Kickers Offenbach: OFC assault remains unrewarded

OFC lost 0:1 in Ulm. Coach Ristic still takes a lot of positive things with him. The Kickers are frustrated with Fetsch’s unrecognized goal.

Offenbach – The last league game of the year in the Southwest Regional Football League ended in bitter disappointment for Kickers Offenbach. Despite an outstanding second half and a highly dramatic final phase, in which a supposed goal was not counted, coach Sreto Ristic’s team ended up losing 1-0 (0-1) at the “Winter Champion” SSV Ulm 1846. With a two-point deficit to Ulm and FSV Mainz 05 II (46 points each), the OFC stays in third place over the winter, but with one game less they have everything in their own hands.

OFC: Strong second half against Ulm

In the sixth minute of added time, the Kickers seemed to have been rewarded for their strong performance in the second half. Defense chief Sebastian Zieliecki headed a long ball from Ronny Marcos to Mathias Fetsch. The joker twisted the ball past the strong Ulm goalkeeper Christian Ortag. But Michael Heilig maneuvered the ball out. In front of or behind the line? Even in Ulm’s “spatzentv” the thing seemed clear to the moderators: Goal. But referee Justin Joel Hasmann (Wiebelskirchen) saw it differently. When the Ulm team scratched the header of Kickers keeper Stephan Flauder off the line shortly afterwards, a game was over that OFC certainly didn’t have to lose.

In front of or behind the line? In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Mathias Fetsch (left) put the ball past Ulm’s goalkeeper Christian Ortag, Michael Heilig (right) saved the ball. “A goal was stolen from us,” said OFC Managing Director Thomas Sobotzik.

© Jan Huebner

“A bitter day for us,” said Kickers coach Sreto Ristic: “Ulm clarified twice on and once behind the line, the referee should have seen that. It’s a shame, but we have to accept that.”

OFC vs. Ulm: Very intense game

The drama in stoppage time was the climax of an intense game in which Ulm clearly ran out of breath after an English week at the latest in the second half. “The week has left its mark,” said Ulm’s coach Thomas Wörle, explaining the fact that after a balanced first half, his team only defended the lead they had fortunately achieved and crossed the finish line with a lot of dizziness.

In the 40th minute, Ulm’s right winger Jannik Rochelt defended a long ball against Jayson Breitenbach and Ronny Marcos in the penalty area and lobbed the ball over the rushing Flauder into the goal. “An avoidable goal,” said Ristic: “Everyone relied on everyone else.” In the end, the crucial mistake was Flauder’s, who got out on a difficult-to-play surface, but didn’t get the ball.

In the first half, the Kickers tried to keep Ulm’s switching game at bay with a lot of ball control and a restrained offensive drive. That succeeded – until the annoying goal conceded. The catch: apart from the shot from Dejan Bozic from close range after a corner by Rafael Garcia (45), which Ortag parried on the line, the OFC had not recorded anything compelling.

Kickers increase the pressure – in the end it was bad luck

That changed in the second round, in which the Kickers put on a power play and had a massive double chance to equalize in the 51st minute: Serkan Firat shot from four meters to the underside of the bar after Garcia’s cross, Dejan Bozic headed the rebound towards the left corner, where Ulms Bester Ortag was there again. Because Offenbach was constantly increasing the pressure, there were always standard situations that posed danger. “We had a bit of luck in one situation or another,” admitted the former OFC professional Wörle. “It was a real top game,” stated Ristic and took a lot of positives with him into the winter break, especially from the second half. “We played great in the second half, it was just bad luck in the end.”

Now it’s time to regenerate for a few days, to clear your head for the second half of the season, in which the OFC will be in the condition of the last two and a half months, in which they got 30 points from twelve games, to play for the title. “The table shows a clear trend,” says Ristic: “Whoever is at the top is right there.” He agreed with his coaching colleague that the league was “brutally difficult and nothing should be taken for granted”. That promises high tension in the remaining 15 matchdays – and possibly a dramatic final on May 14th, where OFC meets FSV Frankfurt. (Joerg Moll)

List of rubrics: © Hübner

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