Aalen 0-0 Darmstadt: Strugglers Aalen earn a hard fought draw against high-flyers Darmstadt.

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It’s finally arrived, the 2.Bundesliga is back and Aalen couldn’t have been given a much harder. They had the pleasure of hosting one of the divisions surprise packages in Darmstadt, Die Lilien are currently in third place and they were looking to continue their charge towards the top and potentially earn promotion. For Aalen, they’re at the bottom end fighting for survival, a victory in the first game back would be much welcomed as they look over their shoulders at fellow strugglers St. Pauli and Erzgebirge Aue.

Darmstadt had an early chance to surprise their hosts from a corner, the delivery was headed down towards the back post by Aytac Sulu and the club’s top scorer Dominik Stroh-Engel should’ve hit the target, like he’s done on many occasions before. The net did ripple, however it was the side netting as under pressure from a sliding tackle he put his chance wide.

The visitors were putting their hosts under a lot of early pressure, however nothing came of that pressure until just before the twenty-minute mark. Florian Jungwirth played a lovely ball to unleash Marcel Heller down Darmstadt’s left, he managed to pick out Stroh-Engel in the middle and after he laid the ball off to Milan Ivana, the midfielder couldn’t find the target with his curling shot.

The home side did muster up a few attacks, however like their opponents nothing ever came of them, their shots from outside the area was either blocked or comfortably straight at Christian Mathenia. One of the most promising moves from Aalen saw them almost carve open a decent chance, Jürgen Gjasula managed to slip the ball through to Andreas Hofmann, however he was surrounded by defenders and failed to pick out a team mate, Romain Brégerie managed to clear the danger.

The second half started much more promisingly and after a couple of minutes Aalen should’ve taken the lead after hitting Darmstadt with a counter attack. New signing Orhan Ademi slipped the ball to Andreas Ludwig, who’s effort was well blocked by Mathenia. Ludwig quickly regained possession and picked out Ademi inside the six-yard box, two defenders on the line did brilliantly to block his attempt, before Brégerie rushed out to stop Gjasula putting a third attempt on goal.

Aalen came out the better of the two sides in the second half and had it not been for Brégerie at the back, they probably would’ve grabbed a deserved lead. The French defender managed to get back to produce a well time block to deny Michael Klauß.

Darmstadt hadn’t got out of first gear in the second half and in came Jan Rosenthal for his debut. Minutes later however Aalen came close once more, a lovely team move saw Klauß and Ademi linking up well as they carved through the Darmstadt defence, Ademi finally played the ball across to Ludwig and his effort flew just over the crossbar.

If Darmstadt were to score in this game it was looking like it would come from a set piece and as the game approached twenty minutes from time, they almost did just that. Jérôme Gondorf delivered a great cross from a free kick on the right, the cross was met by the head of Leon-Aderemi Balogun and the fullback’s luck was out as his header bounced out after hitting the inside of the post. The action died down once more and we had to wait till a few minutes before the end for the next chance, Rosenthal set up Heller and the winger was denied a winning goal as the crossbar came to Daniel Bernhardt’s rescue.

The game was a fair result for both sides, both lacked chances and both needed to do more for the three points. Darmstadt will be disappointed with the goalless draw, it was chance to keep the pressure on Ingolstadt and the other sides around them. Aalen will be pleased with a hard fought draw, they move up to 15th for now, however the pressure is very much on as bottom side Aue picked up a vital win against RB Leipzig. Up next for Aalen they have another tough test as they travel to Kaiserslautern, who like Darmstadt are fighting for promotion. Darmstadt face another team down at the bottom, they host 1860 Munich and they’ll be hoping they can produce a better display than they did against Aalen.

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