Essen coming knocking
Despite their home advantage, Frankfurt saw little off the ball in the opening minutes, the travelling opposition keen to press the issue from the outset, Manjou Wilde’s fifth minute effort wide off the mark. Both sides clearly had a sizable amount of winter rust to shake off as they darted about on the still icy pitch in Frankfurt, fluidity lacking.
Pushing forward, FFC found a little more rhythm, a free kick from Kumi Yokoyama and a heady run from Marith Prießen, the most the hosts had to show fifteen minutes in. SGS not responding well to seeing less of the ball. Sliding lunges required from those in white to keep the hosts from advancing, the tackles coming with an increased frequency.
Following a move that saw Linda Dallmann chase down the right wing with the ball before crossing to no one, the attacker not sharp enough to hold the play up, Nicole Anyomi took her time. Again, crossing from the right the teenager watched the run of both Dallmann and Lea Schüller, her pull-back squared for the pair who ran centrally, Dallmann the first to connect, the ball rather rebounding off of her and weakly towards Desiree Schumann’s near post for the veteran ‘keeper to claim.
Still looking the sharper team in attack, Essen carved out another opening just before the half hour, close control from Anyomi enough to see her play Schüller in in the box, the attacker going low and only finding Schumann’s gloves. The visitors weren’t done there however and kept the former German international honest, the number one with a diving parry before tipping Ina Lehmann’s dipping effort over.
Visitors continue to ask questions
As FFC continued to toil in attack, the home midfield barely present, Essen continued to have sighters. Schüller’s dinked ball seemed pointless until Schumann and her defence got in a muddle, Dallmann ghosting in the danger zone but unable to connect in time. The German international only able to fire the ball directly into the goalkeeper’s stomach from close range seconds later, Schüller then denied by Schumann’s fingertips. The chances coming thick and fast for Essen just before the break, though the visitors could do nothing to get the better of Schumann.
A hat trick of corners in the dying seconds of the half saw Kim Sindermann called into action, the keeper on her toes to keep her goal well-guarded, her clean sheet lasting until the break.
The second half had neither flow nor punch, attacks unravelling before they had a chance to become anything close to a real chance, corners and free kicks aimlessly looped into the box, goalkeepers relaxed. Players on both sides consistently asked for more time on the ball than their opposition was willing to give, the possession frequently turned over as both grew sloppy. Attacks lacked focus, cohesion and fresh ideas, the longer the game wore on the less and less a goal seemed likely.
A burst forward saw Cecilie Sandvej chase onto a long ball, the visiting defence scattered as Yokoyama’s effort deflected towards Katrin Hendrich, the defender unable to bring the ball under control in time in the box. Doing a better job of getting closer to their markers than SGS, Frankfurt didn’t make it easy for their opponents when the younger team cut forward, space at a premium. The culmination of work from Schüller, Dallmann and most notably, Anyomi saw Turid Knaak sweep a weak effort goalwards, the dribbled ball collected by Schumann with ease.
The match rather limped to its conclusion amidst fouls, injures and substitutions, the deadlock finally broken after a period of pressure from the visitors that saw them knock time and again at set pieces, Dallmann's hopeful shot from outside the box enough to finally beat the keeper.