After the lack of goals in last week’s nervy season openers, things couldn’t have been different in the second week of the 2013/2014 3. Liga season. An average of 3.1 goals per game was a huge difference from last week’s 1.3 average. The Friday matches between VfL Osnabrück and Borussia Dortmund II and VfB Stuttgart II and SV Darmstadt were nervy and tight affairs whilst the Saturday matches were thrilling and had plenty of goals (3.5 goals average), with some outstanding performances from some of the league’s new boys, big names and favourites, as well as some late drama and surprises.
SPIEL DES TAGES
Out of all the matches of the 3. Liga 2. Spieltag, the one taking place at the Red Bull Arena was most definitely the most attractive prospect. Both sides won in the league opener (0-1 against Hallescher and 3-0 against Wacker Burghausen respectively) and were set to lock horns (no pun intended) in a match that could possibly determine the team at the top of the table come the end of the match.
It was an absolutely scorching day in Leipzig, with temperatures easily clearing the 30ºC mark and 40ºC on the pitch. For this reason, drinks breaks were scheduled for the 15′ and 30′ marks. As it turned out, the temperature did affect both teams performances, especially in the first half. The atmosphere inside the arena was excellent, as the RB fans felt the need to match the vociferous travelling support, as 9,763 fans turned up and made the feeling of empty seats in the stadium feel a bit less empty.
The match started at a fast pace and a break from RB capitain Daniel Frahn on the left saw him put a beautiful long ball on the ground that reached Danish striker Yussuf Poulsen, for whom RB Leipzig paid a league record 600,000€ in the summer from Lyngby BK. However, the Dane, despite being in front of goal 1-on-1 and with his assist beating his marker, was not able to finish as he tried to go around goalkeeper Daniel Masuch, but Masuch read his intentions and closed the space down well, saving the shot with his legs. Amends were quickly made just minutes later as Clemens Fandrich put in a beautiful 35-yard through ball in the middle of the park for Frahn to latch onto, who took one touch and unleashed a dry and powerful 25-yard shot that beat Masuch and bounced into the goal at the far post to put the hosts ahead. A beautiful goal that added to his tally that he inaugurated the previous week at Halle.
Münster’s reply was half-hearted, as they got into good positions but failed with the last ball, usually coming off the feet of their player Amaury Bischoff, who wasn’t as much on the money as he was last week against Wacker Burghausen. After the first drinks break, the game became quiet with RB on top and Preußen not finishing their possessions, which made life for Fabio Coltorti in the RB goal quite easy. With the match’s low pace, no doubt due to the hard weather conditions, the first time we saw players sprint after the goal was for the second drinks break, which seemed to inspire a bit of magic minutes later from Frahn, whose overhead kick went slightly wider than he would have wanted.
Surprisingly, the last five minutes of the half turned out to be hectic. RB could have doubled their lead after a good move between Frahn and Bastian Schulz inside the area, with the RB captain shooting just wide. This chance seemed to wake Münster up as they pushed and put long balls into the RB area, albeit without much danger. Yussuf Poulsen had another glorious chance but lingered on the ball too long and his shot was easily blocked by the defence. And as one team did not take their chances, the other one did. Just on the brink of half-time, Benjamin Siegert was allowed to drive the ball into the RB half without opposition and the midfielder had so much space that he continued running up to the area, squeezed through two RB defenders and placed a beautiful shot with the outside of his right foot past Coltorti and into the corner of the net to make it 1-1. It was a chance that came out of nowhere and, despite the brilliant finish, the blame rests on the lethargic defence, as RB were left wondering how they didn’t go into the dressing room in the lead.
The second half started quietly once again and both sets of players seemed lethargic in the heat. On the quarter-hour mark, RB were in front again. A brilliant run on the left by Karsten Kammlott, who had just come on, saw him put a cross back into the area which missed everyone… except Bastian Schulz, who found himself in possession and with an empty net six yards in front of him, duly slotting it in and putting his side in the lead once again. Preußen’s possessions, just like in the first half, were wasteful and didn’t allow them to build play properly in the search for the equaliser until, with ten minutes to go, they ended up clicking.
