Bundesliga News

Germany: 2. Bundesliga
2 - 1
(1 - 0)
M. Wunderlich (11), K. Kraus (90)
H. Nielsen (80)

Lautern players, coach, and manager react to dramatic late win: "It could not be more beautiful."

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

FC Kaiserslautern were able to ensure that their return to the 2. Bundesliga got off to the best possible start in Friday night's 2022/23 second division opener. 

After shaking off a Hannover 96 late comeback to grab an injury time winner at 90+2, coach Dirk Schuster and managing director of sport Thomas Hengen spoke to the Sky mics.

Scorer of the decisive goal Kevin Kraus praised the veteran who opened the scoring for the Pfälzer Red Devils. 
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Speaking to the Sky microphones after his side defeated Hannover 96 2-1 on the Betzenberg Hill on Friday night, 1. FC Kaiserslautern trainer Dirk Schuster actually conceded that he almost considered playing for a draw. The visiting Lower Saxons scored an 80th minute sequalizer to cancel out a first-half Mike Wunderlich strike. With the game entering injury time, Schuster noted he was in damage-control mode.

"We wanted to take the sixes and tens out of the game, start sharply and put the opponent under stress," Schuster said of his initial game plan," Toward the end, however, I would have accepted the draw immediately, I even thought to myself why we didn't take a short corner before to the 2-1 to take some time off the clock? Of course I prefer, what happened."

First-half goal-scorer Mike Wunderlich made new club history when he banged home a Terrance Boyd cross in the 13th. A howler from the H96 defensive ranks enabled the 36-year-old to become the oldest Lautern player ever to score a league goal. The lower-league journeyman bested a record previously set by Wolfgang Funkel in 1994.

"We would also have been satisfied with a point. But we worked for the lucky punch," Wunderlich said afterward.

"We couldn't defend well over 90 minutes, but we did well overall," game-winning goal-scorer Kevin Kraus also conceded "Mike is very fit, he's a phenomenon, he always runs in front even in training. There you have a leader for our team."

Ruminating on the big win, FCK managing director of sport Thomas Hengen emphasized the need for improvement as well.

"After the substitutions, you could see their quality," Hengen said of the evening's opponent, "Players came off the bench who would be regulars elsewhere. That's when the game could have changed. We still want to improve in area except for the keepers. Especially in the qualities of speed, which was notable today. In defense, midfield and possibly also up front we still have work to do."

Henge did nevertheless allow himself a moment whilst soaking in the scenery of the 40,000-strong crowd of elated fans.

"It could not be more beautiful," Hengen made sure to tell his interviewer.

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