Osnabrück grab a crucial away goal in their relegation play off against Dynamo Dresden

Friday night saw Dynamo Dresden taking on VfL Osnabrück in the relegation play off between the 2. Bundesliga(Osnabrück) side and the 3. Liga(Dresden).

Preamble: Going into the match the two sides had met on 6 previous occasions. Osnabrück had won three of those matches, and the other three ended in a tie.

Osnbrück had struggled throughout their whole 2. Bundesliga campaign, starting their season with coach Karsten Baumann who then was replaced by American Joe Enochs, who then had to be replaced by Heiko Flottmann due to his lack of a coaching license.

Dresden found their way into this play off match on the back of their strong form at the end of the season. Winning 5 out of their last 6 matches gave the site from the former G.D.R. the edge in the backend of their campaign.

The match: Dresden superior, but failing to convert their chances


Dynamo Dresden: Kirsten – Jungnickel(Müller 70min), Jungwirth, Hübener, Bührer – Solga, Fiel – Röttger(Strifler 70min), Koch, Esswein – Schahin

VfL Osnabrück: Berbig – Schnetzler, Nickenig(Heidrich 83min), Mauersberger, Tauer – Hansen, Engel – Siegert(Andersen 59min), Tyrala, Krük(Schmidt 90min) – Kastrati

1st half: Dresden turning up the pressure towards the end

Going into the match none of the two sides were clear favorites to win this tie. Dresden were as always supported by their vocal home fans, but it took a while for Dynamo to establish a dominance over Osnabrück.

The 8 times East German champions dominated possession throughout the first half, but failed to convert it for the first 20 minutes. Both sides tried their luck from distance, but the shots by Dynamo’s Timo Röttger and Osnabrück’s Konstantin Engel lacked power and precision.

Dynamo dominated the last 25 minutes of the first half, and chances by Röttger and Dani Schahin were wasted before the half time whistle. Osnabrück gave several free- and corner kicks away in that period. Former Aachen player Cristian Fiel had several good delivieries into the box in the first half, unfortunately Dynamo’s players failed to convert any of them into a goal.

1st half conclusion: Dynamo Dresden dominated the first half from the get go, but didn’t start to produce clear cut chances until 25 minutes were gone.

Cristian Fiel passing and movement created a lot of trouble for Osnabrück.

Dynamo’s Esswein and Koch were constantly on the attack, and gave great service to lone striker Dani Schahin. When Dresden was attacking their formation was 4-3-3, in defense the East-Germans quickly returned to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Vital to Dresden’s good attack in the first half was central midfielder Cristian Fiel, who fed Dynamo’s wingers with a number of great passes.

Osnabrück focused on their side to keep a clean sheet, and were somewhat unwilling to use their fullbacks when they caught Dresden on the break. The team played a 4-2-3-1 formation in defense, but only Alexander Krük was willing to help out the competely lost Flamur Kastrati. Fittingly, Osnabrück’s best chance came when holding midfielder Konstantin Engel had a go from almost 30 meters.

2nd half: Osnabrück coming back strong, and Dynamo finds an answer

The tables turned at the beginning of the second half. Osnabrück had come out to play as well. Norwegian attacker Flamur Kastrati drifted towards the left during “the Violets” approach play, while the attacking midfielders of the side found their way into the box, creating many dangerous three against three situation in the box.

Dynamo continued on their side with the same attacking approach of the first half. This resulted in an entertaining first 20 minutes of the second half, where both teams had chances to grab the first goal of the match.

Osnabrück’s attacking approach yielded results early on in the second half: Dynamo defender Lars Jungnickel found was hit by an incoming corner, not reacting in time, and the ball drifted into the net behind a startled Benjamin Kirsten(son of German striker legend Ulf Kirsten).

Dynamo coach Ralf Loose reacted to Osnabrück’s goal by bringing to attacking players in Gerrit Müller and Jonas Strifler for Lars Jungnickel and Timo Röttger in the 70th minute. Loose’s bravery was rewarded five minutes later.

This is how Dynamo's goal was created.

Dani Schahin passed the ball to Alexander Esswein, who drifted towards the 16 yard box. Esswein returned the favor and picked out Dani Schahin with an exquisite pass. Schahin played the ball low into the five yard box where Robert Koch managed to kick the ball into the goal from two yards out.

Dynamo continued their run towards the Osnabrück goal in the following minutes, and created three decent chances to get the winning goal. One chance deserves mentioning here: Another brilliant Dresden combination saw Koch playing a low ball in front of the goal, and Alexander Esswein missing the ball by just an inch or two. Paul Gascoigne will certainly feel Esswein’s pain!

2nd half conclusion: Osnabrück came out with all guns blazing in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Sending their 3 attacking midfielders up front to support Flamur Kastrati. The team from Lower-Saxony played in essence a 4-2-2-2 or a 4-1-3-2 formation while attacking.

Dynamo failed to convert their dominance on the pitch into more than a draw.

Dynamo began the second half just as they had finished the first. After Osnabrück grabbed the goal, Dynamo chose to play with three players at the back while attacking, turning them into a 3-3-3-1 or 3-2-4-1 formation at times. After grabbing the well deserved equalizer Dynamo switched back to a formation that had 4 players at the back.

Stats: Dynamo Dresden vs VfL Osnabrück
Possession: 61% vs 39%
Shots: 18 vs 9
Completed passes: 392 vs 227
Passing accuracy: 81% vs74%
Duels won: 70 vs 58
Corner kicks: 10 vs 4
Crosses: 32 vs 13
Fouls: 16 vs 19
Yellow cards: 4 vs 3
Offsides: 2 vs 2

Outlook: Osnabrück go out this game the result they had hoped for. The away goal makes them favorites for the second leg of this play off.

However, Dynamo Dresden were by far the superior side for 70 of the 90 minutes of the match. If the East-Germans managed to put up a similar performance in their away match, Osnabrück has to come up with something special to keep themselves in the 2. Bundelsiga.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

1 Comment

  1. Dynamo might indeed regret not capitalizing on their play–especially in that 1st half. Really thought if they got at least one goal, it would have just started a rout. Osnabrueck have to be counting their blessings going into the return leg.

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