On Sunday afternoon, FC Augsburg’s were beaten 3-2 away at Werder Bremen. FCA were forced to play with ten men for most of the game after Stephan Lichtsteiner was sent off following a second yellow card in the first half. Despite a strong showing towards the end, Augsburg ultimately came away from the game with no points.
Only four days after his arrival from VfL Wolfsburg, head coach Martin Schmidt trusted new signing Felix Uduokhai with a place in the starting XI. After making his last two appearances from the bench, Marco Richter was also granted a start for the first time this season. Debuting their new black away kit, Augsburg started the first half well, looking ready and alert. With strong pressing they managed to hem Werder Bremen back in their own half but lacked the end product. Werder on the other hand, didn’t need long to produce a goal. After winning the ball in his own penalty area, Niclas Füllkrug found space and fed through to Yuya Osako, who beat Augsburg goalkeeper Tomáš Koubek 1v1 to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Despite conceding, Augsburg persisted with their tactics and sought to push forward. In the tenth minute Ruben Vargas saw his shot saved by Jiri Pavlenka but sent the Augsburg fans into raptures just two minutes later when he leapt to meet Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross and power a header into the top corner. It was a second Bundesliga goal in three games for the Swiss forward.
The sucker-punch before half time
Both teams didn’t give their opponents an inch and produced some crunching tackles. However, the hosts still had the upper hand and another long ball over the Augsburg defence by Nuri Sahin invited Josh Sargent to chip the ball over the onrushing Koubek before applying a deft touch to put the ball into an empty net. After consulting with VAR to check if the ball had gone out of play in the build-up, referee Sören Storks awarded the goal to the hosts – a controversial decision to say the least. As a result of the second goal and the circumstances that had led to it, Augsburg lost some of their momentum and it wasn’t long before they suffered another misfortune. After a second foul that saw new signing Stephan Lichtsteiner dismissed in the 34th minute, Augsburg were reduced to ten men and went into the break 2-1 down.
FCA head coach Martin Schmidt seemed to have said something good to his players at half time, because they made a dream start to the second half. Marco Richter won possession on the edge of the FCA 18-yard box and sent a long pass forward to Florian Niederlechner, who ran down the right wing and squared the ball to Vargas, who scored his second of the game with a simple tap-in to make it 2-2. The move took only 52 seconds of the second half.
Augsburg showed a lot of passion and a huge amount of effort, but it was hard to contend with Werder Bremen, who used their extra man to keep the ball moving quickly. It was only a matter of time before Werder re-established their lead (67’). Marco Friedl charged down the right wing and floated a ball into the box, where Osako was waiting to fire a thunderous close-range volley past Koubek. It was his second of the game and Werder Bremen’s third.
Despite this setback, Augsburg did not let their heads drop and dug deep, with every player united and wanting to push forward in the closing stages. Additionally, Martin Schmidt brought on a fresh striker in Alfred Finnbogason. The Icelander was almost immediately the centre of attention when he headed the ball just over the goal following a cross from Philipp Max (75.). Niederlechner went even closer to finding an equaliser in the 82nd minute but his shot hit the post. Augsburg were now fully committed to getting something from this game, but Pavlenka made a good save from Max’s long-range free kick. However, the feted equaliser never came, and despite a fiercely passionate second-half display, Augsburg’s afternoon at the Weserstadion ended in defeat.
FCA continue the Bundesliga season after the international break at home against Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday, 14th September (15:30 CEST).