European Lower League Week – The Surprise Result Edition
Three teams are tied at the top on 22 points as Nantes drew level on points with Monaco following a Filip Djordjevic double in the principality, condemning Monaco to their first home loss of the season. Angers returned to winning ways to join Monaco & Nantes at the top of the table thanks to a 1-0 home victory over a resilient Chateauroux side. Istres & Caen stay in touch with the top three & they both enjoyed wins on Friday. Istres had a comfortable win over Tours who arrived at the Stade Parsemain unbeaten in six games, but left on the end of a 4-1 drubbing. Caen were also in action in the south of France as they won 2-0 at Arles. Alexandre Cuvillier gave them an early lead before he was dismissed on the half hour but Arles couldn’t make the extra man count & Caen added a second goal late on.
Guingamp, who won in Caen last week, followed that up with a 2-0 home win over Sedan & now sit in sixth place just three points from the top. Le Mans have had a solid start to the season, considering that on the eve of the first game they were still unsure if their Ligue 2 status was assured or whether they would be replaced by Metz & have to compete in the French National League. They recorded another home win, their fourth in five games as lowly Laval were beaten 2-0. Dijon are eighth on the same points as Le Mans as they lost the Burgundy derby to Auxerre & have now gone six games without a victory.
Sedan remain bottom on nine points with Gazelec Ajaccio, whose game with Niort was called off due to the weather shortly before kick-off, are second bottom on ten points & Laval remain in the drop zone on eleven points. The highlight of next week’s fixture list is the game on Saturday when local rivals Nantes & Angers lock horns at Le Beaujoire with both teams in the top three and only trailing Monaco on goal difference.
The top three in 2.Bundesliga all drew last weekend as third placed Kaiserslautern kicked off the weekend with a thrilling 3-3 draw at Koln & were thankful for a late Idrissou goal to earn that point. It was also all square in the battle of the top two as Eintracht Braunschweig & Hertha Berlin ended 1-1. Braunschweig took a first half lead through Dennis Kruppke’s sixth goal of the season but Hertha battled hard and drew level 12 minutes from time through Ramos. Braunschweig stay five points clear of Hertha & six ahead of Kaiserslautern.
Cottbus closed the gap after beating fellow promotion hopefuls 1860 Munich thanks to an Ivica Banovic strike. As a result, 1860 Munich slip below Ingolstadt & FSV Frankfurt in the table after both recorded wins. Ingolstadt had a comfortable 2-0 win over Aalen whilst FSV Frankfurt beat Jahn Regensburg 3-1 despite having defender Bjorn Schlicke sent off after just 19 minutes.
The Frontzeck effect is already in full flow at St Pauli. Following on from a creditable 1-1 draw at Paderborn last week, the men from the Millentor came back from 2-0 down to overcome Dynamo Dresden 3-2 & move up to 13th in the table.
Bochum replace St Pauli in the bottom two after they capitulated in the clash of the strugglers at Aue & were beaten 6-1. Aue’s victory coupled with Sandhausen’s disappointing 2-0 home defeat to bottom of the table Duisburg means Sandhausen occupy the relegation play off spot as just one point separates Dynamo Dresden in 14th place & bottom side Duisburg. In the weekend’s other game, Union Berlin were beaten 1-0 at home by Paderborn ending an unbeaten run of five games.
This weekend Hertha Berlin’s nine match unbeaten run will face a severe test as an in form Ingolstadt travel to the capital. The side from the Audi Sportpark have won five & drew two of their last eight matches.
MVV Maastricht march on & are now six points clear after a fine 3-1 win at fellow promotion hopefuls Cambuur. Fortuna Sittard climb up to second place following their fourth straight win, all of which have come without conceding a goal. Sparta Rotterdam drop three places to fifth after they were beaten at lowly Eindhoven 3-0. After a great start, Helmond are now five without a win but they remain in third place following Velasco’s last minute leveller at Emmen & Dordrecht, despite financial worries, are in fine form & move up to fourth place as they had a good 2-0 away win at Go Ahead Eagles.
