Special Cup Night Sees Brave TSV 1860 Munich Fall Just Short
After a brave battle that took top-of-the-Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund to extra time, TSV 1860 Munich suffered a 2-0 defeat in a sensational atmosphere in the Allianz Arena. After resisting for the 90 minutes with some stubborn defending, the help of the woodwork and some good fortune, 1860 finally succumbed in the second round of the German Cup. Sports Editor Jonathan Harding analyses the action.
So the real question was whether or not Funkel’s ‘conservative attacking’ would be employed against perhaps the fastest attacking side in Europe? He chose an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with young Stefan Wannenwetsch in a closing-down three man-midfield. Stoppelkamp and Adlung flanked club legend Benjamin Lauth, with the in-form Friend not favoured.
At home, in the cup, during Oktoberfest, Funkel – correctly in my opinion – felt setting up to absorb pressure was not wise. Nevertheless, that is invariable what they had to do in the early stages as Dortmund stayed patient in their possession. 1860, despite being under the disguise of a different formation, looked to catch Dortmund on the break. Those occasional roams forward were stifled in the early stages by over-excitement as the cup tie continued to bubble over with excitement.
It never really calmed down either as the home fans’s nervous excitement continued to grow the longer they kept Dortmund at bay. Frustration was the game plan: Niggling at Robert Lewandowski’s heels, giving Marco Reus no room and cramping the exciting Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Maybe it was the cup, maybe it was the Oktoberfest air, but for the first half, Funkel’s tactics worked perfectly.
The longer the game went on, the more the home side’s plan hung by a thread, one off Gabor Kiraly’s tracksuit bottoms perhaps. The woodwork and a defensive melee had kept Dortmund at bay but 1860′s absorbing tactic was becoming more and more precarious. Nevertheless, after a small period of recovery, Sechzig were once again stable and denying Dortmund any space.
After the monumental achievement of pushing Dortmund to extra time, they knew they had to get to the second half to have any chance of reaching a penalty shoot-out. As Mortiz Volz said after the game, “the penalty came at an unfortunate time,” and in turn took the life out of the game, as was expected. They had ridden their luck, battled superbly but in the end, just couldn’t hold out.
Daniel Adlung’s determination to exploit weak link Erik Drum (Dortmund’s left back) was commendable but his performance was more hot air than fire. The more jinking winger Bobby Wood may have been preferable.
Dominik Stahl was an absolute monster in midfield, winning every header as if the club’s existence dependant on it. His foul that gave Dortmund their penalty (and ensuing red card) was one of desperation and tiredness, and ultimately ended the contest. His card may have been decisive but Stahl’s performance was fantastic all the same. Kai Bülow also impressed in defence, perhaps playing his finest game in 1860 colours. The centre back was constantly gallivanting around and kept Robert Lewandowski quiet all night.
As much as a case for stability could be argued for Funkel’s lack of substitutions, the legs of some of his midfield suggested otherwise. His decision to go for stability unravelled, as it often does.
Every tackle, every header, every clearance mattered. And in games like this, the atmosphere can make all the difference. There’s no denying that Borussia Dortmund have fantastic fans but Sechzig’s were on a completely other level, and their players responded in turn. Moritz Volz said afterwards that it “was probably the highlight of my 1860 Munich career so far.” The home fans were clinging, believing in the chance of a cup upset. The arrival of extra time spurred them on, Kai Bülow and Stefan Wannenwetsch continued to be at the heart of their defiance, playing above and beyond their capabilities and years respectively.
There was a particularly special moment that optimised the game when former player Sven Bender was cheered off by the home fans. The blue and white of the Allianz Arena really was a special place to be on Tuesday night, even if belief eventually turned to heartache. Former Arsenal and Fulham full back Moritz Volz added that he “wished it could be this way every week.” The sold-out crowd’s effects, both financially and in the memory, will be felt long after the final whistle. And the fans will be hoping they can transform this special night into three points when they travel to the Betzenberg (the home of 1. FC Kaiserslautern) on Sunday.