Energie Cottbus 0-2 Greuther Fürth

The first half formations.

Fürth beat Energie Cottbus 2-0 and shot back to the top of the 2. Bundesliga table thanks to a performance that was built on a solid defence and deadly attack. The Bavarians were just too good for their East German hosts, who struggled for inspiration and urgency. Although the visitors were under the kosh for about 20 minutes straight during the second half, Cottbus barely created a single chance in that period, let alone during the whole match. Fürth could easily have scored several more goals at the Stadion der Freundschaft this afternoon, and nobody in green put a foot wrong all game: defensive midfielder Edgar Prib was in particularly fine form, and my man of the match. Surely there can be nobody out there now who doubts the title-winning credentials of Mike Büskens’ side?

Match preview here.

Fürth looked comfortable on the ball from the first peep of Florian Meyer’s whistle, although all they had to show for their early spell of ball monopolisation was Olivier Occean’s sliced left-footed shot which sailed over. Cottbus were just as keen to knock the ball about in a calm and slow manner whenever they got a hold on possession, and with neither side doing much in the way of pressing, the first ten minutes were a largely unforgettable affair, the two coaches clearly waiting for their opposite number to show his hand. Continue reading

Energie Cottbus 1-4 St Pauli

The first half formations.

St Pauli moved level on points with 2. Bundesliga league-leaders Eintracht Frankfurt and Greuther Fürth after punishing Energie Cottbus’ mistake-laden defence. The home side cannot stop shipping goals this season, but the worst part was that against St Pauli, they barely created enough chances to compensate for their numerous lapses in concentration at the back. Full credit to the visitors, though, who put in a disciplined performance on and off the ball, capping it by showing their top-flight credentials in front of goal.

Match preview here. 

The opening exchanges were a tad bitty, with both sides looking to use throw-ins from their respective second-third areas of the pitch for the lone strikers to flick on for a roving midfielder. However, fouls and poor clearances, passes and free-kick delivery kept possession going back and fore. Plus, with neither side under the kosh, the midfield and centre of the pitch area remained congested.  The Cottbus defence were the first to try a bit of a deep melina in order to drag the visitors’ banks up the field and widen their corridors, but Pauli’s off-ball 4-4-2 barely pressed, and in the end, the sloppiness that pervaded this encounter in the early stages was epitomised by an underhit long-diagonal from Christopher Schorch, equalled only by Sebastian Schachten’s subsequent scoop-pass for Marius Ebbers, which rolled harmlessly to a grateful Thorsten Kirschbaum. Continue reading

Fortuna Düsseldorf 4-2 Energie Cottbus

The first half formations.

Fortuna Düsseldorf crawled back to the top of the 2. Bundesliga table thanks to a disciplined and ruthless first half display that took full advantage of three key Energie Cottbus errors. However, despite being reduced to ten men straight into the second half, the visitors nigh-on instantly scored two goals to pull it back to 3-2! However, former BVB striker Dimitar Rangelov stupidly lost his head, and earned himself a red card with 16 minutes still to play. Down to nine men, Cottbus’ chances of taking even a point from the game were gone, but they deserve credit anyway for a much-improved second half showing where they had Düsseldorf on the ropes.

Match preview here.

The visitors got us under way amid a tremendous noise from a highly-populated crowd, and managed to launch the first ball into the box in the opening minute. This came from the long-throw weapon of right-back Christopher Schorch, but Dimitar Rangelov wasted the chance to make something of the invitation through his over-physicality. For the next five minutes, though, the ball belonged to the hosts. They went calmly from their own box to Cottbus’, spreading side to side with confidence and precision. It was becoming a backs-to-the-wall job for the visitors, and with the box blocked off by bodies, this was what perhaps encouraged Andreas Lambertz to try his luck from range in the fourth minute. Thorsten Kirschbaum dropped the tricky – but not particularly fierce – shot straight into the path of Max Beister, who had been allowed to wander freely into the path of a tap-in by the ball-watching Roger. The in-form attacker made no mistake, firing the 2. Bundesliga high-fliers into an early 1-0 lead! Continue reading

Energie Cottbus 0-5 1860 Munich

The formations after right-back Konstantin Engel's early red card. Leonardo Bittencourt, the foremost centre-midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, was the man subbed off as the Cottbus system changed to 4-4-1.

A Benjamin Lauth-inspired 1860 Munich ruthlessly destroyed one of the 2. Bundesliga favourites for promotion, aided by the early sending off of Cottbus defender Konstantin Engel. But the hosts had looked ropey and were 1-0 down even before their right-back saw a straight red for hauling down the superb Lauth, and were always going to struggle to contain the likes of Lauth and intelligent livewire Kevin Volland anyway.

Match preview here.

Despite initially looking to sit off their guests and press only in their own half, a Gábor Király goal kick after a wasteful punt upfield by Roger resulted in the Brazilian centre-back giving away a free-kick after zooming out and into a shove on Kevin Volland. Benjamin Lauth curled the set-piece towards the back post, and waltzing in unattended was Stefan Aigner, who headed the away side into a first minute 1-0 lead!

Cottbus instantly rallied, putting a number of crosses into the box which exposed the fact that Reiner Mauerer’s side weren’t the quickest at taking up decent defensive positions when under the kosh. But 1860 survived the immediate post-goal onslaught, and despite being penned back in the first-third of the pitch, struck another crucial blow in the eighth minute. Despite Lauth being the only man up front, he charged at Konstantin Engel – the last line of the home side’s defence on halfway – with the ball bouncing under no one’s control, and forced the young defender into missing it. Thus, Lauth homed in on goal with the ball, and it was no surprise when the chasing Engel pulled the 30-year-old attacker to the ground just as he was about to finish. The referee showed the Cottbus man a red card, and although the subsequent free-kick was curled over by Daniel Halfar, Cottbus now faced having to play 82 minutes 1-0 down with ten men. Continue reading