It’s the final chance for both sides to stake their claim as the last confirmed side in the 2. Bundesliga next season. The reward is great for the victor of the 2. Bundesliga Playoffs whilst the loser must be content with a place in the 3. Liga. In the first leg, Ingolstadt took complete control of the contest and where worthy 2-1 leaders of the tie heading into the second leg against Wehen Wiesbaden. Showcasing the gulf in quality between the two leagues. This tactical analysis looks at the second leg of this tie and how Wiesbaden ran the gauntlet to overturn the deficit and shock the play-offs.
Tomas Oral had done a magnificent job to take a basket case in Ingolstadt to be in a scenario where promotion is possible. He was made two changes to the side which gave Ingolstadt a 2-1 lead. Almog Cohen reached his 5th yellow card of the season in the first leg and was ruled out. The rock in midfield for Die Schanzer with Robin Krauße coming in. Sonny Kittel was surprisingly dropped to the bench after an active first leg, Konstantin Kerschbaumer comes in. Oral opted for a switch in system from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2.
Rüdiger Rehm changed the shape and multiple players from the losing side last time out. Goalscorer Daniel-Kofi Kyereh came in after a lively substitutes appearance. Nicklas Shipnoski, Marcel Titsch-Rivero, and Patrick Schönfeld were dropped to the bench in favour of more attacking options. Werder Bremen on-loan winger Niklas Schmidt and Jeremias Lorch come in. Wiesbaden changed to a 4-2-3-1 from a 4-1-4-1.
Ingolstadt almost catch Wiesbaden napping
In the first leg in Wiesbaden, it took Ingolstadt 32 seconds to open the scoring and we almost saw a repeat scenario in the second leg. Wiesbaden looked to overload their attacking half of the pitch from the kick-off. Yet when Wiesbaden coughed up possession it gifted Ingolstadt an early scoring opportunity.
Marcel Gaus wins possession close to halfway and looks to get the counter-attack going for Ingolstadt. Wiesbaden have eight players in their attacking half with both full backs out of position. Thomas Pledl gets on his bike to put the backtracking Alf Mintzel as Gaus lets fly with an accurate long ball.
Pledl still has plenty to do with the Wiesbaden defence tracking towards the 18-yard box. Mintzel has additional support in Maximilian Dittgen to thwart Pledl’s progress. Yet neither could stop the determined Pledl who looks for options in the area.
Ingolstadt’s attack down the by-line through Pledl leads to Dario Lezcano being left wide open. A Perfect ball at the feet of Lezcano but the Paraguayan fails to hit the target. It was almost a case of déjà vu in this tie with Ingolstadt almost opening the scoring.
At 1-1 with goals from Kyerah and Kerschbaumer, Wiesbaden knew they needed another two goals to ensure promotion. Despite Ingolstadt holding serve, they continued to push forward when perhaps Oral could’ve played it more conservatively. With Ingolstadt pushing for another goal, Wiesbaden would strike and put themselves in the hunt to go up.
The play begins at the edge of Ingolstadt’s attacking area with Kerschbaumer driving forward. Right back Moritz Kuhn has dropped in centrally as Schmidt is tracking Ingolstadt’s Paulo Otávio. This forces Kerschbaumer into making a bad decision where he tries to take on three Wiesbaden defenders. It’s detrimental as Kuhn wins possession.
Ingolstadt are in retreat mode yet nobody attacks Kuhn on the ball. He is allowed to drive close to halfway before Krauße attempts to thwart Kuhn. Wiesbaden striker Manuel Schäffler is offside but Dittgen is a potential option.
Dittgen is unmarked and in on goal after a fantastic through ball from Kuhn. One on one with goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner, Dittgen is limited in scoring options thanks to sound position by the Ingolstadt shot-stopper. Yet Dittgen squeezes the ball past Tschauner at his near post to level the tie outright.
Making the numbers count
At this stage, Wiesbaden lead 3-1 on the night and 4-3 in the tie, on away goals Wiesbaden would progress. Wiesbaden showed in the previous leg and in Ingolstadt a willingness to play with the ball. But without possession, Rehm looked to create a variety of situations which forced Ingolstadt to make ill-timed decisions aiding a return to possession. This part of the tactical analysis looks at how Wiesbaden were able to create a numerical advantage and tighten the pitch.
In the first scenario, we see Wiesbaden look to outnumber Ingolstadt at the strong side of the ground. Wiesbaden try to influence Ingolstadt towards the touchline, in trying to avoid going backwards Ingolstadt cross the ball into nowhere in particular. Ingolstadt does retain possession in the next frame.
Wiesbaden retreat back inside the 18-yard box as Ingolstadt try to whip in another ball back into the area. However, once again Weisbaden out number Ingolstadt who remained reluctant to get more numbers inside the box. This allows Wiesbaden to clear the danger with relative ease.
Using Otávio to exploit Kuhn
Ingolstadt sees the tie is slipping away and are struggling to penetrate what is essentially a back five. In possession, Ingolstadt’s ball movement hasn’t put Wiesbaden under enough pressure allowing the visitors to sit back. We have a scenario where Ingolstadt are able to create at the fair side of the pitch even when they are pinched tightly. The match up between the full backs was fascinating and in this case, Otávio had the edge.
In the initial phases, Ingolstadt are in their defensive third with Wiesbaden have pressed Björn Paulsen. The defender gives the ball off to Mergim Mavraj, Otávio is making a diagonal run towards the touchline. This works perfectly for Wiesbaden who want to pin Ingolstadt towards
As Otávio gains possession, Wiesbaden will allow him to drive close to the final third. By doing so this gives Otávio next to no options going forward. However, with Kuhn closing down on Otávio who plays a delicate ball into space which Kittel runs onto. This allows the attack to continue.
Otávio would remain involved in the chain as Kittel played through the Brazilian who has left Kuhn in his tracks. Searching for an option Otávio plays to space hoping Stefan Kutschke could create a goal scoring opportunity.
The resulting play ended empty-handed for Ingolstadt who were slowly turning the screws. They would reduce the deficit to one shortly after through Paulsen
Wiesbaden showcased as to why they were the best side away from in the 3. Liga this season. That same desire and tenacity shown by Union Berlin in the other relegation playoff battle was on full display. Exactly ten seasons ago Wiesbaden were relegated from the 2. Bundesliga and now their long-awaited return has arrived.
It’s a great shame for Ingolstadt, under Oral they nearly pulled off the great escape. When it seemed likely that they would remain in the 2. Bundesliga, Ingolstadt fell apart at crucial moments in the match. At the start of the season, many didn’t see Ingolstadt even near the relegation zone and here we are. Oral should be commended for the job he did when being announced as the fourth Ingolstadt manager this season. He only lost two games in his tenure yet it wasn’t enough to save them from avoiding the drop. Two relegations in four seasons since Ralph Hasenhüttl left the club.
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