2. Bundesliga

Matchday 31 round-up: Werder Bremen leapfrog Schalke; Darmstadt beat St Pauli

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Marvin Ducksch scored twice as Bremen leapfrogged Schalke to the top of Bundesliga 2, while Darmstadt moved above St Pauli with a win in Hamburg as the race for promotion intensifies. Meanwhile, Ingolstadt's relegation to the third division was confirmed after they drew at Karlsruhe.

Schalke 1-4 Werder Bremen
Goals: 0-1 Gruev 9', 0-2 Füllkrug 26' (assist: Weiser), 0-3 Ducksch 51' (assist: Füllkrug), 0-4 Ducksch 54', 1-4 Terodde 88' (assist: Churlinov)

Bremen almost got off to a flyer when Niclas Füllkrug was picked out by a sweeping ball from deep, but after rounding Fraisl, the offside flag was raised. It was not long before Bremen did take the lead, though, with Mitchell Weiser's shot following a corner only parried by Martin Fraisl to Ilias Gruev, who headed in his first goal in Bundesliga 2. Schalke summoned all their strength to respond, but after sending in a few efforts on Jiri Pavlenka's goal, another corner proved their undoing at the other end. Once again, the ball was played short and found its way to Weiser, who this time curled the ball to the far post where Füllkrug was waiting to poach his 16th goal of the season. Schalke had a goal from Dominick Drexler ruled out for offside, but it was Marvin Ducksch who almost turned the screw late in the first half, missing a one-v-one with Fraisl to let Schalke off the hook.

The guests needed just two minutes early in the second half to turn that proverbial screw, with a double Ducksch destruction. Füllkrug teed him up for his first, cutting the ball back for him to drill in, with the aid of a deflection, but his second – and 19th of the season – was created and taken by himself, although once again a deflection helped his shot beat a wrong-footed Fraisl. Although their spirits were somewhat dampened, Schalke's biggest crowd of the season – a sell-out at the Veltins Arena – continued to urge their team forward, but Bremen barely ran the risk of conceding until Simon Terodde finally got his goal, touching in Churlinov's shot to give the Royal Blues a bit of joy on an otherwise day to forget for them, and a day to savour for the guests from the north.

Match stats

  • Ilia Gruev's father, also named Ilia, scored 11 Bundesliga 2 goals for MSV Duisburg; this was Ilia junior's first Bundesliga goal.
  • Bremen led at half-time for only the seventh time this season.
  • Schalke conceded as many goals in this game as they had in their past five outings combined.
  • Werder’s top scorer Ducksch (19 goals) is also the league-leader for shots against the woodwork (eight).
  • The Green-Whites have claimed 30 points from a possible 48 on the road this season, and have won their last five league trips to Gelsenkirchen.

Schalke: Fraisl - Vindheim (Aydin 63'), Thiaw (Flick 53'), Kaminski, Calhanoglu - Palsson (c), Itakura - Drexler (Churlinov 46'), Bülter, Zalazar (Idrizi 71') - Terodde
Unused subs: Fährmann, Lode, Sane, Matriciani, Latza
Out: Langer (knee), Lee (ankle), Ouwejan (muscular), Pieringer (cheekbone)
Coach: Mike Büskens 

Bremen: Pavlenka - Rapp, Friedl, Jung - Gruev (Mai 79') - Weiser (Mbom 86'), Schmid (Schmidt 61), Bittencourt (c), Agu (Schönfelder 86') - Füllkrug, Ducksch (Dinkci 79')
Unused subs: Zetterer, Nankishi, Assale, Woltemade
Out: Toprak (calf)
Coach: Ole Werner

Matchday 31 round-up:

Jahn Regensburg 2-4 Hamburg
Goals: 0-1 Muheim (23'), 1-1 Boukhalfa (46'), 1-2 Suhonen (66'), 2-2 Albers (89'), 2-3 Vagnoman (90'), 2-4 Kinsombi (pen. 90'+6)

HSV are still very much part of the promotion battle after a late win over a mid-table Regensburg side who pushed their visitors all the way. Miro Muheim gave the Rothosen a dream start with a spectacular goal from distance that proved sufficient for a half-time lead. The home side rallied, however, and were level shortly after the restart when Carlo Boukhalfa took full advantage of some slack Hamburg defending. Finnish midfielder, Anssi Suhonen, restored HSV’s lead with another long-range effort midway through the half, only for Andreas Albers to stroke home from the penalty spot in the last minute. Home celebrations were short lived, however. Josha Vagnoman found himself free in the area and took full advantage, striking to restore The Red Shorts’ lead before David Kinsombi made sure of the points from the penalty spot deep into injury time , with Tim Walter’s men ending the day in fifth spot.

Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-2 Dynamo Dresden
Goals: 1-0 Appelkamp (26'), 2-0 de Wijs (31'), 2-1 Will (71'), 2-2 Königsdörffer

Dynamo Dresden came back from two goals down to pick up what could prove to be a crucial point in their battle for survival at mid-table Fortuna Düsseldorf. The hosts raced into a two-goal lead in the first half hour with Shinti Appelkamp turning the ball into an open goal after Khaled Narey selflessly squared the ball to him after drawing Dresden's keeper out. Jordy de Wijs added the second, converting at the second time of asking after his first effort was saved by Broll. Fortuna should have increased their lead before Paul Will gave the guests a glimmer of hope, heading in Oliver Batista Meier's corner. Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer then levelled with ten minutes to go with a fine effort on the half volley, salvaging a point which could prove priceless when all are added up at the end of the season.

Karlsruhe 2-2 Ingolstadt
Goals: 0-1 Schmidt (24'), 0-2 Bilbija (46'), 1-2 Schleusener (69'), 2-2 Hofmann (75')

Ingolstadt were relegated from Bundesliga 2 after throwing away a two-goal lead to tie 2-2 at Karlsruhe. Goals from Patrick Schmidt and Filip Bilbija gave the Bavarians a half-time advantage which would have earned them a stay of execution, but Fabian Schleusener and Philipp Hofmann levelled in the second half and Kilian Jakob hit the post late on for the hosts, whose place in Bundesliga 2 next season is assured, while Ingolstadt go down with a gap of 10 points to the relegation play-off berth too large to redress in the final three games of the season.

St Pauli 1-2 Darmstadt
Goals: 0-1 Pfeiffer (9'), 0-2 Holland (35'), 1-2 Daschner (81')

Darmstadt leapfrogged St. Pauli into the Bundesliga 2 promotion play-off position with a 2-1 win at the Millerntor. Luca Pfeiffer put the Lilies in front, turning in Tietz's pass for his third goal of the season against Pauli, after a brace in the reverse fixture. Fabian Holland made it two before the break with a stunning drive from outside the area, swerving it into the top right-hand corner. Lukas Daschner gave Pauli some hope from close range, but Darmstadt survived a late onslaught to hold on for a win which catapults them above their hosts and boosts their promotion hopes.

Watch: Pauli 1-2 Darmstadt - Highlights

Holstein Kiel 1-1 Heidenheim
Goals: 1-0 Lorenz (56'), 1-1 Kleindienst (71')

Heidenheim's promotion hopes faded with a 1-1 draw at Holstein Kiel which leaves their hosts still a point short of mathematical safety. Simon Lorenz put Kiel in front, heading in Lewis Holtby's cross from the left for his first goal of the season, almost a year on from his last strike against Regensburg in May 2021. Tim Kleindienst levelled from a tight angle, taking him into double figures for the third straight season and earning Heidenheim a point.

Nuremberg 2-4 Sandhausen
Goals: 0-1 Bachmann 5', 1-1 Krauß 25, 2-1 Sörensen 54', 2-2 Trybull 60', 2-3 Trybull 84', 2-4 Testroet 88'

The hosts suffered a big setback to their promotion hopes as visiting Sandhausen edged towards safety following a six-goal thriller at Max-Morlock-Stadion. Janik Bachmann set the tone for the visitors with a headed from a corner before Tom Krauß struck a wonderful shot into the top corner for the game's equaliser. After a string of missed chance in the first half, Robert Klauß's men finally edged ahead in the second when Asger Sörensen converted from a corner. Things soon began to go south for Nuremberg, however, whose inability to deal with set pieces would ultimately cost them. Christian Mathenia first failed to deal with a Chima Okoroji corner, allowing Tom Trybull to score with ease. Enrico Valentini then missed a penalty for Der Club before Okoroji and Trybull combined again from a set piece. Amazingly, Pascal Testroet would net his team's fourth from yet another corner to compound Nuremberg's misery.

Paderborn 3-0 Hannover
Goals: 1-0 Klement 2', 2-0 Muslija 17', 3-0 Ofori 90'+1

Paderborn moved up to seventh place in the standings after a straightforward win against a Hannover team who dropped to within reach of the relegation play-off spot. The home side enjoyed the perfect start when Philipp Klement netted on two minutes. Lukas Kwasniok's side even had chances to increase their lead, before Florent Muslija managed to do so with the game not even 20 minutes old. Paderborn sat back, playing on the break thereafter and they would make sure of the points in injury time with Kelvin Ofori connecting with Marco Schuster's assist to complete a comfortable day's work.

Erzgebirge Aue 2-2 Hansa Rostock
Goals: 1-0 Fröde (o.g. 8'), 1-1 Verhoek (pen. 25'), 2-1 Nazarov 45', 2-2 Behrens 52'

Aue's slim hopes of survival weren't helped by the hosts twice giving up a lead against 11th placed Rostock. Pavel Dotchev's team were helped into the lead when a Soufiane Messeguem free kick was deflected into his own net by the unfortunate Lukas Fröde. Cacutalua Behrens conceded a penalty kick in the 25th minute, allowing Rostock a route back into the game, which John Verhoek grabbed from the penalty spot. The visitors upped their game thereafter, but it was Aue who nudged ahead with Dimitrij Nazarov finding the corner of the net before the break. A victory would have pushed 17th placed Aue to within five points of Dresden, but Hanno Behrens put paid to those hopes by firing in an equaliser seven minutes after the restart.