DAVID SMITH - Friday, September 16, 2011
FC Ingolstadt 04 vs Dynamo Dresden
2 Bundesliga - Friday September 16, 2011
Edson Buddle dropped a pair of bombs on Dresden on Friday night, netting Ingolstadt's first two goals as they fought back to defeat visiting 2. Bundesliga newcomers Dynamo.
The early weeks of the season had hardly been kind to Ingolstadt, with a plague of inconsistency on both sides of the ball and untimely injuries to several players including attacking star Caiuby dooming them to several lopsided losses, the second-worst defense in the league, and a place in the bottom three of the division.
Their 4-1 thrashing at Union Berlin on the previous weekend was an ominous sign of things to come, and head coach Benno Möhlmann needed his team to turn the tide against Dresden or risk having the organization fall into a crisis which would undoubtedly put his job on the line.
"You just have to forget about it and move forward and not forget that there's always the next game," Buddle spoke in retrospect of the team's approach coming off a huge loss. "I've been there before where you lose a game and have to bounce back. That's the beautiful thing about a long season."
Buddle had been forced out of the loss in Berlin early due to cramping in his thigh, but after returning to practice on Tuesday was declared fit to play and was on the field paired with strike partner Moritz Hartmann from the opening whistle.
From the get-go, Ingolstadt hardly looked like the team that had struggled so heavily and often in recent weeks, and their early press gave them the lead barely three minutes into the game.
On their first corner kick of the game, team captain Stefan Leitl whipped the ball to the center of the six-yard box where Marvin Matip rose above the defense to head it low towards the left post. A Dresden defender was standing at the post and able to block the ball with his foot before it crossed the line, however it popped straight up for Buddle to athletically leap and send a header back to goal which took both the keeper and nearby defenders by surprise as it flew over the line.
Now holding the advantage on the scoreboard and in the overall flow of the game, Ingolstadt continued to press and were close to doubling the lead three minutes later when Hartmann and Leitl teamed up on a give-and-go, with Hartmann making a good shot to maintain possession and create space in the center of the area before hitting a shot that sailed about one foot wide left.
Dresden saw their first chance just several feet off-target in the tenth minute, as Filip Trojan whipped in a free kick from the left flank to the penalty spot, which Benin international Mickaël Poté headed just high.
Dresden were clearly outclassed at this point and looked every bit the freshly promoted team, and were lucky to not see their deficit increase over the next 20 minutes.
Despite the Ingolstadt dominance, the visitors thought, perhaps correctly, that they had found an equalizer against the run of play at the half-hour mark when a short clearance from Kirchstein landed at the top of the box and was headed high and goalwards by a Dresden attacker, looping over the Ingolstadt defense and keeper into goal. The goal was called back by the referee as he had judged Zlatko Dedic to be offside, a call which was heavily disputed by fans and players alike, and was shown to be dubious on later replays.
Ingolstadt's dominance on the attacking end was perhaps partially at fault for Dresden's equalizer in the 37th minute, as the back line looked entirely drowsy and caught by surprise when Dresden's right-sided midfielder Robert Koch split the defense with a perfectly-weighted through-ball into Poté's path.
With no defender having any chance to catch up, the French-born playmaker looked sharp in swiftly advancing the ball into the right side of the area with only Kirchstein to beat, then hit a low shot across the area which rolled safely inside the left post for 1-1.
The defense was again at fault as Dresden completely turned the tables and took the lead within five minutes. With Moise Bambara closely at his heel, Dresden winger Filip Trojan tried to gain control of a ball hit by left back Muhamed Subasic to the edge of the area. Bambara clumsily felled the former Duisburg player well within the penalty area on the left side, giving referee Norbert Grudzinski little question about his decision to award the spot kick.
Dynamo striker Zlatko Dedic took the penalty shot, hitting the ball low and soft to the left side of goal, easily putting it past Kirchstein who had taken the bait and dove in the opposite direction.
