Karlsruhe 1-3 Eintracht Braunschweig

They key first half formations. Karlsruhe, in blue, are depicted in the 4-4-2-cum-4-2-2-2 which saw them boss the first boss the opening 15 minutes of the game. Braunschweig, meanwhile, are pictured in the 4-2-3-1 which saw them take control of the game for the half's last half-hour.

Eintracht Braunschweig continued their superb start to the 2. Bundesliga season thanks to their coolness in front of goal and a genius tactical turnaround by coach Torsten Lieberknecht. Last season’s 3. Liga champions have now taken nine points from a possible 12, and restricted experienced second division side Karlsruhe to mere half-chances as they chased the game with high-calibre players such as Delron Buckley.

Match preview here. 

A cautious start by the away side meant that whenever lone attacker Dominick Kumbela got the chance to break, he had no support and thus, no chance of making something happen. His colleagues were content to sit off, waiting until Karlsruhe’s players were all in the other half save for the centre-backs and ‘keeper before pressing. This negativity so nearly resulted in the hosts taking the lead in the opening few minutes; Buckley launching a mazy dribble after Kumbela was robbed, and slipping through a disguised pass which eventually found its way through to Klemen Lavrič, on it after diagonal run.
His shot whizzed across Daniel Davari’s goal, sent out – just – for a corner by Marcel Correira getting a shin on the ball.

The visitors were nervy all over the pitch in the opening ten minutes – messing up simple controls, giving away needless fouls, and unable to consolidate themselves in any sort of shape whatsoever. And, they paid the price for their sloppy start in the ninth minute, resulting primarily from Correira giving away a needless free-kick just off the D. Buckley ran over the dead ball, but although no one was fooled, Davari could do nothing to stop Timo Staffeldt curling the ball into the top right-hand corner for 1-0!

Staffeldt deserved his goal, as he was superb in the opening 15 minutes. Playing in a side that pressed high, if not frantically, the Karlsruhe midfielder was always about with midfield colleagues Steffen Haus to win tackles, mop up loose balls and make the side tick over by playing simple forward passes. Braunschweig, for whom Lieberknecht had made several personnel changes and had moved various other players into new positions, seemingly possessed no such player, and therefore, they played with no such rhythm. Although Braunschweig continued to panic in one-on-one duels and still had no one to support Kumbela in attack as we approached the 20-minute mark, the home side’s defence were doing their job well – narrowing into a semi-ring shape whenever their attacking colleagues lost the ball, and taking advantage of the fact that Kumbela was always receiving passes in the centre with no yellow-shirted player on the wings. Continue reading