After the turn of the century, Audi intensified its sport sponsorship, entering into deals with big clubs like Bayern Munich (2002), Real Madrid (2003) or Milan (2007). Between 2010 and 2011, the company even acquired 9.09 percent of Bayern shares for €90 million.

Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern München) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Thiago Alcántara (FC Bayern München).

But for a long time, the company's investment in the local club, FC Ingolstadt, was very moderate. In 2008, the team won promotion to the second division and it became apparent that the venerable ESV Stadium would never meet the requirements for professional football.

Pep Guardiola's side responded from going out of the Champions League semi-final by securing the Bundesliga for a record fourth successive campaign.

The former Barcelona boss had been in a spiky mood on the eve of his penultimate league game following Bayern's defeat by Atletico Madrid on the away goals rule in the Champions League.

It was only in 2013 that Audi became more heavily involved financially.

Bayern took the lead at Ingolstadt when Franck Ribery was fouled by home captain Marvin Matip in the area and Lewandowski scored the resulting spot-kick.

Since 1949, the company's headquarters are in Ingolstadt, about halfway between Munich and Nuremberg. Almost a quarter of the 130,000 people who live in Ingolstadt today work for Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, the second-largest car manufacturer in the world.

FC Ingolstadt 04 II played the 2011–12 season in the Regionalliga Süd after finishing runners-up in the Bayernliga and taking FC Ismaning's promotion spot after the later declined promotion. In the 2012–13 season the team will play in the new Regionalliga Bayern.

Douglas Costa (FC Bayern München) wins a free kick on the left wing.

But it's not quite so simple. As early as 2009, when his team was playing in the second division and about to get relegated, Jackwerth was compared with Hoffenheim's patron Dietmar Hopp. It was a comparison he didn't like, telling a Bavarian newspaper: "Financially, we play an entirely different role. They are doing a good job in Hoffenheim. However: Give me €30 million and we're playing in the top flight, too."

MTV spent two seasons in 2. Bundesliga Süd after Amateurliga Bayern champion 1. FC Haßfurt declined promotion in 1978. When ESV faced bankruptcy in 2004, MTV allowed its footballers to leave to help form FC Ingolstadt.

On May 17, 2015, they clinched the 2014–15 2. Bundesliga title and won promotion for the first time in their history to the Bundesliga.[1]

Ingolstadt is especially known for ice hockey and association football. ERC Ingolstadt, founded in 1964, plays in the German Ice Hockey League since the 2002-03 season. With the exception of its season of debut and 2007–08, the club has reached the national play-offs every year as of 2014[update], and has reached the semi-finals three times. They won the German Ice Hockey League Championship in 2014.

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Right now it's entirely unclear if and how Audi will make their presence -- and their financial muscle -- felt given that Ingolstadt have become a Bundesliga club. However, they won't go far from their roots as Jackwerth says: "We are not a company team and our budget will be that of a newly promoted club."

Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

After the final whistle, forward Thomas Muller grabbed a loud hailer to lead chants with the fans.

During the summer of 2013, a few months after Audi had bought the shares and the Stadium PLC from Jackwerth, the club set themselves the goal to build a team that could challenge at the top of the second divison within the next five years. Hasenhuttl has beaten this schedule by three full seasons.

Now, less than 10 years and 10 months after that scoreless game in deepest Franconia, Schwabach are playing at the seventh tier of the German league pyramid while Ingolstadt have just won promotion to the Bundesliga.

The Bundesliga's leading scorer then added his second when he drilled home Alonso's superb pass from a tight angle for his 29th league goal of the season.

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Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern München) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Javi Martínez (FC Bayern München) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Lukas Hinterseer (FC Ingolstadt 04) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mathew Leckie.

But the 45-year-old was all smiles as he celebrated with his players at the final whistle at mid-table Ingolstadt after an 81st win in 101 league games under Guardiola.


For quite some time, the most successful team in Ingolstadt was the billiards club BSC, two-time national pool champions. The two biggest football teams were MTV Ingolstadt and ESV Ingolstadt. Ingolstadt's greatest football year was 1979-80, when both clubs competed in the southern division of the then two-tiered Second Bundesliga.

Uli covers German football for ESPN FC and has written over 400 columns since 2002.

Foul by Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München).

Less than 600 people watched a drab 0-0 draw. The referee booked four players, all of them visitors, which tells you how hard-fought the draw was for Ingolstadt.

They did more than just that. Hasenhuttl first steered the side to a respectable mid-table finish. Then he went all the way. In July 2014, "kicker" magazine predicted that Hasenhuttl's solid defence and his swift counter-attacking game would finally put Ingolstadt into the first half of the table.

As if on cue, Ingolstadt promptly played a disastrous season. Shortly before the club's general assembly in early October 2013, Ingolstadt lost at home to St. Pauli in front of less than 8,000 fans and sank to last place.

After Audi secured the rights of FC Ingolstadt 04's stadium, the arena changed its name to Audi Sportpark. 

Jackwerth came from Gerd Muller's birthplace Nordlingen, a Swabian town 50 miles west of Ingolstadt. That's probably why he hit upon an idea none of the locals would have ever entertained: a merger.

The start was, to say the least, inauspicious. On July 31, 2004, FC Ingolstadt 04 travelled to SC 04 Schwabach, a small town near Nuremberg, to open the new season in the fourth division of German football.

The club has qualified for the first round of the German Cup ten times and the third round just once:[9]

In 2007, Hoffenheim, then in the second divison, had spent €15 million on three young talents (Carlos Eduardo, Chinedu Obasi and Demba Ba) plus another €2 million on Per Nilsson, shattering all transfer records for the division. Hence Jackwerth's line that with a lot of money he could buy his way into the Bundesliga, too.

But it's a bizarre situation indeed that a league which prides itself on fan ownership and the absence of outside investors now has to worry about, as the DFL's press release put it in March, "protecting the integrity and credibility of the sporting competition" because of corporate entanglement.

The club nickname Die Schanzer has a military background, meaning trenchmen or rampartmen. The official club anthem is called "Schanzer Herz", performed by Ingolstadt-based hard rock band Bonfire. The stadium's goal theme song is "Esellied", performed by South Tyrol band Volxrock. The pre-kick-off song is "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC.