Two first half goals saw Derby County claim their fourth pre-season win in five outings as they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over 2. Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern.
Chris Martin got the ball rolling with a cool finish on 24 minutes, before Bradley Johnson’s first-time finish doubled the advantage shortly before the interval.
Robust over the second 45 minutes, Gary Rowett’s side gave very little away as they recorded their latest pre-season win to set them up sweetly for their final week of pre-season games next week.
On a baking day in south-west Germany, Kaiserslautern – a week further ahead than Derby in their pre-season preparations – started the sharper at their impressive 49,780 capacity Fritz-Walter Stadion.
In possession, the Rams were hounded into early mistakes, whilst Rowett’s back four of Andre Wisdom, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce and Craig Forsyth had some early work to do to deal with a series of the Red Devils’ corners.
Before the 10-minute mark, though, Rowett’s men established control and should have scored earlier than they did.
It was a slick move too. Tom Huddlestone slipped a pass into the feet of Martin, who in turn flicked the ball, first-time, into the path of the lurking Johnson, but the midfielder was denied, instinctively, Marius Müller.
The Kaiserslautern goalkeeper made another fine stop to deny Martin, after the 28-year-old forward had escaped his marker just left of centre, but he didn’t have to wait much longer to get his name on the scoresheet.
The opener was a peach too. Huddlestone’s precise long ball over the hosts’ backline was cushioned by Andreas Weimann into the path of Martin and the Scotland international, with time, made no mistake and kept his cool to find the far bottom corner.
The Rams were well on top by this point and could have gone further ahead through Johnny Russell’s looping header, but Müller scrambled back to get a vital hand to it.
Kaiserslautern regained some ground and came back into the contest as it approached half-time.
Baris Atik went closest to levelling. His free kick from 25-yards appeared to have the beating of a largely untroubled Scott Carson, but to the 31-year-old ‘keeper’s relief, it flew past his right-hand post.
There was another twist shortly after that, though, as Rowett’s side capped off a fine first half showing with another goal.
With the game on the cusp of added time, a short free-kick for Derby was played out, by the quick thinking Jacob Butterfield, to the feet of the hugely impressive Weimann, who grabbed his second assist of the afternoon by pulling the ball back to Johnson to slam a shot into the bottom right corner.
Weimann’s performance warranted a goal itself and the 25-year-old thought he had grabbed it after escaping into the area and delivering a tidy finish early in the second half, but the effort was chalked off for offside.
Derby’s German hosts enjoyed far more prolonged spells of possession during the second 45 minutes, but very rarely threatened to breach Rowett’s stubborn backline until they began to turn the screw after the hour.
At this point, Kaiserslautern bombarded the visitors’ backline with shots, but time and again a Rams defender, crucially, got their body in the way.
With tiredness and fatigue creeping into the squad, Rowett made his first four changes on 73 minutes and a further two with five minutes remaining, but although there were no further goals and far less attacking bursts, Derby ran out comfortable winners for a second successive year in Germany.
FC Kaiserslautern: Muller, Modica, Guwara, Borrello, Fechner, Albaek, Moritz, Correia, Atik, Halfar (C), Osawe
Substitutes: Weis, Gortler, Spalvis, Dittgen, Mwene, Kastaneer, Koch, Vucur, Sievers, Osei Kwadwo, Shipnoski, Seufert, Tomic, Musel
Derby County: Carson, Wisdom (Baird, 73), Keogh (C), Pearce, Forsyth (Olsson, 85); Huddlestone (Bryson, 73), Butterfield, Johnson; Russell (Bennett, 73), Weimann (Anya, 85), Martin (Nugent, 73)
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Hanson