Mladen Petric scored twice as Fulham fought back from 2-0 down to draw the final match of their pre-season tour of Germany against Kaiserslautern tonight.
The Red Devils, relegated from the Bundesliga last season, looked set to upset Martin Jol’s preparations as they stormed into a first half lead thanks to goals from Ilian Micanski and Albert Bunjaku inside the first fifteen minutes. Petric handed Fulham a route back into the contest when he linked up brilliantly with Marcello Trotta, who had kept his place following his brace against Lokomotive Leipzig, and calmly chipped Tobias Sippel.
The Croatian striker levelled matters midway through the second half when he converted a cross from Alex Kacaniklic at the near post after the Swedish winger had darted away from his marker with a magnificent bit of skill.
Fulham had started well with Sippel charging off his line to prevent Petric from reaching a through ball from Mahamadou Diarra, but they were behind two minutes later. Mark Schwarzer stood little chance against his old club when Micanski mustered up a wonderful finish to find the top corner after collecting a clever ball from Julian Derstroff on the edge of the box. Things got worse for the Premier League side just six minutes later. Derstoff floated in a dangerous cross from the left flank and Bunjaku headed emphatically home at the near post.
Fulham rustled up a quick response when Petric lifted a lovely finish over Sippel after working a clever one-two with Trotta. The Italian striker then volleyed over from a promising position and Kacaniklic almost dribbled his way through the entire home defence after embarking on a mazy dribble. Schwarzer did brilliantly to keep out a powerful strike from Kostas Fortounis – and Jol changed Fulham’s formation at half-time.
Substitute Mesca almost made an immediate impact when his cross was diverted onto the frame of his own goal by Jan Simunek. Fulham were building up plenty of momentum but their pressure was halted when referee Christian Dingert took the teams off the field as a thunderstorm took hold. After a brief delay, Jol sent on Kerim Frei and Fulham equalised when Petric snaffled his second from another superb Kacaniklic cross.
Fulham might have won it at the death when Frei forced a fine save from Sippel after being played in perfectly by Petric, but considering their horrific start they would have been happy to finish with a share of the spoils.
KAISERSLAUTERN (4-4-2): Sippel; Dick, Bughera, Yahia, Simunek; Alushi (Linsmayer 67), Borysiuk (Shechter 80), Derstroff (Vermouth 73), Fortounis (Azaouagh 72); Bunjaku (Tiffert 45), Mitsanski (Wooten 80). Subs (not used): Hohs, Jessen, Abel, Hajri, Orban, Rizzuto, Zuck.
GOALS: Mitsanski (8), Bunjaku (14).
FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Riether, Riise (Briggs 69), Hughes, Hangeland; Etuhu (Baird 69), Diarra (Sidwell 45), Ruiz (Frei 52), Kacaniklic (Davies 69); Trotta (Mesca 45), Petric. Subs (not used): Etheridge, Halliche, Brister, Dalla Valle.
GOALS: Petric (20, 74).
REFEREE: Christian Dingert.