During the week Kaiserslautern announced that 35-year-old Konrad Fünfstück will take over as the club’s head coach after a spell as interim boss. His first match as the official head coach was a trip to Karlsruher to face a home side looking to extend their unbeaten run to five games. The visitors were defeated by Sandhausen last time out and they were looking to respond immediately.
Before Saturday’s match the two sides sat in the middle of the table with three points separating Karlsruher in twelfth from Kaiserslautern in eleventh.
Last season both sides battled it out for third spot and although this time they were both lower than they expected an entertaining match was expected. However it’s fair to say that the first half was far from entertaining, an intense battle from the off and because of this the game struggled to get going. Lots of fouls and a lack of cutting edge in attack meant both keepers, Dirk Orlishausen and Marius Müller had pretty comfortable afternoon’s for a while.
Most of the attacks from both sides came from the wings and crosses were certainly the order of the day, sadly they weren’t on the special’s menu. Most were dealt with with ease or over hit as the wingers failed to pick out their targets.
The fast meaningful bit of action for either keeper came just after the half hour mark as Karlsruher were awarded a freekick from thirty yards out. Enrico Valentini tried his luck from that distance and it was worth it, the effort bounced just before the goal and forced Müller to parry the ball wide.
From the resulting corner the home side came close as Dominic Peitz leapt the highest to send a looping header towards the back post, the header tempted Dennis Kempe and two defenders to challenge at the back post and the ball deflected off the back of a defender for another corner.
Just before the break Karlsruher were awarded a penalty, Erwin Hoffer was sent through, however Sascha Mockenhaupt managed to get the ball first, despite this Hoffer showed terrific work in quickly regaining possession with his strength before being pulled down by Mockenhaupt. The penalty was given much to Mockenhaupt’s disgust.
Dimitrij Nazarov took the responsibility and comfortably slotted the ball into the bottom left corner, Müller went the right way but unfortunately couldn’t get the all important fingertips on the ball.
Karlsruher made a lightning start to the second half and after just a couple of minutes they had the ball in the back of the net. Sadly for the home crowd the goal was disallowed, the goal deflected off Stipe Vucur deflected up and looped over Müller, however Jan Mauersberger fouled Vucur just as the ball struck the Croatian.
The disallowed goal was all forgotten about seconds later as Kaiserslautern went further behind. Possession was gifted to Karlsruher by a poor pass out wide and after failing to clear their lines the red devils were punished. A tackle from Vucur fell perfectly to Grischa Prömel and the midfielder’s powerful strike flew in for his first goal for Karlsruher.
Kaiserslautern were rather disappointing in all departments, however in the last half hour they started to put up a fight and their best chance came just after the hour mark. Daniel Halfar picked up the ball on the edge of the area and his effort went narrowly wide of the post.
Karlsruher were comfortable and they saw out the result with ease as Kaiserslautern’s fight was short lived as they failed to show any character to win the match. A pleasing match for the home side who are now five game’s unbeaten and are starting to look up, as for Kaiserslautern they’ll be hoping that performance was a one off, it certainly has to raise a few alarm bells.
It’s another away trip for Kaiserslautern next week as they travel to Bochum and they’ll need to bounce back a show much more passion and fight, if not the result may be worse than the one today. As for Karlsruher they will look to extend their unbeaten run and make it three wins in a row against Nürnberg next Monday.
Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.