HSV, FC Schalke, Werder Bremen

The favorites are gaining momentum, but the return to the Bundesliga will by no means be easy for Schalke, Bremen and HSV. The competitors oppose it.

Even before the season started, fans and experts were raving about the “best 2nd league of all time” – at least the promotion race can meet the high expectations: After 20 match days, half the league is fighting for the three coveted places. The top clubs Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Hamburger SV get rolling, but outsiders like the new leaders SV Darmstadt 98 or 1. FC Nürnberg can’t be shaken off.

In the end, the direct duels will probably decide – that’s why HSV celebrated the 2-1 win at home against city rivals St. Pauli extensively. “It’s not just three points that we got,” said captain and goalscorer Sebastian Schonlau: “Winning a derby is always something special and releases new energy.”

Winning the city championship for the first time in almost three years gives the former Bundesliga Dino a lot of confidence that this time he will come in fourth. The Paulians, on the other hand, fell from the top of the table and learned painfully that the cup coup against Borussia Dortmund would not help them in the league. “We didn’t have enough access,” said coach Timo Schultz.

Coach Dimitrios Grammozis couldn’t blame his Schalke players after the convincing 5-0 win at Erzgebirge Aue. In the duel between the mining clubs, the Norwegian new signing Andreas Vindheim (one goal, three assists) and the recently weakening captain Danny Latza (double pack) were particularly convincing.

The Schalke squad is now so full that there was no room for Dominick Drexler for performance reasons. Grammozis spurs on the competition: “We have to challenge each other.”

Werder has the best run

Without a doubt, Werder Bremen had the best run, with coach Ole Werner taking their fifth win in a row and climbing to the relegation rank. The team could “draw a lot of strength” from the spectacular 4: 3 against SC Paderborn with dream goals, a lot of fighting and plenty of VAR trouble,” said Werner, who explained: “This game is definitely one of the craziest of my career.”

The Darmstadt team did not show any weaknesses, thanks to the 2-0 win at FC Ingolstadt, bottom of the table, secured first place in the table. That was “of course a nice feeling for the international break,” said artificial goalscorer Tim Skarke. They want to use the game-free weekend “to prepare ourselves optimally for HSV”. With the top game of the 21st match day, the gripping promotion race goes into the next round.


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