1860 On Right Track In S-Bahn Derby vs Unterhaching

1860 On Right Track In S-Bahn Derby vs Unterhaching

While Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp and goalkeeper Alisson were at the Alianz Arena talking to the media ahead of their Champions League tie against FC Bayern, around 15km further south a Munich derby had just kicked off.

At the Grünwalder Stadion, 1860 Munich welcomed Unterhaching, a club located just a few stops down the S-Bahn lending this fixture its name – the S-Bahn Derby.

“When it comes to the floodlights in the Grünwalder Stadion, it’s always special,” said 1860 coach Daniel Bierofka before the game.

“I think it’s a great atmosphere, and then there’s the Champions League, so it’s a little bit like a mini-Champions League at Giesings Höhen [the location of the stadium – Giesings Heights].”

The Guests, as they were referred to on the scoreboard, sat just a point ahead of 1860 in the 3. Liga going into this game, but have a game in hand on their south Munich foes.

As with many lower divisions, not least in Germany, the table is tight. Only four points separate 5th and 13th with Haching and 1860 6th and 9th respectively.

The table is tight and so were the terraces. Standing only at either end of a stadium which was open to the elements as a the clear, cold night followed the afternoon sun.

There was a mixture of classic rock, punk, and metal on the pre-match playlist to help keep those fans warm, and plenty of beer and sausage being served from the stadium’s numerous kiosks.

The best view in the house was literally in someone’s house – from the flats which overlook the stadium’s east side.

1860’s tame looking lion mascot trudged off the pitch (it’s probably not right for mascots to be anything other than tame) and the game began.

Haching midfielder Orestis Kioumourtzoglou’s dipping effort from outside the area was the closest the game came to producing a goal in the opening stages. His shot was tipped over the bar by an alert Marco Hiller.

Simon Lorenz made an important block from Lukas Hufnagel, but after this period of joy for Haching, the hosts came into the game. Sascha Mölders clipped the crossbar, and Herbert Paul’s shot deflected just wide.

It was as even as their league positions suggested, but if anything 1860 had the better of the game, and with the last kick of the half — there wasn’t even time for the subsequent kick-off — they took the lead.

Phillipp Steinhart’s cross from the left was turned in by Nico Karger sliding into the path of the ball, and the place was buzzing at half time.

The reaction of the fans to the football they were watching was more like the atmosphere at English games.

There was the usual constant chanting seen at most matches in Germany, but alongside this was a stadium living the moments — each cross, each clearing header, shot, and tackle.

Not all of the shouts were encouraging, and there is some sloppy play at this level which frustrated some supporters, but this was all part of the fun.

As they emerged for the second half, 1860 continued where they had left off in the first. Left-winger Karger, and striker Mölders continued to threaten down the left of the 4-4-2 formation, but the 1-0 lead was definitely not an assured one.

Haching found some of the football which had served them so well early in the game, and forced a number of corners in front of their fans.

Sascha Bigalke hit the bar with a free kick, and the home fans were worried. The atmosphere grew more intense. 1860 hung on and Haching threatened. Then 1860 threatened but couldn’t do enough to get a second.

It got desperate for Haching who were throwing themselves at the game in order to try to get something from it.

They picked up five yellow cards in the last 30 minutes, with two of them going to captain Alexander Winkler, who was duly shown a red and sprinted off the pitch to waste as little time as possible.

1860 held on for their 1-0 win as the stadium announcer gleefully confirmed, and the supporters cheered their way out of the stadium, while some remained to high five several players who made the way around the edge of the pitch after the final whistle.

The players then climbed the fence at the home end in celebration, running through a repertoire of chants and songs with their fans.

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