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Just seven days after the home game against Erzgebirge Aue, the Millerntor plays host to second division football again on Saturday when the Boys in Brown entertain FC Ingolstadt. The visitors added to their squad in the winter break and have won three of their last four outings, but as in the reverse fixture Markus Kauczinski's side will be looking to strike at the decisive moment to return to winning ways.

The first meeting of the two sides was 81 minutes and 17 seconds old when substitute Ersin Zehir collected a pass in his own half. As the midfielder teed up the ball, fellow substitute Ryo Miyaichi set off on a surging run through the middle. Zehir dispatched a perfect pass over the top into the path of Miyaichi, who headed the ball on the bounce over FCI keeper Marco Knaller for the only goal of the game – just seven seconds after Zehir had received it. It had been an excellent defensive performance all evening, but this was the key moment that decided the outcome in our favour.

That win proved to be the turning point in the first half of the season, sparking an upturn in form that carried Kauczinski's side to third place going into the winter break. Three defeats in four games since the resumption, however, have seen the Boys in Brown surrender that position. "The situation is similar but not comparable," said Miyaichi in the run-up. But what does he mean by that? Well, the Boys in Brown went into the reverse fixture on the back of four successive defeats, and their recent results have not lived up to the expectations either. This time, however, they have not dropped into the bottom half of the table. On the contrary, they remain in contention at the top. Nevertheless, the Boys in Brown will have to up their game if they are to avoid another defeat on Saturday.

Ingolstadt have certainly upped their game since the winter break. After picking up just one victory in their first 18 matches, they have already won three times in 2019 (1-0 at Fürth, 3-0 at Aue and a 2-1 home defeat of Bochum last time out). A 1-0 defeat against Magdeburg has been the only blot on the copybook this year for the new-look Ingolstadt squad, which includes FCSP loanee Cenk Sahin. New boss Jens Keller, who took charge in December, will be desperate to continue their upward trajectory at the Millerntor as a win over the Boys in Brown could see Ingolstadt leapfrog Magdeburg to move out of the drop zone for the first time this season. If that is to happen, the defence will again be the key. Former St. Pauli keeper Philipp Tschauner, on loan from Bundesliga outfit Hannover 96, has conceded just two goals in the last four games.

Ingolstadt travel to the Millerntor with renewed confidence, then. They may be highly motivated, but so are the Boys in Brown, who are determined to make amends for the recent defeats by taking all three points. And maybe Saturday will bring another of those decisive moments when the Boys in Brown strike to return to winning ways and usher in another turnaround.


Important info for anyone planning to travel to the Millerntor using the underground line U3 – due to construction work on the track no trains will run between the stations Rathaus and Berliner Tor up to and including Sunday, 24 February. A rail replacement service will be in operation during this time. Please note that the Rathaus stop is not barrier-free!


Photo: Witters