Schalke 04 took another big step towards promotion to the Bundesliga on Matchday 30, while St. Pauli and Darmstadt suffered a big blow in their hopes.
The 2. Bundesliga title race is shaping up nicely heading into the business end of the season. Six teams are still vying for a place in next season’s Bundesliga, including Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, St. Pauli and Hamburger SV.
Schalke 04 extended their lead at the top of the 2. Bundesliga standings on Sunday with a crucial 5-2 win away to fellow promotion contenders SV Darmstadt 98. Marius Bülter scored a hat-trick and Simon Terodde netted a brace as Borussia Dortmund’s arch-rivals made it five wins in a row in the 2. Bundesliga.
Schalke are now three points clear of the promotion play-off spot, although they still have games against fellow promotion contenders Werder Bremen, St. Pauli and FC Nürnberg coming up. If they manage to win three of their remaining four games, they will win automatic promotion to the Bundesliga.
Werder Bremen currently occupy second place in the 2. Bundesliga standings. But they have been held to draws in each of their last three games, and third placed St. Pauli are just one point behind them.
Like Schalke, Bremen are also aiming to make an immediate return to the Bundesliga following their relegation last season. Ole Werner’s side face a trip to Schalke this weekend, and that fixture could play a crucial role in deciding the promotion battle.
FC St. Pauli are third in the 2. Bundesliga standings and are looking to win promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time since 2010.
The Kiezkicker were sitting pretty at the top of the table not long ago, but their promotion charge has suffered a few setbacks in recent weeks. St. Pauli have crunch games against SV Darmstadt, FC Nürnberg and Schalke coming up which will make or break their hopes of promotion.
SV Darmstadt 98 are fourth, two points shy of third placed St. Pauli. But they will have the chance to leapfrog them in the standings on Saturday when the two sides meet at the Millerntor-Stadion.
Fifth placed FC Nürnberg are three points behind the promotion playoffs spot, but have games against St. Pauli and Schalke 04 coming up. So they could well have a big say in the outcome of the promotion battle.
Hamburger SV are still in with an outside chance of winning promotion. They are five points behind local rivals St. Pauli with four games to go. But they have a much easier run-in compared to their rivals, with three of their next four opponents in the bottom half of the table.
The promotion race is set to go down the wire, much like last season. Schalke 04 are desperate to return to the Bundesliga following their relegation last season. But anything can happen in the 2. Bundesliga, and we are in for a very exciting end to the season in the second division of German football.