Facing the prospect of a difficult halftime talk from Möhlmann, a final attack by the Schanzer just before the whistle resulted in another corner kick which ultimately shifted momentum permanently in their favor. Leitl again sent a blazing ball from the right corner through the six-yard box towards the far post, where Buddle launched himself above both David Solga and Cheikh Gueye to head the ball into the left side of goal for the equalizer.
"It's very important to go into the half on even terms so we feel positive coming back out," Buddle spoke of the overall importance of the equalizer right before the half.
A slow start to the second half saw Ingolstadt maintain their upper hand in the direction of play, but without any real bite in the final attack. Defender Andreas Schäfer had their first decent chance in the 56th minute when he received the ball on the left flan, and opted to hit a low drive that skidded along the ground through the defense towards goal. Dresden keeper Dennis Eilhoff had no problems to initially scoop it up, and while he bobbled the ball slightly, no Ingolstadt attackers were in the vicinity to capitalize.
At the hour mark, Ingolstadt did succeed in retaking the lead in impressive fashion which simply emphasized their overall dominance on the ball. Completing a fast-break up the middle, a stylish one-touch sequence saw Hartmann drop a short pass to Buddle at the top of the box, then immediately receive the ball back as he shifted his run right. He immediately laid it off to Andreas Buchner at the upper right corner of the area, with the right winger taking a couple steps forward to make space around his defender before hitting a laser-guided strike into the far upper corner for the lead.
Three minutes later Schanzer central defender Marino Biliskov could have added another for the hosts when his snap header off of a free kick from the right side forced Eilhoff into a reflex block, then Buddle barely missed the mark for a hat trick on the ensuing corner when his header was just high.
Satisfied with their lead, Ingolstadt clamped down in the back to avoid conceding another to their visitors, and the 75th-minute insertion of Christoph Knasmüllner for Leitl into a more defensive midfield-minded role alongside Matip gave the Dresdeners few outlets.
Dresden's only real chance to pull even came three minutes from full time, as Dedic received the ball on the run and slipped it forward to the onrushing Koch for a hard shot that Kirchstein dove well to block to safety.
As the final seconds of the two minutes of added time came to a close with Dresden having no luck moving the ball anywhere near their hosts' goal, Ingolstadt struck gold one final time. Hartmann won a challenge in the attacking half and popped the ball to Knasmüllner on the right side. Both the keeper and nearby defenders were caught by surprise and rushed towards the 19 year-old Austrian in an effort to impede any shot, however he smartly opted to attempt a cheeky chip which looped over all concerned parties and dropped over the line for the game's final act, resulting in the final 4-2 score.
"I think we did a lot of positive things to stay in the game and not lose sight after we fell behind," he pointed out of their renewed resilience after falling behind. "There was a point where we fell behind in our last game and lost it, but in this game we pressed forward, stayed in the game, and came out with the win."
An overall confidence running through the team even when behind was a factor that Buddle felt pushed them to victory, although he admits there is certainly still room for improvement. "We didn't want to be overconfident, but I'm sure we'll go through some tape during the week and try to correct some of those mistakes we made and build from it."
As to his own play on the field, contributing two goals and playing an integral part in the third did push this to the top of his performances since arriving from Los Angeles, although he hopes to use it as a stepping stone for a continued improvement in Germany.
"I've not scored two goals in one game since I've been here so I'd say that it is my best game since I've been here," he beamed.
"I did some positive things, I felt comfortable today in certain parts of the field where I hadn't before. I think that was important and I want to do better in the next game. I haven't played 90 minutes in a long time, and it helps to have a continual rhythm which is better for the team."
The victory temporarily pulls Ingolstadt all the way up to tenth place in the 2. Bundesliga standings with several games still left to be played around the division over the weekend, and guarantees that they will remain at least two points clear of the drop zone after this current round of games.
A visit to Matt Taylor and ninth-place SC Paderborn awaits them next Friday, before a return home the following Saturday to host a heavily struggling VfL Bochum team.