Defeat with two games to go
A win could have seen FC Augsburg celebrate Bundesliga survival early, but the Fuggerstädter suffered a 3-2 defeat away to VfL Bochum.
In comparison to the side which started the 1-0 win over Union Berlin last weekend, FCA head coach Enrico Maaßen made two enforced changes. Ruben Vargas (ankle ligament injury) was replaced by Mergim Berisha, whilst Niklas Dorsch came in for the suspended Arne Engels.
Six points separated the two sides ahead of kick-off, and the fact that there was a lot on the line in this one was clear to see from the start. With 20 seconds gone, VfL goalkeeper Manuel Riemann got lucky as he flew out of goal to defend an attack. Seconds later, though, Philipp Hofmann set up Christopher Antwi-Adjei on the left hand side of the Augsburg box, the 29-year-old finding the net with a low drive. Bochum had the lead, and Antwi-Adjei scored just as he did in the reverse fixture this season.
The game was very back and forth in the opening stages, as the away side were able to break into the Bochum area time and again. Berisha hit the wall with a well-positioned free-kick after 5 minutes, just before Ermedin Demirović headed over. Long-range efforts from Dominique Heintz and Arne Maier also caused danger for both defences respectively (13’, 16’). A Hofmann header was also close, but he fouled his man to win the ball, just before the half-hour mark.
Not a minute later, and FCA had the ball in the net for the equaliser. Dion Beljo won the ball from Heintz fantastically and fed Maier with a driven pass. The midfielder finished coolly into the bottom corner – 1-1, and Maier’s fifth goal of the campaign to get the Fuggerstädter back in the game. That was not the end of the chances, though, as Beljo and Demirović both had attempts denied by Saidy Janko at the last minute.
The rain began to fall at the Ruhrstadion over the half-time interval, and Bochum once again had the better start. With 51 minutes gone, Tomáš Koubek had to stop Felix Uduokhai’s mis-hit clearance from ending up in his own goal, before an Antwi-Adjei cross was later turned into the net by Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (59’). Things got worse just three minutes later, as a long-range effort from Anthony Losilla was deflected into the net by Elvis Rexhbecaj – Koubek had no chance, and it was 3-1 to Bochum on 62 minutes.
The game then became a question of morale, so that the team could take even a point from this crucial clash. Erhan Masović looked to have brought down Gouweleeuw inside the Bochum penalty area, but the referee was unmoved (83’). Substitute Kelvin Yeboah then forced the ball over the line to bring the scoreline back to 3-2, but the goal came to late. Added time saw Koubek come up for a corner, but to no avail.
With two games to go, FCA sit in 13th on 34 points, followed closely by Hoffenheim (32), Bochum (31), Schalke (30,) and Stuttgart (28), who play Leverkusen on Sunday. Maaßen’s team next face Borussia Dortmund on Sunday May 21st (17:30 CEST).