Almere City are five points adrift at the foot of the table after they lost their ninth game in ten as Veendam recorded a comfortable 3-1 victory n Monday night. Den Bosch warmed up for Thursday’s KNVB Beker tie at Eredivisie side FC Twente by chalking up their third win on the trot to move away from the drop zone, they won 2-1 at Volendam who slip to seventh after a third straight loss. FC Oss are second bottom but they managed to end a run of four losses by recording a valuable 1-1 draw at De Graafschap, who continue to disappoint following relegation.
This weekend, leaders MVV host Sparta Rotterdam whilst Helmond Sport welcome Cambuur to the Stadion de Braak. Two in form teams do battle as Fortuna Sittard entertain Den Bosch.
There has been two rounds of fixtures this week in Serie B & leaders Sassuolo will be delighted with the outcome as they recorded victories over an in form Juve Stabia & away at high flying Ternana to extend their lead at the top to six points. Hellas Verona & Livorno both won at the weekend but both will be disappointed with conceding injury time goals to draw in midweek. Hellas in particular will be angry with the way they were held in Crotone as they took the lead three times in the game & looked to have won it in the 90th minute when Gomez netted only for Crotone to go straight up the field & level again.
Juve Stabia move up to fourth despite losing on Friday at Sassuolo. They beat Reggina on Tuesday thanks to a late Caserta goal. Padova drop a place to fifth after a home draw with Bari & an away point at Modena. Cittadella hold the last play off place after they had a fine 3-0 win at Spezia before being held 1-1 at home to Brescia.
Grosseto are six points adrift at the bottom after drawing at home to Ternana losing to a late goal at Cesena after twice taking the lead. Reggina are second bottom after beating Ascoli 2-0 but losing on Tuesday at Juve Stabia and Virtus Lanciano complete the bottom three after picking up one point from games against Hellas Verona & Livorno. It has been a hugely disappointing start to the season for Novara, who were relegated from Serie A in the summer. They currently sit in a Serie B relegation play off spot after losing four of their last six games.
Having taken nine games to record their first victory of the season, Empoli have now won their last three games. A 3-2 win in Bari was their latest success, and they ended the host’s unbeaten home run in the process. Maybe it is no coincidence that Empoli’s change in fortunes is due to the return to the team of last season’s top scorer Francesco Tavano?
The big game in Serie B is on Monday as leaders Sassuolo make the 70 mile trip to face second place Hellas Verona in what should be a great game.
This season in Liga Adelante is following the same pattern as last as Elche are clear leaders although the Ilicitanos will hope that is where the similarities end, as a winter collapse saw Elche slide down the table. There are no signs of that happening this season so far, as Elche are five points clear after bouncing back from defeat at Murcia last week to grab a 1-0 win over relegated Racing Santander who surprisingly drop into the relegation zone. Almeria lead the chasing pack as they beat Huesca thanks to a late Charles penalty, followed by last season’s play off finalists Alcorcon who beat high flying Murcia 1-0.
Girona’s fine 2012 form continues as they came from behind to dispose of Numancia & are just two points from an automatic promotion spot. Girona are on the same points as Villarreal who comfortably beat Mirandes. Recreativo Huelva move into the last play off place after a great 3-2 win at Barcelona B thanks to two goals in the final seven minutes of the game although Barcelona B will reclaim sixth place if they win their re-arranged game in Huesca in midweek. Guadalajara stay at the foot on the same points as Mirandes after losing a five goal thriller with improving Las Palmas who move up to 17th place.
Hercules found that changing coach doesn’t bring immediate results as Quique Hernandez lost his first game in charge thanks to a late Yuri goal at Ponferradina. A run of five games without a win dumps Racing Santander in the bottom four behind Huesca on goal difference.
The 12th round of fixtures sees Elche visit new boys Lugo & four of the top seven meet when Murcia host Girona & Recreativo Huelva entertain Almeria. Alcorcon visit crisis club Racing Santander.