A brilliantly-crafted move in RB’s last third involving five passes from five different players saw the ball end up on the left wing and Fabian Hergesell chipped it to the far post where it was met by Rogier Krohne who had just come on, nodding it into the empty net after beating his marker, after yet another lesson on how not to defend by the Leipzig Abwehr .
RB did not react to the goal and the match slowly drew itself to a conclusion, with Preußen Münster being the much happier of the two sides after making the most of their lack of chances whilst RB will have to question their own defending and will leave them asking themselves how they were not able to win a match that they clearly dominated.
It wasn’t a classic at the osnatel-ARENA but the hosts did enough to maintain their 100% record this season by narrowly beating an adventurous and dangerous Borussia Dortmund U23 side. The hosts’ first real warning came on 10′, as Daniel Nagy saw his shot cleared off the line. As Borussia lay deep waiting for the counter to make their most of their speed, Osnabrück took advantage of that and dominated the match, although the travelling Dortmund fans easily won the battle of the stands, with away support the first team would have been proud of. Osnabrück superiority translated into goals just over the half-hour mark, as Adriano Grimaldi put them ahead after finding himself in space on 31′. After half-time, the game was a sluggish midfield affair and it only came to life in the last quarter of an hour, with Osnabrück piling on the pressure but failing to increase their lead, giving Dortmund chances to equalise on the break, which lead to a nervy finish for the boys in purple. However, it ended 1-0 and it the win leaves Osnabrück second in the table equal on points at the top with a 100% record.
Darmstadt will feel aggrieved not to have come out with all three points in a match that ended up all square with a goal apiece. Stuttgart started the brighter team and centre back Daniel Vier headed onto the crossbar after a cross from Tobias Rathgeb. Stuttgart had goalkeeper Odissaes Vlachodimos to thank after a string of saves prevented the hosts from going ahead. It was once again a case of chances missed and being made to pay for it as a poor clearance by the Darmstadt defence fell inside the area to Alexander Riemann, who beautifully brought the ball down with his right foot and put a left-footed shot into the back of the net with the ‘keeper helpless. With Stuttgart legends Krassimir Balakov, Guido Buchwald and Fredi Bobic among the spectators in the stands, Stuttgart failed to capitalise on their lead, with Marvin Wanitzek hitting the post from point- blank range when scoring would have been easier. Five minutes after the restart, Darmstadt were level, as Michael Stegmayer’s corner was met with a powerful header by Dominik Stroh-Engel that thundered into the net. Stroh-Engel could have put his side ahead with a carbon-copy situation but headed just over from another Stegmayer corner, albeit from the other side. Stegmayer was once again the potential provider from the corner but Benjamin Gorka’s header was cleared on the line by Rathgeb. Tim Leibold was shown a second yellow which left the home side short with 20 minutes left to play. Darmstadt, however, were not able to capitalise, even with Stroh-Engel finding himself one-on-one with Vlachodimos with five minutes to spare, but the German-Greek ‘keeper once again coming to his side’s rescue and earning Stuttgart a point.
This was the weekend’s riot match as newcomers Holstein Kiel put five past Saarbrücken after going a goal down, with all six goals coming in the second half. Both teams had clear chances to go one up at the break but were not able to capitalise on them. Nobody envisaged the shower of goals that was to come in the second 45′. After their dominance in the first half, Kiel were dealt a bitter blow after Raffael Korte finished coolly one-on-one to put the visitors ahead after 48′. The response did not take long as, just four minutes later, Marcel Gebers equalised with a header after a cross from the right wing by Tim Siedschlag. Three minutes later, Kiel were ahead; a dead ball inside the area was squared by Siedschlag to Casper Johansen, who slotted into the empty net. Kiel then made it three goals in six minutes in a crazy first ten minutes of the second half, as Tim Danneberg bundled the ball into the net after goalkeeper Timo Ochs had palmed a header by Marcel Schied into his path. It was a surprise to see 20 minutes pass without a goal but, with ten minutes to go, Kiel got their fourth. A free-kick by Siedschlag on the left into the area was met by Gebers at the far post, slotting it in to put the game beyond doubt. There was still time for a fifth, as Jaroslaw Lindner capped off an individual move inside the area by shooting low and hard past Ochs. It was the clearest definition of a “match of two halves” as Saarbrücken continue their winless streak in the league, which spans 7 games, and will have to improve if they don’t want to come away with a hiding at the hands of Werder Bremen in the DFB Pokal next Sunday.
