Karlsruher SC secured a comfortable 2-0 win over MSV Duisburg, sealing their second 2. Bundesliga triumph in a row and banishing those early season woes in the process.
Karlsruhe came into the game off the back of their first league win of the season last weekend, dispatching FSV Frankfurt 2-1. It was a hark back to the side that came so close to the Bundesliga in the previous campaign, only to be so cruelly denied by Hamburger SV. Just like last season, Markus Kauczinski wasn't keen to alter a winning team too much and opted for one change, as Daniel Gordon replaced Jan Mauersberger.
As for Duisburg, a weight was lifted from their shoulders last weekend. A hard-fought comeback draw against Arminia Bielefeld secured their first point of the 2. Bundesliga campaign. The substitutes seemed to do the trick for the Zebras, so they had no hesitation in throwing two of them into the starting line-up, as well as Dennis Grote. Nico Klotz and Kingsley Onuegbu started, replacing Thomas Broker, Zlatko Janjic and Simon Brandstetter.
A stalemate to start
While the Duisburg defence had remained unchanged it still looked a tad shaky, and Boubacar Barry's penetrating run nearly gave the hosts the perfect start. He glided through the middle before playing in Erwin Hoffer, only for the Austrian to shoot into the hands of Michael Ratajczak. The former Fortuna Düsseldorf forward had an even better chance on the break moments later but he was tackled well by the recovering Branimir Bajic.
In spite of those two chances, the visitors looked solid at the back and were more than happy to knock it around the back before edging patiently forward. Unfortunately for any neutrals, this did mean that Karlsruhe looked hurried in possession and were desperate to make something happen. That bundled together resulted in a less than exciting opening half, in which neither side looked much better than the other.
Hoffer heads on home half-time
It looked like neither team would take an advantage into the break but a moment of magic from Manuel Torres gave the hosts a vital breakthrough. Duisburg were robbed of the ball on the half-way line and Barry drilled a pass through to the Spaniard. He bolted to the by-line before beating Bajic was a step-over. Torres stood up a cross and Hoffer came steaming in to meet it, powering it into the bottom corner to take them into the lead.
Karlsruhe and Barry picked up exactly where they left off and the talented youngster curled a fine effort over the bar immediately after the break. Not long later they were being overrun in midfield and the decision to take off Tim Albutat for Stanislav Iljutchenko continued to puzzle the Duisburg faithful.
Karlsuhe make it two
KSC weren't going to complain, however, and gleefully took advantage. A free-kick was floated in and met by Gordon, who leaped magnificently to head the ball down to Jonas Meffert. He, in turn, nodded down to Manuel Gulde and he made no mistake in volleying past the helpless Ratajczak. The once sturdy visiting set-up had been shell-shocked and shaken within 10 minutes.
From then on, it was all Karlsruhe. Hoffer and his fellow attackers continued to look dangerous but couldn't find the finish to put the game beyond any doubt. A flurry of bookings followed for the frustrated Zebras, who just couldn't find their feet in the second half. The hosts were able to see out the remainder of the game and secure their second successive 2. Bundesliga victory, much to the joy of the home support.