It’s an example of a midweek training ground experiment coming together perfectly on match day. The plan was simple: eight outfield players for RB Leipzig of the German third division were to sprint towards the penalty area of visiting VfB Stuttgart II from the moment the referee blew his whistle to start the match. Outnumbering the Stuttgart defenders, they would then be able to capitalise on a long ball played forward by one of the two players hanging back in defence.
In footballing terms it was “shock and awe”. And it worked a treat on matchday on Saturday September 14. Daniel Frahn, Leipzig’s number 10 made the most of the confusion among the Stuttgart defence and headed his side into a lead after just nine seconds.
As a Youtube commenter puts it, Leipzig started the game in a 2-0-8 formation rather than their more traditional 4-3-3.
Striker Frahn told German radio Mitteldeutschen Rundfunk “It was a very successful move. It’s great for all of us that RB Leipzig is now in the record books.”
David Barnwell, football writer and editor of Bulibold.dk, told euronews what make this goal so special.
“It’s the fastest 3rd division goal of all time, headed in by RasenBallsport Leipzig (NOT Red Bull Leipzig as many think!) topscorer Daniel Frahn after just 8.6 seconds against VfB Stuttgart II.”
“This really caught the eye of everyone”
“As you see in the video, it’s a quite ingenious take on the kickoff and clearly a manoeuvre that has been practiced beforehand. It’s quite remarkable really, and has of course created quite a stir in German sports media. The third league receives quite a bit of coverage already, but I think it’s safe to say that this really caught the eye of everyone,” Barnwell, a Danish national currently based in Munich, told euronews in an e-mail.
“On top of this, RB Leipzig is a very ambitious club with lots of energy drink money and a huge stadium, so when they pull something like this off, it’s bound to catch the eye of everyone” including the 9,869 spectators present at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena.
“I don’t remember having seen anything similar myself. Whether or not RB Leipzig coach Alexander Zorniger has found his inspiration here or elsewhere remains unclear” explains Barnwell. He notes the inspiration for the move could have come from a trick in the same ilk as the Serbian U17 corner kick in-game”, a set piece itself inspired by an Azerbaijani coach called Vagif Sadikhov.
Barnwell has mixed feelings about the plan and points to its risks: “I am not 100% sure I am in love with the idea, even though it was clearly successful. You risk a lot and a ball loss and a quick counter against you can be deadly when you have eight men in front of the ball. Also, it brings elements of American football to mind, something which I think most football fans would hate to see too much of in their game.”
Indeed, in American football exists the Hail Mary play, defined by about.com football glossary as “an offensive play where the quarterback throws the ball up in the air without really targeting any particular receiver, hoping someone on his team catches it.” But Hail Mary passes are very often last-ditch attempts to win or tie a game, while Frahn’s goal took place within nine seconds of the kick-off.
“Still, a successful kickoff leading to such a fast goal is quite something else and of course very fun to watch. I believe it is also the first of its kind – and for sure in Germany, so hats off to Zorniger and RB Leipzig for pulling it off,” the Bundesliga expert concludes.
Photo credit Wikimedia Commons Martin Geisler http://eurone.ws/14eDma9