Richter saves a point for Augsburg
FC Augsburg managed to draw 2-2 with FC Schalke 04 despite being down to ten men. Once again, it was the first few minutes of the second half that did the damage. The whole game, however, was overshadowed by an incident in the first half.
After losing 3-1 in Hoffenheim, Heiko Herrlich made two changes to his starting line-up. Rani Khedira and Robert Gumny started, with Iago dropping out injured; Felix Uduokhai moved into central defence. Marek Suchý was on the bench. Herrlich opted for Tobias Strobl and Carlos Gruezo alongside Khedira in midfielder, and Alfred Finnbogason was back in the squad after injury.
Both sides pressed high and didn’t give their opponents much time on the ball. The Royal Blues had the first chance of the game in the fourth minute with a free-kick on the edge of the box, but the shot hit the wall. FCA had their first chance in the ninth minute after Khedira was fouled, but Daniel Caligiuri’s free kick wasn’t dangerous.
Then, a horrific incident took place in the WWK ARENA. After going to head the ball with Felix Uduokhai, Mark Uth fell to the floor unconscious. The Schalke striker was treated by doctors for several minutes on the pitch before he was carried off on a stretcher. After about ten minutes, the game continued with Bozdogan replacing Uth.
Both sides tried to get back into the rhythm of the game, each having efforts easily saved in the following ten minutes. Then, there was another worrying moment as Nassim Boujellab fell to the ground after taking a knock to the head. Luckily, he was able to continue after some treatment.
In the 32nd minute, Augsburg won a free kick and ex-Schalker Caligiuri stepped up. He whipped a cross into the box, which found its way past Fährmann in the Schalke goal, clipping Suat Serdar’s head on the way. 1-0 to Augsburg!
Following the opener, Augsburg began to sit off Schalke, but they remained well organised in defence. The visitors were unable to find any gaps, and were limited to shots from range. After 15 minutes of injury time, due to Uth and Boujellab’s treatment, Augsburg went into the break with the lead. Half time brought good news; Uth was conscious and on his way to hospital for further treatment.
There were no changes for either side at the break. The Royal Blues had the first chance of the second half with a free kick in the 47th minute, but Uduokhai was able to clear. Benito Raman appeared to have a great chance to equalise four minutes later, but he was flagged offside as his shot went wide.
But just seconds later (52’), Raman was there to capitalise on an Augsburg error and ran through on goal. Gikiewicz came running out of his goal but the Belgian gave him no chance, placing a smart chip over the keeper. Augsburg had more reason to be concerned just a minute later (53’). After a foul on Salif Sané, Florian Niederlechner was given a second yellow and sent off, leaving the home side down to ten men.
Herrlich reacted by introducing Marco Richter in place of Tobias Strobl, but he had barely settled into the game when Boujellab made it 2-1 to Schalke. He received the ball from Serdar in the box and slotted it past the keeper from six metres for his first Bundesliga goal. Two changes followed, with Alfred Finnbogason replacing Robert Gumny – it was the Iceland international’s 100th competitive appearance for FC Augsburg – and Michael Gregoritsch coming on for Gruezo.
Augsburg then had a huge chance to equalise in the 73rd minute. Framberger sent the ball into the box and found Rani Khedira, but he shot wide from just seven metres. At the other end of the pitch, Boujellab found himself alone in front of goal, but he poked over from short range (78’).
The ten men of Augsburg continued to give it their all to find an equaliser. The game became more open, with chances at both ends, and the referee added five minutes of injury time. In the 93rd minute, Gregoritsch put a ball into the box with real pace, and Marco Richter was there to head it home – 2-2! Just after the equaliser, Fährmann was on hand to make sure that Schalke went home with a point, saving a Richter effort.
It ended with a point apiece. Schalke were unable to end their winless streak in the WWK ARENA. FCA’s next game is on Wednesday (16th December, 20:30 CET) away to Arminia Bielefeld.