Gregoritsch and Niederlechner score for Augsburg
FC Augsburg recorded their second victory of preseason in their third friendly on Saturday. The team showed too much class for 1. FC Nürnberg throughout the game, and were convincing 2-1 winners in the end.
Three days after the goalless draw with SpVgg Unterhaching, Augsburg head coach Heiko Herrlich made three changes to the starting XI: Tomàš Koubek was brought in between the sticks whilst Fredrik Jensen and Michael Gregoritsch started the game in attack. Rafał Gikiewicz und Ruben Vargas were on the bench, whilst Marco Richter was missing due to a knock.
FC Augsburg took charge of the game from the start, putting Nürnberg under early pressure. The home side were dangerous on the counter-attack, however, and almost scored the first of the game when Schleusener missed an opportunity in the 5th minute. At the other end of the pitch, Augsburg’s high pressing helped them take the lead. Rani Khedira stole the ball from Nürnberg keeper Christian Früchtl in the penalty area, before Florian Niederlechner set up Gregoritsch to poke home into an open goal (8’).
Nürnberg almost responded immediately with an equaliser; luckily for Augsburg, Felix Lohkemper shot over the bar from just one metre out (9’). Nevertheless, Augsburg continued to be the side dictating play, combining particularly well on the wings going forward. Despite the good build-up play, the team’s finishing lacked precision. Gregoritsch had the best chance, but he was unable to beat Früchtl after a quality ball into the box by Raphael Framberger (21’). As the game progressed Nürnberg looked to attack more and created some dangerous chances, with Koubek having to stretch to stop Fabian Schleusener’s lob (28’). Shortly after, a shot from Kevin Goden whistled just past the far post (31’).
FCA then went one better, with Gregoritsch winning the ball in midfield and playing Niederlechner through. The striker found himself free with just Früchtl to beat, and kept his cool to put the ball into the far corner (38’). The match remained lively as Jensen (39’) went close for FCA, whilst Enrico Valentini also had a chance for Nürnberg (42’). Shortly before the break, Nürnberg finally pulled one back; Valentini arrived unmarked at the back post to get on the end of a free kick. (45’+2).
Both managers made eleven changes at the break, and so the teams needed some time to find their rhythm in the second half. The early stages of the half were played mostly in midfield areas, despite a dangerous free kick from Löwen (49’). Our opponents were the first to find a route towards the goal, as a deflected effort from Nikola Dovedan almost ended up in Benjamin Leneis’ net. At the other end, FCA had a huge chance to score a third. Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee released Ruben Vargas on the counter, who hit the crossbar from close range (61’).
The game remained scrappy during a second half which produced far less goalmouth action than the first. Vargas hit the ball wide after a one-two with Alfred Finnbogason (70’), while Iago made a vital block at the other end to deny Adam Zrelak (76’). With no more noteworthy action, the game remained 2-1 to Augsburg when the hosts had a glorious chance to equalise right at the death. Zrelak was denied again; this time, it was Jozo Stanić who heroically cleared the ball off the line in the 92nd minute.
And so it was Augsburg who were celebrating, having now won two of their first three preseason friendlies. On Thursday, 20th August FCA will face their fourth preseason test when they come up against the newly-promoted third-tier side Türkgücü München
FCA: Koubek (46. Leneis) – Framberger (46. Löwen), Gouweleeuw (46. Stanić), Uduokhai (46. Suchý), Max (46. Iago) – Khedira (46. Morávek), Gruezo (46. Oxford) – Caligiuri (46. Hahn), Gregoritsch (46. Vargas), Jensen (46. Sarenren Bazee) – Niederlechner (46. Finnbogason)
Tore: 0-1 Gregoritsch (8‘), 0-2 Niederlechner (38‘), 1-2 Valentini (45‘+2)
The full match replay, plus highlights and match reaction, is now available on the brand new FCA TV. The upcoming friendly against Türkgücü München will also be streamed live by FCA TV..