Caligiuri’s goal shortly after half time enough for the three points
FC Augsburg gave their survival bid a huge boost on Friday evening with a crucial victory over fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld. The 1-0 win in North Rhine-Westphalia means that the Fuggerstädter leapfrog Arminia in the Bundesliga table. The winning goal came from a smart move shortly after half time.
Coach Markus Weinzierl made three changes to the side that earned a 1-1 draw over Borussia Dortmund last Sunday. Carlos Gruezo replaced the suspended Niklas Dorsch (five yellow cards) and Iago and Noah Sarenren Bazee came in for Mads Pedersen and Ricardo Pepi, who both started on the bench.
The clash in Bielefeld was closely fought from the very beginning and both teams stood their ground, putting each other under pressure early on. There was however little action in front of goal in the early stages. The relegation rivals were engaged in tight duels in midfield and both sides lacked conviction in the final third.
After just over half an hour, Weinzierl was forced to make his first change. Frederik Winther replaced Felix Uduokhai, who twisted his ankle after a coming together. Otherwise, there was relatively little action to report in the remainder of the half. Michael Gregoritsch’s header in the 35th minute and Fabian Kunze’s long range effort in the 39th were both wayward and both attempts failed to threaten the Bielefeld keeper. Things got more dangerous in first half stoppage time, but Gregoritsch again failed to hit the target with a header from a tight angle.
Augsburg made a dream start to the second half. In the 50th minute, after a mistake in midfield from Bielefeld, Iago played a smart one-two with Ruben Vargas and found himself in a good position on the left hand side. The Brazilian crossed the ball to the back post and Caligiuri smashed a half volley past Ortega to give Augsburg the lead. Even after taking the lead, FCA looked to stay on the front foot and kept Arminia well away from their goal.
In the latter stages of the second half, the Fuggerstädter remained resolute at the back and didn’t make any mistakes. In the final few minutes, the home side increased the pressure, but FCA defended their goal with passion and also sought to pick holes in their opponents. Goalkeeper Rafał Gikiewicz was ultimately hardly threatened towards the end.
FC Augsburg celebrated an important victory and went above Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga table. FCA are next in action on 12th March, when they welcome FSV Mainz to the WWK Arena (15:30 CET).