Darmstadt’s last home match saw them disappointingly lose 4-1 when Fortuna Düsseldorf came to town, tonight they welcomed Nürnberg. The visitors won last weekend at home to RB Leipzig and they looked to continue their raise up the table, Darmstadt on the other hand were looking to end their run of three games without a win, two draws and the previously mentioned loss.
The game had an entertaining start and the first chance fell to Dominik Stroh-Engel, Darmstadt’s big man volleyed a freekick that found it’s way through everyone and thanks to a deflection it went narrowly wide. Nürnberg’s Alessandro Schöpf responded to Stroh-Engel’s effort with a shot from range and it was a good attempt as it flew just wide of Christian Mathenia’s post.
Another chance fell for the home side when Tobias Kempe’s freekick was punched away by Patrick Rakovsky, however the punch was only to Leon-Aderemi Balogun on the edge of the area and his effort was put wide.
Both sides continued to take it in turns to create their chances, a cross into the box from Daniel Candeias saw Niclas Füllkrug bearing down on goal and unfortunately for Nürnberg he was pressured from behind and could only put his effort straight into Mathenia’s arms. Darmstadt’s Jérôme Gondorf then crossed and it was poorly dealt with by Jürgen Mössmer as he sliced it into the path of Hanno Behrens, despite the gift the Darmstadt midfielder failed to make the net bulge by putting his effort wide.
Nürnberg came close when the ball was flicked into the path of Candeias and his low effort forced Mathenia into action, the Darmstadt keeper managed to adjust and save with his feet. Darmstadt once again responded with a chance of their own, this time it was their masked captain Aytac Sulu, after he headed wide he was left frustrated that he failed to make the most of his headed chance.
Darmstadt started to apply more pressure and they should’ve tested Rakovsky when Gondorf controlled well before laying the ball off to Florian Jungwirth, sadly for the home side he could only drag his effort wide. This didn’t matter as moments later the ball was in the back of the net, Marcel Heller played a lovely ball through to Stroh-Engel and he had no trouble controlling and slotting past Rakovsky. This ended Stroh-Engel’s goal drought, his last goal was back in matchday five, it’s been a long wait for his sixth of the season.
The second half almost started off with a bang, straight from kick off Gondorf attempted a shot from the halfway line and it almost paid off, Rakovsky back-pedalled and was just able to flick it over his bar. Darmstadt would’ve doubled their lead had it not been for Ondrej Celustka, after Behrens slipped the ball down the line to Heller and his cut back, Celustka cleared the danger stopping the ball finding it’s way to Stroh-Engel.
The away side came close to getting back into the game when Candeias’ freekick was cleared by Darmstadt, the ball was put back into the box and Jakub Sylvestr did very well to bring the high looping ball down and get a shot off, his attempt on goal flashed across goal and out for a goal kick. Mathenia almost gifted Nürnberg the equaliser soon after. After handing the referee, Martin Petersen a small object that was thrown by a fan, Candeias whipped in a corner towards the back post and it was supposed to be an easy catch for Mathenia, however the keeper dropped it and luckily he was denied the embarrassment as the ball bounced out for a corner.
Nürnberg were the side on top and an equaliser looked more likely than a Darmstadt second, despite their strong spell Nürnberg did indeed concede a second. Kempe provided a lovely back-heel to find Balogun and the right-back came inside and fired a low shot across goal and into the bottom corner. This was the 26-year-old’s first goal for Darmstadt.
Twelve minutes after the second Darmstadt killed off Nürnberg by scoring a third, Gondorf carried the ball forward and managed to pick out Kempe, the25-year-old winger cut inside and fired past Rakovsky.
After the third it was a simple case of seeing the game out for Darmstadt, something they managed to do without any problems. It was a solid performance from the home side, they remained strong at the back and were clinical when they needed to be. After tonight’s win Darmstadt now move up to 4th place, they’re now level on points with RB Leipzig in 3rd and Kaiserslautern in 5th. It was a disappointing loss for Nürnberg, they failed to make the most of a couple of great chances and found themselves being carved open too easily. Nürnberg are now in 12th place and will host a struggling St. Pauli side next Saturday, Darmstadt on the other hand travel to 6th place Heidenheim.
Article for VAVEL.