Domi Kumbela and Ken Reichel put them 2-0 up with goals soon after the half-hour, with Reichel’s volley surely a contender for goal of the season.
Content to sit back in the second half, they conceded to Jerome Kiesewetter as Düsseldorf got one back, but they hung on to extend their lead at the top to five points.
Braunschweig return to tried and tested
Braunschweig had won their first five games of the season, however they were beaten 2-0 on Tuesday by VfB Stuttgart, but were still three points clear of them at the top.
After switching to a 3-5-2 in that game, they reverted to 4-4-2 here. They were able to welcome back captain Marcel Correia following an ankle injury which had kept him out since the start of the season. Patrick Schönfeld and Christoffer Nyman were also recalled.
Düsseldorf started the weekend in eighth after an impressive second win of the season against VfL Bochum in midweek. They had been beaten just once, by 1. FC Heidenheim, before this game.
Axel Bellinghausen had been left out of the starting line-up against Bochum, but responded with a goal from the bench, and was duly recalled for this one in place of Oliver Fink, with the Düsseldorf captain struggling with an Achilles tendon.
Ken Reichel with a goal of the season contender
The game got off to a scrappy start, but the visitors were probably the better side early on. Bellinghausen had an early shot saved by Jasmin Fejzic, and Rouwen Hennings shot wide. Fejzic was forced into action again from a Lukas Schmitz strike, which he helped over the bar.
Braunschweig started coming more into the game, with Reichel testing his range but shooting well over, and Michael Rensing had to make sure an Onel Hernández cross-shot didn’t creep in at the far post.
Alexander Madlung was walking a disciplinary tightrope and was booked for a needless foul on Nyman. It led to the first goal. Kumbela couldn’t get his head round Nik Omladic’s free-kick, but Düsseldorf’s defenders couldn’t clear the ball on the ground, with Kumbela at the second attempt the first on it to score.
Minutes later Kevin Akpoguma gave away another costly free-kick. This time Omladic’s ball was headed clear by Adam Bodzek, but Reichel met it outside the box, and launched a spectacular volley that Düsseldorf could do absolutely nothing about.
The two goals put Braunschweig firmly in control, with Rensing saving from Hernández and Kumbela, before Reichel put another long range effort over.
Kiesewetter strike too little too late
Braunschweig were comfortable for much of the second half, without forcing the issue. Düsseldorf had chances from Hennings and Kaan Ayhan saved by Fejzic. Reichel had a shot at the other end deflected wide.
Despite their side sitting back, Braunschweig’s central defenders were the unlikely source for their best two chances to extend the lead. Saulo Decarli’s impressive overhead kick was kept out by a reaction save from Rensing, but Gustav Valsvik should have scored with the rebound from point blank range.
Substitute Julius Biada then had a shot saved, and from the counter Fortuna pulled one back. Arianit Ferati, who impressed after coming off the bench, set up another substitute in Kiesewetter, who ran through the middle and stabbed home for his first goal for the club.
Friedhelm Funkel would have wanted his side to use the goal as a springboard to get something from the game but it didn’t prove to be, with Ferati coming closest to another.
In fact they could have finished with ten men, when Schmitz kneed into the back of Biada, who required treatment, but the referee missed the incident. But it was another win for Braunschweig, who move further clear of Stuttgart at the top after their draw with Bochum.