Berisha’s early opener not enough
Despite an early goal from Mergim Berisha, FC Augsburg were left empty-handed after suffering a 2-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt on matchday 13.
FCA head coach was able to call upon Rafał Gikiewicz for the first time since the away game at Schalke on matchday 8, with the goalkeeper having recovered from his thigh injury. Maaßen made three changes to the line-up following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat in Stuttgart, with Iago, Julian Baumgartlinger and Arne Maier coming into the team. Elvis Rexhbecaj and Carlos Gruezo missed the match against the Eagles after picking up five yellow cards, while Reece Oxford was able to make his comeback from a serious knee injury on what was his first inclusion in a matchday squad this season.
Augsburg shocked Champions League round of 16 participants Frankfurt early on, with Ermedin Demirović setting up Mergim Berisha to score the opener after just 30 seconds. It was Berisha’s third goal of the season. The visitors were then able to equalise in the 13th minute, with captain Sebastian Rode slotting home from close range after a pass from Éric Ebimbe.
Both sides continued to go on the attack in the minutes that followed. Referee Deniz Aytekin deemed a backpass from Evan Ndicka to be accidental, electing not to penalise the defender for it (16’). Two minute later, Gikiewicz parried a long-range effort from Djibril Sow. He then kept out a shot from Ebimbe from a tight angle (29’). Augsburg came close just before the break, with Demirović forcing Kevin Trapp into a save (43’). Baumgartlinger let loose a volley from 20 metres out that just missed the target, as he made his first start of the season (44’).
Frankfurt made one change at the break, bringing on Ansgar Knauff. In another pivotal moment, Ndicka sent a shot into Berisha’s arm, with Aytekin reviewing the scene on the pitch-side monitor before deciding against awarding a penalty (50’). The visitors were firmly in control at this point, as they took the lead in the 64th minute. Jesper Lindström’s free kick was parried by Gikiewicz, with Knauff converting from the resulting corner (64’).
FCA tried in vain to find another goal, but their attacking style left them exposed at the back. Kolo Muani came close twice to netting Frankfurt’s third of the night (67’ & 76’), but failed to make the most of his chances. Demirović had a back-heel attempt kept out by Trapp (74‘), before sending a shot over the bar just seven minutes later. Maaßen brought on Felix Uduokhai and Oxford, but Trapp was able to help secure the win for the Eagles with several saves. In the end, FC Augsburg were left without a point from today’s game, which took place in front of 30,007 fans at the WWK ARENA.
Despite suffering their fourth defeat at home this season, FCA remain in 13th place with 14 points. On Wednesday (9th November, 20:30 CET), they will travel to face 1. FC Union Berlin, who went into the matchday in first place. The following Saturday (12th November, 15:30 CET), Augsburg will be back home to host VfL Bochum in their final match before the winter break.