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The Synch: Arminia Bielefeld 1-2 Karlsruhe

KSC went to Schüco Arena and came away with their first victory in four road matches and ended an eight game winless streak against Arminia.

Arminia were their own worst enemy as they played a terrible first 75 minutes of football. They looked technically deficient compared with their southern foes. They gave away possession too easily in the midfield and even more worryingly from deep. Defender Radim Kucera had a nightmare game trying to mark Sebastian Fries. While their front pairing of Artur Wichniarek and Katongo were their best players, they missed their few chances and had their effectiveness dampened by a superb tactical approach by Edmund Becker.

A last ditch scramble clawed one back for the home-side. In the 80th minute, Berat Sadik found space on the left gathering a misplaced cross. He was able to thread the ball to Nico Herzig, who headed the ball home. But they had left it too late, and Karlruhe was able to wind the clock down with smart possession and professional fouling.

Karlsruhe’s first goal came from an error by Arminia keeper Dennis Eilhoff. Their second came off lost possession. Katongo came back deep to gather the ball and lost it to Mutzel. He quickly slotted it to Josh Kennedy who turned Kucera and made a superb low volley that Eilhoff got down to parry away. It fell to Freis, who finished with aplomb.

Ratings
Kornetzky [6] Glaring mistakes in the first half were offset by his handling of crosses late.
Sebastian [8.5] Excellent game in tandem with Franz and cleared some important balls.
Eichner [8] Always one of my favorite to watch.
Celozzi [5.5] Not much impact on the game and allowed Sadik space for the cross on the goal.
Franz [8.5] Solid game from the captain.
Mutzel [6.5] Drifted in and out of the game but set up winner by taking the ball off Kanogo
Porcello [5.5] Scored a gift but was otherwise poor.
da Silva [7] Ran his socks off, which isn’t typical for him.
Iashvili [8] Threatening on the left and put in a great effort
Freis [9] Made Kucera looked foolish and scored the winner.
Kennedy [5.5] Slow feet.
Adoube [5] Like a bull in a china shop.

1. Set in Stone
It felt like Becker’s 4-3-3 was a demarcation rather than a tactic. Mutzel, Porcello and da Silva seem to be stationed within a zone and unwilling to get past some invisible border. Once they hit a wall around 28 meters from goal it was down to Kennedy, Freis and Iashvilli to create the chances. These three need to be willing to get forward if they hope to be effective against better defenses.

2. Speaking of Set in Stone
Joshua Kennedy plays like his feet are set in concrete. With faster feet he could have created so many more opportunities. He is a fine target man and does a solid job of holding the ball for Iashvilli and Freis, but anytime he receives the ball in a threatening position, it feels like you’ve pressed the slow-motion button on your TV. Next thing you know a chance is squandered as he is unable to get off a shot.

3. And Just After Making Him XI
The first goal for Karlsruhe was a blunder of epic proportion by Eilhoff. Poor positioning on the freekick was his first mistake. He was too close to his near post. This positioning gave him a false perception of the trajectory of the in-swinger, thus when he rushed out to get the ball, he was two feet off target. Instead it bounced off Lamey, flew by Eilhoff and went right to a ghosting Porcello.

4. A Hand for Wiki
The game might have been different had Artur Wichniarek not panicked in the 29th. He got by the defenders on a long through ball and had only keeper Kornetzky to beat. Kornetzky had come too far for the ball and was outside of the box when the ball fell, so unable to handle the ball. It bounded to the left, and had Wichniarek kept on the ball, he would have had an open net to shoot on. Instead he handled the ball, squandered an open net and got himself booked. It was very telling of Arminia’s day.

5. KSC’s Defensive Organization
Knowing they were facing pacy Kanogo and Wichniarek, who likes to drive in from deep, Karlsruhe had some decisions to make. They decided to drop their defense deep and allow Wiki to run at them in order to concentrate on nullifying Kanogo’s pace. It worked perfectly as Kanogo couldn’t beat the trap and Franz and Sebastian could push Wichniarek out to wait for help. The result was only four shots on goal and the only breach came from a by-line cross late.