Karlsruhe Triumphs Over FSV Frankfurt in 2. Bundesliga Return And Other Results

Peitz Lifts Karlsruhe to Upset in 2. Bundesliga Return

Returning to the 2. Bundesliga on the bounce after relegation in 2011/12, Karlsruhe came back with a bang in their season debut under a well executed game plan by Markus Kauczinski that shut down FSV Frankfurt at the Volksbank Stadion in what was a sloppy affair with Karlsruhe’s physical play constantly stopping the flow of the match.

Employing a ruthless high press and getting a high work rate from striker Koen Van Der Biezen and midfielders Dominic Pietz and Selçuk Alibaz, Karlsruhe  prevented FSV from getting much of anything going in the first half, as Kauczinski’s 4-4-2 with an active pressure of the passing lanes and dribbling from the forwards and midfielders clogged things up for Frankfurt. This was translated in them failing to string together long periods of play as things went into half-time scoreless.

More sloppy play caused by KSC continued in the second half as Peitz’ 18 tackles in central midfield and van der Biezen’s 11 tackles pressuring up front  created a nightmare for Frankfurt, who looked extremely poor in the build up for the entire match, visibly rattled by KSC’s pressure and effort.

In the 67th minute and desperate to find a way to inject some life into a dead offense on Sunday, manager Benno Möhlmann brought in Odise Roshi and striker Chhunly Pagenburg in an attempt to mix things up as his side looked lost on the pitch. The move would pay dividends for a moment as Pagenburg was found with a nice backwards ball to the top of the box, turning and ripping a powerful strike towards goal. The shot missed the target but it was FSV’s lone legitimate opportunity in the second half as they had to settle for weak shots from outside the box or trying their luck with crosses, due to the outstanding performance from the Karlsruhe defense.

All of that defending paid off when, in the 84th minute, Peitz smashed home a header off of a corner from Alibaz to stun the Frankfurt supporters and give Karlsruhe a feel-good return to the 2. Bundesliga as they held on to a 1-0 victory. A staple in the top Bundesliga divisions in the 00’s before their 2012 relegation, Karlsruhe appeared to be headed in the right direction from their first performance. With a well structured pressure in their opponent’s territory, Karlsruhe kept their shape while making Frankfurt look lost for the full ninety minutes. It didn’t make for an attractive match, but it worked, as there weren’t many times that FSV put together long periods of forward progress through the KSC midfield or penetrate the final back line.

Matchday 2 will see Karlsruhe host St. Pauli in a game that could potentially be low scoring and full of fouls from the two 1-0 winning performances both clubs registered this weekend. For now, Markus Kauczinski can sit back and exhale as the first test for Karlsruhe was passed. Teams around the 2. Bundesliga may end up dreading playing a Karlsruhe side that gave FSV little to no space all game, and they were a team that nearly made the playoffs last season. It might not work against teams with more build up quality than Frankfurt showed today, but it looks like Karlsruhe will be a really tough team to play this season, something that bodes well for their odds of survival.

Fürth Snaps Home Losing Skid

Going over a year without a win at the Wormatia-Stadion, Greuther Fürth wasted no time in shedding that dubious streak with a return to the 2. Bundesliga appearing to be just what the doctor ordered, as they ran away with a 2-0 win over Aufsteigers Arminia Bielefeld.

Early goals from Tom Weilandt and Nikola Đurđić ended Bielefeld’s coming out party early as it looked like the first game for Arminia in the 2. Bundesliga was going to end in a blowout as Fürth easily went up 2-0 in the game’s opening 11 minutes leaving their opponents shaken and rattled. Things would settle down from there on and Bielefeld would get some chances in a more encouraging second half, but they would fail to convert any of those opportunities in a game that finished 2-0 with the early barrage of Weilandt and Đurđić being enough to carry Fürth to victory.

It will be a relief for manager Frank Kramer as Fürth looked to be clearly the better side in a match with a team that was playing two divisions below them in the 3. Liga last season. 2012/13 was a disaster, especially at home, and a return to the second division may just be what the club needed as they clearly need more time to build their squad to be deep enough to survive relegation in the Bundesliga. Still, Fürth will be a favorite to contend for the 2. Bundesliga title and at the very for promotion, if the style of this performance was anything to go by.

Bochum Wins Wild Finish in Berlin

Narrowly avoiding relegation in what was a rock bottom point in a three year downfall at the club, VfL Bochum started their campaign in good spirits on Sunday, closing the weekend with a cracking match in Berlin with Union that left the fans at Stadion An der Alten Försterei on their feet in a wild finish.

Bochum were the more adventurous of the two teams in the first half, testing Union keeper Daniel Haas in the game’s first 45 minutes. Bochum’s best chance of the half  came when Richard Sukuta-Pasu  walked around Haas to see an open goal, only to scuff the shot which was easily cleared by the Berlin defenders. The two teams entered the second half scoreless in a game that was up for grabs, with Bochum seeming to be once again the quality team that Bundesliga followers are accustomed to.

In the second half, Bochum’s persistence paid off when Danny Latza’s strike from 25 yards out  beat Haas to give  Latza his first goal for his club and the visitors the lead, placing Berlin on the ropes. A late highlight reel free-kick from Damir Kreilach looked to have brought Union back to life and secured at least one stolen point before a disaster struck for them in the 87th minute. Union’s new star defender Mario Eggimann handled inside the box and Marcel Maltritz slotted home the winner from the spot, securing a well earned three points for Bochum.

It was a pleasant start to the season for Peter Neururer’s men, whose finishes in the table the past two seasons have left a lot to be desired for a club that has played more than their fair share of top division football in recent years. Two finishes that were far away from promotion surely  lowered the spirits around Bochum, but with a late away win that will build momentum heading into a winnable game with Dynamo Dresden, Bochum shouldn’t have to worry about relegation fears this season with an improved squad after last year’s setbacks.

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