1860 Munich 1-1 Eintracht Braunschweig

EINTRACHT Braunschweig’s 100 per cent start to the season came to an end at a packed Allianz Arena this afternoon, as the 2. Bundesliga leaders were held to a 1-1 draw by 1860 Munich. Both sides missed a number of chances, with Braunschweig guilty of not putting the game to bed in the first half following Domi Kumbela’s opener, and 1860 Munich guilty of not making the most of their improved penetration and attempts on goal in the second period. By the end of the game, a nervy, bitty and generally uninspiring affair, Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht looked to hold onto the draw – a result that gives his side a two-point lead over second-placed Energie Cottbus in the table. As for 1860 coach Reiner Maurer, although he will be pleased that his side maintained their own unbeaten start to the 2012/13 campaign, he will be disappointed his side did not go on and win today, as come the end of the season, it is far likelier they – rather than Braunschweig – will be challenging for promotion.

Match preview here.

Starting formations

1860 Munich (4-2-3-1, from right to left): Gábor Király; Grzegorz Wojtkowiak, Necat Aygün, Guillermo Vallori, Moritz Volz; Dominik Stahl, Kai Bülow; Marin Tomasov, Daniel Bierofka, Daniel Halfar; Benjamin Lauth

Eintracht Braunschweig (4-4-2, from right to left): Daniel Davari; Marcel Correia, Ermin Bičakčić, Deniz Doğan, Ken Reichel; Dennis Kruppke, Kevin Kratz, Norman Theuerkauf, Mirko Boland; Kumbela, Orhan Ademi Continue reading

1860 Munich-Eintracht Braunschweig preview

RUNAWAY 2. Bundesliga leaders Eintracht Braunschweig travel to fellow unbeaten side 1860 Munich this weekend looking to make it six wins out of six. The Lower Saxony minnows – who were in Germany’s 3. Liga as recently as last May – didn’t spend a cent on transfers over the summer, which makes their start to the 2012/13 season all the more impressive. Goals and assists have been spread out among the squad so far too, which bodes well for the rest of the campaign, because Braunschweig don’t have any star names in their squad, let alone a 20-goal-a-season striker.

Torsten Lieberknecht’s side will face their sternest test of the campaign to date in travelling to the 69,000-seater Allianz Arena on Sunday. Laying in wait are an 1860 Munich side who boast a number of ‘star’ names and have only conceded in one of their six games so far this season (ditto Braunschweig). The Bavarian side have also been more prolific in front of goal than the league-leaders, who have scored eight goals to 1860’s ten. However, although the visitors netted just 37 goals in 34 games last season, they conceded the third least amount of goals in 2. Bundesliga: therefore, this match promises to be tight, but also a real litmus test for both sides.

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Hamburg 1-0 Hannover

Hamburg took a huge step towards securing their Bundesliga status after defeating a disappointing Hannover side 1-0. To be fair to the seventh-placed visitors, who still look good for a place in next season’s Europa League because Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen all dropped points this weekend, they were missing a number of key strikers, but it was a lack of creativity and urgency in midfield that really hampered them. Hamburg, on the other hand, had the talismanic Son Heung-Min leading the line, and it was fitting that he nabbed the game’s only goal because he was by far the best player on the pitch. The home side were good value for their win, as they created the most chances, worked harder and were tactically smarter. Thorsten Fink’s side now move five points above the relegation zone with three games of the 2011/12 season left to play, although that gap will be reduced to two points if Cologne beat Borussia Mönchengladbach tomorrow afternoon.

Match preview here.

Starting formations

Hamburg (4-4-2, from right to left): Jaroslav Drobný; Jeffrey Bruma, Michael Mancienne, Heiko Westermann, Dennis Aogo;  Ivo Iličević, Tomás Rincón, David Jarolím, Marcell Jansen; Marcus Berg, Son Heung-Min

Hannover (4-4-2 from right to left): Ron-Robert Zieler; Steve Cherundolo, Karim Haggui, Emmanuel Pogatetz, Christian Pander; Manuel Schmiedebach, Sérgio Pinto, Christian Schulz, Konstantin Rausch; Jan Schlaudraff, Didier Ya Konan Continue reading

Hannover 1-1 Hertha BSC

The first half formations.

Hannover returned to the top of the Bundesliga table after drawing 1-1 with Hertha Berlin, but the Lower Saxony side will feel aggrieved that they dropped two points after referee Robert Hartmann ruled out a late winner. Negative Hertha deserved to go in at the interval 1-0 down, although Hannover lacked the creative spark that would have seen them put more goals past their lacklustre opponents in the opening 45 minutes. The visitors changed systems three times during a rejuvenated second half performance, and despite still not looking overly convincing, they did start to create chances thanks to a more positive mentality against a home side who tired after Thursday night’s 2-1 win over Sevilla in the Europa League. Perhaps a draw wasn’t a fair result on the balance of play, but Hannover didn’t create enough chances of note in the second half to win the game, save for a late Christian Pander free-kick which did sail in, but was ruled out for what appeared to be shoving in the box (however, it could have been due to the fact that the free-kick was given as indirect).

Match preview here.

Mirko Slomka started the game with the XI that defeated Sevilla on Thursday evening, while Markus Babbel deployed the same side which lost in round one to Nuremberg (save for Raffael being picked ahead of Pierre-Michel Lasogga, thereby giving the former Stuttgart coach the option of a 4-4-1-1). Continue reading