This was the first 2.Bundesliga meeting between these two sides, surprising considering they’ve met in the Bundesliga, 3.Liga and even the Regionalliga Süd. Karlsruher have enjoyed their meetings with Darmstadt in the past, they’ve never tasted defeat against their hosts tonight and they’ve only conceded three goals against them. The biggest win for Karlsruher against Darmstadt was in the twos first meeting, in 1981 the two met in the Bundesliga and Karlsruher came away with a 6-2 victory. Despite a successful past against their hosts, Karlsruher were facing a much tougher challenge this time out.
Darmstadt sat in third place coming into this game and were a point ahead of Karlsruher, who were in sixth. The home side battled for a goalless draw against Kaiserslautern last time out and their guests tonight came into the game after a 1-0 win against Erzgebirge Aue last weekend.
The first half was rather disappointing and a half of football which won’t be admired. The opening stages were filled with plenty of promising attacks filtering out and the game struggled to progress with play being halted by fouls. The first bit of danger in the half came from Darmstadt, they managed to break quickly as a long ball down the line found Tobias Kempe and after linking up with Dominik Stroh-Engel the move soon resulted in a throw in. Leon-Aderemi Balogun produced a Rory Delap like throw in, which Stroh-Engel couldn’t make any contact on the throw and this allowed Milan Ivana to cause problems at the back post and after a small scramble the danger was finally cleared.
Karlsruher thought they took the lead just after the twenty minute mark, Manuel Torres clipped the ball to the back post to find Daniel Gordon, the Jamaican did well to get the better of his man and get a header on goal, it was heading for the bottom corner, however it wasn’t to be as Christian Mathenia reacted brilliantly to pull off a tremendous save, clawing the effort away from danger. The top keepers in the world would’ve been proud of making that save.
On the half hour mark Mathenia was once again sharp, this time he was sharp in quickly running off his line to tackle Torres out on the right wing, after some terrific covering there was a comical moment as the keeper feel over as he ran back to his goal.
Darmstadt had a half hearted appeal for a penalty turned down as the game approached half time. Kempe controlled with his chest before trying a scissor kick effort at goal, as he swung his leg at the ball he went down after some slight contact from Jonas Meffert.
Just before the half time whistle went a lovely cross was whipped in and Ivana had a great chance to give Darmstadt the lead, his header however was straight at Orlishausen.
Despite an increase in tempo for the second half, both sides continued to lack in the chance creation area, large parts of the game was disrupted due to the amount of fouls in the game.
Darmstadt should’ve taken the lead shortly after the break, once again they threatened from a Balogun long throw and once again it fell all the way to Ivana. After taking a touch he fired towards goal and the effort whistled past the post from seven yards out.
The chances were almost no existent, however the away side finally had a half chance when Hiroki Yamada picked the ball up on the left and after coming inside tried his luck from a tight angle, a deflection earned his side a corner.
Darmstadt were in for a very tough end to the game when Jérôme Gondorf was sent off with just over fifteen minutes left on the clock. The 26-year-old picked up his second yellow after pulling back Koen van der Biezen, who was breaking down the wing. The game was stopped a couple of minutes after the sending off, Karlsruher fans brought out the flares and forced a delay.
Tempers soon flared up when play resumed, Balogun was bursting down Darmstadt’s right, however he was taken down by Jan Mauersberger, the two players squared up to each other before being separated.
With the extra man Karlsruher increased the pressure and they almost made the most of the extra man late on. Gordon played a lovely ball over the top to find an unmarked van der Biezen, unfortunately for substitute Mathenia remained calm to produce another good save.
This certainly wasn’t a game to remember for football fans, however despite the lack of highly entertaining football, a point for both sides will be welcomed with open arms and could be important come the end of the season. This is the third draw between the sides and another goalless one to add to the previous two. Darmstadt have another home game next weekend as they welcome another tough opponent in the shape of Greuther Fürth. Things don’t get any easier for Karlsruher either as they host a much improved Eintracht Braunschweig side.
Article for VAVEL.