Frankfurt - In a clash between two of this season's newly-promoted sides, bottom-of-the-table Greuther Fürth managed to thwart high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt by grinding out a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Commerzbank Arena on Friday night.
No rest for the weary
Alexander Meier opened the scoring with the joint-fastest goal of the season and his seventh of the campaign, but after the hosts failed to capitalise on their dominance, Zoltan Stieber's delightful lob was enough to clinch a point for Fürth.
Any hopes Mike Büskens' side had of climbing off the foot of the table were dealt an early blow when they went behind after just 24 seconds. Sebastian Rode's cross was parried by Max Grün, but when Stephan Fürstner slipped inside his own area, Meier was on hand to collect the loose ball before finding the bottom corner on the turn. The quick-fire opener stunned the visitors, allowing Frankfurt to take the sting out of the game in the early exchanges and tighten their grip on proceedings.
Greuther's best chances often presented themselves from set-piece situations, but it was the hosts who looked more likely to strike again, as Takashi Inui squandered a golden opportunity to put Eintracht further ahead one-on-one with Grün. A mistake by the Japanese international shortly before the half hour mark almost gift-wrapped a Fürth equaliser, but, with Gerald Asamoah bearing down on goal, Kevin Trapp did well to stand his ground and nullify the threat.
Neither side shied away from getting stuck in, which disrupted the rhythm of the match, but the chances continued to present themselves in the lead up to half-time. Olivier Occean's control let him down in a promising situation, but playing against his former side, the striker nearly made up for it when he fizzed a volley over less than a minute later. True to form Edgar Prib could only draw a routine save out of Trapp with Fürth's best sight of goal, drumming home the fact that Greuther faced an uphill battle as the sides went in at the break.
With the rain pouring down at the Commerzbank Arena signs of complacency began creeping into Eintracht's performance and after Trapp had clawed Prib's free-kick away from danger the visitors finally engineered a breakthrough. It only took a clinical counter to unlock the hosts' backline and, clean through on goal, Stieber had the presence of mind to lift the ball calmly over the onrushing Trapp and into the empty net.
Frankfurt were on the back foot and almost handed a free-flowing Fürth the lead when Bamba Anderson misjudged Grün's long-punt forward, as Trapp was forced to throw up a hand to tip Asamoah's sharp volley into the stands. Greuther were in the ascendancy and thought he hosts looked vulnerable on the counter, they demonstrated they weren't about to roll over when Rode flashed an effort off target, as head coach Armin Veh began looking to his bench to change his side's fortunes.
However, Eintracht had Trapp to thank for keeping them in the game as the young keeper prevented Fürstner from finding the net, before Karim Matmour and Occean failed to get the all-important touch on Okzipka's defence-splitting delivery at the other end. The hosts made hard work of the task at hand, but did well the stem the tide late on as they were forced to settle for a point in what was a must-win match for Veh's charges.
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