1. FC Kaiserslautern – SV Sandhausen review

Each team had its moments of consistent possession in the first half. Sandhausen was a little better in the initial phase, but the roles changed in the second part of the half. With a changed system (4-2-3-1) after the break Sandhausen controlled the game, forcing the hosts to defensive mistakes and won.

FC Kaiserslautern started in the expected 4-4-2 system, with Correia replacing suspended Moritz. They had a difficult initial phase because Sandhausen’s aggressive pressing with Forster and Linsmayer against Correia and Seufert forced them to several ball losses. With Jenssen’s appearance in a more central position Kaiserslautern finally managed to advance in the opponent’s half with consistent possession. Suddenly the roles changed after 20-25 minutes, with the hosts being more active and pushing Sandhausen towards their own penalty box. This aggressiveness and the guest’s low positioning helped them recover the ball early, starting new offensive actions from the opposite half. The usual offensive movement was implemented again, with the first chance after Spalvis’ long shot when dropping unmarked between the lines. Several actions were tried on the left side, with Osawe moving there to receive the ball and use his speed. If he passed by the first opponent, he was immediately attacked by the second one before becoming dangerous.

Kenan Kocak made a last minute change; Daghfous was replaced with Wright after suffering a warm up injury. Sandhausen started in a 3-4-2-1 offensive shape, with high and aggressive pressing winning several balls without letting the opponent time to build up any early danger. Despite this good phase and some acceleration, the only chance was created after a corner kick. The defensive formation was 5-2-2-1. In their difficult period they couldn’t quickly regain the attacking positions, leading to Kaiserslautern moments of midfield dominance. The defense was rock solid though, compact and well organized, winning most of the duels. They studied the opponent’s offensive moves very well and didn’t allow more than Spalvis’ shot. Also Osawe’s movement on the left flank was neutralized before becoming dangerous, with Kister helping Gislason, even Karl being ready to block the quick striker.

Key move from Kocak in the second half – he ordered Karl to play on the double six with Linsmayer, with Forster in the offensive line of 3 behind Sukuta-Pasu. So, Sandhausen was arranged in a 4-2-3-1 offensive system and 4-4-2 defensive shape. This tactical change offered much freedom to Forster, who played between Kaiserslautern’s lines when Sandhausen was on the ball and he joined Sukuta-Pasu in the pressing when Kaiserslautern was on the ball. This way Kocak tried to have numerical advantage in midfield when his team was attacking and mirror the opponents when defending, in order to offer them no advantage in any part of the pitch. Frontzeck had no reaction to Sandhausen’s system change.

After a few missed counter attack chances and a dangerous header from Spalvis early in the second half Kaiserslautern was always a step behind their guests, who created a 3v2 advantage in the middle. Karl blocked or delayed several attacks of the hosts, keeping his team in offensive positions. Forster was always playable with his dynamic style, provoked ball losses in Kaiserslautern’s defense, was involved in all dangerous actions and scored the deserved winner. In the final minutes Kaiserslautern desperately tried to attack, but couldn’t beat Sandhausen’s strong defense.

Key scenes

18th min: Corner kick for Sandhausen. Paqarada crosses from the right, Kister jumps higher than his opponents, but he cannot direct his header dangerously.

28th min: Callsen-Bracker plays a long ball to Borrello, who loses the air duel with Paqarada. Spalvis was unmarked between Sandhausen’s lines, is the closest to the shortly cleared ball and his long shot forces Schuhen to a strong parade.

57th min: Borrello is completely free on the right side, Correia sees him and sends him the ball. Paqarada offers enough time to cross, which is perfectly synchronized with Spalvis move to get rid of his marking, but his header passes by the post. Jenssen makes a smart decoy run here making Knipping follow him, while Kister is too far from Spalvis and cannot block his header.

63rd min: After one of the many balls won by Karl in the opposite half he passes left to Paqarada, who is free. He has a lot of time to prepare his long range shot, Correia is too far to block him, but Muller saves.

68th min: Kister heads a long ball to the opposite half from the mid line. Seufert is well positioned but cannot control it. Forster regains possession, no defender hurries to stop or put pressure on him, he has enough time to synchronize his pass with Ibrahimaj’s run, he passes by Mwene, but Muller saves in a 1v1 situation.

70th min: Altintop drops in front of Kaiserslautern’s penalty box to start the action, but is closed down by two opponents and loses possession against Forster. Linsmayer is better positioned and passes to Sukuta Pasu, who is 1v1 with Vucur. He dribbles past his opponent but shots wide from ideal position.

78th min: Correia slips in the central circle, again Forster regains possession and starts the counter attack passing on the right side, where Gislason is free. Seufert desperately tries to close down the cross, but is too late. Sandhausen is in a 3v2 situation 16m away from the opposite goal. Ibrahimaj cannot control the ball, Callsen-Bracker misses the interception, Vucur clearance is too short, in the feet of Forster whose not so good shot is enough to beat Muller – 0-1.

86th min: Right corner kick for the hosts. Borrello takes it in to the far post, Altintop heads to Vucur in a central and quite free position, but his shot under pressure goes over the goal.

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