Augsburg out despite impressive comeback
FC Augsburg have been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by VfL Bochum. After fighting back from 2-0 down to take the game to extra time, FCA were eventually beaten 5-4 on penalties by the hosts.
Markus Weinzierl made two changes to the starting XI from Friday night’s 4-1 league defeat in Mainz: Tobias Strobl and Andi Zeqiri replaced Carlos Gruezo and Sergio Córdova, who both started on the bench.
Both teams enjoyed chances early on in the game. A Milos Pantovic header in the fourth minute zipped just wide of the post, before André Hahn’s first time shot from a corner was kept out by Michael Esser four minutes later. Another four minutes later, Bochum went ahead. A short corner worked its way to the back post where Pantovic was waiting to guide the ball past a helpless Gikiewicz (12’).
FCA needed some time to process the setback, but slowly found their way back into the game, with only the final ball lacking. A string of long-range efforts before the break were too inaccurate to trouble the opposition goalkeeper.
After a 15 minute break, the game restarted with a bang: After Iago’s effort from a promising position cleared the crossbar in the 50th minute and Rafal Gikiewicz denied Elvis Rexhbecaj in the 52nd, Pantovic was on hand to double Bochum’s lead in the 53rd.
But Augsburg provided the perfect response. Arne Maier’s free-kick cross was met by Reece Oxford who headed in to halve the deficit (55’). Three minutes later, FCA were celebrating an equaliser, as Ruben Vargas reacted to tap a rebounded Zeqiri shot over the line from a few yards out.
With a wild 15 minutes or so behind them and following an impressive FCA comeback, it was the hosts, Bochum, who took control of the game again. A long-range effort from Takuma Asano (69’) was the first of several close calls, as Holtmann saw three efforts go begging in the space of five minutes, the first two narrowly missing the target, the third cleared off the line by Gouweleeuw. The final ten minutes of the game saw very little risk taken by both sides and regulation time ended with the scores level at 2-2.
The players were visibly exhausted as extra time got underway, but both teams had good chances to swing it in their favour and spare themselves a penalty shootout: Polter’s header cleared the bar (93’), Gregoritsch dragged his shot wide after some nice build up play at the other end (96’) and was later denied by Esser (113’). Before that, Iago and Gikiewicz saved their side from a Pantovic hat-trick in the 107th minute.
In the penalty shootout, Gouweleeuw, Alfred Finnbogason, Tobias Strobl and Gregoritsch all converted, as did the first four Bochum takers. After Arne Maier sent the fifth Augsburg penalty over the crossbar, it was substitute goalkeeper Manuel Riemann who stepped up to score the deciding spotkick and send Bochum into the last 16.