FC Augsburg have secured their place in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal. Michael Gregoritsch scored with just five minutes to go as FCA secured a late 1-0 win away against Holstein Kiel.
FCA head coach Manuel Baum was forced into making multiple changes following Sunday’s 3-0 home win against Mainz in the Bundesliga. Alfred Finnbogason, Jan Moravek, Ja-Cheol Koo and Jonathan Schmid were all ruled out of the trip to Kiel through injury. Marco Richter, Sergio Córdova, Felix Götze and Reece Oxford all came into the starting lineup. This was a first time that Oxford and Götze had started for the club. Kostas Stafylidis dropped to the bench as Philipp Max started at left-back.
Augsburg started the match strongly in attack, winning a 2nd minute free-kick in a promising area. Michael Gregoritsch had a go from 30 metres out and his shot went narrowly wide of the far post. Six minutes later, the Austrian forced Kiel goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm into action for the first time with a shot from the left side of the penalty box (8’).
Kiel countered at the other end of the pitch and Reece Oxford was forced into a last-gasp tackle to prevent the hosts from taking the lead (9’). The second tier side then started the dominate the match while FCA relied on counter attacks. Oxford was forced to make two more goal saving tackles in the 25th and 29th minutes respectively as much of the action took place in Augsburg’s defensive third.
Augsburg were fortunate not to fall behind in the 36th minute as Kingsley Schindler broke clear and was one-on-one with FCA goalkeeper Gregor Kobel. However, the Kiel striker could only hit the post with his deft touch beyond the onrushing Swiss goalkeeper. Janni Serra then fired a shot towards goal but straight at Kobel (40’). Kiel created their best chance of the half just a minute before half-time. Alexander Mühling fired a shot just wide of the Augsburg goal and the scoreline was goalless at the break.
Late smash and grab sees Augsburg progress
FCA started the second half strongly and Gregoritsch again went close to scoring before Kiel dominated proceedings. Serra hit the side netting in the 52nd minute before Masaya Okugawa fired over the bar just three minutes later (55’). Dong-Won Ji came on to replace Marco Richter on the hour mark to try to give the visitors more creativity in attack. However, Kiel continued to be the more dangerous side and the more likely side to score.
In the closing stages, Jannik Dehm burst into the Augsburg box before firing the ball across goal and just wide of the far post. FCA continued to be pressed back and contained in and around their own penalty box. The match seemed destined for extra-time until the 85th minute when Fredrik Jensen burst through the centre of the pitch. The Finnish midfielder beat three Kiel defenders before playing in Gregoritsch, who smashed the ball home to send FC Augsburg into the qwuarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal.