Brentford’s pre-season training camp in Germany ended with a defeat in a friendly match to Karlsruher Sport-Club Mühlburg-Phönix e.V.. Karlsruhe SC, as they are known, scored twice inside the final 20 minutes, albeit Malik Batmaz looked suspiciously offside when he put in the first. David Pisot headed in a second and that was enough to condemn Brentford to defeat on a warm afternoon in Bavaria in front of a few hundred supporters, including more than 100 Bees fans that had flown over. A goal from Ollie Watkins inside the final five minutes gave Brentford hope they could turn the game around but it was not to be.
With Karlsruhe only two weeks from the start of their season, there was a difference in how the teams approached the game. Brentford made nine changes at half time with only goalkeeper Daniel Bentley and defender Mads Bech Sørensen completing the 90 minutes. Karlsruhe on the other hand scattered their changes through the afternoon with most of their team playing for more than an hour as they looked for cohesion ahead of the new season.
It was an entertaining encounter and one that could have produced far more than the three late goals it did. Both teams had their chances and it took some fine goalkeeper from Bentley and his opposite number Benjamin Uphoff, to go with some good defending and wasteful finishing, to keep the goal tally down. Brentford will be disappointed with the goals they conceded, coming from a knock down and a corner but a fine piece of skill from Watkins gave the travelling fans something to cheer, even if it did not change the result.
The game was more competitive than many pre-season friendlies with strong tackles put in and attacking football played. Alan Judge could have put Brentford ahead inside three minutes with a shot on the turn that flew wide and he then nearly set up Tom Field but Uphoff rushed out to save at the feet of the Brentford left back. The Bees did most of the attacking in the first half and Uphoff was busy. He made a fine stop from a fierce Judge shot and then saved bravely at the feet of Sergi Canós after a clever interchange of passes.
Marcus Forss headed wide for The Bees and was then at the centre of a goalmouth scramble later in the half. Canós and Romaine Sawyers set up a chance for the Finnish striker but his effort was saved, another was blocked and Forss then cross but Lewis Macleod could not force the ball in and Judge’s effort deflected over the top. Uphoff also denied Macleod later in the half as Brentford pressed.
Karlsruhe offered less before the break but did put together some incisive attacks. Bentley saved from Marc Lorenz before Damian Roßbach headed over from close range. Anton Fink fired across the face of goal before Marvin Pourié was put through with only Bentley to beat but the Brentford goalkeeper won the contest. Lorenz fired two free kicks in to the wall late in the half and Karlsruhe almost opened the scoring just after the break when a Pisot header was cleared off the line by Emiliano Marcondes Camargo Hansen.
The German second tier side carried more threat after the break and chances for Pourié and Sané came and went before the latter failed to beat Bentley when put through one-on-one. Sørensen then made a fine block to deny Pourié and Lorenz lashed over, Uphoff saved at the feet of Neal Maupay at the other end before denying Chiedozie Ogbene twice. Watkins then had a low shot blocked.
The opening goal came with 17 minutes remaining but probably shouldn’t have stood. Sané won a long ball and headed on for Batmaz to race on to, the offside flag stayed down despite appeals – and the fact the striker looked to be well beyond the last defender – and the Karlsruhe man slotted past Bentley. The second wasn’t long in coming as Pisot rose highest to head a corner home and Sané could have made it three when he shot wide soon after.
Brentford looked beaten but took the right to the German side and worked a way back in to the game. Watkins conjured a goal out of nothing as he cut in off the left and weaved past three defenders before steering a shot in to the far corner. It wasn’t enough to change the result but did ensure Brentford finished on a high.
Brentford (First Half): Bentley; Yennaris, Konsa, Sørensen, Field; McEachran; Judge, Sawyers, Macleod, Canós; Forss
Brentford (Second Half): Bentley; Woods, Barbet, Sørensen, Clarke; Mokotjo; Ogbene, Emiliano, Cole, Watkins; Maupay
Bookings: Sørensen (42 mins), McEachran (43 mins)
Karlsruher Sport-Club Mühlburg-Phönix e.V.: Uphoff (sub Müller 66 mins); Thiede (sub Stoll 85 mins), Gordon (sub Kobald 74 mins), Pisot (sub Stoll 85 mins), Roßbach (sub Kircher 74 mins); Muslija (sub Hanek 79 mins), Wanitzek (sub Pasalik 85 mins); Camoglu (sub Röser h/t), Fink (sub Sané h/t), Lorenz (sub Stroh-Engel 74 mins); Pourié (sub Batmaz 66 mins)
Bookings: Muslija (57 mins), Pisot (71 mins)