The loss in Hannover is history, the tabloids carefully stop celebrating Bayern’s “crisis”, now it’s time for what should be the easiest match of the entire season. Should be. Who or what is FC Ingolstadt?
Let me try to answer that question: the club called FCI is a very young one, founded only 7 years ago, currently playing in the 2. Bundesliga. Not only are they located relatively close to Munich, some other things link the clubs. Both are financially supported by Audi and quite a few Ingolstadt players one played for Bayern, namely: Andreas Görlitz (2004-10), team captain Stefan Leitl (1987-98), talent Christoph Knasmüllner (2008-10) and Leonhard Haas (1998-03).
Other current Ingolstadt employees you might remember are the former Bundesliga keepers Sascha Kirschstein (Hamburg) and Ramazan Özcan (Hoffenheim), American international Edson Buddle, veteran and former Wolfsburg defender Marino Biliskov, Christoph Metzelder’s brother Malte and Joel Matip’s brother Marvin, once part of Köln’s Bundesliga squad.
Sounds promising? That’s what many thought. After a horrible first half of the 2010-11 season, a team revived by coach Benno Möhlmann (former leader of closely-missing-promotion-every-year Fürth) played a great second half (6th-best team) and avoided relegation. Not few expected this to be a good team in the making, predicting that Ingolstadt might be the pleasant surprise of this season, competing for promotion with a bit of luck. The received advance praise didn’t help at all. Eleven matches into the season, Ingolstadt is dead-last with a mere 8 points.
Who’s to blame? Obviously the coach, in many people’s opinions at least. Not a few think that Möhlmann should be sacked. But that’s not the only problem. Both keepers aren’t playing a convincing season and the defense is as shaky as a house of cards on the high sea. If you take a look at their goal counts, the offense, mainly Edson Buddle and Moritz Hartmann, not so much new signing Ahmed Akaichi, does a decent job, having scored 16 goals so far (only 7 2. BL teams scored more). The defensive work on the other hand is paltry to say the least, 32 goals against are 8(!) more than the second-worst defense, courtesy of Karlsruhe.
What lineup can we expect from Möhlmann? Flip a coin whether it should be called a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2. This is my prediction:
Görlitz – Pisot – Matip – Schäfer
Bambara – Metzelder
Two gambles are the starting goalkeeper and the second striker. It looked like Möhlmann decided to demote Kirschstein and give Özcan a chance but that didn’t help, either (and Özcan wasn’t really fit on Sunday). Who’s the current #1? I certainly don’t know. Further up front, on the other hand, it seemed to be clear that captain Stefan Leitl starts but the team played better in Aachen after he was replaced by Edson Buddle at half-time.
A few words about Bayern: a must-win, no matter who starts. Speaking of which, I’m not gonna predict the lineup. Jörg Butt might play, I expect at least one of Olic/Petersen to start but aside from that it’s very difficult to predict. It could be a complete second-string side, it could just as well be the strongest squad with just a few alterations. The last word comes from Audi CEO Rupert Stadler who, when asked what result he’s hoping for, said: “Single-digit.”
It’s that onesided. On paper.