FEATURE | Three 2. Bundesliga games to watch out for on opening weekend

The 2022/23 2. Bundesliga season kicks-off on Friday night with Kaiserslautern vs Hannover. Considered fallen giants, the hosts are four-time national champions have and have returned to the second division following a four-year stay in the 3. Liga after beating Dynamo Dresden in the play-off.

With packed stadiums, incredible atmospheres and some excellent players on show, the 2. Bundesliga is arguably one of the greatest second tier divisions in football. The Bundesliga doesn’t resume for another three weeks and with domestic football sparse at the minute, plenty of football fans will be twiddling their thumbs. But here’s three fixtures to keep an eye on this weekend in the 2. Bundesliga.

Kaiserslautern vs Hannover

Kaiserslautern’s Fritz-Walter-Stadium is one of the best stadiums in German football and tonight it hosts Kaiserslautern vs Hannover. The Red Devils’ have one of the biggest followings in German football and following a four-year absence, you can expect a raucous atmosphere tonight. Kaiserslautern have recruited well with World Cup winner Erik Durm (30) from Eintracht Frankfurt whilst former US international Terrence Boyd (31) will look to add to his nine goals in 13 games last season.

Meanwhile Hannover have appointed former Greuther Fürth head coach Stefan Leitl. The 44-year-old took his former side to the Bundesliga and Hannover fans will be hoping he can accomplish a similar feat this season. Louis Schaub and Håvard Nielsen both played in the Bundesliga last season and will add valuable experience to the squad. Hannover were playing Europa League football in 2013 and like Kaiserslautern, have fallen from grace. Expect tonight’s game to be quite the curtain-raiser.

St. Pauli vs Nürnberg

It’s been a pre-season to forget for St. Pauli with two defeats against Holstein Kiel and Silkeborg, just weeks after missing out on promotion to the Bundesliga by three points and a handful of goals. St. Pauli have a massive following, due to their ‘cult’ club status. On Saturday, they play nine-time German champions, Nürnberg, who were playing Bundesliga football in 2019.

Guido Burgstaller and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh have both left St. Pauli, the duo scored 30 goals between them last season and with the signing of Johannes Eggestein, it will be interesting just to see how they cope without last season’s top scorers. Nürnberg meanwhile have made some impressive signings in Christoph Daferner and Jan Gyamerah and should be battling it out near the top.

Eintracht Braunschweig vs Hamburg

Unless you’re a Hamburg fan, it’s always fun to watch HSV in the 2. Bundesliga but they will be hoping that this is the year that they finally return to the Bundesliga. They narrowly missed out on a return after losing the play-off to Hertha Berlin, many arguing that the play-off fixtures should be entirely scrapped with three going down, and three going up. It’s hard to disagree and despite their usual declines towards the end of the season, Hamburg are a club that should be playing in the Bundesliga.

They’ve managed to keep Robert Glatzel at the club, last season’s top scorer, but they could find it difficult against an Eintracht Braunschweig side that finished second in the 3. Liga last season. It’s imperative that HSV get off to a winning start but this will be a tough fixture.

Daniel Pinder

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