Augsburg secured a vital win over a direct rival in the relegation battle on matchday 31 of the Bundesliga. Augsburg defeated Hamburg 4-0 to leapfrog their opponent in the table. Two goals from Halil Altintop (28′, 42′), a first Bundesliga strike from Philipp Max (76′) and one from substitute Raul Bobadilla (85′) late on sealed the win.
Head coach Manuel Baum put his faith in striker Alfred Finnbogason, who missed last week’s defeat in Frankfurt through suspension. Dominik Kohr and Konstantinos Stafylidis also started the match. Dong Won Ji, Kevin Danso and Takashi Usami dropped out. Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker returned to the squad after a long injury lay-off, Caiuby and Raul Bobadilla were on the bench.
Both teams played with caution in the opening few minutes, with most of the game being played in midfield. Then Dominik Kohr received the ball from Gotoku Sakai in midfield in the seventh minute and he released a shot which was well saved by Tom Mickel in the Hamburg goal. Augsburg continued to press, spurred on by a vociferous crowd and wearing the special “Augsburg sticks together” shirts.
Konstantinos Stafylidis tried his luck directly from a free-kick after a quarter of an hour and just missed the top corner. Five minutes later, Mickel was again called into action as he just beat Jonathan Schmid to the ball from Altintop’s pass. The Hamburg goalie was already having a busy afternoon and was again required this time to deny Altintop as he tipped the Augsburg man’s shot onto the post. Mickel then denied Finnbogason from the rebound with a sharp, reflex save.
The home side were eventually rewarded for their dominance. Schmid took on former Augsburg player Matthias Ostrzolek on the right-hand-side and then played a neat ball into the box to find Halil Altintop. The Turk found the net from 13 yards to give Augsburg a deserved lead. In the 34th minute, Mickel prevented an own goal after Michael Gregoritsch almost turned a Stafylidis free-kick into his own net. Hamburg barely threatened the Augsburg goal in what was a first-half completely dominated by the home side.
Just before half-time, Augsburg doubled their lead. Philipp Max crossed for Altintop who had the simple task of finishing off a flowing counter-attack to send Augsburg in 2-0 up at the interval.
Mergim Mavraj had a header early in the second-half which was comfortably saved by Marwin Hitz in the Augsburg goal. Hamburg continued to create very little in attack. Augsburg carried on where they left off in the first-half: always looking a threat on the counter. Mickel saved a Stafylidis free-kick down low and then Daniel Baier was denied by a combination of Mickel and the post.
Augsburg continued to create chances with Mickel denying Kohr in the 74th minute. Philipp Max put the game beyond doubt in the 76th minute, as his first Bundesliga goal rounded off another textbook Augsburg counter. Substitiute Raul Bobadilla put the icing on the cake for Manuel Baum and Augsburg as he ran through one-on-one with Mickel and made no mistake. The home side were also able to celebrate Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker’s comeback after a long injury lay-off.