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FCA fall short despite equalising from 2-0 down (3-2)
In their final match of 2018, FC Augsburg fought from two goals down only to slip to a 3-2 home defeat to VfL Wolfsburg. The hosts came back strongly after a two goal deficit at half-time but conceded a decisive third goal in the dying moments.
FCA head coach Manuel Baum made three changes to the side that drew 2-2 away at Hertha BSC on Tuesday night. Martin Hinteregger suffered a head injury in Berlin while Philipp Max was struggling with an ankle injury, meaning both couldn’t face Wolfsburg. Jeffrey Gouweleeuw returned to the starting lineup while Konstantinos Stafylidis made his first appearance of the season. Marco Richter also replaced Dong-Won Ji. The match started as an even affair with neither side creating clear cut chances in front of goal. Richter (7’) and Alfred Finnbogason (13’) created the first chances of the match but couldn’t test Koen Casteels in the Wolfsburg goal. Wolfsburg, who had won four of their last five matches, didn’t pose an attacking threat early on. However, the visitors did eventually increase the pressure and create chances. Wout Weghorst created space in the box but put his free header wide of the post (25’) before firing a shot onto the FCA post from a central position (28’). At the other end, FCA created more chances to open the scoring. Michael Gregoritsch’s long distance shot flew narrowly wide of the bar (29’) before Rani Khedira fired a shot into the side netting from a tight angle (30’). Moments later, the ball was in the back of the Augsburg net. John Anthony Brooks got on the end of a corner and headed it towards the far post. Joshua Guilovogui was there to poke the ball home from close range (33’). The Wolves continued to press after taking the lead and Andreas Luthe was forced into action to deny Daniel Ginczek. Shortly afterwards, the FCA goalkeeper was helpless to prevent William from firing home and doubling the visitors’ lead (41’).
FCA battle back – Gerhardt steals the victory
Baum reacted at half-time by making two substitutions. Sergio Córdova replaced Gregoritsch while André Hahn came on for Richter. These two changes gave the hosts renewed energy for the second half. Less than four minutes after the restart, Jonathan Schmid and Finnbogason played in Khedira, who slotted the ball into the corner to reduce the deficit to 2-1 (49’). FCA’s body language was now much more positive compared with the first half as they fought to find the equaliser. Augsburg deservedly drew level in the 58th Minute as Córdova rose highest from a Schmid corner to head home. After equalising, FCA sat back a little and invited Wolfsburg forwards once against. Wolfsburg enjoyed more possession but were not able to create much danger in front of goal. Instead, Augsburg defended much better in the second half and only allowed the visitors half chances. Córdova fired a shot over the bar (73’) before Admir Mehmedi missed from a tight angle at the other end (80’). FCA went in search of a winner in the final minutes and Córdova very nearly made it on to the end of a Hahn cross (87’). Then came the final blow after Augsburg won a free-kick in a promising position. Wolfsburg countered and Renato Steffen played in Yannick Gerhardt who glanced the ball beyond Luthe to win the match for the Wolves (89’). Despite battling back from two goals down, FC Augsburg end the year on the losing side. After today’s 3-2 defeat, FCA have secured 15 points from the opening half of the season and are 15th in the Bundesliga table. After the Bundesliga winter break, Augsburg start the New Year at home to Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday, 19th January (15:30 CET).
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