Richter and Lukebakio on the scoresheet
FC Augsburg’s wait for a first away win at Berlin’s Olympiastadion was prolonged on matchday 22 of the Bundesliga, with Hertha BSC emerging 2-0 victors.
FCA head coach Enrico Maaßen made two changes to the side that beat TSG Hoffenheim 1-0 last time out. Elvis Rexhbecaj and Felix Uduokhai were sidelined with muscle injuries, with Niklas Dorsch and Iago coming into the starting line-up in their place. This was Dorsch’s first start of the season, as the midfielder had been out for a long time through injury himself.
Die Fuggerstädter stuck with their trusted 4-4-2 system in Berlin, with new signing Renato Veiga lining up alongside skipper Jeffrey Gouweleeuw at centre-back. Former Augsburg players Florian Niederlechner and Marco Richter started for Hertha, who most recently suffered a 4-1 defeat in Dortmund. Niederlechner, who departed for the capital during the winter transfer window, had the first attempt on goal of the game, with his shot from around 15 metres out going wide of the left post (2’).
An evenly-contested and intense match would then unfold, with neither defence allowing their opponents many chances. Former Herthaner Arne Maier, who was making his 50th competitive appearance for Augsburg, found himself in space on the right-hand side on two occasions, but neither of his crosses found a teammate (7’, 14’). The returning Dorsch then faced a painful moment, during which he took a ball square to the face (25’), but the 25-year-old was able to continue. That was about all the first-half highlights, apart from when Hertha’s Jessic Ngankam shot just over the bar with an attempt from the right side of the penalty area (45’).
Richter scores again
Maaßen brought on some attacking firepower in the form of Ruben Vargas for the second half, which initially had a positive impact. However, it was the hosts who had the first real chance after the break through Tolga Ciğerci, but Rafał Gikiewicz was equal to his long-distance effort (57’). Four minutes later, the ball found itself in the back of FCA’s net – after initially clearing a free-kick away, the ball fell to Richter, who shot hard and low and into the bottom-right corner.
The snowfall had considerably increased in the capital, which called for the matchballs to be changed. Unfortunately for Augsburg, the colourful replacements also brought no luck, and Dodi Lukebakio got on the end of a long ball from a free kick and slotted home from 12 yards to make it 2-0 to the hosts (70’). It was only in the last minute of the game that Mergim Berisha had a proper chance to halve the deficit, and after taking it down well with his chest, the attacker was simply unable to place the shot correctly. Hertha keeper Oliver Christensen got behind the attempt, and referee Dr. Matthias Jöllenbeck blew the full-time whistle shortly after.
Despite the defeat, Maaßen’s side remain in 13th, now just four points ahead of Hertha. FCA will look to continue their strong home form next Saturday (4th March), when they host SV Werder Bremen at the WWK Arena.