Harding’s Hark - The Inside Story: 1860 Must Find Clinical Edge
Lining up with a 4-4-2 formation can hardly have surprised many. Alexander Schmidt spoke of “attacking variety” throughout preseason, but it proved to be anything but that come the start of the league campaign. On more than one occasion, it looked more like 4-2-2-2, and new-signing Stephan Hain was doing his best to make it more like 4-2-2-1. Rob Friend fulfilled his target-man role to the extreme in the first 45 minutes and although things improved a little in the second, 1860 still looked far too reliant on Friend. There’s no doubting the Canadian’s work rate but making him the sole target will not only make 1860 predictable and easy to defend against, but will also not solve the goals issue (a total of 39 in the league last season is a problem).
With Hain an absentee for most of the game, the benched Benjamin Lauth must have had a wry smile on. From what he must have considered the unusual position of nominated “super-sub”, he struggled; but knows 1860 need him for his goals. He’s no longer the captain and may have a personal issue with the men upstairs but how long will he realistically be on the bench? Not long, even in the face of 1860’s new signings.
Someone who should have been on the bench but wasn’t? Youngster Stefan Wannenwetsch. The 21-year-old impressed in preseason and will feel he has every right to push for a starting spot this year. New signing Yannick Stark will be hard to remove from that position. The defensive midfield boasts healthy 2. Bundesliga experience and put in a tidy display in the league opener.
The game optimised 1860. A strong defensive display in the first half was followed up by a stunted attacking effort in the second. The positive was that when switching their attention to attack in the second half, they still looked solid in defence. One individual mistake cost them on the night but in terms of the overall approach, there should be no real cause for panic.
Panic is what will happen if 1860 don’t start scoring soon though. A touch more finesse in attack would have decided the game long before Kiraly’s error. And although Schmidt was positive with his changes and went for the win, the lack of consistent goals is an all to familiar problem. His gamble didn’t pay off but after 13 draws last season, I am sure many 1860 fans will forgive him (not for those jeans though) for being aggressive with 20 minutes to go and the game in their favour.
Newly appointed club president Gerhard Mayrhofer spoke of “bringing calm to the club” during the gratuitous half-time interviews on television. Not sure the word and the club go together really and tonight is another piece of evidence to support that.