FCA were left empty handed after a thrilling match against Borussia Mönchengladbach ended 3-2 to the visitors. Augsburg fought back twice, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the first ever home defeat to Gladbach in the Bundesliga.
Martin Schmidt made four changes to the team that were beaten 2-0 by Bayer 04 Leverkusen last week. Carlos Gruezo celebrated his long-awaited comeback, while new signing Eduard Löwen was also named in the starting XI for the first time. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Ruben Vargas also both returned to the team. Captain Daniel Baier was absent due to suspension (five yellows), while Raphael Framberger, Felix Uduokhai and Fredrik Jensen were all named on the bench.
It was an even game from the start, with neither side giving the other room or time to play. Other than a Ramy Bensebaini (2‘) header, there was little action at either end for large spells of the half. Both teams were focused and alert in defence, giving nothing away.
Borussia just edged the first period and started to find their rhythm as half time approached and when had the opener in their grasp when captain Lars Stindl found himself with a free shot on goal, but Tomáš Koubek was at hand to keep him out (37’). The FCA shotstopper then denied Florian Neuhaus (42’), before Jonas Hofmann fired the rebound wide of the goal.
Gladbach strike twice before Löwen pulls one back
Framberger replaced Lichtsteiner, who had received a yellow card, at the start of the second half. The Foals flew out of the blocks and took an early lead (49’); Augsburg failing to deal with a cross into the box and Bensebaini forcing the ball over the line. Things got worse for Schmidt’s side just four minutes later, when Alassane Plea latched onto loose ball and fed Stindl through on goal for a simple finish past Koubek (53’).
But FCA refused to be beaten and made things interesting by pulling one back when Framberger found Löwen with a cross into the box, which our winter signing headed with precision past Yann Sommer (59’).
Stindl doubles – Finnbogason offers hope
After a goalless first half, the second was pure fireworks for both sets of fans. Plea was denied a headed goal by the crossbar, while Framberger spurned a 1-v-1 opportunity for the equaliser by firing over Sommer’s goal (70’).
Hopes of a comeback appeared to be dashed when Borussia re-established a two-goal lead. Stindl was the culprit once again, scoring with a superb piece of individual skill. But FCA refused to go down without a fight and set up a thrilling finale when Alfred Finnbogason slotted into the bottom corner to cut Gladbach’s lead to 3-2 (83’)
Koubek denied Borussia the decisive fourth goal with a double save against Breel Embolo and Hofmann (87’, 88’), while Ruben Vargas almost equalised in dramatic fashion at the other end, but headed wide of Sommer’s goal.
Despite all their efforts, Augsburg came away empty handed and Gladbach held on to all three point – for the first time at home in this fixture. Next up, Augsburg face a tricky away day at reigning champions FC Bayern München next Sunday, 8th March (15:30 CET).