1-0, Leipertz 50’. 1-1, Zrelak 74‘.
FC Ingolstadt 04 1-1 1. FC Nürnberg: Der Club miss chance to go top

FC Ingolstadt 04 1-1 1. FC Nürnberg: Der Club miss chance to go top

Adam Zrelak saved them a point after Robert Leipertz's opener, but results elsewhere meant this was an opportunity wasted.

James Rees

1. FC Nürnberg failed to make the most of Fortuna Düsseldorf losing as they came from behind to draw with FC Ingolstadt 04.

After a goalless first half, Ingolstadt took the lead through Robert Leipertz early in the second half, with Adam Zrelak equalising for Der Club soon after coming from the bench.

With Düsseldorf losing to 1. FC Heidenheim, Nürnberg would have gone top of the 2. Bundesliga on goal difference with a win but in the end neither side did enough here to take all three points.

Early drama but no goals in first half

Whilst Nürnberg were looking to close the gap on, or even overtake, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Ingolstadt knew a win would put them back into fourth, albeit still five behind third-placed Holstein Kiel, who themselves are putting pressure on the top two again. Both teams made two changes for this Bavarian derby, with Christian Träsch and Stefan Kutschke in for Alfredo Morales and Moritz Hartmann for the hosts after they drew last weekend with Arminia Bielefeld, whilst Ewerton and Ondrej Petrak replaced Luaks Mühl and Patrick Erras for Der Club from their win against 1. FC Heidenheim.

The visitors got off to a stunning start. In just the first minute they had a corner and Georg Margreitter’s header was kept out by Örjan Nyland, but Stefan Kutschke’s attempted clearance hit Tobias Schröck, falling to Ewerton. He came millimeters from scoring, with Almog Cohen clearing right on the goal. A free-kick a minute later presented another chance, with Kevin Möhland having the header this time. Nyland only just held on to it, with Mikael Ishak primed to punish him if he hadn’t done so.

The match settled down after that, with Ingolstadt’s first chance coming a quarter-of-an-hour in. Cohen’s cross found Kutschke in the middle of the box, and if he had made a clean connection with the try in trying to hook it past Fabian Bredlow die Schanzer would have gone instead. Instead he scuffed it, but Bredlow so had to react fast to palm it away from danger.

The hosts remained on top for the rest of the half, having 60% of possession, however there were no further chances for either themselves or Nürnberg to break the deadlock before the half-time break. Kutschke felt he should have had a penalty after going down under pressure from Ewerton, but the referee rightfully waived the protests away, whilst a Thomas Pledl effort late in the half took a big deflection that kept it away from Bredlow’s goal.

Zrelak off the bench to cancel out Leipertz goal

Ishak, yet to score since his comeback from injury, came close early on in the second half, but couldn’t put his shot on target after being found by Möhwald. Then Ingolstadt had a chance as Sonny Kittel ran through the middle. Several Nürnberg defenders failed to clear his ball into the box, which successfully found its way to Leipertz, who subsequently beat Bredlow to give his team the lead.

Ingolstadt remained on top after that, coming closest to making it 2-0 through Kutschke. Träsch’s ball on the halfway line played the striker one-on-one with Bredlow. However the goalkeeper did well again, and he kept out Kutschke’s shot, although he was a little fortunate that the rebound went over the bar instead into the back of the net.

Michael Köllner attempted to shift things around in attack, and his decision to replace Ishak in place of Zrelak proved inspired. The Slovakian striker was yet to score in German football but that soon changed. An Enrico Valentini free-kick was punched by Nyland, but the ball only found Tobias Werner, another substitute. His effort was blocked, but still Ingolstadt couldn’t clear and eventually Zrelak just inside the box struck past him to bring Nürnberg level.

With Düsseldorf 3-1 down at Heidenheim, another Nürnberg goal would have sent them top, whilst realistically Ingolstadt needed a goal to stay in the promotion race. In the end neither did enough to score, with the hosts coming closest. Had Cohen headed Kittel’s cross following a corner towards the left post, he may well have scored, but instead he went wide of the right.

Sunday’s other 2. Bundesliga results

1. FC Heidenheim 3-1 Fortuna Düsseldorf (1-0, Dovedan 23'; 1-1, Usami 51'; 2-1, Dovedan 56'; 3-1, Kraus 79')

SV Darmstadt 98 1-1 Eintracht Braunschweig (0-1, Medojevic 39' (OG); 1-1, Kempe 73' (P))