FC Augsburg have ended their busy week by extending their unbeaten run to four matches in all competitions. In front of a sold-out crowd in the WWK ARENA, FCA conceded a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with 1. FC Nürnberg. The home side had led on two occasions in the match, thanks to goals from Alfred Finnbogason and Jonathan Schmid, but the Franconian visitors were able to draw level and take a point.
FCA head coach Manuel Baum made three changes from the side that defeated 1. FSV Mainz 05 after extra time in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday. Daniel Baier, Marco Richter and Alfred Finnbogason all returned to the starting lineup to replace Jan Moravek (who was ruled out with a torn hamstring), André Hahn (who dropped to the bench) and Michael Gregoritsch. The Austrian attack suffered a minor injury which ruled him out of the match with Nürnberg.
FC Augsburg started the match with a lot more possession compared with their visitors. The home side went in search of a breakthrough against a stubborn Nürnberg side, who defended with a deep line and could not play out of their own half. FCA took the lead with their first chance of the match as Jeffrey Gouweleeuw played Jonathan Schmid down the wing. His cross into the penalty box was met by Alfred Finnbogason, who tapped home to give the hosts an 11th minute lead. The Icelandic striker has now scored six goals in just five appearances so far this season.
FCA in control of the match – few chances created
Nürnberg did not alter much defensively after falling behind but started to create a couple of isolated chances in attack. However, attempts on goal from Adam Zrelak (19’) and Sebastian Kerk (22’) did not cause any problems for Augsburg goalkeeper Andreas Luthe in the home goal. FCA continued to be the stronger side going forward, opting for a pressing game high up the pitch whilst working hard in midfield to keep the visitors away from the home penalty box. Just before the half hour mark, a Philipp Max corner fell to Gouweleeuw on the edge of the Nürnberg penalty box but the Dutchman’s half volley was straight at FCN goalkeeper Christian Mathenia (26’).
FC Augsburg were restricted to a series of half chances in the remainder of the first half. Nürnberg continued to be pressed back in defence while FCA were unable to find the all important final pass to double their lead. The only exception to this was a Finnbogason header over the bar from a 35th minute corner. Ja-Cheol Koo nearly got on the end of a Marco Richter cross in the 41st minute as FCQA took a 1-0 lead into half-time.
Fuchs equalises before Schmid spectacularly restores FCA’s lead
Nürnberg started the second half offensively strong and immediately came back into the match. Luthe was forced into action to make a very good save to deny Hanno Behrens following a FCN corner in the 49th minute. However, the match was turned on its head in the 54th minute. Finnbogason was denied a seventh goal of the season by the frame of the Nürnberg goal before the visitors attacked at the other end and Alexander Fuchs was rewarded for some strong build up play in the penalty with a well taken equaliser from a tight angle. The spectators in the WWK ARENA were rewarded with a very open and entertaining second half after this equaliser.
After Richter and Virgil Misidjan had both gone close with chances (56’), it was the home side who made the immediate response to retake the lead. Jonathan Schmid fired a free-kick from 25 metres out into the top right corner to leave Mathenia with no chance in the Nürnberg goal. The match took a little breather after Schmid’s first goal of the season until the 68th minute. Richter had a shot that went narrowly wide of the far post before Robert Bauer fired a free-kick just over the bar two minutes later.
Stunned FCA concede late equaliser
Overall, FCA successfully kept the ball away from their own goal for large periods of the match as the team continued to press forwards in search of a third goal. However, it was Nürnberg who had their foot firmly on the gas in the closing stages of the match. The visitors went close to equalising in the 83rd minute, when Zrelak fired narrowly wide, but managed to find the back of the net in the 88th minute as Lukas Mühl headed home from a corner. Caiuby very nearly stole all three point for FCA in stoppage time but he could not get on the end of a ball to poke it into the corner of the gaping Nürnberg goal. The match ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
FCA miss out on all three point after taking the lead twice in the match, meaning the club will have to settle for seven points out of a possible nine to end the week. FC Augsburg return to action next Saturday (10th November) away at TSG Hoffenheim (15:30 CET).