The final team that claimed their golden ticket to the 2. Bundesliga from the 3. Liga was FC Ingolstadt 04. In their very short history, they have had a big rise through the German leagues and find themselves back in the 2nd tier. How will they fare in their 9th season in the 2. Bundesliga?
|This will be Die Schanzer's 18th season in existence, and this will be their 9th season in the 2nd tier.|
Manager: Roberto Pätzold
Stadium: Audi Sportpark
Founded: 5 February 2004
Nicknames: Die Schanzer (the entrenched ones)
Pre-season start: June 22nd
Training camp: July 2nd to 8th in Buxheim, Bavaria
Friendlies: June 30: VfB Eichstätt 0-4 Ingolstadt, July 17: Ingolstadt 1-1 Fürth
Only 2 matches for Ingolstadt's pre-season, a win against Regionalliga Bayern side VfB Eichstätt followed by a 1-1 draw against newly-promoted Bundesliga side SpVgg Greuther Fürth. Not much to comment on here.
Summer signings and departures
Additions: Yassin Ben Balla (Eintracht Braunschweig), Jan-Hendrik Marx (Waldhoff Mannheim), Maximilian Wolfram (FSV Zwickau, loan ends), Arian Llugiqi (promoted from Ingolstadt U19)
Departures: Gordon Büch (RFCU Luxembourg), Björn Paulsen (Hammarby IF), Robin Krauße (Eintracht Braunschweig), Caiuby (end of contract)
Despite getting promoted, it has been all change in the managerial department for Ingolstadt. Tomas Oral, the man who orchestrated the promotion of Die Schanzer to the 2nd tier, did not have his contract extended at the end of the season so Ingolstadt turned to their under-19 manager Roberto Pätzold to steer the ship in the 2. Bundesliga. It has been a quiet window so far for Die Schanzer with only 2 transfers coming into the club and 4 players departing the club. It will be interesting to see how they cope.
First six matches
Matchday 1 - vs SG Dynamo Dresden (A), Saturday 24th July, 13:30 local
Matchday 2 - vs 1.FC Heidenheim (H), Saturday 31st July, 13:30 local
Matchday 3 - vs SV Darmstadt 1898 (A), Sunday 15th August, 13:30 local
Matchday 4 - vs 1.FC Nürnberg (H), Sunday 22nd August, 13:30 local
Matchday 5 - vs SV Sandhausen (A), Friday 27th August, 18:30 local
Matchday 6 - vs SV Werder Bremen (H), Saturday 11th September, 13:30 local
For the Ingolstadt key player, it was a difficult decision between 2 very good players. The captain, leader, and top scorer for Ingolstadt in the 3. Liga last season Stefan Kutschke was candidate number 1, and the 2nd candidate was central midfielder Marc Stendera. On one hand, you have the man that has led the team from the front, not only with goals but with the captain's armband on as well. On the other side, you have a midfielder who is an ever-present in the Ingolstadt side, who also laid on 7 assists in the 3. Liga. It is a tough decision but in the end, it has to be Kutschke. He has played 99 games in the 2. Bundesliga, scoring 26 times, and his goals will be vital for Die Schanzer if they are going to stay up. His leadership qualities also set him apart from most other strikers, as the club captain, his efforts will be noticed the most and he should be setting the example for the Ingolstadt players to follow.
Since the Ingolstadt U19 side only played 4 games in 2020/21, it is difficult to gauge some possible tactics for Pätzold and his side, however, under the time of Tomas Oral, Die Schanzer often operated with a 4-4-2 formation and in most cases, youth squads or 2nd team squads deploy the same tactics as the first-team squad to get the younger players more used to the tactics if they get the promotion to the senior squad. Ingolstadt have a plethora of wide players going into this season, and only 5 central midfielders. The looks of the squad suggests that wide players will be integral to Pätzold's plans, either in a 4-4-2 or in a 4-2-3-1 with Dennis Eckert Ayensa being deployed either as a second striker or as a number 10. One thing that will be guaranteed will be that Stefan Kutschke will be starting the games unless he is injured.
The writer's opinion
This will be a difficult season for Die Schanzer. Their final result of the 20/21 season was a 3-1 defeat to VfL Osnabrück in the relegation playoff match and they were fortunate in going up following that poor display away in Osnabrück. Selecting Pätzold is not an awful decision considering he has been with the club for a long time, yes he has been the caretaker manager on a couple of occasions but he doesn't have that top-level experience of managing a senior team on a full-time basis. Ingolstadt have kept the same squad for this season with only 2 additions, but I still don't think that squad cohesion will be enough for Ingolstadt to stave off relegation back down to the 3. Liga. Stefan Kutschke will need to provide some heroics if Ingolstadt are to stay up this season, but I don't think it is going to happen. Die Schanzer will struggle to stay up and I feel it will be a swift relegation back to the 3rd tier.