Duisburg 0-0 Hansa Rostock

The first half formations.

Pre-season promotion favourites Duisburg put in another shambolic performance as Rostock missed the chance to grab all three points by spurning a number of first half opportunities. The visitors were well organised and hungry, but Duisburg’s first half performance was devoid of invention, effort and quality. They improved in the second half, but still couldn’t break down Hansa, who have now drawn their last four games.

Match preview here.

Both sides were unchanged from their respective league games last week, as Rostock got things under way at the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena; reverberating with the fantastic noise of the passionate home fans. Duisburg pressed high and hard immediately, putting their guests under pressure and inducing nervousness. But the visitors soon began to give as good as they got out of possession, meaning that the ball went back and fore and nowhere in particular in the opening stages, with the sideways-passing deep centre-backs on either side being the only players with any room.

Peter Vollmann, setting his side out in a 4-2-3-1 which became a 4-4-2 when Duisburg had the ball (Tino Semmer and Mohammed Lartey only pressed the defence when they were about ten feet before the halfway line), was seemingly intent on using his ‘lone striker’ as a space-finder rather than a target man. The Rostock wingers looked to get on the ball as often as possible, and this allowed Lartey to make some runs in behind the defence too – the best coming in the fifth minute, when he burst between and behind the unaware Duisburg left-back and left-sided centre-back, only to drag his right-footed effort across goal. Continue reading

FSV Frankfurt 0-0 Duisburg

The formations in the first half.

Two sides struggling at the wrong end of the 2. Bundesliga table did battle in a poor game short on chances, belief and quality. Whereas FSV had something of a monopolization on possession, they lacked presence and nous in the box. Duisburg, on the other hand, looked disjointed and shorn of confidence – a shadow of the side that was challenging for promotion and a cup final just a few months ago. Nevertheless, both sides’ defences must take some of the credit, as should the goalkeepers, as all ten players were solid from first minute to last, albeit under little pressure.

Match preview here.

After FSV started the game with positive intent, looking to play long diagonals to the wideman and bombarding full-backs, Duisburg soon took charge; mainly because Vasileios Pliatsikas was always in the right place to mop up and set the tempo. Continue reading

Duisburg 0-5 Schalke

The formations in the 30th minute, with Duisburg trailing their Bundesliga opponents and geographical near-neighbours (a 25-minute drive apart from one another) 2-0.

Schalke defeated Ruhr Valley rivals MSV Duisburg to win the DFB-Pokal in one of the most one-sided German cup finals in history. Schalke were in control from the word ‘go’, seeing off their soon-to-depart superstar goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in style.

Although this tie pitted a top flight side who had appeared in a Champions League semi-final earlier this month against a lower division outfit who had finished 22 points behind 2. Bundesliga winners Hertha BSC (whose Olympic Stadium ground was used to stage this final), a David against Goliath cliché would have been unfair.

Schalke, on the whole, have been in poor form all season domestically, and after finishing in 14th in the league, Duisburg, technically 12 places below them after an eighth-placed finish in the second tier, were actually closer to Schalke than Ralf Rangnick’s side were to their arch-rivals and top flight winners BVB in the German football ladder. Up against a side seemingly all-but on their holidays, Duisburg had the chance to claim their first piece of silverware since a German Amateur Championships win in 1987, not to mention qualifying for the Europa League in the process. Continue reading

Bochum 3-1 Duisburg

The first half formations.

Bochum are just 180 minutes away from promotion to the Bundesliga after an accomplished performance against also-ran Duisburg.

This round 34 tie in 2. Bundesliga involved two sides with all still to play for. Bochum, two points ahead of fourth-placed Greuther Fürth, knew that a win here would earn them a place in the Bundesliga’s two-legged play-off against the top division’s third-worst side, Borussia Mönchengladbach. But if Bochum were to draw this home tie and Greuther Fürth won their home game against mid-table Fortuna Düsseldorf it would be the minnows who’d leapfrog Bochum into third spot due to a far superior goal difference. So ultimately, it was third-place or nothing for Friedhelm Funkel’s side, with Augsburg and Hertha BSC having already secured the league’s only two automatic promotion spots. Continue reading