March 24, 2017

Augsburg make it three in a row with last minute finish

FC Augsburg defeated Freiburg 2:1 at home with a last minute finish and climb the Bundesliga latter further up with their third three-pointer in the last three games. It is a never-been-done for the Fuggerstädter and makes them hungry for more. For Freiburg however it was a disastrous dress rehearsal ahead of their first Europa League group match against Slovan Liberec on next Wednesday.  Despite missing key players Christian Streich’s men were never up for the challenge.

A first half to forget

Both teams knew right from the start that they had to invest a lot to get rewarded. Augsburg are known for their compact defense and their fighting spirit. Freiburg had to replace core players like new signing Darida, Pilar, Mujdza and also Mike Hanke wasn’t at a 100% either. Especially right-back Mujdza was sorely missed and his replacement Nicolas Höfler, usually a defensive midfielder, wasn’t really up for the task. Augsburg tried to exploit the opportunity and played most of their attacking moves over Freiburg’s right side. Long balls to the tall VfB Stuttgart loanee Raphael Holzhauser were Augsburgs usually attacking option.

After six minutes it was Holzhauser who took the ball from Guedé and ran into the box where goalkeeper Baumann waited quite long and saved Holzhauser’s attempt. After that both teams stepped off the gas and neutralized themselves in midfield. Referee Bastian Dankert also had a huge impact on the slow play as he interpreted almost every body contact as a foul. Freiburg lured for mistakes by Augsburg’s defense but couldn’t take advantage of the few ones they actually made. After 25 minutes it was again Holzhauser who could have scored in an equal situation as his first opportunity in the 6th minute but this time he tried to pass the ball to Mölders which was a bad idea as Matthias Ginter was able to clear the situation with ease. Without any further opportunities the game went into half time.

Freiburg’s coach Christian Streich reacted to his team’s performances and took off Höfler and Guedé and brought on Höhn and Mehmedi. Especially bringing on the latter was a clever move as only 26 seconds later he already scored. Mehmedi dribbled alongside Freis through Augsburg’s defense and got past Klavan and Callsen-Bracker with ease before he scored to take the lead for die Breisgauer. Markus Weinzierl’s men seemed shocked from what had happened but as Freiburg couldn’t take advantage of the pressure they build on their opponent during the opening minutes of the second half, Augsburg came back.

They pressed up very high and tried to position their back four at the midline. Freiburg did not have much room to escape and lost most of their ball possession immediately. Die Fuggerstädter build lots of pressure on Streich’s team and after they missed several good opportunities, Halil Altintop finally equalized in the 62nd minute for the home side. Again over Freiburg’s right side it was Mölders who brilliantly let through an Ostrzolek-cross to Altintop who was unmarked in front of Freiburg’s goal and did not need to be asked twice.

Augsburg did not let off and tried to score a second one but they were too wasteful with their opportunities. After several substitutions on both sides lots of supporters thought the game would end in a draw as both teams seemed tired. Augsburg still had their final bullet and in the 90th minute it was Movarek who wasn’t attacked in midfield and found Tobias Werner. The fan favorite shoot from outside the box in the right corner to wrap up the three points for his team.

Augsburg climb on the 6th spot in the Bundesliga table with a total of nine points, while Freiburg sit on 17th spot with two points and could still be overtaken by Braunschweig, who play tomorrow. As already mentioned Freiburg face Slova Liberec on Thursday for the first Europa league group match before they host Hertha BSC Berlin on Sunday. As for Weinzierl’s Augsburg they can celebrate their recent success during the week before they have to travel to Hannover for a difficult away game.

Goals: 0:1 Mehmedi 46‘, 1:1 Altintop 62‘, 2:1 Werner 90‘

Augsburg XI (4-1-4-1): Manninger; Verhaegh, Callsen-Bracker, Klavan, Ostrzolek; Baier; Hahn, Vogt (58‘ Movarek), Altintop (87‘ Fetsch), Holzhauser (74‘ Werner); Mölders

Freiburg XI (4-4-2): Baumann; Höfler (46‘ Höhn), Diagne, Ginter, Sorg; Schmid, Fernandes, Schuster, Coquelin; Guedé (46‘ Mehmedi), Freis (76‘ Hanke)

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