Tomas Oral’s Ingolstadt side had dominated from start to finish in last Wednesday’s demolition of Uerdingen and so it was no surprise that the Black-Reds kept up the tempo in the early stages against their opponents from just 80 kilometres down the Autobahn 9. Fatih Kaya dragged an effort wide of the right post, after some neat pressing from Filip Bilbija, whilst Marc Stendera’s set pieces were a consistent threat.
Soon after, the Schanzer broke the deadlock. Of course, it was no surprise that the goal came courtesy of Stendera. The midfielder has made a habit of providing pin-point deliveries since joining the club in the summer and Monday evening was no different. The former Eintracht Frankfurt man found Tobias Schröck from a corner kick and the towering defender met the ball and powered it beyond a helpless Rene Vollath. It was Schröck’s opening goal of the campaign and a first since October 2019.
Unfortunately, lightning struck twice in Ingolstadt and the guests soon had a set piece goal of their own. VfB Stuttgart loanee Maxime Awoudja marked his first start for the Munich based side by rising highest to meet Sebastian Meier’s delivery and there Fabijan Buntic was left stranded as the ball landed midway inside the right-hand post just four minutes after the Black-Reds had taken the lead.
Both teams were giving it as good as it got throughout the first half in central Bavaria, which was to be expected after the first encounter between the Schanzer and Türkgücü had ended in a hotly contested 1-1 draw back in November. When chances did arise, mistakes were the order of the day, such as when Filip Kusic misjudged a lofted ball and briefly allowed Kaya to advance on goal much to the consternation of his teammate Ünal Tosun.
It was in keeping with the pattern of the proceedings that the Schanzer’s opportunity to retake the lead came via a mistake. Boubacar Barry was adjudged to have handled the ball by referee Robin Braun, although on second viewing it appeared to be a harsh decision. Captain on paper, but also a captain in spirit, Stefan Kutschke assumed the responsibility and assuredly sent the ball into the right-hand corner of the goal.
The Schanzer could have added to their lead before the break, as Kaya forced Vollath into a point blank save, whilst Dominik Franke’s driven delivery could not be converted by Merlin Röhl from close range either. The theme of chances arising from crosses was replicated at the other end of the field, as Lucas Röser was left wishing that his boots were just a few sizes bigger when a cutback evaded the former Kaiserslautern man by mere inches.
It seemed that the exertions of the first half had created a stalemate in the second. Not for a lack of effort, neither side was able to create more than a half chance as the second half progressed. It was largely a triumph of the opposing defences, particularly that of Türkgücü, as each promising position was snuffed out after equally promising defensive skill. In one such case, it came via the unorthodox figure of wide midfielder Sercan Sararer and his ability to marshal Kaya away from danger and then draw a foul from his opponent.
Oral’s introduction of Dennis Eckert-Ayensa and Caniggia Elva to the Ingolstadt attacking cadre turned the game back into the favour of the home side. The former was unlucky to see Vollath scrape his effort from the five-yard line around the post after another expert delivery from Franke’s left boot. The latter then had a chance of his own, but in comical fashion struck the ball against a fellow Ingolstadt teammate from close range.
The threat from an Ingolstadt perspective was that despite having the lion’s share of the opportunities that the second half had produced, as Braun’s watch wound down, all it took was one errant Türkgücü effort to eradicate their deficit. With a place in the 3. Liga automatic promotion places on the line, the tension was palpable. Fortunately, despite the absence of talisman Björn Paulsen through injury, the Schanzer defence were able to rise to the occasion. Buntic saved Sararer’s tame freekick and the same man also saw a set piece also cleared to safety, but if truth be told it was the introduction of Rico Preißinger that effectively sealed the deal for Oral’s men, as the former Magdeburg man marshalled the edge of the penalty area and snuffed out any danger before it could make its way towards Ingolstadt’s Croatian stopper.
Much to the delight of an ecstatic Oral, the points were in the bag after Braun signalled for full time on what was a calm Spring’s evening at the Audi Sportpark. After the defeat in Dresden almost ten days ago, it has been the perfect response from the Black-Reds, with two victories and five goals – with only one against – in the process. Of course, the trick is to continue such form whilst the calendar moves towards the business end of the season. With a visit to Wehen Wiesbaden looming on Saturday, a side hot on the heels of Kutschke and co., the Schanzer will not have to wait long to pitt their newfound form against one of the 3. Liga’s best.
FC Ingolstadt 04: Buntic – Heinloth, Keller, Schröck, Franke – Stendera, Kotzke (Gaus, 78’) – Bilbija (Preißinger, 78’), Röhl (Elva, 63’) – Kutschke (Caiuby, 82’), Kaya (Eckert-Ayensa, 63’).
Türkgücü Munich: Vollath – Awoudja (Jakob, 71’), Sorge, Kusic – Yi-Young (Bouziane, 84’), Maier (Gorzel, 71’), Tosun, Barry – Niemann (Sijaric, 46’), Sararer, Röser.
Goals: 1-0 (Schröck, 14’), 1-1 (Awoudja, 18’), 2-1 (Kutschke P, 31’).