Lions lack killer instinct against Ingolstadt
Allianz Arena, Munich - 1860 Munich failed to finish off a resolute FC Ingolstadt side, who came from behind to snatch a deserved draw in today's Bavarian derby.
A decent crowd of 28,100 basked in beautiful sunshine and saw an energetic Lions side boss the first half and deservedly go ahead on the half-hour mark after top scorer Benny Lauth was fouled 25 yards from goal in a central position.
1860 man-of-the-match Daniel Halfar curled the ensuing free-kick cutely over the wall, leaving the FCI goalkeeper Sascha Kirschstein grasping for thin-air.
Further chances to double the lead came and went and 'Sechzig' were left to rue their profligacy in front of goal as they failed to seal a fourth successive home win.
Experienced FCI coach Benno Mählmann reshuffled his pack at the interval, introducing American World Cup striker Edson Buddle into the fray.
Buddle, who can thank the inspiration of Pele for his Christian name, scored an equaliser on 61 minutes, which at first glance (from the vantage point of the press box) was very Pele-like. However, on later inspection (i.e. a TV replay), the strike was more Comedy Club. Buddle sublimely outsmarted both Stefan Buck and Dominik Stahl with ease on the edge of the box but lost his footing as we went to shoot. The ball deflected off his standing foot but somehow looped over helpless goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner. who was left completely stranded. Tschauner was making a farewell appearance in front of the Lions faithful.
Ex-Lion Andreas Gärlitz was roundly booed all game but put in a decent shift for the visitors. Bayern Munich paid Sechzig Eur2.5 million for the 29-year-old defender´s services in 2004. Gärlitz, a former German international, seems to be rejuvenated at Ingolstadt and would again appear destined for better things if he can steer clear of injury.
It remains to be seen whether Captain Benny Lauth will stay with the club. The rumoured takeover in the coming weeks will probably decide the Lions stalwart´s future.
Jordanian investor Hasan Ismaik is waiting in the wings armed with what is believed to be a Eur15 million treasure chest to buy 49% of the ailing club and save the Lions from possible extinction.
Potential stumbling blocks to the deal include a vast array of creditors (including noisy neighbour Bayern Munich who are owed EUR 2.1 million) and the German Football League (DFL) , who have also yet to approve the takeover.
"We´re now on the right road," confirmed Lions CEO Robert Schäfer, who expects the contract with the Jordanian millionaire to be signed next week despite a "few minor hurdles" still to be overcome.
The away draw stretches FCI´s unbeaten run to a club-record ten games whilst the mid-table Lions will be disappointed with their second half display in their final home fixture of this campaign.
Lions coach Reiner Maurer refused to be too downbeat after being pegged back again. "We now have 50 points in total and I think that´s definitely a respectable showing, " said Maurer.
1860 finish off a turbulent season with a long trip to SC Paderborn next Sunday.