Five points separated the two teams involved in the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's round 15 curtain raiser. With their undefeated record at home this season on the line, Steffen Baumgart's 9th-placed 1. FC Köln welcomed 16th-placed Augsburg to the Rhein-Energie Stadion on Friday evening.
As it turned out, the Domstädter lost at home for the first time this season. German youth international Niklas Dorsch imitated the sequence for one goal, then hit his own wonder-strike to ensure a 2-0 Augsburg victory.
Friday night under the lights in the cathedral city ended up being a disappointment for the 15,000 capacity crowd that turned out to cheer on 1. FC Köln. Despite playing decent enough football, the home side didn't do enough to get the ball in the back of the net. Visiting Augsburg blanked the Effzeh 2-0.
FCA trainer Marcus Weinzierl made four changes to the squad that fought back last weekend against Bochum, but ultimately still couldn't overcome a 0-3 halftime deficit. There was some good news in central defense. Captain Jeffrey Gouweleleeuw returned from a bout with COVID. Reece Oxford also made a comeback from injury. German youth international Felix Uduokhai was unfortunately unavailable after himself testing positive for COVID this week.
The Fuggerstädter lined up in a 4-1-3-2. Niklas Dorsch made do without his usual partner Arne Maier, who was out injured. Ruben Vargas, Jan Moravek, and Daniel Caligiuri assumed buttressing attack roles behind a two-striker set of Michael Gregortisch and André Hahn. This constellation appeared to be an intentional mirror of Steffen Baumgart's 4-1-3-2. The Kölner trainer inserted Sebastian Andersson alongside Anthony Modeste, with Ellyes Skhiri making way for the extra striker. Jonas Hector also returned to start at left back.
The two sides traded chances during a lively start. Modeste only just missed with a header in the 2nd. At the other end, the Geißböcke back-up keeper did extremely well to tip a vicious long-range effort from Hahn over the bar in the 4th. Gregoritsch had a goal disallowed for offside in the 12th. The visiting Bavarian Swabians generated most of the chances for the duration of the half. Vargas and Caligiuri missed outright on well executed counter attacks. Köln played optimally acceptable football, but couldn't really generate any chances of their own.
The cathedral city club got off to a much better start in the second 45. Modeste failed to convert a pair of chances in the first seven minutes after the restart. FCA keeper Rafal Gikiewicz made a spectacular save on the latter effort, a header in the 51st. Gikiewicz's counterpart Schwäbe also made an excellent save on Hahn two minutes later. Unfortunately, the net-minder tasked with filling in for the injured Timo Horn committed an error in the 72nd on the opening goal.
Dorsch intercepted a ball from Dejan Ljubicic in midfield and immediately sent Vargas through. Augsburg's Swiss attacker then sent a sharp cross in Hahn's direction. Schwäbe failed to intervene when he had the chance and the FCA striker finished cleanly. Köln weren't able to muster up much of a response. Baumgart urged the team forward from the sidelines (earning a booking for leaving his technical area in the 78th), left his orginal XI on until implementing a double change in the 83rd.
What might have come from Baumgart's changes shall nevertheless remain unknown as Dorsch put the game to bed five minutes after Jan Thielmann and Louis Schaub entered for Andersson and Florian Kainz. The Germany U21 international intercepted a very poor clearance from Lucas Kilian and simply opted to have a go from well outside the 18. An absolute stunner of a strike put the guests up 2-0. Köln (to their credit) still went forward robustly through the end of injury time, but couldn't pull a goal back.
Augsburg's fourth win of the season pulls them out of the relegation playoff place and into 14th on 16 points. Stuttgart and Hertha can still pull the FCA back down into the relegation race, provided they both win this weekend. Köln can slide down as far as 13th place this round after the loss.
|2||B. Schmitz ↪87|
|14||J. Hector (C)|
|11||F. Kainz ↪83|
|9||S. Andersson ↪83|
|22||J. Meré ↩87|
|21||L. Schaub ↩83|
|29||J. Thielmann ↩83|
|6||J. Gouweleeuw (C)|
|20||D. Caligiuri ↪58|
|14||J. Morávek ↪58|
|30||N. Dorsch ⚽|
|16||R. Vargas ↪79|
|28||A. Hahn ⚽ ↪90|
|11||M. Gregoritsch ↪79|
|9||S. Córdova ↩79|
|3||M. Pedersen ↩58|
|32||R. Framberger ↩90|
|17||N. Sarenren-Bazee ↩79|
|24||F. Jensen ↩58|