The DFB Pokal action returned tonight and one of the early kick-offs saw Regionalliga Südwest side Kickers Offenbach hosting 2.Bundesliga side Karlsruher SC. Both teams go into this game on the back of a win, Karlsruher are currently in 7th place and Kickers Offenbach are sitting at the top of their league, having lost just the once. The last time these two met was in the 2012/13 3.Liga season, Karlsruher won 2-1 that day. The visitors have had more luck in this fixture, they’ve come out on top six times, while Kickers Offenbach have only won two meetings, however they were both at home, a good omen?
Both sides made three changes from their starting eleven’s on the weekend, for Karlsruher they brought in Dominic Peitz, Manuel Torres and Silvano Varnhagen, they all took the places of Reinhold Yabo, Jonas Meffert & Jung-Bin Park. Kickers Offenbach changes were Denis Mangafic, Benjamin Pintol, Martin Röser in for Sascha Korb, Markus Müller and Fabian Bäcker.
Karlsruher started the stronger of the two sides and a well timed block saw Torres’ cross put out for another corner, he did well to skip past three defenders when Rouwen Hennings corner was headed out to him. Just past the ten minute mark Hiroki Yamada played a lovely pass through to Iliyan Mitsanski, he managed to stay just onside, however he then clashed with Giuliano Modica and no freekick was given, if it had Modica would’ve received his marching orders.
As Karlsruher continued to dominate Offenbach were trying their best to disrupt the away sides rhythm with plenty of fouls, despite their efforts they came very close to going behind when Hennings whipped in a terrific cross from the left. Manuel Gulde met the cross at the near post and his close range header was well saved by Daniel Endres, although the save did fall to Gulde once more and once again he failed to score as he volleyed over the bar.
Throughout the first half the home side struggled to create chances and keep possession inside their opponents half, however they did manage to improve towards the break. A great cross to the back post saw Matthias Schwarz knock the ball back across goal, sadly for the home side Daniel Gordon was there to clear the danger. Soon after Alexandros Theodosiadis tried his luck with an attempt from range, it was a good effort, despite Dirk Orlishausen comfortably dealing with it.
Early on in the second half Pintol tried catching out Orlishausen when he tried his luck from a crossing position, his shot was heading for the top corner but the Karlsruher keeper was able to keep it out. Karlsruher and Torres responded to that effort, Torres skipped past his marker and delivered a low cross into the box, unfortunately for his side the cross was stopped by Modica, who was able to knock the dangerous cross out for a corner.
OFC came very close to opening the scoring, Röser produced a fantastic turn to get away from a defender, after bursting down the right he managed to pick out Christian Cappek, his effort from the edge of the area bounced past Orlishausen and he was denied by the post. It was the closest they came to a goal, however that didn’t matter as a minute later they managed to take the lead, a freekick into the box saw Klaus Gjasula beat Orlihasuen to the ball and his header dropped nicely into the path of the unmarked Pintol, who smashed into the empty net. This sparked fantastic scenes as OFC celebrated as if it was a last minute winner.
Karlsruher struggled to respond after going a goal down and they were almost two behind when a delightful move saw Jan Biggel produce a nutmeg before Gjasula brilliantly got round a defender and fired an effort from range, Orlishausen was forced into action and made a good save to deny the midfielder.
Karlsruher ran out of ideas and couldn’t find a way past a strong Offenbach defence, the fourth tier side deserved the win after a terrific second half performance. Karlsruher will certainly be disappointed with the early exit and they’ll have to make it up to their 3,000 travelling fans by getting a good result against Sandhausen on Friday. Kickers Offenbach are into the third round an they’ll be eagerly waiting for the draw, meanwhile they’ll have to turn their attentions back onto the league as they travel to Hoffenheim II on Sunday.
Article for VAVEL.