Bremen – As the first newly-promoted side in Bundesliga history to win their first three away games of the season, FC Ingolstadt 04 have set records tumbling.
bundesliga.com takes a closer look at their remarkable achievements to date in Germany’s top tier.
Hasenhüttl: 'Not surprising'
Ingolstadt were not handed the easiest of fixture lists to start their maiden Bundesliga campaign but announced their arrival in some style on Matchday 1 with a 1-0 victory away to 1. FSV Mainz 05. A 4-0 defeat at home to Borussia Dortmund followed, but head coach Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men quickly bounced back, recording a 1-0 win away to FC Augsburg, a goalless draw at home to VfL Wolfsburg and now their latest coup, a 1-0 triumph at SV Werder Bremen.
The Bavarians are comfortably in the top half of the table on ten points, and Hasenhüttl was understandably buoyant after the final whistle on Saturday: “It’s a sensational record, no question. We’ve made history and we’re very proud of that. Given the way we played in the second division, though, I don’t think it’s all that surprising.”
Indeed, last term Ingolstadt only lost twice on the road and went 19 home games unbeaten between October 2013 and October 2014, setting a new Bundesliga 2 record in the process. Furthermore, they are the only team in the Bundesliga yet to concede away from home in 2015/16.
All of which bodes well for the newcomers in their efforts to avoid the drop: only two of the 12 promoted sides who have had ten points after five matches have been relegated at the end of the season, while of the 133 teams to have been relegated from the Bundesliga, 130 had fewer points than Ingolstadt currently do.
Recipe for success
So what is the secret to their success? Moritz Hartmann, who scored the decisive late winner in Bremen, offered an intriguing insight: “We try to press our opponents a lot to stop them getting into a rhythm. When we have the ball we try to hurt teams up front. It’s worked well for us a few times now. The fact we’ve won three successive away games says a lot about the team. Our opponents have to push themselves to the limit to beat us and to score past us.”
Ingolstadt now face a testing ‘englische Woche’, with a midweek fixture at home to Hamburger SV followed by a trip to Köln for Matchday 7 on Friday. Watching Hartmann and Co. push for a fourth straight away victory in Cologne promises to be exciting, as the Billy Goats are yet to lose at home.