Hot battle for the playoffs: The DEL main round is entering the final round

As of: February 29, 2024 7:23 p.m

Three game days before the end of the main round, there are still a few decisions to be made in the DEL. The race for the last direct playoff spot is particularly close.

There are still three game days left in the German Ice Hockey League, in which a lot is still at stake for some teams.

At the top, the Eisbären Berlin and the Pinguins Bremerhaven are in a neck-and-neck race for first place. Both teams have 99 points. The Berliners lead the table – because of their better balance. By the way, Berlin and Bremerhaven have already bought their ticket for the Champions Ice Hockey League.

The fight for the last direct playoff place, sixth, has become surprisingly exciting.

Until recently, the prospects were rosy for the Schwenninger WildWings; everything looked like they would move straight into the playoffs. On the 45th matchday there was even an easy 3-0 home win against league leaders Eisbären Berlin and all signs pointed to the playoffs in Schwenningen.

WildWings swooping

Two weeks later the situation looks completely different. There were four defeats in a row. A negative trend that was initiated by a 3:7 defeat against the champions EHC Munich and apparently caused lasting damage to Schwenninger’s morale. This was followed by three defeats against Wolfsburg, Nuremberg and Bremerhaven. And suddenly you have to worry about direct playoff participation again. The Adler Mannheim are suddenly breathing down the neck with the same number of points. There will be a direct duel on Friday – possibly a decisive game.

Kölner Haie as a “laughing third party”?

But only possibly. The Cologne Sharks are now looking forward to the Schwenningen duel against Mannheim. The Sharks have stalked the two teams and are only one point behind. “Of course we also follow the results and duels of our direct competitors, but we also play against teams that are fighting with us for sixth place.”says striker Maximilian Kammerer.

On Friday, the Haie will first play away against the Wolfsburg Grizzlys (4th), who are aiming to finally secure their participation in the playoff quarter-finals mathematically. This is followed by runner-up ERC Ingolstadt (03.03./2:00 p.m.), who can theoretically also make it to 6th place.

The next possible showdown against Mannheim (March 8th) is scheduled for the last preliminary round matchday. Last season’s playoff series against the Adler is still fresh in Cologne’s minds: “Games against Mannheim are always special. Last season it was an extremely close playoff series and we were very disappointed that we didn’t progress,” said Kammerer, who is the Sharks’ second-best goalscorer with 20 goals this season.

Düsseldorfer EG between playoff heaven and relegation hell

The fight for the final pre-playoff spot is less dramatic. The Nuremberg Ice Tigers fought their way to tenth place. In an exciting Bavarian duel last Sunday (February 25th), the Nuremberg team beat the champions EHC Munich 2-1. The decisive goal came literally at the last minute: Evan Barratt scored with 18 seconds left in regulation time and kept the Ice Tigers on track for the pre-playoffs.

Mathematically, the Düsseldorfer EG can still catch up with the Ice Tigers, but at seven points behind they only have very little change. DEG is also in a tricky situation and has to look a bit towards the bottom of the table. The Rhinelanders are seven points behind Nuremberg, but at the same time only six points separate them from the relegation zone.

The Augsburg Panthers took this with 50 points. The Löwen Frankfurt (55) and the Iserlohn Roosters (54) are also right in the middle of the relegation battle. The last three game days of the DEL main round will be really hot again for many teams.