After what seemed just another week of typically turbulent tantrums at TSV 1860 München, the club returned to duties on the pitch with a Friday evening trip to SV Sandhausen. After last week's disappointing 1-1 draw with Ingolstadt, Schmidt made one change bringing in Moritz Volz at right back for Grzegorz Wojtkowiak.
Dieter Schneider's decision not to stand for re-election as the club's president has all the signs of a man who has finally grown tired of trying to be diplomatic. He said during a half-time interview that "the writing was on the wall," and as much as it pains him to leave, it was "emotional." Alexander Schmidt said his team were "not looking back" and that there was "no unrest in the team" after Schneider's news had been released. "Our focus is on the sport at the moment."
Turning to that focus, Sandhausen were a welcomed opponent. 1860 demolished them 4-0 earlier on in the season and a repeat performance would have been welcomed. Sandhausen are a side for the romantics having battled their way from nowhere to the second division on a modest budget and a clever recruitment strategy. Although this season so far appears to be one step too far, the club are only three points away from safety despite sitting in second bottom. As the first fixture proved though, this is still a result 1860 should be winning.
After the early acclimatisation period, it was the away side, supported by their boisterous 1,000 travelling fans, who threatened first. Moritz Stoppelkamp whipped in an in-swinging cross from the right which Marin Tomasov flicked back cleverly for Rob Friend. The Canadian threw himself at the ball but his diving header was saved comfortably by goalkeeper Daniel Ischdonat. The host's captain and goal threat Frank Loening was slowly working his way into the game and has largely been the reason that the young club are still in with a shout of an incredible survival. Along with the rest of the team, they were frustrating Schmidt's men, who picked up three yellow cards in the space of five minutes as a result.
The away side were threatening to threaten but that really was it. They were constantly one step, one pass, one shot away from creating something concrete. Friend's flick on was met by Dominik Stahl and Tomasov. The Croatian got the shot away but his weaker foot ushered the ball comfortably wide. Both sides were guilty of too many positive passages of play instantly followed up by poor ones.
Despite an elaborate set-piece routine, the hosts couldn't make anything of their rare opportunities and, along with 1860's lack of drive at goal, the first half ended without a goal or enough quality to warrant one. The second half threatened to deliver the same but then Sandhausen fell asleep at the back and even 1860 couldn't miss again. Friend was allowed the room to flick on from a Volz thrown in and Marin Tomasov nipped in front of the defence to rifle home with his weaker foot. It was exactly the type of quality that the game had lacked in the first half and ultimately, proved worthy of a match winner.
The hosts were failing to call on the heroics of Gabor Kiraly and Schmidt's men should have doubled their lead but struggled to find another, clinical touch in front of goal. Long passes to Friend were becoming habitual and were effective but even Stoppelkamp couldn't take advantage as his effort was blocked after it had opened up. Sandhausen's Riemann pinged a volley from the angle at Kiraly but the Hungarian saved easily.
In the end, the game petered out as the home side couldn't muster up enough to score and 1860 couldn't really do enough to add to one moment of quality. The three points are a positive return for Schmidt's men and leaves them three points behind the promotion places and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, who play second-placed Eintracht Braunschweig on Monday night. 1860 host the dangerous Hertha Berlin next weekend and to stand even an outside chance of promotion, they will have to record their second consecutive win. Judging by their recent form though, I wouldn't go predicting the result.
SV Sandhausen: Ischdonat - Schauerte, Pischorn, Olajengbesi, Achenbach - Danneberg, Fießer - Wooten (73' Yun), Ulm (59' Riemann), Adler (59' Makela) - Löning
1860 München: Kiraly - Volz (55' Wojtkowiak), Bülow, Vallori, Fathi (82' Schindler) - Stoppelkamp, Bierofka, Stahl, Tomasov - Lauth (90' Kamara), Friend
Goals: 0-1 Tomasov (54')
Referee: Florian Steuer