Four home games in 2023, four home wins: FC Augsburg kept up their 100% record at the WWK ARENA in the new year, the sold out stadium enjoying a 2-1 victory against SV Werder Bremen.
FCA head coach Enrico Maaßen made three changes to the team which started last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin, in the form of Ruben Vargas, Mads Pedersen and Dion Beljo. Mergim Berisha, who was unable to train fully over the week due to muscular issues, was named on the bench, whilst Fredrik Jensen was out of the squad with a minor injury.
The reverse of this fixture earlier this season saw the Fuggerstädter celebrate an emotional 1-0 win at the Weserstadion, and the passion was there once again from the very first whistle this time. After Bundesliga top goalscorer Niclas Füllkrug tested Rafał Gikiewicz from inside the area (3’), FCA got a perfect start. A route-one ball sent Beljo through on goal, and the 21-year-old Croatian made no mistake in his one-on-one, finding the bottom right corner with his finish. The January signing’s first goal in an Augsburg shirt made it 1-0 to the home side.
Werder did not let the early goal put a dampener on their spirits, though, and could have equalised with ten minutes gone, but Niklas Schmidt was unable to capitalise on a misplaced FCA pass – once more, it was Gikiewicz who denied him with his fingertips. With 16 minutes on the clock, the away side got their goal: a cross from the right bounced through the penalty area and found Jens Stage at the back post, who headed home for 1-1. The Fuggerstädter had some luck later in the half, as Marvin Ducksch’s attempt was deflected for a corner at the very last second (32’).
Maaßen then decided to make a precautionary change, as the booked Renato Veiga was replaced by Maximilian Bauer (34’). The change looked to shore things up defensively, and with seven minutes to go, Ermedin Demirović was denied by Jirí Pavlenka in the Werder goal, before the ‘keeper almost put his side behind once more with an error (42’). There was also a chance for Bremen to take the lead, but Füllkrug was unable to put the ball past Gikiewicz from the tight angle.
Maier scores seconds after the restart
Just like in the first half, the second 45 began with FCA finding the net very early on: 42 seconds after the restart, Demirović set up Arne Maier inside the penalty area, and fired home right-footed for 2-1 – his second goal of the campaign. Captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw then looked to add to the scoreline, but Pavlenka was able to parry his long-range effort over the bar (50’).
As the half went on the away side, who had beaten Bochum 3-0 the preceding matchday, grew in strength. Ole Werner’s side were able to keep possession in the Augsburg half, passing it around without offering too much in the way of danger. The several substitutions did not change this – alongside half-time replacement Julian Baumgartlinger, Berisha, Iago and Kelvin Yeboah also entered the fray. The only attempt of note in the closing stages came from Ducksch, whose attempt whistled past the post (75’).
With 27 points on the board, FCA are now level with 12th-placed 1. FC Köln. Next weekend, Enrico Maaßen and co. will make the short trip east, to face record champions FC Bayern München.
- SV Werder Bremen