Niederlechner puts Augsburg ahead thanks to keeper error
FC Augsburg missed the chance to beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Sunday afternoon, as Edmond Tapsoba struck in the last few seconds of the match to ensure the points were shared. FCA had led for the majority of the game as Florian Niederlechner put them in the lead following an error by Lomb.
Coach Heiko Herrlich made five changes to the team that began in the 2-1 defeat to RB Leipzig. Raphael Framberger celebrated his return from injury as he started along with Felix Uduokhai, who was back after a period out with illness. Rani Khedira, Ruben Vargas and Florian Niederlechner also started the match at the WWK ARENA, as Marek Suchy, Robert Gumny, Reece Oxford, Carlos Gruezo and André Hahn dropped to the bench.
Herrlich’s team set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and kept their compact shape well in the early stages, despite the visitors having more of the ball. In the fifth minute however, it was FCA who launched a counterattack which Leverkusen initially dealt with, before gifting Augsburg an early lead. The ball was passed back to goalkeeper Niklas Lomb who completely missed it, allowing Florian Niederlechner to take advantage and slide the ball into an empty net to put the home side ahead.
With an early lead to defend, FCA were content to sit back and let Leverkusen attack. Peter Bosz’s team had the lion’s share of the possession but did not manage to create any real dangerous opportunities. It wasn’t until the 22nd minute that the ‘Werkself’ had their first shot on goal, but that sailed wide of Rafal Gikiewicz’s net. Free kicks from Lászlo Bénes (33’) and Daniel Caligiuri (40’) were also off target.
With 40 minutes on the clock, Augsburg were still standing firm and keeping out the visiting side. Shortly before the interval, Florian Niederlechner again broke forward into the penalty area and took on a shot from an acute angle. However, this was no problem for Lomb and the referee blew for half time with the score still showing 1-0.
Both sides emerged from the dressing room for the second half unchanged. Rafal Gikiewicz was called into action just three minutes after the restart as Leverkusen made a bright start to the half, parrying away Moussa Diaby's effort. The ‘Werkself’ continued to put the Augsburg defence under pressure and created another chance in the 52nd minute, with Mads Pedersen able to clear for the hosts. FCA then broke away down the pitch in a swift counter as Ruben Vargas advanced into the box before Niederlechner was brought down. The referee initially pointed to the spot, but ruled it offside following a brief check with VAR.
Augsburg did not have to wait long for their next opportunity though. In the 59th minute, Framberger and Vargas combined well but Lomb was on hand to collect the ball and dispel the danger. Leverkusen continued push forwards but FCA matched the ‘Werkself’ and closed down well. The next chance for the visitors came in the 75th minute as Jeremie Frimpong found space in the box following a free kick, but he could only fire wide of the target.
As the clock ticked closer and closer to full time, Leverkusen continued their relentless search for an equaliser, not giving the Augsburg defence any time to recover. Four minutes of added time were indicated and the ‘Werkself’ launched a final attack in search of a late leveller. The ball was carried forward and fell to the feet of Edmond Tapsoba, who pulled the trigger and fired in a low shot to Gikiewicz's left-hand side, earning them a point.
In this way, FC Augsburg gave away what would have been a first ever Bundesliga victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the dying seconds of the game. With another point added to the tally, Heiko Herrlich’s team next travel to 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Sunday 28th February (15:30 CET).