Fortuna Düsseldorf at home is normally a very tough place to go and rather than being a happy return to the ESPRIT arena after some away day blues, tonight’s home outing turned out to be a nightmare for Düsseldorf as they suffered a disappointing loss to Sandhausen.
The home side suffered a surprise defeat last weekend when they came unstuck against an Aalen side that hadn’t won in their last five league games. Düsseldorf were looking to bounce back from the disappointment and regain some form, the defeat to Aalen was the club’s first since August and ended the club’s eleven match unbeaten run.
Sandhausen haven’t won many games this season, after securing three wins in a row back in September they went into this fixture with just one win in eight games, last weekend they managed to hold RB Leipzig to a goalless draw.
The home side were enjoying most of the possession in the opening few minutes of the game, then they were left stunned in the fourth minute, the defence were caught napping when Julian Schauerte gave away possession it allowed Marco Thiede to play a delightful pass through to Aziz Bouhaddouz, who after his first touch fired across goal to finish brilliantly past Lars Unnerstall.
Things almost got worse for Düsseldorf a few minutes later, from a Sandhausen corner Manuel Stiefler was able to get ahead of his marker and head towards goal, the effort cannoned of the crossbar to deny the 26-year-old. The home side received another warning when Lukas Kübler’s cross picked out an unmarked Bouhaddouz at the back past, fortunately for the hosts the goalscorer was unable to get the ball under control. During the opening twenty minutes the Moroccan born German, Bouhaddouz continued to cause Düsseldorf’s back line problems.
Despite their sloppy play at the back Düsseldorf managed to find an equaliser thanks to a moment of magic from Australian Ben Halloran. The 22-year-old midfielder linked up well with Joel Pohjanpalo, who delightfully chipped the ball over the top back to Halloran and he provided the outstanding finish the move deserved by lobbing the ball over the head of Manuel Riemann and going in off the crossbar.
Sandhausen almost had the perfect response to losing their lead, a cross from the right went over the head ofAndrew Wooten and his marker, allowing Bouhaddouz a free header from five-yards out, which he somehow direct wide of the post.
Sandhausen were gifted plenty of attacks throughout the first half and one of those thanks to good pressure saw Thiede and Bouhaddouz link up very well down the right and the former laid the ball off to Stiefler, who moved the ball over to Denis Linsmayer, who’s left footed effort from outside the area flew just over.
Düsseldorf started the second half with much better intensity and they came close to scoring when Michael Liendl whipped in a great curling freekick, no contact was made on the ball yet it still forced Riemann into palming the freekick out for a corner.
There weren’t a huge amount of goalscoring opportunities in the second half. After quietening down more in the second half it came as a surprise when Sandhausen regained their lead, a corner saw Kübler win a header and he was denied by the post, fortunately Seyi Olajengbesiwas free to poke the rebound in from close range. Düsseldorf were denied an instant response, Sérgio Pinto produced an excellent freekick which was heading for the top corner, until Riemann leapt up and clawed the effort away.
Things turned into a nightmare for the hosts as their defence were caught out once again, the impressive Bouhaddouz played through Nicky Adler, who managed to beat the offside trap and burst into the area, the substitute then perfectly played the ball back to Bouhaddouz, who had an easy tap in for his second of the game.
As the game crept into the last ten minutes Adler was played through once again and after shrugging off Adam Bodzek the ball was stuck under his feet and he could only direct his effort straight into Unnerstall’s arms. The last action of the game saw Kübler pick out Stiefler, who unfortunately for the visitors failed to make it four as he blazed his effort well over.
The ESPRIT arena is an incredibly tough place to visit, Düsseldorf have only lost twice at home in the whole of 2014, so with Sandhausen making it a third they deserve some credit for a great performance. Düsseldorf didn’t before to their best this evening and often gifted possession to their guests in dangerous areas. They’ll be hoping things improve when they travel to face FSV Frankfurt, they go into that game with two losses in a row. Sandhausen manage to get a much needed victory and that will give them lots of confidence going into their home match against Bochum.