It felt like two points dropped by Heidenheim as Jahn Regensburg clawed back a late draw from one of the promotion favourites. The hosts were ahead after just 13′ with a powerful low drive from 20 yards by Florian Niederlechner that beat Patrick Wiegers at his near post. Wiegers made amends minutes later after a spectacular save from a dipping long-distance shot by Sven Sökler but would have had it much tougher had referee Martin Thomsen seen the clear handball by Mario Neunaber inside the area. Thomsen however did see Philip Heise’s trip on Aias Aosman inside the box on 40′, as Neunaber himself coolly dispatched from the spot to make it 1-1 against the run of play. After 20 minutes of the second half, Heidenheim were in the lead again; captain Marc Schnatterer lobbed a ball into the box from the halfway line which was flicked on by Sebastian Griesbeck inside the area and nodded into the goal by Martin Göhlert. Regensburg desperately searched for an equaliser which finally came with ten minutes to go. Substitute Benedikt Schmidt put in a great cross from the right flank that found Jim-Patrick Müller inside the six-yard box, who slotted the ball in at point-blank range. Regensburg even had the chance to win it late on but Heidenheim held onto a match that they should easily have won.
Erfurt came out the clear winners in this East German derby with a convincing 3-0 victory over their rivals from 75 miles down the road. Hallescher FC had the first big chance of the game as former-Wolfsburg man Akaki Gogia powered in a shot from the corner of the goalmouth but was met by the hands of an excellent Philipp Klewin. Erfurt exerted their dominance on the match shortly after and took the lead on 20′, as a free-kick from the right wing bounced inside the area, with Mijo Tunjić pouncing on it and slotting it home with a true poacher’s effort. The visitors’ reply didn’t take long as Klewin once again saved from point-blank range after a powerful header from Adil Lachheb. Erfurt doubled their lead ten minutes before the break as Toni Lindenhahn and Anton Müller both brought down Aykut Özturk inside the box. Just like last week, Nils Pfingsten-Reddig, the penalty specialist, sent Dominik Kisiel the wrong way to put his side 2-0 up. After the break, the hosts took a step back but were still the better side, On the hour mark, Simon Brandstetter hit the crossbar with a spectacular shot from 25 yards and Tunjić also hit the woodwork minutes later after a good turn inside the box. Hallescher were putting in a hard and strong performance but did not have the quality to really trouble Erfurt’s goal. Marius Strangl made sure of the three points after scoring Erfurt’s third on 90′, after a nice combination inside the box with Tunjić. Quality prevailed and Erfurt are now with two wins out of two as Hallescher FC are still looking for their first points and goals of the campaign.
After last week’s disappointing home loss against Heidenheim, forcefully-relegated Duisburg needed to bounce back against joint-bottom of the table Burghausen. They did just that and the Zebras exerted their dominance from the off, with Burghausen once again calling on goalkeeper and last week’s Man des Tages Stephan Loboué to save them. Duisburg translated their dominance onto the scoreboard after Markus Bollmann headed in from a corner on 36′. Michael Ratajczak and Loboué both made fine saves in the beginning of the second half to keep their sides in the game and it was poor finishing from both teams that also prevented further goals at this point. Substitute Athanasios Tsourakis was unlucky to hit the post after a beautiful little slalom inside the box and Burghausen had the ball in the net shortly after, only to be ruled out offside. Any chances the home side may have had after that faded with three minutes left as Kingsley Onuegbu smartly cut inside in the box and slided the ball past Loboué for Duisburg’s first three points of the campaign in a match that they made hard work of. Burghausen’s performance did not dispel the doubts that they might be a relegation candidate for this season.
