KSC had to swallow a bitter and close defeat after 180 closely contested minutes.
Old fans of the KSC may remember the glory days of the early 90s when Winfried Schäfer was coaching the club. Players like Michael Tarnat, Oliver Kahn and Thorsten Fink were playing for the club, and mid week matches in the Uefa Cup were a common thing for the club from Baden Württemberg back then. However, the fortunes of the club have changed drastically since the team was relegated in the 1997/98 season. From the late 90s on Karlsruhe have been an elevator team, playing in the Bundesliga, Regionalliga and mostly the 2. Bundesliga. The team has struggled in the 2. Bundesliga ever since they got last relegated from the Bundesliga in 2009, finishing 10th, 15th and 16th in the last three seasons. Add to that the fact that the 3. Liga sides competing in the relegations play offs before Jahn Regensburg had won three out of three matches, and Karlsruhe fans had good reasons to be worried about their side going into the match.
Away goal gave Karlsruhe the edge going into the match
Last week’s hard fought game between Jahn Regensburg and Karlsruhe ended 1-1, giving Karlsruhe a crucial away goal going into the match. Not many chances were created in the first 20 minutes of the match. The hosts picked up a little after the 20th minute, but both Sebastian Schiek and Ilias Charalambous didn’t manage to trouble Michael Hofmann in the Regensburg goal with their finishes.
The deadlock was broken after 28 minutes after Selcuk Albiaz found Oliver Hein with a free kick: The Regensburg midfielder went for broke 19 meters in front of goal, finding the top left corner of the Karlsruhe goal with a hard and well placed shot. Only four minutes later Karlsruhe managed to equalize Regensburg’s lead. Alexander Iashvili was left alone on the right wing, and put in a beautiful cross into the area, finding his strike partner Klemen Lavric, who headed the ball over the line from close range.
Two goals, two red cards, and plenty of drama
Jahn Regensburg started somewhat better into the second half, having most of the possession, but not creating any chances. Karlsruhe created the first chance of the half, and converted it in the 56th minute: A corner kick from Timo Staffeldt defender Charalambous managed to flick the ball on towards the goal. Neither Hofmann or any of the other Regensburg players got to the ball, giving Karlsruhe the lead for the first time over the course of the two play off matches.
Another corner kick turned the game around. The excellent Albiaz lifted the ball into the box finding the unmarked André Laurito, who headed the ball past Dirk Orlishausen in the Karlsruhe goal and into the net.
KSC coach Markus Kauczinski tried everything to turn the game around. However, even changing his formation to a 3-4-3 didn’t overpower Regensburg who were defending with all 11 men until the 87th minute. Substitute Erfen saw his second yellow card then, before Jim Patrick Müller saw a straight red for a tackle on Charalambous two minutes into extra time. Karlsruhe didn’t manage to put the goal of veteran Hofmann under any sort of danger, despite the numerical advantage for the last six minutes of the match.
Only four KSC players have a valid contract for the third tier. Sporting director Oliver Kreuzer doesn’t have a valid contract for 3. Liga either, making Karlsruhe’s task to re-build their team even more difficult. The fans at the Wildparkstadion will certainly have to get used to an entirely different team sheet next season. Regensburg on their hand secured their fourth spell in the second highest tier in German football. Last time around SSV Jahn Regensburg managed only a 16th place finish, and were relegated after their first season back in the second tier.
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