Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 1
(2 - 1)
FC Bayern
M. Pedersen (23), A. Hahn (36)
R. Lewandowski (38)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Augsburg upset Bayern in round 12 curtain-raiser

On a foggy night in the Swabian section of Bavaria, FC Augsburg upset Bayern München 2-1 to hand the German giants their second league defeat of the season. 

Marcus Weinzierl's men put in an excellent tactical defensive performance to preserve a slender lead and earn their third victory of the campaign in the round twelve opener. 
Speaking at a presser midweek, Augsburg head-coach Marcus Weinzierl remarked that Bayern would beat his team "nine times out of ten." Thanks to two fine goals from Mads Pedersen and André Hahn, not to mention an disciplined defensive performance, the "ten-percent-probability" occurrence has become a reality.

FCB head-coach Julian Nagelsmann, a native of a small village just south of Augsburg, had to make do without Niklas Süle, Josip Stanisic, and Joshua Kimmich all for corona-related reasons. The Bayern trainer was still able to field a highly talented 4-2-3-1, with Marcel Sabitzer stepping in to partner with Leon Goretzka in midfield. Omar Richards and Benjamin Pavard worked as the fullbacks beside Lucas Hernandez and Dayot Upamecano. Familiar threats Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Müller, and Robert Lewandowski took care of the attack.

FCA gaffer Weinzierl had his own COVID related problems to deal with. It was confirmed shortly before the match that striker Ruben Vargas had tested positive for the virus. Already missing other key attackers, Winzierl constructed a 4-4-2 with André Hahn and Andi Zeqiri in a double-striker set. All Augsburg players wore a #5 patch in honor of injured comrade Tobias Strobl. Germany U21 international Niklas Dorsch replaced Strobl, pairing with German youth-level Arne Maier in midfield.

The teams got off to a fairly even start at the WWK-Arena. The underdog hosts stood toe-to-toe with their heavily favored guests, though neither side could fashion any clear chances. Most of Bayern's game revolved around lateral switches and crosses into the box. Accuracy lacked in the steadily building fog. The Fuggerstädter punished Bayern by taking the lead in the 23rd. Mads Pedersen finished off a give-and-go with Zeqiri; albeit one that saw an unintended return cross.

The 25-year-old Danish youth international nevertheless finished superbly, picking the absolute perfect moment to score his first Bundesliga goal. The Swabians, truly buoyed by the tally, bravely took Bayern on in the subsequent minutes. Deftly blocking the Bayern chances, the FCA counter got several looks in until the team doubled their advantage in the 35th. Zeqiri stripped Sabitzer of the ball in midfield and quickly got the ball to Iago, who crossed to Hahn for the headed finish.

Bayern's answer was swift. The German record champions pulled a goal back less than three minutes later. Pavard and Müller were involved in setting up Lewandowski in the 38th. Further FCB advances were well repelled by compact and disciplined defending before the half-time whistle. The hosts kept up the strong defending after the break, even after Nagelsmann brought on more weapons in the form of Alphonso Davies and Jamal Musiala in the 52nd. Weizierl went to full-scale defending with his own substitution and a 5-4-1 re-format six minutes later.

From that point on, it was clear that the hosts aimed to protect their lead at all costs. Bayern were allowed slow possession builds, but the manner in which the rearward ranks kept their mark spaces in the box made it clear that the league leaders would need to come up with special ideas in order to score the equalizer. Davies supplied perhaps the best one with a scintillating solo run in the 73rd, but the Canadian international couldn't find the finish. Davies would then send the next best chance over in the 80th.

Apart from the two chances involving Davies, Bayern simply couldn't find the creativity. Augsburg actors who put in some fine defensive work included Polish Robert Gumny and English center halve Reece Oxford. The Augsburg fans, who had been under a strict mask mandate and were discouraged from singing during the match, rose to lift their voices in support of their team as the full-time whistle approached.

Bayern's second defeat of the season still doesn't place the team within range of being caught this weekend. They remain in first place, four points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and shall remain the league leaders after this round concludes. The huge win for the Fuggerstädter pulls them up into 15th and off the relegation playoff place. A Stuttgart win tomorrow will nevertheless see them drop back down to 16th.

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