…That’s Vallori


Posted by Salman Mitha

Posted in Bundesliga / Football


Bundesliga 2nd Division 1860 Munich vs. MSV Duisburg

Allianz Arena, Munich, April 11  TSV 1860 Munich defeated MSV Duisburg 2-1 as Guillermo Vallori bagged his first goal for since the club in January.  The Spaniard opened the scoring in the 58th minute against the Zebras last night with an unstoppable free-kick.

Substitutes Srdjan Baljak and Emil Jula combined for the Duisburg equalizer in the 69th minute only for Benny Lauth to reclaim the lead for the Lions two minutes later when he finished from close range.

Less than 15,000 of the most passionate 1860 supporters could be persuaded to leave the comfort of their living room armchair and brave the April showers for the Lions game at home to MSV on Wednesday night.

On a very wet and slippery playing surface both teams struggled to get control of the ball throughout the game.  Kevin Volland, so often the target when 1860 want to create something going forward, was tightly marked and found his first touch often let him down.

This made for a poor game where mistakes were frequent and there was precious little flowing football to be seen.  At times it was like watching a pinball machine with the ball bouncing around off the player’s legs as they all tried to tame a ball that at times appeared to have a mind of its own.

With midfield general Daniel Bierofka missing because of a back injury, 1860 head coach Reiner Maurer elected to use Maximilian Nicu and Dominik Stahl in central midfield.  It was a good move because unlike recent performances, the Lions looked more compact and held a much better shape.  It allowed the full backs to venture forward and support the wingers without leaving huge holes behind them.

The home side kept control for the majority of the match but when tested, still looked frail at the back.  Despite playing a very un-ambitious style, Duisburg did go close a number of times and really exposed the Lions’ defensive weaknesses.  They may have won the match but it was hard to imagine any of the better teams letting Sechzig off the hook quite so easily.

Getting himself involved all over the pitch was central defender Vallori.  He’s improved 10-fold since his first appearance in a blue shirt and his growing confidence was visible for all to see.  Commanding and determined, the 29-year-old looked like he was really enjoying himself, overshadowing his defensive partner Necat Aygün.

“I like this weather,” said an elated Vallori after the match.  “In Spain it’s not normal this weather.  I like when the pitch is wet, really I like it.  The speed is faster and I can tackle more easily.”

The opening goal came from a well struck Vallori free kick that was hammered into the net and left Felix Wiedwald with no chance in the visitors goal.

The Zebras made the first substitutions shortly after going behind by introducing both Baljak and Jula together in the 65th minute.  It paid off nicely for Zebras’ coach Oliver Reck when four minutes later.  Baljak was set free down the left wing and made a pinpoint cross for the onrushing Jula to nod in at the near post.

Munich’s disappointment was lifted two minutes later when Lauth typically stroked home from close range after spending most of the match as an on-field spectator.  He was replaced five minutes later, Sechzig clung onto their lead and grabbed all three points.  For dominating most of the match they deserved the reward but it wasn’t a pretty game by any means.

It meant that Maurer triumphed in his 100th game in charge of 1860 and that added a little extra sweetness to the night.

1860 are currently focused on recruiting new players to the club.  With so many of the core players leaving, next season should see a sprinkling of new recruits wearing the sky blue shirt and a fresh wave of hope that the team can climb up into the first Bundesliga and benefit from the riches that could bring.

With so many disruptions and personnel changes to deal with, much credit should be given to Maurer for keeping an unstable ship afloat and although he’s missed out on promotion, he should feel very happy with what he’s achieved this season.  Now Lions fans should be looking forward to celebrating his 200th match at the helm in much the same way as they have tonight, with a victory.

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