1. FC Kaiserslautern let leads slip three times yet still managed to pull off an impressive victory against 1. FC Union Berlin.
Brandon Borrello’s stunning opener gave them the lead, and although Sebastian Andersson then headed into this own net, he soon had the Red Devils back in front at the right end.
Steven Skrzybski levelled twice for Union, either side of a Christoph Moritz penalty, but Phillip Mwene settled the game late on, although Kaiserslautern remain bottom of the 2. Bundesliga.
Borrello stunner following Andersson heads in at both ends
Following back-to-back defeats against SV Sandhausen and Erzgebirge Aue, bottom side Kaiserslautern made three changes, with Marcel Correia, Phillipp Mwene and Borrello coming into the line-up. Union made three changes from their 2-1 victory over Sandhausen last weekend, with Marvin Friedrich, Grischa Prömel and Philipp Hosiner given starts, however one of the men to initially miss out, Simon Hedlund, was drafted back in after Sebastian Polter was injured in the warm-up.
The Fritz-Walder-Stadion was in the grips of the Siberian conditions that have hit much of Europe this week, but that didn’t stop the hosts from taking the lead early on in stunning style. After the ball was chested down to him by Andersson, Borrello caught Daniel Mesenhöler slightly out of his goal and his dipping half-volley went over the Union goalkeeper’s head, who in fairness couldn’t do much to stop it, and in to the net off the underside of the bar.
Felix Kroos had two efforts for the visitors soon after, with the second much closer, going wide off the post. Thick snow was coming down, but that didn’t deter the Red Devils as they looked to extend the lead, nor Mesenhöler who bounced back from that early goal in style. Andersson had a shot saved before the keeper, who seconds later also had to parry a Mwene shot. Osayamen Osawe then also had his effort on goal thwarted by Mesenhöler.
Those saves were made more important when the visitors levelled soon after, albeit in fortunate circumstances. Christopher Trimmel put a free-kick into the box, although none of his team mates were able to connect. The same could not be said about Andersson, who misjudged the bounce of the ball and ended up heading it into his own net at the far post.
He didn’t have to wait too long to redeem himself though. Having benefited from the Swede’s assist for his own goal, Borrello’s cross to him would return the favour, with Andersson again meeting the ball with his head, although of course at the right end this time. Kaiserslautern took their regained lead into the break.
Skrzybski levels twice more before Mwene settles it
It wasn’t long into the second half though before the guests drew level once again. Prömel’s ball took a big deflection off Dennis Daube, who had replaced an injured Hedlund at half-time, with the ball falling to Skrzybski. Leon Guwara was unable to hold him off, with Skrzybski placing the ball over Marius Müller.
Kaiserslautern were still playing well though, with Moritz shooting wide after a corner was initially cleared. Ten minutes later, and an excellent counter ended when Osawe crossed to Borrello, who appeared to then be caught, in the box, by Friedrich. The penalty was given, with Moritz sending Mesenhöler the wrong way.
It was far from certain that they would hold on to the lead this time either. Although Kaiserslautern had a few attacks that came to little, at the other end Skrzybski had a shot saved by Müller. And after an extensive period of passing the ball around the edge of the box, Skrzybski had the chance to level again. He miss-kicked his first attempt, but had a second chance and he made no mistake with that, shooting in through the hands of Müller and off the bar.
The withdrawal of Borrello could have been seen as a hindrance to Kaiserslautern’s chances of somehow leading the game for a fourth, and final, time. A misplaced pass from Mesenhöler made it more than possible though. Mwene beat Toni Leistner to the ball, and he punished the Union goalkeeper for his mistake.
This was one lead that Kaiserslautern were not going to give away though, although the three points don’t move them off the bottom, with SV Darmstadt 98 winning at the same time against Dynamo Dresden. They are just three points from safety now though, with the fight to avoid relegation really beginning to heat up. Union stay seventh, missing the chance to go level on points with third-placed Holstein Kiel.
Friday’s other 2. Bundesliga result
Dynamo Dresden 0-2 SV Darmstadt 98 (0-1, Jones 29'; 0-2, Kempe 55')