Ingolstadt bowed out of the Bundesliga with a brave 1-1 draw at home to Schalke, Donis Avdijaj and Pascal Groß exchanging goals at the Audi Sportpark.
Ingolstadt 1-1 Schalke
Red cards: Stambouli (63’)
Avdijaj was given a rare start for Schalke and wasted little time in seizing the opportunity, bursting through the home defence to open the scoring inside the first two minutes. To their immense credit, already-relegated Ingolstadt refused to let their heads go down, though, and they pulled back onto level terms with half-time approaching when Groß stroked home from the penalty spot after Dario Lezcano was felled in the box.
Ingolstadt were awarded another penalty just past the hour – one which saw Schalke’s Benjamin Stambouli given his marching orders - but this time Lezcano stepped up, only to be denied by Ralf Fährmann.
Man of the Match
Lezcano was unfortunate not to find himself on the winning side here. The Paraguay forward was a constant nuisance to the Schalke defence, putting in a game-high 17 tackles as well as winning the penalty that allowed Groß to equalise. His penalty miss aside, the 26-year-old belongs in the top flight.
Schalke are one of the teams looking forward to next season most keenly. Shorn of summer signings Breel Embolo and Coke for much of the campaign, the Royal Blues struggled to scale the heights of old, and find themselves without European football for the first time in eight years. That could be seen as an opportunity next term, though, with fewer games to play and a squad which – on paper at least – remains one of the strongest in the Bundesliga.
- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar leaves the club as the second-highest scorer in Schalke’s Bundesliga history with 82 goals.This is a difficult relegation for Ingolstadt. If the table was based on results since Matchday 11, when Maik Walpurgis took charge, his side would be 10th.Having scored 17 goals for the Schalke Under-19s three years ago, Avdjiaj looks to be realising his potential, with his strike today his second in nine appearances – all but two of which have come from the bench.
Ingolstadt: Nyland - Matip (c), Roger (Morales, 89'), Bregerie - Hadergjonaj, Christiansen, Cohen, Suttner - Groß (Hinterseer, 85'), Kittel (Leckie, 76') - Lezcano
Coach: Maik Walpurgis
Schalke: Fährmann (c) - Riether, Naldo, Nastasic, Kehrer - Stambouli, Bentaleb - Coke (Tekpetey, 90'), Goretzka, Avdijaj (McKennie, 77')- Burgstaller (Huntelaar, 86')
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
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