By Jamie Allen
Relegation six-pointers, top-of-the-table clashes, and a team deducted 11 points. It’s just another week in Germany’s third division.
With just over ten games to go in the 3rd division, every match is just as important as the next. The race for a promotion spot couldn’t be closer with 5 points separating 2nd from 8th. Likewise down the bottom, anyone from 13th and below could be facing the drop. Here are all the pre-match readings ahead of another exciting weekend of football in Germany’s third division.
SC Verl vs FSV Zwickau (Friday)
This was set to be a crucial tie down the bottom. However, the match has been canceled and will now be played at a later date.
FC Saarbruecken vs Viktoria Koln (Saturday)
Saarbrücken is certainly in with a shout for automatic promotion or a play-off at least. Sitting in 4th and just two points off Braunschweig in 3rd, Saarbrücken simply has to keep winning and hope others above them slip up. Die Molschder welcome Viktoria Köln who are just five points clear of the relegation zone in 13th. It’s a precarious position they find themselves in. You feel with a couple of more wins under their belts, Viktoria Köln should be safe. If they pick up a result here, it will go a long way in their bid to stay clear of an end-of-season scrap.
(Prediction: Saarbrücken 2: 1 Viktoria Cologne)
MSV Duisburg vs Türkgücü Munich
This is a massive game for both clubs. Just as I’m writing this, Türkgücü has officially been deducted 11 points with immediate effect. This now puts Türkgücü firmly bottom with 15 points to their name. It’s a positive for MSV who are now just outside the bottom four in 16th. It’s going to be hard for Türkgücü to survive given the circumstances and it’ll be a massive blow mentally. With the news breaking the evening before a game, I just feel the tide is Die Zebras, especially in front of a home crowd.
(Prediction: Duisburg 2: 1 Türkgücü)
FC Magdeburg vs Borussia Dortmund II
It looks like it’s only going to be a matter of time before Magdeburg are promoted and eventually crowned 3. Liga champions. After drawing away to Kaiserslautern last weekend, FCM is still 12 clear at the summit. They welcome a Dortmund II side who sit 7th on 41 points. Though BVB II can’t go any higher than the third division, they’ll want to display themselves to other clubs. However, Dortmund II did leave it late to beat relegation candidates, Havelse, last time out. I think Magdeburg’s quality will shine through in this one.
(Prediction: Magdeburg 3:1 Dortmund II)
SC Freiburg II vs SV Meppen
It appears Freiburg II are all but safe. Sitting on 33 points in 11th position, they’re on course to get that magical 40 points. They welcome a Meppen side who have slowed down in recent weeks and now sit 8th. It was always going to be a struggle to maintain the form they had towards the end of 2021 having already exceeded all expectations. This will be a closely fought game but the home side may just have the cutting edge here.
(Prediction: Freiburg II 2:1 Meppen)
Labor Wiesbaden vs Viktoria Berlin
I said a few weeks back that Wiesbaden seemed like they were already on the beach. However, having beat Saarbrücken last time out, they’re back competing once again. I don’t believe they’re going to have a late surge up the table but a top-half finish is well within their sight. Berlin is coming off the back of a 6:0 thumping against Brauchsweig earlier in the week. Currently in 15th position, Berlin is in danger of slipping into the bottom four. Yes, they do have two games in hand but there is no guarantee that they’re going to win those games. If they fail to get a result here, they may just start to lose confidence and begin looking behind their shoulders.
(Prediction: Wiesbaden 2: 1 Berlin)
VfL Osnabruck vs Eintracht Braunschweig
This is a big game at the top of the table. Osnabrück is on 5th place with 42 points whereas their opponents sit 3rd on 45. It feels like this is Osnabrück’s chance. If they’re serious about playing 2. Bundesliga football next term, it’s games like this that they’ll have to win. Brunswick will be no pushovers, however. Just coming off the back of a 6:0 win, they look set to hold onto that 3rd spot and maybe even sneak into second. With the home advantage, Osnabrück will feel like they’ve got enough to get the job done. I think I’m staying on the fence for this one.
(Prediction: Osnabrück 2: 2 Braunschweig)
TSV Havelse vs Würzburger Kickers (Sunday)
Havelse has finally moved up a place from bottom and is now on a bit of a positive streak despite a 0:1 loss to BVB II last weekend. Würzburger on the other hand will feel this is do or die. Having lost to Duisburg at home last Saturday, you feel if they lose this it could spell game over. A win for the home side could put them within 3 points off safety. Considering they were up to 10 points off at one stage, it’s been a marvelous turnaround. And do you know what? I think they might just do it.
*Both teams now sit above Türkgücü who have now been deducted 11 points.
(Prediction: Havelse 1: 0 Würzburg)
SV Waldhof Mannheim vs FC Kaiserslautern
The last game of the weekend sees 6th host 2nd. Kaiserslautern is still unbeaten since October and has a game in hand on all the teams around them. If they get another victory away this weekend, that all but ends any ambitions of a top-two finish for Mannheim. However, a home victory and the league table gets even closer when it comes to finishing second. It’s just so hard to see Kaiserslautern letting up. Mannheim does like a goal but also conceded quite a few as well. I think Kaiserslautern’s discipline will see them get over the line in this one.
(Prediction: Mannheim 1:3 Kaiserslautern)
1860 Munich vs Hallescher FC (Monday)
This is a game with two teams in completely different forms. 1860 haven’t won in three matches and recently let a two-goal slip against Braunschweig. Halle, however, has won their last two and are hitting form at a time where they need it most. The away side are in 14th and four points from safety. There is still a good few games to go but if they can keep it up, they should steer clear of the trap door. 1860 won’t be a pushover by any means. It looks unlikely that they can get a top-three finish but it’s crucial they bounce back after losing a Munich derby in the week.
(Prediction: 1860 Munich 2:1 Halle)
This brings an end to matchday 27 in the 3rd division. Down the bottom, Türkgücü’s 11 point deduction will breathe new hope into the teams around them. For themselves, however, it looks like it could spell the end of their time in the third division. At the top, we have a range of interesting games which could bring the league even closer in terms of teams seeking second and third positions. Here’s to another cracking week of football in Germany’s third tier!
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