Bees draw pre-season friendly on hot Griffin Park afternoon
Brentford continued their pre-season campaign with a draw against 1. FC Kaiserslautern on a boiling hot July afternoon. In the West London sunshine, with temperatures, approaching 30°C, Brentford scored the opening goal early in the second half. The first period had produced few good chances but the visitors had the best, hitting the post. They levelled soon after falling behind and left with a share of the spoils.
Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith was able to use 20 players during the 90 minutes with only Harlee Dean and Daniel Bentley completing the full match. Scott Hogan got 45 minutes under his belt after missing the draw with Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday while Josh McEachran, Sam Saunders and Alan McCormack also had long work-outs after limited match time in pre-season so far. The visiting side – who ply their trade in the German Bundesliga II, the second tier – also used their squad, fielding 18 players over the 90 minutes and were a good test for a Brentford side two weeks from the start of the Sky Bet Championship season.
Brentford started the match with Yoann Barbet at left back and he settled in to the role. The French defender played most of last season in the centre of Brentford’s back line but looked comfortable playing on the flank. The home side’s best moves in the first period came down the left when Barbet linked with Lewis Macleod. Romaine Sawyers would often shift over to join in while McEachran knitted the passes together when required. One early ball from the left from Macleod released Hogan in behind but his first time shot did not trouble Kaiserslautern goalkeeper André Weis.
Weis saved again when Hogan flicked a Barbet cross towards the near post and then denied the livewire Brentford striker again following a quick free kick. Brentford dominated the early exchanges and only looked troubled when a poor kick from Bentley presented the ball to visiting striker Osayamen Osawe, but he picked the wrong option when he got in to the penalty area and Brentford cleared.
The visitors should have taken the lead midway through the first half when, following a long spell of possession, Christoph Moritz chipped a ball over the Brentford defence and Marcel Gaus beat the offside trap but he hit the post when faced with only Bentley to beat. Brentford troubled Kaiserslautern from set pieces – a John Egan header was blocked and another from Barbet was cleared deep in the penalty area – but the visitors grew in to the game. McEachran saw less of the ball as the half wore on and Brentford’s trio of attacking midfield players were marginalised. Kaiserslautern started to dominate possession and the stiflingly hot weather did not help Brentford press and win the ball back.
The visitors could not, however, find a first half goal. Róbert Pich shot wide after getting on to a ball forward and Osawe fired in to the side netting after turning well. Pich also hit a defensive wall with a free kick late in a half that ended goal less and without either goalkeeper being unduly worried.
Brentford introduced Lasse Vibe at half time and were ahead within two minutes of the restart. They should have scored when a Macleod pass put McCormack in behind but he was denied by Weis and Saunders’ follow-up was deflected wide. From the resulting corner, however, The Bees did score. Macleod delivered the set piece and three Kaiserslautern players rose together with Alexander Ring meeting the ball with the side of his head and diverting it in to his own net. Vibe was in the vicinity and celebrated but there was little doubt it was an own goal.
Ring almost redeemed himself immediately with a nice turn and shot but Bentley was well position to save and Pich then fired high and wide after winding his way in to the penalty area. Kaiserslautern did, however, level six minutes after falling behind. And it was a well-worked goal. Daniel Halfar dropped off the play and fed a ball to the onrushing Gaus, his square pass was perfect for Pich to convert at the far post to equalise.
Brentford could have been back in front within two minutes when a Sawyers pass put Vibe in behind in the inside right channel, he fired hard and low across Weis but the goalkeeper turned it away. At the other end Osawe headed wide and a low Lukas Görtler effort was saved. As the second half wore on more and more substitutions were made, which slowed the game down, affecting the flow and the rhythm of both teams. There were still chances but neither side looked like winning the match.
Ryan Woods saw a shot blocked before a weaving run from Vibe almost set up Konstantin Kerschbaumer but the Austrian had the ball nicked off his toe as he prepared to shoot. A Kacper Przybylko shot was saved and one from Görtler was blocked. Jan Holldack blasted over for The Bees and Woods almost won it with a 25-yard effort that whistled just over. But there were no more goals and the friendly ended all square.
Brentford: Bentley; Colin (sub Woods 64 mins), Dean, Egan (sub Mepham 73 mins), Barbet (sub Field 73 mins); McCormack (sub Clayton 82 mins), McEachran (sub Kerschbaumer 64 mins); Saunders (sub Ledesma 64 mins), Sawyers (sub Holldack 73 mins), Macleod (sub Hofmann 64 mins); Hogan (sub Vibe h/t)
1. FC Kaiserslautern: Weis; Mwene (sub Piossek 75 mins), Vučur, Ziegler, Aliji; Pich (sub Przybylko 64 mins), Moritz (sub Klich 87 mins), Ring (sub Dittgen 75 mins), Gaus (sub Görtler 64 mins); Osawe (sub Böðvarsson 75 mins), Halfar (sub Frey 75 mins)
Attendance: 3,385 (889 away fans)