Fortuna Düsseldorf cracked four unanswered goals past fellow Bundesliga new boys Frankfurt, securing three somewhat surprising home points. A first-half dismissal turned a tight and rather dull game into a walkover.
Düsseldorf scored two in the first half and two more in the second against Frankfurt, wrapping up a comfortable home win and moving 10 points clear of the two automatic relegation spots many expected them to occupy this season. Fortuna have scored seven points in the past week, with a win over Hamburg and a draw against Dortmund prior to Friday's game.
Frankfurt, meanwhile, have won just one of their last seven in the Bundesliga after their dream start to the season.
The game was a lifeless and rather even affair for the first half an hour, until Karim Matmour made Bundesliga history - for all the wrong reasons.
The Frankfurt forward picked up his second yellow card in just the 34th minute. After his sending off last weekend against Schalke, and a suspension served in the midweek matches, he became the first ever Bundesliga player to be dismissed twice in seven days.
The decision to book him for a gentle shove from behind was perhaps a little harsh, certainly in the eyes of Frankfurt coach Armin Veh, but then Matmour's decision to make the contact in the middle of the park with a yellow to his name was quite questionable as well.
Quickfire double before the break
Less than five minutes after Matmour took an early bath, Stefan Reisinger opened the scoring with an individual effort. He skipped between two Frankfurt defenders, with a kindly bobble along the way, then cooly chipped the onrushing Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp.
Four minutes later, Oliver Fink went one better. Picking up a half-cleared Reisinger cross, Fink took two touches to turn Sebastian Rode inside out, and then curled in a beauty with his left foot from the edge of the box. Trapp was again reduced to the role of spectator.
No respite after the break
Down two goals and a striker, out-of-sorts Frankfurt struggled to gain any momentum after the break. Stefan Aigner had the guests' best chance of the night early in the second half, but couldn't find the target after Bastian Oczipka's fine cross. Düsseldorf weren't streaming forward either, but managed to stretch their lead shortly before the hour mark.
The third goal was nowhere near as pretty as the opening two, an inaccurate cross somehow found its way to the back post, where striker Nando Rafael scuffed a volley with his weaker left peg. The poorly hit shot caught Trapp off balance and eventually dribbled into the bottom corner.
Frankfurt looked ready to head back south in the latter stages, though Düsseldorf persisted in front of their home fans and were rewarded with five minutes to spare.
Left-winger Axel Bellinghausen, one of the few players to stand out even in the stale opening phase of the match, was rewarded with his first goal of the season. He followed into the box to finish from close range, capitalizing on a defensive howler from Oczipka, who scuffed an attempted clearance.
After a week packed with Tuesday and Wednesday fixtures, the rest of the league is back in action over the weekend. The obvious highlight on the fixture list is the Saturday evening game in Munich, where league leaders Bayern host defending champions Borussia Dortmund.