FC Augsburg put in a gutsy performance to earn a 1-1 draw away at Borussia Dortmund in their final match of 2016. Dong-Won Ji put FCA ahead against his former club to give the away side a first-half lead, but Ousmane Dembélé netted an equaliser for BVB almost immediately after the break.
Manuel Baum made three changes to the side that beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-0 on Saturday. Dominik Kohr was back in the team after being suspended at the weekend following his red card against Hamburger SV, Konstantinos Stafylidis returned to the starting line-up and Georg Teigl was also given his opportunity by the interim coach. They all replaced Ja-Cheol Koo, Philipp Max (out with a thigh injury) and Takashi Usami. There was a minute’s silence for the victims of the attack in Berlin before the match at the Signal-Iduna-Park as both teams wore black ribbons.
It was Dortmund who created the first meaningful chance in this encounter. Mario Götze beat three FCA defenders on the edge of the box and let fly, but his effort clattered off the post. Ousmane Dembélé won a free-kick for the home side in a central position 25 metres out from goal after he was fouled by Jeffrey Gouweleeuw. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stepped up and hit it straight at the FCA goal, but Marwin Hitz was there to comfortably keep it out.
Augsburg were defending courageously but also started to create some good chances going forward. However it was the hosts who had the better opportunities. Marcel Schmelzer curled in a free-kick from the right-hand side and found the head of Matthias Ginter, forcing Hitz into a save. And the Swiss keeper was called into action just three minutes later after a good strike from Shinji Kagawa.
However, Jan Moravek then played through Dong-Won Ji with a superb pass. The South Korean’s initial shot was kept out by Roman Weidenfeller, but the former Dortmund man made no mistake with his second effort as he fired into an open net to put Augsburg in front. Georg Teigl then had another chance for the away side just three minutes later but Weidenfeller just got there ahead of the Austrian.
BVB pushed to find an equaliser before half-time. Aubameyang tried his luck in the 38th minute but the Gabon international could not hit the target with his header after a fine cross from Schmelzer. The Fuggerstädter headed into the dressing room 1-0 up as the referee blew for half-time after what was perhaps the best 45 minutes of the season for FCA.
Dortmund made a flying start to the second half. Kagawa found Dembélé in the penalty area and the Frenchman coolly finished from six metres to level the scoring. At the other end, Ji saw his curling effort fly inches wide after a quick counterattack. Aubameyang had a go after a cross in from the right-hand side from Christian Pulisic but Hitz was there once again to keep his team in it. Ginter then got on the end of a Dortmund free-kick but his header went just over the FCA crossbar.
Even though Thomas Tuchel’s side were posing a threat time and again, FCA were still able to find gaps in the Dortmund defence on the counterattack. However Kagawa was given a golden chance to make it 2-1 to the home side but he could not connect and Hitz calmly collected his scuffed effort.
The remaining 20 minutes of the match were tense and Aubameyang was not far away with his 77th minute strike from 15 metres out. BVB piled on the pressure in the final stages of the game But Augsburg held firm with their defensive power and counterattacking play. Aubameyang had one last attempt to win it for his side in the 88th minute but Hitz made a superb save to keep the in-form striker at bay.
The referee blew the final whistle and FCA will travel home from Dortmund with a thoroughly-deserved point in a fine end to 2016.