I think it's fair to say that 1860 have not been the team making the headlines in Munich over the past few weeks. Bayern's exceptional dismantling of Barcelona's tiki-taka style of football in the Champions League has created an incredible buzz around the city and there was clearly still some excitement loitering in the Allianz Arena for 1860's match against Union Berlin.
Nursing a hangover the size of Gabor Kiraly I took my seat next to an old man in a knitted 1860 jumper hoping that Die Löwen could end their terrible run of results at the Allianz Arena. They could however take some comfort in the fact that regardless of how poor their home form has been, Union Berlin's away form has been even worse. An impressive sea of red shirts had made the trip from Germany's capital and they found themselves immediately locked in a battle to out-sing the equally as impressively 1860 fans.
Malik Fathi's transformation from left back to central midfield continued today, with Schmidt choosing to start him ahead of Wannenwetsch for the second game in a row. Many of 1860's starting XI seemed to be suffering from 'superstar syndrome', with the difficult cross-field ball or the 30 yard shot often chosen in favour of the simpler and more logical ball to the man stood 10 metres away.
But this all changed after 25 minutes, as Halfar, after tripping over the ball, opted to chip the ball to Stoppelkamp who found himself in space just inside the area. As with Halfar seconds earlier, he resisted the urge to shoot, instead teasing a delicate ball over the head of Haas leaving an unmarked Lauth to nod into the back of the net. To allow a striker a free header from 5 yards out is criminal, but with the more obvious aerial threat of Rob Friend loitering nearby it's understandable. Stopping short of calling him the signing of the season, Friend's physical presence in the team has been invaluable and his performances have improved markedly as the season has progressed. It just goes to show what a bit of match-time can do.
As the half drew to a close 1860 continued to create chances with Lauth slipping Stoppelkamp through one-on-one with the keeper. Unfortunately his shot evaded both keeper and post to the groans of the 1860 faithful. This did not affect his confidence however, as moments later Lauth slid an inch perfect pass through to Halfar who selflessly squared the ball and from 5 yards out Stoppelkamp was unable to miss.
The second half began in much the same way as the first half ended; 1860 dominating the play and creating good chances. Just past the hour mark, an uncharacteristically mazy run from twinkle-toes Volz ended with a ball into the box that was partially cleared by the defender. Like any midfielder's dream, Halfar found himself running onto a bouncing ball on the edge of the area and only a flying save from Haas could prevent him from extending the lead. He needn't have worried. From the resulting corner Vallori powered a header goalwards from standing and even a deft flick from Lauth couldn't prevent him from claiming the goal.
There was still plenty of time for Union Berlin to hit the bar and the post but by this point it no longer mattered, a fact conceded by the Berlin fans who have eternally endeared themselves to me with a Germanic take on "Always look on the bright side of life" from Monty Python's The Life of Brian.
Having watched 1860 lose or draw every one of their home games since the winter break it feels fantastic to be able write about a well deserved victory at the Allianz Arena. Finally being able to use this headline after weeks of waiting is also a relief, bringing a bit of Manchester music culture to Germany's second division. Spurred on by the success of their city rivals 1860 never even looked like losing today with all the players staying out on the pitch to celebrate with their fans at long last. The football atmosphere around Munich at the moment is electric and although this season is already over, there is definitely the opportunity to 'look on the bright side of life' for next season.
1860 München: Kiraly - Volz, Vallori, Bülow, Wojtkowiak (Feick 20') - Fathi (Makos 74'), Stahl, Halfar, Stoppelkamp - Lauth (Tomasov 79'), Friend
Union Berlin: Haas - Pfertzel, Stuff, Schönheim, Kopplin - Mattuschka, Parensen, Quiring (Jopek 68'), Özbek - Nemec, Terodde (Skrzybski 68')
Goals: 1-0 Lauth (26'), 2-0 Stoppelkamp (45'), 3-0 Lauth (63')
Referee: Markus Schmidt