Vargas scores winning penalty
After losing an friendly against VfL Wolfsburg 4-0 earlier in the day, FC Augsburg put things right with a well-earned 1-0 win against the Wolves on Saturday afternoon. The game was marred slightly with an injury-forced substitution.
FCA head coach Enrico Maaßen was without four players: Mads Pedersen and Julian Baumgartlinger missed out with illness, whilst Reece Oxford and Niklas Dorsch are still regaining fitness. Up front with Mergim Berisha was new signing Dion Beljo – the 1.95m striker featured from the start.
The home team made the faster start, and after just two minutes a big chance fell to Arne Maier – he was sent through down the right flank, but his angled shot was dealt with by VfL goalkeeper Koen Casteels. The Fuggerstädter looked dangerous in wide areas, left-back Aaron Zehnter bombing forward on many occasions, but with Wolfsburg moving the ball well, the match was an even affair.
Apart from two Maximilian Arnold free-kicks (12’, 18’), the away side, who won each of their last four Bundesliga games, seldom troubled the FCA goal. It was the opposing defence which was being more readily challenged, as Berisha headed a Zehter corner over the bar shortly before half time. The two teams entered the break at the WWK ARENA goalless.
The second half began with no change from either side, and FCA again made the faster start. On 49 minutes, under-hit back-pass was pounced on, but mishit by Arne Engels, before Ermedin Demirović sent sent the ball over the bar two minutes later. Just after the hour mark, Noah Sarenren Bazee celebrated his return to football following an ACL tear, coming into the game alongside Ruben Vargas for Beljo and Berisha.
With 71 minutes gone, some worry rippled around the FCA ranks as Felix Uduokhai was forced off through injury. The central defender hobbled off the pitch with U23 player Jordi Wegmann replacing him. Just seconds later, Arne Maier took a shot from the corner of the six-yard box which hit Otavio’s hand. The referee awarded a penalty to FCA, which was duly dispatched by substitute Vargas for 1-0 (73’).
The Wolves were not disheartened by going behind, sticking to their task of disrupting the well-organised Augsburg defence. They managed to break through, too, with former Augsburg man Dzenan Pejcinovic – he went down under pressure from Zehnter, and the referee again pointed to the spot. VfL captain Arnold took the ball, but his spot-kick was saved by Rafal Gikiewicz! That was the decisive action of the game, as the final whistle came with FCA 1-0 winners.
This was the final friendly before the season restart. Next Sunday, Maaßen and co. travel to Borussia Dortmund to get their Bundesliga campaign back underway (15:30 CET).
FC Augsburg: Gikiewicz – Caligiuri, Gouweleeuw, Uduokhai (73’ Wegmann), Zehnter – Maier, Engels, Rexhbecaj, Demirović – Beljo (62‘ Vargas), Berisha (62’ Sarenren Bazee)
Goals: 1-0 Vargas (73’)