Germany's second tier has - as ever - provided plenty of goals, drama and epic encounters in the 2022/23 campaign to date. With the season currently enjoying a pause, bundesliga.com takes a a look back at 10 games to remember from an action packed few months.
The season began with the return of former Bundesliga giants Kaiserslautern to the second division and an opening-night classic at the Fritz Walter Stadium. Despite the hosts going behind to an early goal against Hannover, the famous ground located on Betzenberg hill was rocking with an injury-time winner for the returning Red Devils.
Both Hamburg and Darmstadt got off to respective good starts to the new season with nine points each from four games. During the current break in proceedings, the duo are leading the way at the top of the standings. On Matchday 5 they faced off in a dramatic game that produced three sending offs and a change at the top.
A day after the game between promotion hopefuls HSV and Darmstadt, Paderborn, who had started the season just as strongly, regained their lead at the head of the standings, and how! Against Holstein Kiel, Paderborn became the only team this season to score seven goals in one game. The hosts would only drop out of the top three spots on Matchday 15.
The promoted hosts impressed again on Matchday 6, this time in a thriller against the team who had finished 15 points ahead of them as runaway 3. Liga champions. Having trailed 3-1 after 22 minutes and 3-2 at the break, Kaiserslautern managed to storm into a 4-3 lead after the restart. Magdeburg would have the last laugh, however, fighting back to secure a point.
The Red Devils were once again involved in a barnstormer on Matchday 8, Dirk Schuster's men coming back from two goals down to take the lead with just three minutes left on the clock. There would be even more late drama, however, when the Lilies levelled up in injury time through Aaron Seydel.
The 10th matchday offered two Friday night top-of-the-table clashes, one of which saw second-placed Paderborn take on Darmstadt in third. The hosts took the lead but the Lilies turned the game on its head inside 24 minutes and they held on to take a big three points.
At the same time as the above game was taking place, leaders Hamburg paid a visit to Hannover, who were in fourth. Indeed, just as in the night's other fixture, there would be a turnaround after a fourth-minute opener in this match too, albeit in even more dramatic circumstances. Hannover's early lead was cancelled out by HSV's equaliser on the quarter hour. It would take an injury time winner from Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer to swing it for the Red Shorts and keep them at the summit.
No second division highlight reel would be complete without a Hamburg derby! The roles of both teams were clear going into this game, with HSV flying high in the standings and Pauli in the lower reaches following a disappointing start to the campaign. Derbies tend not to follow scripts, however, and that was exactly the case at the Millerntor Stadium as HSV saw their captain dismissed in the first half and Pauli netted three times after the break.
Heidenheim had been flying under the radar compared to their promotion rivals Darmstadt, Hamburg and Paderborn. In a midweek clash against the latter, however, longstanding home coach Frank Schmidt had a surprise up his sleeve for the visitors, who were left stunned by a three-goal hammering.
Now out of their previous shadow, Heidenheim quickly became one of the division's unmissable teams and they would end the first half of the season in third place following one more sensational game. Regensburg thought they had done enough to earn a point with an injury-time goal to make it 4-4 on their trip to the Voith-Arena, where both teams had been in front at some point. Not so, with Stefan Schimmer pouncing to nick all three points for the home side four minutes beyond the 90.
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