Fortuna Düsseldorf reasserted their position at the top of the 2. Bundesliga with a 2-1 win over Erzgebirge Aue, taking them three points clear of Holstein Kiel.
Benito Raman put his side ahead despite a subdued opening half-an-hour, however a strange goal from debutant Ridge Munsy saw Aue level just after the hour.
Cebio Soukou though gave away a penalty soon after, with Rouwen Hennings firing that in to score what would be the winner.
Raman brings subdued Düsseldorf to life
Düsseldorf had gone into the winter break top of the table, but Kiel’s draw on Tuesday night saw them move back ahead on goal difference. Friedhelm Funkel made three changes from their last competitive match, a 1-0 victory at Eintracht Braunschweig, with Robin Bormuth, Adam Bodzek and Havard Nielsen coming in. Nicolai Rapp, Clemens Fandrich and Sebastian Hertner came into the Aue team that draw with 1. FC Heidenheim just before Christmas.
Aue had the better of the opening exchanges, with the hosts error-prone early on. One such mistake from Bormuth allowed a cross to come in to the box, with a defender denying Soukou at the last moment. A minute later, Pascal Köpke had a shot saved by Raphael Wolf.
20 minutes in, Düsseldorf had their first chance of note, with Davor Lovren’s strike blocked on its way out wide. At the other end, a ball from Dimitrij Nazarov was then nearly put into his own net by Bodzek, but his goalkeeper Wolf spared his blushes by keeping it out.
It was from very little therefore that Düsseldorf took the lead. Hennings and Florian Neuhaus exchanged passes, with the latter than chipping the ball into the box. Nielsen was the recipient, but unable to get a show away, he cleverly side-footed it to Raman, who lofted the ball over the heads of those seemingly blocking his way to goal to break the deadlock.
Funkel’s team were thoroughly on top leading up to the break, but they were unable to add to their advantage. After a mistake from Martin Männel, Hennings failed to punish him as he struck wide, whilst a dangerous cross from Niko Gießelmann almost found Marcel Sobottka, however Männel got there first to put the ball out.
Hennings and Düsseldorf brush aside own goal blow
Männel would deny Sobottka again soon after half-time. The Fortuna man charged his way through the middle of the park, eventually striking goalwards as he reached the box, but the Aue keeper dealt with the effort. Munsy, Aue’s new loan signing from Grasshopper Club Zurich, was brought on at the break and made his first real impact with a shot from the edge of the box, but it went miles over the bar.
Düssledorf’s own loan arrival, Genki Haraguchi, was brought on just after the hour mark, however before he had a chance to have any influence on the game Aue were back on level terms. John-Patrick Strauß and Soukou combined on the right, with Soukou’s cross causing havoc in the Düsseldorf box. Munsy tried to put it in himself, but it was Bodzek who got the vital touch, which deflected of Munsy's hand and in. It stood, and Munsy was given the credit.
The Violas were not level for long. Following a free-kick, Neuhaus looked to make progress in the box with the ball, however Soukou then came in and, according to the referee at least, made enough contact with him to warrant a penalty. Hennings make no mistake with that to restore his side’s lead.
Munsy had proved a presence for his side since coming on, and he really should have had an assist to his credit as well as the goal when he crossed in to Köpke. With at least half of an open goal between him and Wolf, he conspired though to shoot over.
Düsseldorf had their own chances to settle the game, with a Neuhaus strike put wide by Männel and Bodzek heading over from the following corner. Then in the final minute of normal time, a good move saw Takashi Usami rushing in to force another save out of Männel, but in the end they didn’t need to extra goal, and see themselves three points clear at the top going into the weekend’s fixtures.
Wednesday’s other 2. Bundesliga results
Arminia Bielefeld 0-0 SpVgg Greuther Fürth
1. FC Heidenheim 2-0 Eintracht Braunschweig (1-0, Thomalla 48’; 2-0, Pusch 83’)
The match between SV Darmstadt 98 and 1. FC Kaiserslautern was abandoned after Kaiserslautern manage Jeff Strasser suffered a reported heart attack in the dressing room at half-time.