (60')
Paderborn were also in action on Friday, collecting a comfortable victory over a Sandhausen side that were already safe for another season. Florent Muslija and Philipp Klement were the men with the first- and second-half goals, respectively, to move Paderborn into sixth as they look to finish as high as possible and give them something to build-upon next season. As for Sandhausen - who sit just one place above the promotion/relegation playoff place - they could still finish as high as 11th if they can clinch victory on the final day of the campaign and a number of results go their way elsewhere.
Hamburg 2-1 Hannover
Goals: 1-0 Glatzel (13'), 2-0 Glatzel (20'), 2-1 Kerk (22')
Knowing victory would keep them very much in the hunt for automatic promotion, Hamburg started with the bit between their teeth. Robert Glatzel took just 13 minutes to register his 20th goal of the campaign and he made it 21 for the season seven minutes later after the flying Sonny Kittel teed up his teammate to chest home from a yard out. Hannover responded quickly, though, and pulled one back midway through the first period thanks to Sebastian Kerk’s effort. They couldn’t complete a full turnaround and HSV picked up a vital victory that means the promotion race will go right to the wire.
Watch: Highlights of HSV's Matchday 33 triumph
Jahn Regensburg 0-2 Heidenheim
Goals: 0-1 Mainka (51'), 0-2 Mohr (81')
Six points separated the two mid-table sides before the weekend as both looked to end the campaign as high as possible with neither relegation or promotion a possibility over the final two weeks. And, after a goalless first half, it was Heidenheim that made the first move. Captain Patrick Mainka was the man who grabbed the goal, scoring his third of the season just six minutes after the break. The visitors added a second with nine minutes to play as Tobias Mohr thrashed home inside the box to help Heidenheim open up a nine point gap to their hosts and guarantee at least an eighth-placed finish.
Ingolstadt 0-0 Hansa Rostock
Already relegated and rock bottom of the table, Ingolstadt were looking to give their fans some rare cheer in their final home game before dropping down to the third tier next term. Rostock, meanwhile, were hoping to claim all three points and move to within touching distance of the top half. Neither side could find a breakthrough, however, as they played out a 0-0 draw despite the two teams sharing 20 shots on goal between them.
Erzgebirge Aue 0-3 Werder Bremen
Goals: 0-1 Friedl (49'), 0-2 Füllkrug (90+2'), 0-3 Schmidt (90+6')
Kicking-off on Sunday afternoon - and following Schalke's promotion party the previous evening - Bremen were looking to move second and open up a three point gap to HSV with one game to play. Relegated Aue, however, had the ball in the back of the net after just 30 seconds but Tom Baumgart's effort was ruled out for offside. Werder were in front inside five minutes of the second-half, as Marco Friedl turned home from close range. Injury-time goals from Niclas Füllkrug and Niklas Schmidt wrapped up the win, putting Werder on the brink of a return to the Bundesliga.
Holstein Kiel 3-0 Nuremberg
Goals: 1-0 Skrzybski (13'), 2-0 Korb (41'), 3-0 Holtby (63')
Nuremberg made the trip to Holstein Kiel having seen their promotion hopes effectively ended before they got underway on Sunday. The hosts looked to definitively finish Nuremberg's chances and took a 13th-minute lead through Steven Skrzybski, who struck his third goal of the campaign. Julian Korb added a second for Kiel before the break, ramming home both Holstein's first-half dominance, and Nuremberg's disappointment. A miserable day for the away side was confirmed by Lewis Holtby's third for Kiel just after the hour mark.
Karlsruhe 2-2 Dynamo Dresden
Goals: 0-1 Weihrauch (26'), 1-1 Gondorf (65'), 2-1 Hofmann (74'), 2-2 Akoto (90')
While Karlsruhe are closing the season by seeing how high or low they will finish, Dresden still have plenty to play for. They are guaranteed to enter the promotion/relegation playoff - where they will face third-place from the third-tier - so putting some form together over the final two weekdays of the regular season is critical. And they started well in Karlsruhe as Patrick Weihrauch put them ahead after 26 minutes. That lead only lasted until the 65th-minute, though, as Jerome Gondorf found the back of the net to level things up for the home team. Karlsruhe thought they had completed the turnaround less than 10 minutes later as Philipp Hofmann scored his 19th goal of the campaign but Dresdem rescued a point in the 90th-minute thanks to Michael Akoto's effort.
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