He spent seven years at FCA, five-and a-half as captain, and was a role model on and off the pitch. After 224 matches, and 22 goals, FC Augsburg says goodbye to its No.2 – Paul Verhaegh.
Verhaegh moved to FC Augsburg as a 26-year-old right back from the Dutch First Division side SBV Vitesse in the summer of 2010, shortly after the club had missed out on promotion to the Bundesliga to 1. FC Nürnberg. The dream of being in Germany’s top division nevertheless remained the driving-force atthe club, and was achieved only a year later in the 2010/11 season.
After it was announced, during the first season in the Bundesliga, that captain Uwe Möhrle was to leave FCA for FC Energie Cottbus in the winter break, the Dutchman accepted the captain’s armband in 2011. As captain of FC Augsburg, Verhaegh not only managed to avoid relegation – a task deemed by many to be impossible in the first season – but was also a part of the most successful period of the club’s history to-date:
The fifth place finish in the league in the 2014/15 season, as well as participation in the Europa League, with the legendary game against FK Partizan Belgrade on 11 December 2015, in which Verhaegh scored the all-important goal to make it 2-1, and the last-32 clash against Liverpool, were among the highlights. Over the years, the Dutchman transformed, not only into the figure-head of the team, but also into one of the most reliable penalty takers in the Bundesliga. Out of 19 goals in the Bundesliga, he scored 17 of them from the spot.
Career highlight: Verhaegh called up to the national team
Verhaegh’s success with FCA also caught the attention of Dutch National team coach Louis van Gaal. Verhaegh was finally given his debut for the Dutch National team on 14 August 2013 in a friendly against Portugal. After another match against Equador in 2014, he was included in the Dutch World Cup squad – a highlight of his professional career. In Brazil he was named in the starting XI for the quarter-final against Mexico on 29th June 2014. The Dutch team finished 3rd in the tournament.
After seven successful years with FC Augsburg, a new chapter is beginning for the father-of-two in the summer of 2017 following his move to Vfl Wolfsburg. FCA wishes Paul Verhaegh the very best for the future.