Munich - TSV 1860 Munich's head coach Reiner Maurer stressed pre-match how important a home win was for the club. The Lions managed it in the end, taming the threat from a penetrating Karlsruhe side.
Maurer had to compensate for the loss of suspended Stefan Buck and the injured Necat Aygün. The defensive duo were replaced by Kai Bülow and Christopher Schindler. Stefan Aigner was preferred to Daniel Bierofka on the right hand side of midfield. 1860 started the game slowly, allowing the visitors to dictate the opening exchanges with some comfort.
Around the half hour mark, 1860 visibly raised their tempo and began to carve out some promising opportunities. In the 33rd minute, midfielder Dominik Stahl wasted a golden chance after inch-perfect set-up play from Lions captain Benny Lauth.
1860 were not to be denied for much longer, breaking the deadlock on 35 minutes from a corner.
KSC's goalkeeper Dirk Orlishausen brilliantly saved a powerful header from Bülow, but was powerless to prevent Schindler from firing the rebound into the roof of the net. The Lions' new central defensive pairing had combined to great effect to put the home side into the lead.
The crowd's celebrations were short-lived as the visitors got back on level terms almost immediately. Referee Babak Rafati awarded Karlsruhe a penalty after Stahl clumsily upended Marco Terrazzino. Georgian international Alexander Iashvili easily converted the spot-kick equaliser on 37 minutes.
The visitors took command and had their fair share of decent chances before and after the break but failed to really test 1860 goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly. The Lions took the lead against the run of play in the 56th minute from another corner kick. This time Aigner headed home from close range past Orlishausen.
KSC pushed desperately for an equaliser but were held at bay by the veteran Hungarian Kiraly, who made some smart saves to deny the visitors. In the 68th minute, referee Rafati booked Terrazzino for diving in the area, a decision which infuriated KSC's coach Rainer Scharinger and their vocal massed ranks of 2500 travelling fans. There was contact but perhaps Terrazzino went down a little too theatrically for the referee's liking.
1860 also had chances of their own to kill the game off with a priceless third goal. Former German international striker Lauth missed the best of the bunch when put clean through on 77 minutes.
KSC continued to press urgently for an equaliser and thought they had found it on 84 minutes when Anton Fink fired home, but the substitute was adjudged marginally offside.
The home side held on to a valuable 2-1 victory despite KSC throwing everything at them during the final stages, including sending goalkeeper Orlishausen up front as an extra striker.
Coach Maurer was relieved at the first win of the season but less than impressed with the performance. "We had a lot of problems retaining possession and gave the ball away too easily," he said.
It is no coincidence that all the Lions' goals this season have been from set pieces. 1860's game has to become more fluid and expansive. Today the only objective was three points, which was achieved much to the relief and delight of the majority of the 26,600 crowd.
That number included Jordanian millionaire Hasan Ismaik, who witnessed his first Bundesliga victory since taking over a 49 per cent share of the financially stricken Bavarians.
1860 now take a break from league action with a trip to Osnabrück to play against VfL in the German Cup this Friday - kick-off 20:30.