1-0, Gytkjaer OG 73'.
1. FC Kaiserslautern 1-0 1860 Munich: Gytkjaer own-goal gives Red Devils three important points
Image credit: Bundesliga.de

1. FC Kaiserslautern 1-0 1860 Munich: Gytkjaer own-goal gives Red Devils three important points

The hosts will be the happier of the two sides after a vital win in a relegation battle.

Jonathan Walsh
1. FC Kaiserslautern(3-4-3) Pollersbeck; Vucur, Ewerton, Heubach; Mwene, Koch, Moritz, Gaus; Osawe (Przybylko 87'), Zoua (Glatzel 69'), Kerk (Halfar 46').
1860 Munich(3-4-3) Ortega; Pongracic, Ba, Uduokhai; Busch, Lacazette (Neuhaus 74'), Liendl, Lumor; Amilton (Olic 78'), Gytkjaer, Aigner (Mölders 78').
REFEREEMartin Petersen (Stuttgart). Booked: Gytkjaer (68'), Ba (76'), Mölders (82').

An own-goal from Christian Gytkjaer was the crucial blow in the relegation battle between 1. FC Kaiserslautern and 1860 Munich, as the former secured a narrow 1-0 win.

Team news

Norbert Meier made just one alteration from the side that disappointingly fell to a late defeat against 1. FC Union Berlin last week, as Sebastian Kerk replaced Zoltan Stieber. As for Vitor Pereira and 1860, a 1-1 draw against SV Sandhausen saw him make two changes. Felix Uduokhai and Gytkjaer came in for Kai Bülow and Ivica Olic.

Chances at either end

In what was a cagey game, as was to be expected, there was very little in the way of early openings. The only really save either goalkeeper had to make was, admittedly, a very important one. A corner was nodded on to the back post and Tim Heubach showed fantastic technique to volley at goal, only for Stefan Ortega to parry his effort.

Both teams had threatened to create from wide areas but two strong, tall defences were largely in control of the situation. Naturally, the next chance also came from a set-piece. Michael Liendl's delivery evaded everyone's attempts to get a head on the ball, although it did force a smart save from Julian Pollersbeck to tip it around the post.

The latter stages of the half were similarly tense and despite having possession in some reasonably dangerous positions, Kaiserslautern never truly threatened Ortega's goal. It was the same at the other end, though Ewerton's only defensive lapse saw Gytkjaer pull off him and fire a cross at goal, though Pollersbeck's strong boot denied him.

Gytkjaer puts through his own net

There was one change made during the break, which saw Daniel Halfar brought on for Kerk in attack. He wasn't involved in the first meaningful move of the half, however, as Christoph Moritz's clever interception saw him slide in Marcel Gaus. That saw him try to square to Jacques Zoua, who couldn't quite reach the cut-back.

Amiliton was keen to respond and a clever one-two between him and Liendl saw the former nip in behind the home back-line. In an attempt to cover, Ewerton's desperate slide tackle caught the winger, though Martin Pedersen waved play on after the ball had gone. On another day, it could well have been a spot-kick.

Then, after further half chances, came the breakthrough. Meier's decision to bring Halfar on at half-time was fully rewarded as his free-kick proved the key to finding the opener. A whipped delivery towards the near post needed clearing and Gytkjaer thought he had headed away, instead it had found the top corner of his own net.

The latter stages of the game saw both sides have openings, yet Pollersbeck kept a cool head under pressure to help lead his side to another clean sheet and three points. The win moved the Red Devils above 1860, though both are still firmly entrenched in what is the tightest relegation battle in recent years.