FC Augsburg have secured their second away victory of the season with a 2-1 win at Hannover 96. In a very even contest, FCA scored both of their goals from set pieces and didn’t allow Hannover many opportunities to break through the defence. FCA were able to hold on to their advantage in the closing stages of the match and secure a third win of the season.
FCA head coach Manuel Baum made two changes to the side that started the goalless stalemate at home to RB Leipzig last weekend. Ja-Cheol Koo and Marco Richter came into the starting lineup and replaced Michael Gregoritsch (dropped to the bench) and Caiuby respectively (not included in the squad).
Both teams started the match with a similar style of play, pressing high and attempting to disrupt their opponent’s rhythm. It was FCA who settled quicker and Richter created the first chance of the match. His shot was saved by Hannover goalkeeper Michael Hesser but the rebound fell kindly for Koo in a promising position. However, his header fell agonisingly wide of the goal (6’). Two minutes later, FCA made the breakthrough and took the lead. A Philipp Max corner was not cleared by the Hannover defence and the ball fell kindly for Rani Khedira, who fired home from close range to score his first goal of the season. Initially, the hosts were unable to settle having conceded and struggled to find an immediate response, rarely threatening the FCA goal. Meanwhile, Augsburg defended superbly and continued to win all of the decisive challenges and tackles.
Hannover posed the biggest threat to Andreas Luthe in the FCA goal from set pieces and the visiting goalkeeper was called into action in the 20th minute. Hannover’s Ihlas Bebou headed the ball towards goal but Luthe was there to deny the Togo forward with a strong save, preserving FCA’s lead in the process. The visitors also continued to attack and apply pressure on the Hannover defence. A Philipp Max free-kick in the 29th minute fell to an unmarked Martin Hinteregger in the penalty box but he could only head the ball over the bar. For the remainder of the first-half, FCA were reduced to half-chances in from of goal and Max went closest to scoring a second FCA goal but his dropkick shot was saved by Esser (34’). At the other end, just a minute later, Genki Haraguchi fired a shot from long distance narrowly wide to the left of Luthe’s goal. In the dying seconds of the first half, Luthe was called into action once again as he rushed out to deny the on rushing Niclas Füllkrug a clear run through on goal (45+1’).
Ice cool Finnbogason converts from the penalty spot
Both teams emerged with the second half with a lot of intensity as they went in search of goals. André Hahn created the first chance of the second half for FCA as he got on the end of a Philipp Max cross into the box, only to head the ball narrowly wide of the far post (52’). At the other end, the hosts went close as Füllkrug’s shot from a tight angle also caused no problems for Luthe. Just after the hour mark, FCA were awarded a penalty by referee Robert Kampka for a handball against Haraguchi, who was judged to have blocked Daniel Baier’s shot with his arm. Kampka asked the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to check the decision before pointing to the penalty spot. Alfred Finnbogason stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake, firing the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to double FCA’s lead. The Icelandic striker has now scored five goals in his first four appearances of the season.
With a two goal cushion to protect, Augsburg chose to sit back a little after scoring and this allowed the hosts to get back into the match. Bebou received the ball just outside the penalty area and spectacularly fired the ball beyond Luthe’s outstretched arm into the top-right corner of the net (72’). Hannover had halved the deficit and pressed FCA back into their own half as they went in search of a late equaliser. A Florent Muslija free-kick went narrowly wide to the left of the Augsburg goal (82’) before Luthe made a fantastic save to deny Hendrik Weydandt (84’). Hannover continued to press for a last-gasp goal in the closing stages but could not create a final clear chance. Augsburg survived this late scare to secure their second away win of the season.
FCA have two home matches to look forward to this week, starting with a DFB-Pokal second round clash with 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Tuesday, 30th October (20:45 CET) before welcome 1. FC Nürnberg to the WWK Arena for a Bundesliga match next Saturday (3rd November, 15:30 CET).