Ralph Hasenhüttl, knowing Alfredo Morales and Tobias Levels were out injured, stuck with the same side that was defeated 2-0 at VfL Wolfsburg last time out save for one change. In came Almog Cohen for Max Christiansen, whilst the promising form of Darío Lezcano kept fan favourite Stefan Lex on the bench. The Austrian's under pressure counterpart, Viktor Skrypnyk, made just the two alterations; Levin Öztunali replaced Finn Bartels, whilst Lukas Fröde was handed his first ever Bundesliga start.
Schanzer strike home
As we've become accustomed too with any game concerning FC Ingolstadt 04, did not start in free flowing fashion. However to die Schanzer and Ralph Hasenhüttl's credit for a side in their premier season in Germany's top flight, there dogged pragmatism has been hugely successful for them and the plucky Bavarian side possess the third best defense in the league behind FC Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.
The Audi Sportpark side have scored only fifteen league goals throughout the entire season, with nine of those coming as a result of a set piece. So it came as absolutely no surprise when FC Ingolstadt 04 broke the deadlock - courtesy of a free-kick.
Pascal Groß's set piece from deep was flicked on into the path of Almog Cohen, making only his third Bundesliga start of the season. The Israeli saw his effort parried by Felix Wiedwald and a goal scramble ensued. After Darío Lezcano, still looking for his first Bundesliga goal after a January switch from FC Luzern, saw his flicked effort rattle the crossbar the ball fell at the feet of Benjamin Hübner to power home and spark rapturous celebrations from the natives on the terraces. The centre halves first in the top flight.
The visiting Grün-Weißen, SV Werder Bremen have had a season to forget and currently find themselves in the midst of a relegation battle. They currently occupy the play-off spaces, and will hope to avoid the emotional agony that the likes of HSV and Hoffenheim have had to endure over recent years.
Under the stewardship of Viktor Skrypnyk the problem is clear, unlike their opponents Ingolstadt keeping cleansheets has been nye on impossible; in fact they are yet to keep a clean sheet this season - Hübner's goal adds to another game to that list.
Ramazan Özcan's goal for the most part was unchallenged during the first half. The almost ever-present duo of Hübner and captain Marvin Matip were able to deal with the majority Bremen could offer and in typical Ingolstadt style there were no defensive risks taken. Although Özcan had to be on his toes to deny Anthony Ujah an equaliser, after a well worked Claudio Pizarro lofted ball.
The man of the moment in the city famed for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Moritz Hartmann had endured a typically below par performance for the die Schanzer favourite. However, the River Islanders from Bremen had to keep note - Hartmann has special history with the side from the Hanseatic city.
In the reverse fixture, the Bavarian native slotted home a penalty deep into added time to secure an unlikely 1-0 victory for die Schanzer at the Weserstadion. Incidentally, Hartmann was also on the scoresheet the only other time a Werder Bremen side had faced FC Ingolstadt 04 in Bavaria - that came in the form of die Grün-Weißen's second squad during the 3. Liga's 2009/2010 season.
Hinterseer hammers home huge goal
With opponents around them picking up points, the game acquired some significance for Werder Bremen and as such it was no surprise that Viktor Skrypnyk's side were immediately on the search for the all important equaliser. January signing, Sambou Yatabaré was introduced for his Bremen debut and as a signal of intent it was the midfielder Levin Öztunali who was withdrawn for the Mali striker.
They were more of a threat than in the first half, though that isn't to say they troubled Özcan. Benjamin Hübner was once again at the heart of the action and despite deflecting a clearance goalbound, it took the ball away from the incoming Ujah and Grillitsch after some neat Claudio Pizarro footwork. Jannik Vestergaard also saw an effort drift over the Austrian's crossbar.
As the clock ticked towards the ninetieth minute the suspected Werder Bremen onslaught ensued. Crosses and long balls were hurled into the Ingolstadt box and on more than one occasion Marvin Matip took the situation by the scruff of the neck and either cleared the ball or won a freekick. The Cameroonian, German native, has made the step up from the 2. Bundesliga to the top flight superbly and has proved a real role model in this die Schanzer side.
Young Lukas Fröde produced the best chance that die Grün-Weißen would create, as he teed up Zlatko Junuzovic within the Ingolstadt penalty area. The Austrian squared for Pizarro, who equally did the same for Anthony Ujah. However in typical Hasenhüttl and Ingolstadt style it was Mathew Leckie this time who came to the rescue and won the ball from the Nigerian, who subsequently appealed for a belated penalty.
However, the Ukrainian Skrypnyk would see his Werder Bremen side defeated once again as a late FC Ingolstadt 04 penalty secured the three points for Ralph Hasenhüttl's plucky side. Robert Bauer had marauded down the left flank and equally Stefan Lex had found the former Karlsruher SC youngster. Bauer, tactically aware in situation knew he only had to get the first touch on the ball before Yatabaré clattered into him and he did just that.
Tobias Welz was left no other choice than to point to the spot, as the debutant felled Bauer within the box. After encroaching players had seen the first Lukas Hinterseer penalty ruled out, the Austrian was handed the nerve-wrenching task of doing it all again. He made no mistake and secured what was another impressive and fully deserved win for the hosts. For Bremen, especially after Hoffenheim's win, they are left looking nervously over their shoulders.