Lions tamed by Fürth
Bundesliga Second Division: SpVgg Greuther Fürth defeat TSV 1860 Munich 4-1
Allianz Arena, Munich, March 17 – The long john winter warmers, hats, gloves and thermal vests can now be put away. The sun is finally here and on Saturday blessed us with a beautiful warm day in the Bavarian capital.
League leaders SpVgg Greuther Fürth travelled the short distance down the A9 hoping to keep their promotion campaign on track by wrestling 3 points from an 1860 team that has recently being blownig hot and cold.
Djorde Rakic was the noticeable absentee from the starting lineup having picked up an injury in the midweek game away to Erzgebirge Aue. In came Maximillian Nicu to cover his position on the left of midfield. Nicu has looked effective in central midfield on the few occasions he has appeared but coach Reiner Maurer has a habit of utilizing players in unfamiliar positions.
The Lions started the game well and dominated proceedings for the opening 10 minutes but the bubble burst in the 14th minute when Stefan Buck was turned inside out by Felix Kraus who chipped the ball into the danger area and found Olivier Occean in space to pull the trigger from 10 yards and fire Fürth into the lead against the run of play.
Parity was restored five minutes later when Nicu battled hard to play in Kevin Volland. Volland tried to round Max Grün, the Fürth goalkeeper who brought him down for a clear penalty. Up stepped Daniel Bierfoka to slam the ball into the back of the net and level the tie – one each.
When the match clock struck 27 minutes Fürth scored again. This time Stefan Fürstner with an almost identical strike to Occeans’ opener.
The Lions still had some fight left in them and went close twice just after the half hour mark. First Aigner shied away from a shooting opportunity and squared for Volland to squander, then Buck hit a sublime looping shot from outside the area which rattled the crossbar. Lady luck clearly had other arrangements today.
At half time the sides went in for a well deserved respite. The problem is, the home side took a few minutes longer to get themselves back in game mode. As the whistle blew to signal the start of the second half, barely 30 seconds had past when a huge cross from the right wing was delivered to perfection at the back post. It found the head of Occean to nod in for the visitors’ third goal and stun the hosts.
Not many of the 29600 that turned out to watch this derby game could foresee a comeback now. Fürth were in top gear now and only had to hit the cruise control switch to play out the remaining 44 minutes.
If the hosts needed some luck before they would need a miracle when in the 52nd minute Felix Klaus found himself in possession and had begun a 30 yard run to leave just Gabor Kiraly in the Sechzig goal to beat. He calmly slotted the ball home to round off the scoring for the afternoon.
It was clear that with a 3-goal lead the Cloverleaves would now slow the game down. The remainder of the game was played out with little to excite the fans. Fürth were rarely troubled and fully deserved their victory.
With one eye on Tuesday’s DFB Pokal semi-final with Borussia Dortmund, Fürth were conscious of escaping Munich with the health of the squad intact. “After the third goal everybody knew we had to take it easy on the field. I tried to play easy, not too much running, everyone understood that so it was good,” said two-goal hero Occean.