Rostock midfielder David Blacha was the star of the match as both his goals were enough to secure a win against a wasteful Elversberg side. Marc Gallego inexplicably missed a chance from two yards out for the hosts just after the 30′ mark and Rostock made the most of the gift by scoring a minute before the break. Blacha met a cross from the right by Julian Jakobs inside the box and volleyed the ball with class into the net free of mark. Seconds after the restart it was 1-1. A glorious solo run by Milad Salem from just inside the Rostock half saw him beat two men before triggering a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner of the net for Elversberg’s first goal of the season. Rostock were back on top after just 10 minutes, and Blacha once again, capping off a man-of-the-match performance, calmly slotted past Kenneth Kronholm inside the box to make it 2-1 to the visitors. Elversberg had further chances to equalise but poor precision and the safe hands of Johannes Brinkies meant that the three points made the long trip back to the Ostsee.
The other thrashing of the week came at the expense of Stuttgarter Kickers, who had no response to Wehen’s attacking force. Two goals in each half sealed the victory for the hosts who sit proudly at the top of the table thanks to their superior goal difference. Wehen drew first blood after just 9′ with a spectacular effort by Tobias Jänicke, who after a one-two with Jose-Pierre Vunguidica unleashed an unstoppable mid-height shot that slotted nicely in the corner of the net. Ten minutes later, it was 2-0. Robert Müller found himself inside the box and squared it for Alf Mintzel who made no mistake from two yards out. It could have been three before the break but Jänicke inexplicably missed with the goal and goalkeeper Markus Krauss at his mercy. After the break, Kickers had a great chance but Fabian Gerster headed wide and any chances that they may have had to get back into the game disappeared when Krauss brought down Vunguidica inside the box and Michael Wiemann made it 3-0 on 63′. Julian Grupp missed a glorious chance by shooting wide from just outside the six-yard box but Vunguidica made no mistake on 82′ to slot the ball past Krauss and make it 4-0 for Wehen. However, the joy of the victory was marred by the news that new signing Stephan Gusche tore his cruciate ligaments for the third time in his career and will be out of action long-term. Gusche was substituted by Nils-Ole Book on 61′.
It was a bitter blow for Chemnitz to not come out of this game with three points after leading for most of the match, as ‘Haching left it very late to share the spoils on this extremely hot Bavarian day. After just 8’, Chemnitz were in front. A free-kick from the left from Anton Makarenko was met inside the box by Josef Cinar to make it 1-0 to the visitors. Unterhaching responded aggressively but were not able to provide the finishing touches to their attacks. Chemnitz also went close at their end with chances by Makarenko and Cinar after long balls in the box. After the break, Chemnitzer seemed more Italian than East German and tried to play to contain the result rather than going for the sucker punch. An excellent save by Philipp Pentke denied ‘Haching’s most dangerous attacking threat, Andreas Voglsammer, after a header at the near post. And after playing with fire for so long, Chemnitz got burnt. On 89’, substitute Stefan Haas fed Maximilian Weizmüller unmarked just inside the box and the ‘Haching midfielder unleashed a first-time shot that beat Pentke at his near post to make it 1-1. There was little time for more and Chemnitzer will feel disappointed although the performance was a huge improvement from last week’s 0-3 home defeat to Osnabrück.
MANN DES TAGES
In a week of strong team performances, it was an individual performance that tipped the scales in only one match. Hansa Rostock’s victory at SV Elversberg was down mostly to David Blacha, whose two goals secured the points for his side. Blacha was a constant attacking threat all match long and his cool finishing and excellent positioning for both goals allowed him to show his cool finishing. They were his two first goals for Die Kogge after his summer move from SV Sandhausen. Blacha is a 22-year-old attacking midfielder who started out at Borussia Dortmund’s youth setup before moving to Rot-Weiß Ahlen in 2009, playing briefly in the team’s relegation season from the 2. Bundesliga and 29 games in the 3. Liga the season after. He then caught the attention of SV Sandhausen and won promotion from the 3. Liga to the 2. Bundesliga in 2011 with them, appearing mostly from the bench. Last year didn’t see Blacha make many appearances for Sandhausen and he was transferred on a free to Rostock this summer. For such a young player, his experience in both leagues (75 appearances in total) could become important this season, as Rostock are looking to bounce back after their relegation in 2012. If Blacha can find this kind of form regularly, Rostock could well be in line for a swift return to the second tier of German football.