Ingolstadt forward Justin Butler has joined German 3. Liga team SV Waldhof Mannheim on a loan deal for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
The Augsburg-born German-American forward made only five appearances for Ingolstadt during the first half of the season – all of them as a substitute – totaling only 64 minutes in the process.
The 3. Liga team colloquially referred to as the “Waldhof Buben” announced Butler’s acquisition on their website, with their head of scouting Tim Schork heaping praise upon the 20 year-old.
“We are glad that Justin Butler decided to loan the Waldhof,” Schork stated. “With him we get another option for our offensive game. His overall package consisting of size, physique and speed enriches our offensive and gives us the opportunity to act even more variably.”
A decent run of playing time to finish the previous season saw Butler gain significant minutes for Ingolstadt in their promotion campaign from the 3. Liga, where he played in eight of the final ten games with two starts, however a foot injury derailed his start to the current season.
After finally returning to the bench in mid-September, he only appeared in five league games, mostly as a late substitute, with his 45 minutes in a 3-0 loss to Hamburg being his only extended run-out.
Waldhof-Mannheim are looking as a potential candidate to switch places in the German league hierarchy with Ingolstadt, who are dead-last in the 2. Bundesliga, as they are currently well in the hunt for an automatic promotion spot from the 3. Liga at the halfway point.
They entered the winter break in fourth place, two points behind a second-place spot that would give them automatic promotion. They sport a proficient attack, having scored 32 times in their 20 games, and are led up front by 24 year-old Dominik Martinovic, who is joint-fourth place on the 3. Liga scoring list with ten goals to his name.
Heading into the winter break, Waldhof-Mannheim head coach Patrick Glöckner most frequently deployed Martinovic as the lone striker in front of a three-man attacking midfield, typically including fellow German-American Marcel Costly. This could indicate that Butler will be used primarily as a backup to Martinovic, or be shifted to compete for one of the wider roles.
The team is just beginning a one-week training camp in Belek, Turkey, where they will play a pair of warm-up matches against 2. Bundesliga team Hansa Rostock and current 3. Liga leaders FC Magdeburg. They return to league action on January 17 when they host Borussia Dortmund II.