By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Bundesliga End of Season Awards: Augsburg's Player of the Season

With a remarkable haul of 7 votes and just two shy of the clean sweep from our team of writers, Ermedin Demirović has picked up the Bundesliga Player of the Season award for FC Augsburg.

Augsburg fans have just enjoyed their best Bundesliga finish in just under a decade since they secured 5th-place in the 2014/15 campaign. Yet looking at the table it almost feels disappointing. With defeats in their last 5 games, albeit against four sides from the top six, Augsburg fell from a potential UEFA Conference League place to 11th-place. European football didn’t look out of the realms of possibility since Jess Thorup took charge on Matchday 8. Die Fuggerstadter soared under their 54-year-old Danish coach who instilled confidence and form in their performances.

None more so than Ermedin Demirović who wowed the masses across the Bundesrepublik. Affectionately known as ‘the boxer’ for his love of the sport, Demirović landed knock-out after knock-out for Augsburg in what was a breakthrough season in his career. With 15 goals and 9 assists in 33 matches, the German-born Bosnian international boasted a 48% share in goal participations for Jess Thorup’s charges. Unsurprisingly, the Augsburg skipper has doubled his valuation according to Transfermarkt.com. Priced at €14million in October 2023, the Bavarian club now have a €28million player in their arsenal. The difficulty now is retaining him despite suggestions that the player himself is ready to make the next step in his young career.

What makes Demirović so special is his ‘Swiss-army knife’ abilities in a positional sense. The Bosnian lined out as Augsburg’s front man on 18 occasions where he found the net most. A further 8 appearances in an attacking midfield role and 7 on the left wing underline his versatility. The 26-year-old successfully returned in each position, be it as a clinical front man or looking to split defences with a killer pass. The latter was evidenced by the relationship he struck up with Phillip Tietz who together filled the void left by Mergim Berisha and youngster Ricardo Pepi.

STANDOUT PERFORMANCE:

While officially credited with a brace and one assist in Augsburg’s Matchday 24 demolition of SV Darmstadt, a deeper look at Ermedin Demirović’s efforts that day will reveal a lot more. In the second minute, the Bosnian’s aggressive press forced a hurried pass from Jannik Müller into the path of Phillip Tietz who punished his former side. With his back to goal, Demirovic fed Ruben Vargas to thread in Frederik Jensen to guide home. Snapping at the heels of Klaus Gjasula, Demirović would pinch possession with a free run at goal. The coolest man in the Stadion am Böllenfalltor threaded the ball between Marcel Schuhen’s legs on 20 minutes.

In the subsequent attack, the fleet-footed Vargas recovered possession and fed Demirović in space. As the Swiss winger tore off towards goal, Demirović paused for the perfect moment to tee up his teammate for a first-time strike into the upper left corner. Just before the half-hour mark Frederik Jensen took possession down the right flank. Demonstrating his remarkable spatial awareness, Demirović drifted behind Zimmermann before darting out in front of his marker. A cultured in-step finish swept the ball to the net as the 26-year-old wheeled off in celebration. While the game finished 6-0 and Demirović boasted three direct involvements, his off-the-ball influence was clear to see on a stellar day for Augsburg.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Ruben Vargas bagged one of the other two votes for Die Fuggerstadters. The Switzerland wide man posted 4 goals and 4 assists in 31 league games, including a revolutionary switch into an attacking No.10 role under Jess Thorup. A vital role at the top of the diamond in the Dane’s formations of choice. Elsewhere, Jeffrey Gouweleeuw secured the other mashalling the Augsburg defence with 30 appearances and found the net once. 

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