The 2. Bundesliga has been an incredible watch this season. Although the main unique selling point - the incredible fans seen in the highest attended second division in the world, is obsolete due to the conditions it is currently having to be played under, everything else around the division is still just as good.
It’s difficult to predict the outcome of any fixture in the league - in the first weekend, table-toppers Arminia Bielefeld drew 1-1 with relegation strugglers VfL Osnabruck whilst the incredibly strong squad of VfB Stuttgart were condemned to a 2-1 defeat against bottom of the table Wehen Wiesbaden when Phillip Tietz converted a last-minute penalty.
On the pitch
The 2. Bundesliga table is close, very close. The gap between fifth place and the foot of the table is a mere fifteen points - and even then, 18th-placed Dynamo Dresden have two games in hand. Read any preview of any game in the division and you’ll quickly realise that every match is a six-pointer. Try to predict who will be relegated, and it’s very likely that it will change.
The football on the pitch is of a very high standard also. The nature of German football is that many big sides often find themselves switching between the divisions, leading to very high-quality footballers, such as those seen at VfB Stuttgart and Hannover, now finding themselves applying their trade in the second tier.
Every game in the Zweite Bundesliga, no matter which teams are featuring in it, is competitive. Just this weekend, Hannover 96 came back from being 2-1 down at 75 minutes against Osnabruck to finishing 4-2 winners away from home. The Konferenz for the second division often struggles to keep up with the level of goals scored, especially near the end of games - in the first weekend of football after break due to COVID-19, there were a number of games settled with goals in the final minutes.
Fan culture and history
Just as with the rest of the German footballing world, the 2. Bundesliga is extremely rich with its supporter culture. From the political stance of St. Pauli that has gained it a cult following around the globe to the incredible sort of ex-East German side Dynamo Dresden, the league has it all.
Its fans are as vocal as any other, with many large ultras groups that not only impress when in the stands but also are integral parts of their communities, something which has shone especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fans still have a very large voice, with Sandhusen, SV Darmstadt, Heidenheim and VfL Osnabruck all displaying banners against the return of football behind closed doors this weekend.
Many historic clubs now find themselves sitting in the second division of German football, having dropped out of the Bundesliga. You do not have to look that far back Stuttgart’s history to find a team that were champions of the top flight, competing in the Champions League as one of Germany’s top teams. As well as the Swabians, FC Nürnberg, Hamburger SV and Hannover 96 all have very large stadia and have regularly played in the top flight.