SpVgg Greuther Fürth 1-0 1860 Munich: Shamrocks put Lions back in their cage

After a solid pre-season for both, SpVgg Greuther Furth came out on top against 1860 in the first game of the 2. Bundesliga season.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth 1-0 1860 Munich: Shamrocks put Lions back in their cage
Robert Zulj celebrating the only goal of the game. | Source: Kicker

The 1-0 victory for SpVgg Fürth in yesterday’s opening game of the 2. Bundesliga was unexpected. Against a newly upgraded 1860 Munich side, The Shamrocks dominated, laying waste to hopes that 1860 could fly high in 2016/2017 due to pre-season form and a number of new additions.

Centre-forward Robert Zulj got the only goal in the game, and Fürth demonstrated a solid attacking style, with chances coming in many forms throughout the ninety minutes.

Yesterday’s winning performance proved that Fürth shouldn’t be underestimated, it’s only the first game of the season admittedly. However, if head coach Ruthenbeck can continue to push similar performances out of his side, Fürth could be an extremely formidable opponent in the 2016/2017 season.


The Lineups from yesterday’s games were on the face very similar, both Kosta Runjaic and Stefan Ruthenbeck opting for the ever popular 4-2-3-1 due to its stylistic appeal both offensively and defensively. However, of the two, Furth’s set-up was a lot stronger as Sebastian Freis and Robert Zulj proved to be a much more potent force than 1860’s duo of Stefan Mugosa and Ivica Olic.

Overall SpVgg Fürth had 20 shots on goal, 1860 only managed six, most of which came from range. This stat on its own showcases the weakness of 1860 offensively in yesterday’s game.

Defensive woes hit the spotlight for 1860

The defensive line for 1860 was another major sticking point from yesterday’s game, nervousness was apparent from the beginning and this went on to cost them when Jan Mauersberger failed to clear a Khaled Narey cross which Robert Zulj went on to score from.

Goalkeeper Jan Zimmermann is also partly to blame for the goal, the volley from Zulj could have been saved if he had managed to get a glove on it, but the ball seemingly went through him despite it being struck straight at him.

Marnon Busch and Filip Stojkovic were also caught forward a lot during the game, leaving the defence vulnerable to counter attacks. In the 17th minute a Karim Matmour cross was intercepted by the Fürth defence who pumped the ball up field, Robert Zulj almost completed the swift attack after rounding keeper Jan Zimmermann, however he was denied in the last moments by Busch who just managed to make it back in time to see his team away from conceding an easily avoidable goal.

It was a frustrating day for the lions. | Source: Tz.de
It was a frustrating day for the lions. | Source: Tz.de

SpVgg takeover

After the break, Fürth took up where they left off. Veton Berisha suggested a promising start to the half, the Norwegian hitting the side net in both the 48th, and 50th minute.

The SpVgg clean sheet was up for contention when, from 10 yards out, Olic failed to hit the back of the net due to a fast reacting Megyeri. However, after that it was fairly plain sailing. The encounter kept providing good entertainment: Berisha was still blocked from scoring opportunity’s, but Freis picked up the pieces and made up for an inefficient Berisha.

Constant running and being a nuisance to the shaky Milos Degenek and Jan Mauersberger proved most effective.

Zulj gets surrounded by his teammates after scoring the winner | Source: sportschau.de
Zulj gets surrounded by his teammates after scoring the winner | Source: sportschau.de

Inept substitutions see 1860 fall

1860 Head Coach Kosta Runjaic saw to action after the disappointing end to the first half, and made three changes in the final 45 minutes: Daylon Claasen, Goran Sukalo and Sascha Molders coming on for Karim Matmour, Fanol Perdedaj and Stefan Mugosa. Yet the personnel changes failed to bring the lions any greater feeling of creativity. Instead, SpVgg continued to have the better opportunities and hold the majority of the possession until the final whistle.

“Fürth earned the win”

The post-match interviews came shortly after the final whistle, giving Runjaic and Ruthenbeck the opportunity to have their own say on the 90 minutes of football.

Runjaic had valid excuses for the fans that had travelled to the game, emphasising that the game against Fürth was “the first time the team had played together.” Adding that “we were good for the first 35 minutes considering this, but Fürth deserved the win.” He also criticized the team for the attacking woes, and stated that the opposing goal “could have been avoided.”

Despite the criticism that has come from the opening defeat, Runjaic is looking confidently towards the future, finalizing his post-match statement affirming that: “The team must work hard now so that we bring home the first three points.

Runjaic  needed to hit the ground coming into the new season. | Source: 1860
Runjaic needed to hit the ground coming into the new season. | Source: 1860

Ruthenbeck “very happy”

The head coach of SpVgg Greuther Fürth, Stefan Ruthenbeck also agreed with the analysis of Runjaic. "I also think that we deserved to win. However, the performance was also of my team not fully satisfactory.” He recalled the “20: 6 Shots ratio” which rightly justified the score line, however he made it clear that "if we fail to shut the bag like we did, then the game could have also ended in a draw. Which would have been extremely annoying.

The Shamrock coach was particularly impressed by the mentality of his team: "We can see that the team enjoys playing". Finalizing with his personal happiness due to the win.

Next Sunday Fürth will be looking to extend its winning streak as they visit relegated Bundesliga Hannover 96. Two hours later, 1860 Munich will be hosting Arminia Bielefeld, hoping to grab their first points of the season.

My season preview for 1860 Munich is also here for extra reading: http://www.vavel.com/en/international-football/germany-bundesliga/672250-vavel-exclusive-tsv-1860-munich-season-preview.html