NEWS // MatchesBack
In form Schanzer
Focus on FC Ingolstadt
In the run-up to Christmas, the Löwen face a difficult away challenge – there is no denying that! On Monday, trainer Torsten Lieberknecht and his men travel to in-form Ingolstadt – who will be going into the match bursting with confidence. An eight-game unbeaten run, including six victories, speaks for itself. The key to FC’s impressive form undoubtedly lies in their defensive qualities.
Relegated from the Bundesliga at the end of last season, The Schanzer made a poor start to the new campaign and three consecutive defeats forced those in charge at the club to react. Maik Walpurgis was relieved of his coaching duties and replaced by caretaker-coach Stefan Leitl. The 40 year old quickly stabilised the team and was duly reward with the head-coach’s position on a permanent basis. Leitl already held a role-model status with the Schanzern and a high-standing amongst the fans, having previously played 190 games in the FCI colours. The new coach has been in charge for thirteen games now and a good run has seen the Bavarians shift up into fifth place in the table.
Interesting new signings
With summer transfer activities in full swing, Sporting Director Thomas Linke decided to part company with the club. Harald Gärtner, general manager at FCI, took on the sporting responsibilities temporarily and had his work cut out for him! Many of the previous season’s vital elements were reluctant to go down with the club and opted for moves away from Ingolstadt. Markus Suttner and Pascal Groß moved on to the Premier League (Brighton & Hove Albion), whilst others, Matthew Leckie (Hertha BSC) and Marcel Tisserand (VfL Wolfsburg) remained in the Bundesliga. The transfers duly filled the club’s bank account, putting FCI in a positive position to act during the transfer window.
Ingolstadt thus went on to make a number of signings, who had already made names for themselves. Stefan Kutschke, who impressed in front of goal last season whilst on loan at Dynamo Dresden, has proven just as important an addition as the Bundesliga experienced Christian Träsch (VfL Wolfsburg) and Antonio Colak (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim).
Compact defence the trump card
There is no denying the quality within the squad and under the guidance of Leitl, the team have consistently displayed their qualities – not least in defence. Goalkeeper Örjan Nyland has maintained six clean-sheets already this season – the best tally in the league. And having conceded just 16 goals throughout, FCI boast the third best defence in the league.
Up front, the Schanzer have often lacked the ultimate penetrative power in their finishing. Aside from top-scorer Sonny Kittel, on seven goals and eight assists, FCI have not found a reliable goal-scoring source. Even Kutschke, with four goals to his name, will not be satisfied with his tally.
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