Erzgebirge Aue continued their strong start under new coach Hannes Drews, picking up a third win in four matches against SV Sandhausen, denying their guests the chance to return to the top of the 2. Bundesliga in the process.
A relatively drab affair was settled early on by Pascal Köpke, with a stunning strike from 25 metres in the 16th minute that few will better this season, yet alone this weekend.
After picking up just four point in their first four games, before Drews took over, the Violas are now shooting up the table and are in to seventh spot, ahead of the rest of the weekend’s matches.
Köpke strike lights up first half
After scoring both goals in Aue’s win over 1.FC Kaiserslautern on Tuesday, Sören Bertram would have been disappointed to drop to the bench, along with Clemens Fandrich. Mario Kvesic and Albert Bunjaku came in. Sandhausen, who had briefly topped the table after beating 1. FC Union Berlin, and were looking to do so again with a win here, brought in Schalke 04 loanee Haji Wright for Richard Sukuta-Pasu.
The hosts started with a couple of half chances, with a Christian Tiffert cross headed wide by Bunjaku before Dimitrij Nazarov went over with a widely-ambitious attempt.
With few other options appearing in those early stages, Köpke then tried something similar, capitalising when Denis Linsmayer struggled to reach a pass from Maximilian Jansen, but the difference was stark. It was a superb hit from the 22-year-old, who found his spot perfectly, although Marcel Schuhen got a hand to it and would have wanted to keep it out.
Kenan Kocak’s side struggled to offer much in response. Wright gave Martin Männel, Aue’s captain, an easy save soon after, whilst a clever lay-off to Jansen didn’t reap any rewards either. Aue only came close again in the minute added on at the end of the half. Tiffert’s corner was headed by Nicolai Rapp to Dominik Wydra, but his shot was headed out clear by Lucas Höler.
Teams draw a second half blank
It was a better start to the second 45 minutes for Sandhausen, although a Nejmeddin Daghfous free-kick was only headed into the arms of Männel by Höler, before Linsmayer shot just wide of his goal shortly after.
At the other end, Bunjaku had a shot blocked after a good attack for the hosts before he was replaced by Bertram. He himself had a good chance when found on the right side of the pitch, but with Tim Knipping for company he could only shoot wide. Leart Paqarada responded to that with a looping shot on the Aue goal, but Männel was again untroubled.
In an attacking sense though this game was becoming a frustrating run for both sides. Bertram and Köpke had pace to burn for Aue but their final ball was lacking. Sandhausen weren’t having it much better, however substitute Sukua-Pasu blew a chance to try for the equaliser. Philipp Förster headed down Daghfous’s corner to his feet, but he couldn’t control the ball.
It just wasn’t going to be Sandhausen’s night. Even a wicked deflection on a Philipp Klingmann cross wasn’t enough to beat a well-aware Männel, whilst Daghfous’s final effort in stoppage time swung well, well wide.
That meant they couldn’t make up the two-point gap on leaders Fortuna Düsseldorf at the top, and they finished the game two places worse off as Holstein Kiel, who beat MSV Duisburg, moved above and their goal difference also saw Sandhausen drop below SV Darmstadt 98. In Drews though, Aue may well have found the perfect replacement for Domenico Tedesco, after the aborted reign of Thomas Letsch.