WWK Arena was buzzing as FC Augsburg hosted Liverpool in a Europa League knockout round match on Thursday night. In the midst of an amazing run of home games that saw them host Bayern Munich and will see them host Gladbach and Dortmund afterwards, the exuberant fans were treated to a rather dull affair that ended in a goalless draw.
FCA substitute Ji Dong-Won’s 86th minute shot beat everyone but the post, and would have been the winner that his team needed for a real shot at progressing to the next round. It was just one of a couple of missed chances for Augsburg, who will probably be happy with the results, especially in light of the Bobadilla injury, but should be perhaps a wee bit disappointed in not being more fortunate.
Man of the Match
Caiuby had a monster game with 5 key passes in just 67 minutes after replacing Bobadilla in the first half. A constant thorn in Liverpool’s side, the Brazilian’s 80% passing and 7 aerials were key in giving the home side a bit of breathing room, as Liverpool pushed them back in the second half.
Liverpool take the 3rd most shots in England, while Augsburg are a surprising 7th, but it’s accuracy that has been the problem for both sides, as the Reds’ 25% (league avg is 28%) and FCA’s 23.7% are both bad.
This goalless draw was a perfect example of such less than stellar finishing as the visitors had 6 shots on goal, while the home side only managed 2. Overall, possession (49-51) and shots 12-16 and passing accuracy 84-85% were reflective of a tight contest.
- Bobadilla injury early on meant losing the club’s leading goalscorer, as he has 6 goals in the competition so far. On came the tricky Caiuby – he of 3 shots per game in the Bundesliga, but just 2 goals on 42 shots for a terrible 4.7% conversion rate – who put in a wonderful shift upfront that really deserved a goal
- Missed chances – Esswein’s chance after some great buildup play in the dying seconds of the first half, Ji’s shot off the post and Stafylidis scuffed shot in the 75th minute will be regretted by the home side as they prepare for the return leg in Liverpool
- Marwin Hitz made 6 saves and none bigger than the one on 58 minutes after a deflection by Verhaegh nearly turned into an own goal.
- Liverpool were unimpressive, as their best chance came from a right side cross that Sturridge really should have put away on 53 minutes.
- Philippe Coutinho – similarly ineffective in shotmaking as Caiuby had a poor game with only 61 touches and 2 shots, neither of which hit the target.
- Kolo Toure somehow had 10 clearances, which is great if you’re a Liverpool fan, but probably not what Augsburg fans were hoping for.
Random notes -Halil Altintop (who nearly died on a 2nd half fast break, where he was 5 yards past everyone at the halfline and managed to get caught by the box) vs Kolo Toure in the Fifa 2006 classic memorial game in 2016 was a fun little matchup.
Shout out to Augsburg for their excellent taste in music during half time