SGS Essen and MSV Duisburg opened up the 2016-17 Frauen-Bundesliga season with a thoroughly entertaining local derby.
Both teams battled hard but, eventually, Essen made the breakthrough after Lea Schüller's spectacular bicycle kick.
Schüller's shot in the second half was turned in by the excellent Linda Dallmann, and Jacqueline Klasen made it 3-0 with a fine solo goal.
Schüller makes the breakthrough
With it being the opening game of the season, both teams could be forgiven for being a little tight and tense in the early stages of the game. Despite some routine work for Lisa Weiß in the early stages, Essen came on strong and rattled the post through Charline Hartmann's free-kick; the forward fired wide mere moments later, too.
After that, the tussle began to open out as the two sides saw space appearing in the opposition defence. Some superb defending from captain Ina Lehmann managed to bail her side out of trouble as Lee Sima Falkon looked certain to head home from Anna-Sophie Fliege's cross. At the other end, Nina Brüggemann headed just over.
The local rivals matched each other stride for side and Kathleen Radtke almost gave her team the lead, only for Weiß to produce a stunning save from the Duisburg midfielder's effort. Instead, Dallmann's trickery and cross in the area and a superb bicycle kick from Schüller saw Essen take an advantage into the break.
Schüller and Dallmann continue to dominate
After the restart, the visitors picked up where they left off and added a second goal. After a superb through ball from Lehmann, Schüller sprung the offside trap and was denied well one-on-one by Meike Kämper, but the 'keeper could do nothing about Dallmann's thunderous rebound to double Essen's lead.
Daniel Kraus' side never looked back after that and continued to press on, before being rewarded with another goal just after the hour mark. This was all about individual skill, as Klasen weaved her way round several defenders before striking low at the near post. Kämper couldn't get there in time, and it found the bottom corner.
The final embers of the game saw a few cynical tackles creep into the play and passes going astray that killed any momentum. Kämper redeemed herself with a fine save from Hartmann, but the Zebras couldn't force their way through and were soundly beaten. The score-line was a tad harsh, yet Essen were deserved winners.