After their three goals in St. Pauli, the Reds are no longer “harmless 96”. The fewest goals in German professional football now have the second division Last Aue. Nevertheless, it remains strange: Up front, 96 scored as few goals as the penultimate Ingolstadt, but at the back they only conceded one more than leaders Werder.
Weak at the front, strong at the back – what applies to the Reds applies exactly to the crazy second division.
Never in the last ten years has the gap after 23 match days – i.e. around two thirds of the season – between direct promotion and relegation place 16 been as small as it is now. HSV in 2nd place and Sandhausen in 16th place are separated by just 16 points.
The league is tighter than ever!
This is shown by the numbers, examples from recent years. The distance between promotion and relegation relegation – always after 23 matchdays:
► 2021: Bochum and Kiel with 45 points above, Sandhausen with 21 below.
► 2019: Cologne (45) and HSV (44) top, Ingolstadt (19) has less than half as many.
► 2017 (when 96 last climbed): Stuttgart (48) and Union (44) in 1st and 2nd place, KSC with 21 in 16th place.
► 2013: Hertha (52) and Braunschweig (51) have a huge lead over Dresden (21).
Only half of that is left now. The league is moving closer together, with the result that anyone can beat anyone – and they do.
The last match day alone: 96 wins 3-0 against leaders St. Pauli, Sandhausen draws 1-1 against HSV, as does Ingolstadt at Werder and Rostock in Darmstadt.
Head of Sport Marcus Mann (37): “Every game feels like 50:50. You can win every game, but you can also lose. You can’t rely on anything in this league.”
Crazy results every week, the result: never in the last ten years has a table 16. after 23 matchdays as many points as now Sandhausen (25).
The crucial question: Aren’t 40 points enough to save?
Quite possible! If things go the way they did five years ago. In the 2017/18 season it was just as tight as it is now: At that time, after two thirds of the season, Fürth was on the relegation place with 24 points, Aue as 15th had only one point more. In the end, both were equal on points, but had swapped places. Aue had to go into the relegation relegation third from last – with 40 points!
Is 40 points enough this time? Man: “You can’t be sure in this second division. But 34 or 35 points will certainly not be enough this season. So it is all the more important for us that we continue to score points.”
And quickly get over the 40 mark. Because that has always been enough so far.