FCA suffered a 2-0 defeat to 1.FC Union Berlin in the first away game of the year. After a tight first half, the team conceded two soft goals in the second and failed to convert any of their own chances.
After the crazy 5-3 home defeat against Borussia Dortmund, head coach Martin Schmidt made two changes to his starting lineup. Felix Uduokhai and Andre Hahn came into the starting XI, while Stephan Lichtsteiner started on the bench. Fredrik Jensen was not in the squad due to illness.
While FCA needed a couple of minutes to get into the game, Union were ready to go from the off, and Tomas Koubek was forced into a save five minutes in. Up the other end of the pitch, Philipp Max’s free kick went narrowly over the crossbar (13′). While neither team dominated the first half of the match, Union exerted their physicality through numerous strong challenges and fouls, which seemed to shake FCA’s confidence.
Ex-Augsburg player Marvin Friedrich almost scored from a corner 17 minutes in, but he hooked his effort wide, and shortly after, Lenz had a shot from distance that also curved wide (20′). Marco Richter’s header was no problem for the home keeper 15 minutes later. Both sides had adopted the same tactical approach by the end of the first half – to play long balls to their fast attacking players, while maintaining an uncompromising defence. Union threatened to break away and score in added time, but Jeff Gouweleeuw intervened and earned himself a yellow card.
Subotic and Ingvartsen score for Union – Gikiewicz protects lead against desperate FCA
After such a tactically well-matched first half, it was a shock when, only a minute into the second half, Union took the lead. A Union corner was headed away by Andre Hahn, but only as far as Neven Subotic, who was completely free at the back post to fire in a volley and give the home side the lead (46′). Augsburg reacted well to conceding and pushed forward seeking the equaliser, but were too sloppy in the build-up play. Then, the hosts struck again. FCA failed to clear their lines properly and the ball fell to Marcus Ingvartsen, who doubled Union’s lead (61′).
The team still didn’t give up and continued to look for a way back into the game. Gikiewicz denied Max from a free kick (69′) and Richter shortly afterwards (72′). Robert Andrich missed his chance to put the game to bed once and for all (72′). FCA threw everything forward in the closing stages but the ball just wouldn’t go in. Richter fired over (84′), Florian Niederlechner shot straight at the keeper and Alfred Finnbogason skied the last good chance of the game as well (89′).
The game finished at 2-0. FCA face SV Werder Bremen next on Saturday 1st February (15:30 CET).