Perhaps the game on Tuesday evening in the Grünwalder Stadium was the last of the year that took place in Munich in front of an audience. But at the latest by the half-time whistle, the sixties down on the field should have longed for a ghost game: Whistles and angry screams could be heard from three sides, plus cheers from the guest block.
It’s been a long time since the Lions were played in front of their home crowd like in this catch-up game against Waldhof Mannheim – a game that had been hoped that the sixties would transfer their own claims to the table. Instead, they stagnate after the 1: 3 (0: 2) defeat in midfield. Although the team was able to improve significantly in the second half, the defensive performance raised the question of whether the team is actually well enough staffed for the promotion battle; and left-back Phillipp Steinhart will also be absent on Saturday against leaders Magdeburg because of his fifth yellow card. “We played a bad first half and we couldn’t handle the wind either,” commented coach Michael Köllner at Magentasport.
As the game progressed, the uncertainty of the sixties became more and more visible, but it was visible for the first time after half a minute: Central defender Semi Belkahia made his first mistake, but goalkeeper Marco Hiller was still able to iron out. Apart from the fact that Belkahia cleared a ball on the line once (17th), the 22-year-old was completely out of the role, allowed himself to be overrun several times and had coordination problems with neighbor Stephan Salger.
Ironically, the Mannheim lead fell immediately after the best chance in the sixties, when Salger did not fully hit the ball in a turmoil in the opponent’s penalty area (12th) – on the other side, just seconds later, veteran Marc Schnatterer pulled away from the edge of the box and hit the cross corner perfectly ( 13.). Seven minutes later, Dominik Martinovic increased – a humiliating goal that Mannheim’s Marco Höger had brought on the way after a corner kick with a heel on the fiver (20th).
Only at the break does Köllner take the completely overwhelmed Belkahia off the field
Attack after attack rolled into the Munich penalty area, but coach Michael Köllner looked at the helplessness of his team for a long time apparently emotionless. It was only at the break that he took the completely overwhelmed Belkahia off the field and replaced him with Quirin Moll – not an ideal solution in view of the fast Mannheim attackers either, the 30-year-old is considered neither sprinting nor in form, he was mostly on the bench in the end.
However, from then on, Moll and Salger were, surprisingly, rarely challenged. Sixty suddenly shifted the game to the opposing half. At first, the deals were still unlucky – Richard Neudecker just missed (49th), Merveille Biankadi very clearly (62nd), but in the 66th minute at the latest, the lions down on the field should have wished that the stadium was up to the last seat filled. Neudecker pulled flat and rather harmless from a distance, but the ball slipped through Mannheim’s keeper Timo Königsmann. With the 1: 2 the game suddenly became exciting and heated, Schnatterer took on opponents, coach Köllner and the audience, a tactical theater that apparently only threw the Mannheimers themselves off the beaten track. In any case, Anton-Leander gave Donkor a slapstick-like hand penalty (72nd). Substitute Keanu Staude then hit the ball a little surprisingly – and missed with a weak shot (73rd).
“At the back we left clear things lying around,” said Köllner, who could have turned the game around. But Mannheim countered the dogged but harmless attacks of the sixties in stoppage time with a goal after a three-on-one situation, Martinovic overpowered Hiller to make a decision. Then it went quiet in the stadium. Probably for a long time.