Iago wins it in Cologne
FC Augsburg started 2021 with a win, defeating 1. FC Köln 1-0 away from home on Saturday afternoon. A midfield battle was won by a late goal, a typical FCA trademark this season.
Heiko Herrlich made three changes to the team that lost 3-0 to RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal in the last game of 2020. Carlos Gruezo, Marco Richter and Florian Niederlechner came into the side for Robert Gumny, Rani Khedira and Michael Gregoritsch, who all dropped to the bench.
FCA started the game in a 3-4-3 formation with Reece Oxford in the middle of a back three and Daniel Caligiuri and Iago on the wings. The Fuggerstädter settled into this attacking formation quickly and put the pressure on straight away. After eight minutes, Florian Niederlechner had the ball in the back of the net but the goal was ruled out for offside. Moments later, Köln goalkeeper Timo Horn was called into action by Richter. Two early chances that were not a sign of things to come, however, as they remained the only two chances at either end for quite some time.
Despite dominating possession, FCA could find no way through a compact Köln side. As a result, the game was played almost entirely between the two penalty areas. It took the Billy Goats until just before half time to put FCA in any real danger. First, Noah Katterbach’s shot zipped inches wide of the post, before Sebastiaan Bornauw passed up the biggest chance of the game thus far. The centre-back headed at goal from a corner from point-blank range, but Rafał Gikiewicz pulled off a remarkable save to keep the scores level.
Köln started with more momentum after the break and had the first chance of the second half, with Marius Wolf cutting inside before firing an effort wide of the post (55’). At the other end, Augsburg threatened for the first time since the break, when Caligiuri’s free-kick was headed over the bar by Rafael Czichos (63’). Overall, however, the majority of football was being played in the middle of the field.
It was mostly set pieces that caused the danger at this point of the game. Wolf narrowly missed the target with a free-kick (69 '), as did Caliguri soon after (75'). Two minutes later, the ball wound up in the Cologne net. After some nice build-up down the right side, Niederlechner crossed the ball into the middle, where Iago opened the scoring from close-range (77 '). Richter and Niederlechner missed the chance to extend the lead in the closing stages (84 ') and Wolf could only hit the side netting in injury time (90 + 2'), meaning that the score remained at 1-0 come the final whistle.
With that, Augsburg celebrated the perfect start to the year. The win means that FCA remain unbeaten in twelve matches against FC Köln (six wins, six draws). On Sunday, 10th January (15.30 CET), Augsburg will face VfB Stuttgart in the first home match of 2021.