1860 Munich riding high after third consecutive league win
Allianz Arena, Munich - Daniel Halfar turned on the magic for TSV 1860 München again today by coolly slotting home 2 first half goals in their 4-0 thrashing of FC Erzgebirge Aue. Captain Benjamin Lauth added goal number three midway through the second half before substitute Manuel Schäffler rounded off a dominant afternoon with the 4th.
Some of us may have thought last weeks' 5-0 demolition of FC Energie Cottbus was just a fluke, a one-off big score for the season and all subsequent results would be ground out in the usual fashion. Well, we couldn't have been more wrong and were given another festival of goals and some good all round football at home to Erzgebirge Aue today.
The good times are rolling for the Lions faithful and if they are beginning to envisage life back in the top flight for next season then you can understand why, even if it is a little early for that. Every one of coach Rainer Maurer's' players put in a good shift today and made it very difficult to spot a weak link (if there was one). Kevin Volland was perhaps guilty of some poor touches and of lacking a yard of pace but it was his dogged tenacity that set up Halfar for his second goal on the stroke of half time to put the home side firmly into their comfort zone.
Maurer expertly chose a classic 4-4-2 formation which seemed to work extremely well. The full backs pushed up high into the opposing half as did Dominik Stahl and Daniel Bierofka in central midfield. Stefan Aigner and Halfar provided the additional width and with Lauth often dropping deep to help out it was at times more like an attacking 4-5-1 pattern.
The first goal came from a well worked short corner after 10 minutes had been played. Halfar with the ball at his feet inside the penalty area shot across the keeper and the Lions found themselves a deserved goal up.
For his second it was Volland who instigated proceedings with a strong and determined 30 yard run down the left flank. After some good fortune Halfar found himself one-on-one with keeper Martin Männel in the Aue goal and he sublimely lifted the ball up and over the keepers' head, just creeping under the crossbar. The crowd went wild and Sechzig were 2 goals to the good at the half-time whistle. A very good first half and a promise of more of the same to come.
Aue head coach Rico Schmitt made a double substitution after the halftime break with Guido Kocer and big centre forward Ronny König coming on for Tobias Kempe and Oliver Schröder respectively. König was able to make some impact and gave the visitors a little more time in the final third. He held the ball up well but despite his strength and size the Lions centre half pairing of Kai Bulöw and Christopher Schindler remained equal to the threat.
At the hour mark Aue were clearly struggling to find an opportunity and so in the 66th minute brought on their third and final sub. Skerdilaid Curri swapped places with Mike Könnecke and while that was happening Volland made way for Manual Schäffler to become the home side's first replacement.
With around 23 minutes to make an impact Schäffler got stuck in and caused all sorts of problem for the Aue defense. Good ball control helped him to reach the danger area on a few occasions and ultimately to set up his captain Benny Lauth on the edge of the box in the 69th minute. Lauth unleashed a left footed effort which sailed through the defense and into the net. A composed finish from the experienced forward.
Three minutes later it was Schäffler himself that stole in to the 6-yard box to poke the ball home for the 4th goal. The referee would have almost certainly awarded a penalty seconds earlier for a foul on Halfar but it was Schäffler's who seized the opportunity to bury the ball into the net before the ref could point to the spot, 4-0!
Sandro Kaiser got a quarter of an hour to join in the fun when he replaced Halfar and Sebastian Maier got 10 minutes exercise relieving Dominik Stahl too. The Lions kept up the pressure all the way to the final whistle and thoroughly served the win. Interestingly not a single player from either side was caught offside today.
After four league games the Lions have scored an average of 3 goals per game and still look as if they can improve. Today in every department Sechzig had players that were competent, confident and sharp. On Friday they will surely have a much tougher opposition when they travel north to play Fortuna Düsseldorf but on this form it's difficult to see how they could fail to bring home 3 points.