If it were an American football game, it’d be called the Audi Bowl, but in German football, it’s just another 2nd round DFB Pokal match with a twist, as FC Bayern Munich host FC Ingolstadt 04 in the first ever official meeting between the clubs on Wednesday evening. Kickoff is set for 20:30 CET. ESPN3 will have a live stream of the match from 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The Bayern Report will have a live blog running for the match, beginning about half an hour before kickoff.
Ingolstadt, not InGoalstadt
The numbers on the end of German football team names always seem to signify the long traditions of the clubs. Some clubs with dubious claims to historical significance even like to stick numbers on the end of their name just to give a cosmetic sense of that aura. In the case of FC Ingolstadt, it’s not exactly historical, but they come by the 04 honestly: it represents 2004 when two local clubs merged to form the present one.
Hailing from the Hauptstadt of auto-maker Audi, it’s only natural that the visitors have very close ties to the company. They play their home matches at the Audi Sportpark, they’ll be wearing the logo of the company on their shirts in Munich Wednesday night, and hell, they even put an Audi in the team photo.
What may be less usual for the visitors is having an opponent for whom Audi is a minority stakeholder, and whose advisory board is populated by Audi’s chairman. It might be a night of divided loyalties for a few homegrown Audi execs but alas, no draws are possible in the Pokal.
But onto the footballers themselves. Ok, how can I spin this positively for Ingolstadt? They’re a 2nd division team and they’ve managed to draw a 2nd round Pokal match not just on the road, but against Bayern Munich. Also, they’ve lost 4 in a row, they’re in last place in the 2. Bundesliga, they haven’t won an away match all season and their away goal difference this season in -18.
Then it gets really bad: They’re fielding a team of ghost players coached by Hans Moleman.
Actually, the trainer is Benno Möhlmann (Hans is only his middle name–really), but he might as well go with the middle name and anglicize the last name given the misfortune heaped upon him this season. As for the ghost players, you know it’s bad when your sporting director says of Sunday’s performance “Some of them (players), especially in the first half, had no physical presence on the pitch.”
The 3-1 loss in Aachen was punctuated by David Odonkor foregoing the Diego approach and completing one of the longest dribbling attacks you’ll ever see on a desperate Ingolstadt’s empty net. (starting at 1:49 below)
There are really only 3 players who can make things happen for FCI. One is Stefan Leitl, a 34 year old midfielder who was a Bayern prospect many years ago. Munich-born Leitl was technically a Bayern pro from 1996-1998, though he never played a match with the senior squad. He got a cup of Bundesliga tea with Nürnberg under Klaus Augenthaler, but has mostly played a long career in the 2nd and 3rd divisions, having some of his best seasons at an advanced age. He’s the playmaker in the Ingolstadt attack and is versatile enough to be deployed wherever needed.
American fans will be quite familiar with Edson Buddle, who had a mid-career resurgence with the LA Galaxy before moving on to Ingolstadt. As has been his calling card to some degree, Buddle blows hot and cold. He has 7 goals this season, but 5 of them were scored in just 2 matches. Four of the seven goals were via header, so Bayern’s defense just need to keep their attention on the multitude of hopeful crosses Ingolstadt are likely to produce.
Buddle rarely plays a full 90 minutes, and so Moritz Hartmann, who spent time in the Cologne system, is the other striker to watch. He’s the 2nd leading scorer behind Buddle, with 4 goals this season.
There are plenty of other familiar names in the Ingolstadt lineup, the most prominent being ex-Bayern man Andreas Görlitz. The oft-injured defender and bandleader is sure to receive a warm welcome in his return to the Allianz Arena.
It seems like only yesterday Christoph Knasmüllner was being touted as the next young rising star in the Bayern youth system. Knasmüllner goes way back with David Alaba as they are the same age and came up together in the Austria Wien system. But Knasmüllner’s clashes with Hermann Gerland led him to ask for a move out of Munich, and fans wondered if a jewel wasn’t slipping away when he was allowed to move to Inter last winter. Knasmüllner found himself cast aside from Inter’s junior team just months later and Ingolstadt threw the 19 year old a lifeline to jump start his stalled career. He’s scored 1 goal in limited action so far.
Additionally, Malte Metzelder, the brother of Schalke 04′s Christoph Metzelder is a starter in the defensive midfield for FCI. Former long-time Bayern amateur Leonhard Haas might have figured in the selection as well, but he’s still working his way back from injury.
Rotate the Pod Please, Jupp
Monday found the club’s beat reporters trying to figure out just how many revolutions Jupp Heynckes would be willing to make with his rotation machine. While Daniel van Buyten was still said to be suffering from bronchitis, he completed the team training without incident. On the other hand, Bastian Schweinsteiger shut it down, reports saying he was suffering from a cold. Bayern could probably afford to play Tobi Schweinsteiger against Ingolstadt if they had to, so concerns were minimal. Danijel Pranjic could be the stand-in if Schweinsteiger is given the night off. Pranjic made his only season appearance with the pro squad in a brief cameo in the first round win over Eintracht Braunschweig. Jerome Boateng’s suspension does not apply to Pokal matches, so he will be available.
Asked if a 2nd round Pokal match was the right time to spell Neuer and give Butt a start, Heynckes responded “That could be”. Whether those present read the tea leaves or he simply said so off the record, the general consensus is that Butt will see a start in goal on Wednesday night. Update: On Tuesday, Heynckes confirmed that Butt would get the start. As it is impossible to predict which match might be meaningless later in the season, it could be the last career start for a player who has seen action in 32 DFB Pokal matches over the years.
Diego Contento will be hoping to see action in place of Philipp Lahm, while Ivica Olic could get his first extended run out since returning from injury. If it’s goal scoring against 2. Bundesliga competition you want, Nils Petersen has the best claim to playing time of any of the reserves for this match. Takashi Usami was not included in the squad for first round Pokal match, but could he get a chance here? There’s certainly many who’d like to see what a couple months in the second team has done, but which pro would you kick upstairs to sit behind Uli to give him his place?
Bayern has had a 6 goal performance in each of their last two Pokal campaigns. Here’s to a third..
FC Bayern Munich 6:1 FC Ingolstadt 04