Both sides went into the winter break and could comfortably say they had a great first half of the season. Today they were looking to make a statement and continue their pushes for promotion. With other teams in the promotion mix playing each other and Darmstadt dropping points, it was the perfect time to defeat a promotion rival.
The game started in the lively fashion and both sides were able to create half chances, both keepers were forced into action early. Fortuna Düsseldorf gave their hosts scare when Oliver Fink came close. Michael Liendl’s freekick saw him flick the ball on with a header and it narrowly went wide, Dirk Orlishausen comfortably saw the ball out of play.
Fortuna were struggling to create chances as they often found themselves shooting from distance and mostly not testing Orlishausen. Karlsruher were positive in their attacks, however they were lacking in the final ball.
After the thirty minute mark Hiroki Yamada was denied a run at goal after knocking the ball past Jonathan Tah, the Hamburg loanee blocked off the Karlsruher midfielder. The resulting freekick almost created the opener, a lovely delivery towards the back post and Daniel Gordon leapt the highest to head just wide.
Tah having been booked for the challenge on Yamada, soon found himself walking down the tunnel. A clumsy challenge out wide on Manuel Torres saw him pick up a second booking three minutes after his first. Torres made the foul look a lot worse than it was, something the Düsseldorf players weren’t happy with.
The opening goal finally came ten minutes into the second half and it went in the way of the home team. Yamada charged into the area before he was taken down by a poor challenge from Adam Bodzek, the defender getting nowhere near the ball. Rouwen Hennings was the man that stepped up to take the spot kick and he calmly slotted into the bottom left corner as Michael Rensing dived the wrong way.
With ten men it was going to be hard for Fortuna to come back into this game, well that’s what you would think, however that wasn’t the case. Five minutes after going behind the visitors were level again. Liendl whipped in a terrific freekick from Fortuna’s right and Fink was there to flick it on and fortunately it found it’s way past everyone and into the corner out of Orlishausen’s reach.
Everything positive for the hosts came through Yamada, the Japanese midfielder managed to wriggle his way into the box, getting past Andreas Lambertz and Julian Schauerte before dragging his shot wide.
Once again it was Yamada to provide a creative spark for Karlsruher, this time he cross from the left to pick out Manuel Torres, the Spaniard controlled with his chest before scuffing his shot, despite that it forced Orlishausen into a save.
Karlsruher were looking like the team that was going to find that all important winning goal, however after a long spell of pressuring Fortuna the home side came close to going behind. The ball came out to Liendl and the Austrian fired a low shot towards goal, only to see it go narrowly wide, just as well for Orlishausen as he didn’t look like he would’ve got to the effort had it been on target.
Karlsruher had plenty of possession in the last few minutes, however they struggled to break down the ten men of Fortuna. The closest they came was a minute into injury time, Enrico Valentini delivered a great freekick into the area and Iliyan Mitsanski stretched to win the header, sadly for the hosts it flew just past the post.
Fortuna defended very well after going down to ten and they would’ve frustrated Karlsruher, who had plenty of possession and quite a few chances to get a winning goal. Both sides will take a draw, Karlsruher stay in third place as they overtake Darmstadt on goal difference, however Kaiserslautern leapfrog them into second place after their win. Fortuna will be the happier of the two sides and they also stay where they are, opportunity missed as RB Leipzig and Braunschweig both loss and Darmstadt drew on Friday. Up next for Karlsruher they travel to Heidenheim, while Fortuna welcome second from bottom Aue to Düsseldorf.