Ingolstadt were still at the top of the 2.Bundesliga going into the international break, after a tough 0-0 draw with title rivals Düsseldorf they managed to produce an entertaining 3-3 draw against Union Berlin last time out.
Nürnberg have struggled with life in Germany’s second tier and they haven’t done well going into this game. They were well beaten as they lost 3-0 to Darmstadt, before drawing 2-2 with fellow strugglers St. Pauli and last time out they lost to Sandhausen 2-1. Before the game not many would’ve given the home side much time. Perhaps someone told them that Felix Magath was in the stands watching on, so they gave the former Nürnberg boss a show.
The homes side started the game with great intensity and in the third minute Niclas Füllkrug tried his luck from range and it wasn’t a bad effort as he forced Ramazan Özcan into some early action, the Ingolstadt keeper did well to palm it out for a corner. Nürnberg continued to have the better chances in the opening stages and Füllkrug, once again was the man to threaten Ingolstadt’s goal. Alessandro Schöpf whipped in a lovely freekick and Füllkrug leapt well to head just over the bar.
Just after the fifteen minute mark Nürnberg took a deserved lead, Jakub Sylvestr burst down the left and after his first cross was blocked he volleyed in a second, which saw Robert Koch charge in unmarked to head in off the post from close range.
Ingolstadt just started to cause a couple of problems for Nürnberg and Pascal Groß’ effort was deflected out for a corner, from that corner Patrick Rakovsky came out to claim it before brilliantly kicking up field perfectly for Sylvestr to run onto, the Slovakian calmly rounded Özcan and slotted in.
As the half went on Ingolstadt grew in frustration, especially with the referee as they felt a few fouls went against them. Rakovsky was having a rather comfortable half hour in goal as he was rarely tested by the league leaders. The first half provided an interesting contest and things didn’t go to plan for the away side as they struggled to force Rakovsky into enough action.
After the restart there weren’t many chances and neither keeper were forced into much action, that all changed just after the hour mark when Ingolstadt were given a lifeline. Javier Pinola had a heavy touch as he brought the ball forward and he desperately slide in, there wasn’t much contact and he was harshly given a straight red. The Argentine was far from pleased and neither were the Nürnberg bench, Raphael Schäfer was booked for his protests.
Karl-Heinz Lappe produced a great shot from range and the curling effort forced Rakovsky to palm over the bar. Shortly after Groß produced a teasing cross into the area and Moritz Hartmann managed to just avoid being offside and he was then able to stretch and poke the ball past Rakovsky.
Ingolstadt understandably applied more pressure once Nürnberg were reduced to ten men and they had a great chance to level things when Mathew Leckie headed the ball down to Lappe, the substitute brought the ball down, however his shot was blocked.
As the game ticked into the last ten minutes Nürnberg came under plenty of pressure, firstly Leckie struck from range and was too powerful for Rakovsky, who could only palm the shot out for a corner. That resulting corner was played short and the cross in found a free Roger and his volley was well saved by the Nürnberg keeper.
With Pinola’s red card Nürnberg had to hold on for their lives and they did so brilliantly and they also managed push forward on a few occasions to cause Ingolstadt a few worries at the back.
A much needed win for Nürnberg and they’ve end Ingolstadt’s impressive unbeaten run, the away side were seventeen games unbeaten in the 2.Bundesliga, their last defeat was last season back in April against Paderborn and Nürnberg also put an end to Ingolstadt’s nineteen match unbeaten run away from home. Up next for Nürnberg is another tough test as they travel to face Eintracht Braunschweig, Ingolstadt will host the former pace setters in Bochum.
Article for VAVEL.