Gouweleeuw and Niederlechner score in Augsburg comeback
FC Augsburg’s second pre-season friendly also ended in a 2-2 draw, this time against Azerbaijani top-flight side Qarabag FK. The Fuggerstädter went two goals down, but managed to get back level before the break and looked more likely to win it in the second half.
Head coach Markus Weinzierl was without the likes of Felix Uduokhai and Marco Richter in Kufstein, with the pair having gone to Toyko for the Olympic Games. However, new signing Niklas Dorsch, who was originally in the Olympic squad as well, made his debut for FCA in holding midfield.
There were a number of fans in attendance to see an even battle in the opening stages of Augsburg’s second pre-season fixture. FCA looked dangerous on the counter, but were lacking precision in the final third. The first decent chance of the match fell to Qarabag’s Jaime Romero, but Rafał Gikiewicz was well placed to make a good save (15’). Not much else happened in front of goal in the opening half an hour, before FCA’s Azerbaijani opponents suddenly took the lead. Romero was played in behind on the right-hand side of the box, and his pull-back into the centre was met by Patrick Andrade to open the scoring (26’).
Things went from bad to worse just two minutes later when Romero’s deflected shot found the bottom corner, doubling Qarabag’s lead (28’). It took a few minutes for FCA to dust themselves down, but they started to bite back at the end of the half. A Daniel Caligiuri free-kick was blocked by the arm of Abbas Huseynov in the box, paving the way for Jeffrey Gouweleeuw to pull a goal back from the penalty spot in the 37th minute.
The Fuggerstädter pushed for an equaliser before half time. Caligiuri was first denied by Shahruddin Mahammadaliyev (42‘), before firing a guilt-edge chance over the top from Alfred Finnbogason’s lay-off just one minute later. The next opportunity wasn’t far behind though, and this time FCA were able to find the back of the net. Neat work between Jan Morávek and Finnbogason led to André Hahn delivering a neat cross for Florian Niederlechner to head in (45’).
Weinzierl made five substitutions at the break, including another debut as new signing Daniel Klein replaced Gikiewicz in goal. Despite the sweeping changes, Augsburg kept the pressure up early in the second 45. A long-range effort from Kilian Jakob wasn’t far off target (47’), and Niederlechner also fired narrowly over the crossbar with an acrobatic volley soon after (48’).
The pace of the game soon began to wane though, no doubt due to additional subs for both sides. FCA were more compact at the back too, allowing Qarabag very little room to manoeuvre. In the 67th minute, the best chance of the half fell to substitute Michael Gregoritsch one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but the Austrian failed to successfully pick his spot and was kept out. There was a late flurry of chances, including a save from Klein to deny Huseynov (78’), although it was Augsburg who looked more likely to nick it, but neither Maurice Malone (83’) nor Franjo Ivanovic (87’, 90+2’) were able to make the most of their opportunities, resulting in a 2-2 draw.
The friendly against FC Ingolstadt planned for Friday has been cancelled. FCA’s next test will therefore be the pre-season blockbuster on Wednesday, 21st July against Paris St. Germain (19:00 CEST).
FCA: Gikiewicz (46’ Klein) – Framberger (46’ Gumny), Gouweleeuw (79’ Ivanovic), Strobl, Jakob (79’ Zehnter) – Morávek (46’ Malone), Dorsch (63’ Winther) – Hahn (46’ Sarenren Bazee), Caligiuri (84’ Dell'Erba) – Finnbogason (46’ Gregoritsch), Niederlechner (63’ Pejcinovic)
Goals: 0-1 Andrade (26’), 0-2 Romero (28’), 1-2 Gouweleeuw (37’ pen.), 2-2 Niederlechner (45’)