Defeat despite taking the lead twice
FC Augsburg suffered a bitter set-back in their relegation six-pointer against VfB Stuttgart. Despite taking the lead twice, FCA ultimately fell to a 3-2 defeat after conceding a late winner.
Head coach Markus Weinzierl made two changes to the line-up following the 1-0 win against Arminia Bielefeld two weeks ago. Frederik Winther replaced Felix Uduokhai, who was on the bench after picking up an ankle injury last time out. André Hahn slotted in for Noah Sarenren Bazee, who tore his ACL during training last week.
Both teams started strong, as Rafał Gikiewicz was forced to make an early save to deny Chris Führich (2’). FCA took the lead immediately after, with Iago chipping the ball to the far post where Hahn volleyed home the opener (6’). Minutes later, Omar Marmoush went down in the box despite Gikiewicz having made no contact with him after contesting a challenge, but referee Patrick Ittrich let play continue (8’).
With the lead in their hands, FCA began to sit back and allowed VfB more of the ball. Despite a number of good chances, the hosts weren’t able to find an immediate equaliser. Tiago Tomas narrowly missed the target with a curling effort (23’) before Reece Oxford blocked a shot from Sasa Kalajdzic (28’).
Stuttgart then drew level just before the break, as Waldemar Anton headed in a free-kick from Borna Sosa (44’). FCA responded by retaking the lead immediately. Arne Maier found Michael Gregoritsch, who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Florian Müller (45’).
After the break, the over 50,000 fans in attendance were treated to a similar game as in the first half. VfB continued to attack often, while FCA sat back and defended deep. Unlike in the first half, Stuttgart struggled to pose a real threat in front of the FCA goal.
Little did the fans know that as the clock ticked over into the final 15 minutes, they would be treated to a wild end to the match. Marmoush placed a free kick into the top corner from 20 metres out to level the scores at 2-2 (79’). Moments later, Gikiewicz made two strong saves against Kalajdzic and Führich (80’), while Hahn sent a header against the bar on the other end (82’). After a failed clearance the ball fell to Tomas, who smashed the ball into the back of the net from close range to put Stuttgart 3-2 up late on (85’). FCA pushed hard to rescue a point from the game in the closing minutes, but the last chance of the afternoon would fall to Stuttgart. Niklas Dorsch made a crucial goal line clearance to deny Führich, after Stuttgart were through on goal (90’+3).
In the end, FCA were left empty-handed despite having taken the lead twice. After the international break, Augsburg will be back in action as they host VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday, 3rd April (15:30 CEST).