It’s not long now till the Bundesliga kicks off, however today was the turn of arguably the best second tier league in world football, the 2.Bundesliga. There are plenty of big teams in the 2.Bundesliga this season and the title race should be an exciting one with the likes of Fortuna Düsseldorf, Eintracht Braunschweig, St. Pauli, 1860 Munich, Greuther Fürth and Nürnberg.
Today Fortuna Düsseldorf hosted Eintracht Braunschweig and this will arguably be the game of the weekend, two huge sides, the former finished in 6th place last season having faced relegation from the Bundesliga and the latter have relegation still fresh in the mind. Both these sides should be challenging for a return to the top tier, but as many clubs can confirm it won’t be easy.
Düsseldorf decided to hand new signings Pohjanpalo and Sergio Pinto a debut, while Braunschweig gave Gikiewicz, Hedenstad and Korte their first competitive starts for the club.
The first half belonged to the home side and they started very brightly. The impressive Liendl produced a low cross for Hoffer, but the striker failed to get good contact on the cross and Fortuna were denied an early goal. Braunschweig were dealt a huge blow when they lost Hochscheidt early on in the game, after going off after just ten minutes Lieberknecht handed Hendrick Zuck his first appearance for the club. The luck weren’t with the away side, Nielsen took a heavy touch before being brought down by Schmidtgal just inside the area and despite the Braunschweig claims the referee Deniz Aytekin waved away the protests, this proved to be the incorrect decision.
Despite having the most of the ball and playing the better football Düsseldorf struggled to test Gikiewicz in the Braunschweig goal, but that all changed in the thirty-fourth minute. Halloran played the ball to Liendl, the midfielder moved the ball onto his left foot and struck a beautiful effort past everyone and into the top corner, the Braunschweig keeper couldn’t get near it. Braunschweig almost found a response just before the break, Nielsen found himself on the end of a good cross into the box and his half volley flew just over the bar.
The second half saw Braunschweig come out with a lot more energy and they were certainly the stronger of the two sides, whatever Lieberknecht said at the break looked to have worked. Rensing was forced into making two good saves early on in the half, one denying Nielsen with his feet, the Norwegian was growing more and more into the game.
On the hour mark Braunschweig made the most of their pressure, they were threatening with their crosses and this was how they got back into the game. New man Korte had plenty of space on the right side and he managed to pick out Reichel, the left back was able to volley the ball back across goal and past Rensing.
Sadly for Braunschweig and their fans the lead didn’t last long, the defence were caught too high up and a long ball over the top allowed Hoffer to run towards goal before playing the ball across to Benschop, the substitute calmly tucked his shot into the bottom left corner.
Braunschweig brought on 21-year-old attacker Bakenga with twenty minutes to go and the youngster looked lively for the away side. Bakenga was able to break free of his marker and he should’ve been given a penalty, the Norwegian was through on goal, but was denied after he was caught by the leg of Rensing, once again the referee failed to award a penalty. Bakenga soon had another chance to get off to the perfect start, a lovely team move from Braunschweig saw Nielsen poke the ball to the free Bakenga, however he was let down by a poor touch.
With just six minutes remaining Düsseldorf failed to keep their lead for a second time, Zuck’s cross back across the box was only cleared to Nielsen and the Norweigain striker fortunately skipped past the last defender before seeing his shot hit Rensing and looping into the empty net.
FT: Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-2 Eintracht Braunschweig.
Fortuna travel to Berlin next Friday as they come up against Union Berlin, Braunschweig will host newcomers Heidenheim next Saturday.
Article for VAVEL.