Ingolstadt are on a roll, last weekend they picked up their fourth 1-0 win in a row, meaning they’ve kept a clean sheet on seven occasions in their last nine games. The aim for this game was to increase the gap between them and their hosts Düsseldorf, this would be no easy task as the home side have enjoyed a great run which has seen them go undefeated in their last eight games.
Ramazan Özcan was the first keeper forced into action, in the second minute a Sérgio Pinto effort looked to be heading for the top corner, however the Ingolstadt did well to claw the shot away from danger.
The game was temporarily stopped when Lukas Schmitz and Danny da Costa collided, both suffering heavy knocks to their legs, the later was stretchered off and then replaced by Konstantin Engel. Schmitz carried on and tried to play through the pain, despite his efforts he was replaced after twenty-six minutes, Ben Halloran was the man that took his place.
As the game approached the fifteen minute mark Ingolstadt increased the pressure on Michael Rensing’s goal. Alfredo Morales produced a fantastic turn to get round his marker on the edge of the area, sadly for the away side he wasn’t able to get the ball before Rensing. Soon after Moritz Hartmann tried his luck from range and it was disappointing as it ended up going well wide.
On the twenty minute mark Pascal Groß provided some lovely skill before cutting the ball back to Lukas Hinterseer, despite being unmarked the Austrian fired over, a good chance wasted for Ingolstadt.
Charlison Benschop played in Halloran, who almost managed to get through on goal, Engel stuck with the Australian and made a great sliding tackle.
Düsseldorf hit Ingolstadt on the break after Mathew Leckie’s cross was blocked and the quick break saw the ball played out to the left to Axel Bellinghausen, his cutback saw Danilo Soares make the block on Benschop before it finally found it’s way to Michael Liendl, his shot from just inside the area was brilliantly blocked by Benjamin Hübner. This sparked an attack for Ingolstadt and it ended up with Morales being blocked of on the edge of Düsseldorf’s area, the freekick wasn’t given.
Ingolstadt came so close to taking the lead when a corner found the unmarked Hartmann, who’s header was cleared off the line by Pinto, Marvin Matip was there for the rebound but could only head against the post, Düsseldorf finally cleared the danger when Bellinghausen reached the rebound before Roger could get a shot at goal.
Soon after that scare Halloran picked up the ball inside the area and his cutback found substitute, Joel Pohjanpalo, his attempt was blocked by Soares. Two minutes later Liendl’s freekick into the box managed to miss everyone and Özcan was forced to make a good save and flick it round the post.
This was a game where defence had attack in their back pocket, both sides defended brilliantly and both sets of attackers failed to make an impact on the game, if you love the art of defending then this was the game for you.
As the final whistle went Ralph Hasenhüttl showed just how delighted he was and he had every right to be. The goalless draw means Ingolstadt extend their unbeaten run away from home to 19, not only that they have another clean sheet to their name and coming away from Düsseldorf with a point is always positive result, even more so if your the only side above them.
After a very tough test Düsseldorf will be pleased that they’ll be travelling to Munich next Monday to face 1860, who currently occupy bottom spot. Ingolstadt have the pleasure of welcoming Union Berlin to the Audi-Sportpark, the team from the capital have improved in the last few weeks and will provide a good test for Ingolstadt.
Article for VAVEL.