League leader’s Ingolstadt come from behind to snatch a late winner to see off ten men Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Ingolstadt have been cruising at the top of the 2.Bundesliga for quite some time now and it’s not hard to see why, having lost on just three occasions in the league. The home side are unbeaten in their last three game’s, a 0-0 draw against Eintracht Braunschweig and two win’s, 2-0 against FSV Frankfurt and 1-0 against Heidenheim last weekend. Thank’s to Kaiserslautern and Darmstadt dropping point’s last week Ingolstadt have a five point gap at the top.
As for the visitor’s they’ve experienced a tricky run in form and have only won twice since the league resumed back in February. Two week’s ago Düsseldorf suffered a shock defeat as they were brushed aside 4-0 by St. Pauli, however they managed to get a positive result on Monday night as a controversial penalty decision gifted them a 1-1 draw against second place Kaiserslautern. They’ll be hoping to cause a shock of their own by defeating the league leader’s, despite getting the better of their host’s in the past tonight they face a much tougher opponent than recent meeting’s.
Düsseldorf had to deal without top scorer Charlison Benschop after he picked up an injury last time out, despite that they had a very capable replacement in Joel Pohjanpalo, the Finnish striker has netted ten time’s in the league this season.
Ingolstadt had a half chance early on when Benjamin Hübner met a cross, sadly for the host’s he was stretching and could only direct the header wide.
The visitor’s started brightly and they attacked with plenty of purpose, after seven minute’s they came very close to opening the scoring. Axel Bellinghausen provided a teasing low cross which saw Pohjanpalo slide in and after getting some contact on the cross it was heading in. Unfortunately Danilo Soares was there to clear the ball into the air.
Ingolstadt were given a freekick out wide when Dustin Bomheuer blocked off Stefan Lex. The one person they shouldn’t give a chance from a set piece was Pascal Groß and he almost scored a stunning freekick, the effort had plenty of pace and was heading for the top corner before Michael Rensing leapt up to save.
The host’s grew more and more into the game and started to show their quality. Despite this they were still struggling to cause Rensing problem’s in goal, a quick counter attack saw Lukas Hinterseer break down the left before picking Groß out in the middle, the midfielder tried his luck from range and Rensing comfortably saved to his right.
Just before the half hour mark Düsseldorf’s positive start was ruined, Lex raced through and Adam Bodzek brought him down, being the last man the referee quickly gave him his marching order’s. Luckily for Bodzek his keeper came to the rescue as Rensing saved a poor penalty from Alfredo Morales.
Three minute’s later thing’s got much better for Düsseldorf, Danilo Soares was caught under pressure and his poor back pass saw Pohjanpalo excellently curl his shot with the outside of his foot and round Ramazan Özcan.
Ingolstadt finished the half strongly and they almost found the equaliser a minute from the break. Danilo Soares crossed in from the left and at the back post Mathew Leckie wanted the ball the most and his header clipped the post before going wide.
Unsurprising the host’s started the second half brightly and were making the extra man count. They had a great chance to pull themselves level a few minute’s into the half as Groß’ corner was flicked on to the unmarked Roger. The midfielder couldn’t take his chance as he fired well over the bar.
Corner’s were starting to cause Düsseldorf plenty of problem’s and they would’ve lost their lead had it not been for Heinrich Schmidtgal. Ingolstadt’s Hübner won a header from a corner and Schmidtgal was on the line to deny the German defender.
The league leader’s came agonisingly close to finding the leveller on the hour mark, Groß played a lovely diagonal ball to pick out fullback Tobias Levels. At the first time of asking Levels volleyed in a great cross which flew inches past Hinterseer’s head and narrowly wide of the post.
Ingolstadt’s pressure finally paid off in the sixty-fifth minute, Düsseldorf failed to clear their line’s and the ball was smashed against Lukas Schmitz and fell to Moritz Hartmann, who controlled and excellently fired in from the edge of the area. It took the substitute four minute’s to make an impact and Ralph Hasenhüttl showed his delight by running on the pitch to celebrate.
Unfortunately for the host’s they weren’t level for long as another substitute made an instant impact. 20-year-old Ihlas Bebou was brought off the bench and two minute’s later he put Düsseldorf ahead, Bellinghausen’s shot across goal saw Özcan get his fingertip’s on the strike and Bebou arrived unmarked to tap in.
Düsseldorf were under tons of pressure toward’s the end as Ingolstadt threw everything forward to grab an equaliser. Despite their effort’s Düsseldorf couldn’t keep their lead. Four minute’s from time a freekick was whipped in and Leckie produced a terrific header which flew into the bottom corner leaving the rooted Rensing with no chance.
Ingolstadt didn’t give up there as they pushed for a winner and the atmosphere lifted when five minute’s was awarded for injury time. It was music to Ingolstadt’s ear’s and they made it count. A freekick thirty yard’s out saw Groß deliver a great ball and Ingolstadt skipper Marvin Matip managed to get free of his marker and headed in the late winner for his side. Moment’s later the whistle was blown for the last time.
Despite their tremendous fight and effort Düsseldorf weren’t rewarded for it and it will be a tough result to take after being ahead twice. Next weekend they’ll be hoping to bounce back with a win at home to 1860 Munich. Ingolstadt will be over the moon with the three point’s and tonight they showed why they were the league leader’s, up next for them they face Union Berlin.
Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.