FC Augsburg ended their winless run in Mainz with a 3-1 win on matchday 14. Having lost all five of the previous visits to the carnival town, it was party time for Manuel Baum’s men this time out, who went in with a comfortable 2-0 lead at half time and quickly cancelled out Mainz’s late goal to take all three points back to Augsburg.
FCA boss Manuel Baum made two changes to the side that beat Wolfsburg in the WWK Arena last week: Martin Hinteregger returned to the starting XI at centre back, with Kevin Danso on the bench. The injured Rani Khedira was replaced in the midfield by Ja-Cheol Koo.
The spectators were treated to an open, end-to-end game from the word go, with both sides prioritising attack. The first big chance of the game fell to the hosts as Danny Latza’s first-time effort struck the inside of the post after 8 minutes. FCA were unfazed by the early pressure and came close to taking the lead themselves two minutes later through Ja-Cheol Koo, whose shot was stopped excellently by Robin Zentner.
Gregoritsch puts Augsburg in front, Finnbogason doubles the lead
The game continued in an equally balanced fashion: FCA keeper Marwin Hitz rose to the occasion when Jean-Philippe’s free-kick came curling towards goal, and Erik Thommy was there for his keeper when he was beaten with a goal-line block just minutes later. FCA got their reward for holding on at the back soon after when Philipp Max squared the ball for Michael Gregoritsch who, of course, obliged with the finish. The goal relaxed the FCA nerves and they began to defend further up the pitch, giving Mainz little to no chance for an equaliser.
With half time approaching, the hosts began to up the pressure again with Latza and Öztunali both coming dangerously close to levelling the score, but it was the visitors from Augsburg who got the all-important second goal of the game. Zentner brought Gregoritsch down in the penalty area and Alfred Finnbogason made no mistake from the penalty spot. The teams went in at half time with the score at 2-0.
FCA see out the victory
Mainz came out from the half-time break visibly motivated to turn the game around, but were unable to cause Marwin Hitz any problems. Augsburg sat a little deeper and closed down the spaces wisely, a tactic which resulted in a half of far fewer chances than the first and a midfield battle commenced. Neither side managed to trouble the opposition goalkeeper a great deal, only Gerrit Holtmann, who met his match in Marwin Hitz. That was until the 85th minute, however, when Holtmann tried his luck again and beat the FCA keeper to pull one back for Mainz. It then took just 45 seconds for Augsburg to respond to this setback: Finnbogason steered Caiuby’s shot into the back of the net to restore the two-goal lead and secure the three points.