Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 1
(1 - 0)
Mainz 05
J. Gouweleeuw (11), R. Vargas (56)
S. Widmer (54)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Augsburg hold off Mainz to secure massive three points in relegation fight

Relegation-threatened FC Augsburg are up 13th place in the table on 32 points following a narrow and nervy home victory over FSV Mainz 05 on Wednesday evening. 

In a extremely intense affair exciting right up to the final second, the Fuggerstädter were able to prevail 2-1. 
A controversial penalty call noted, FC Augsburg claimed their second consecutive home victory on Wednesday night in a make-up match from round 26. The Bavarian Swabian hosts had to survive several late scares in order to claim all three points, but were still able too secure a massive win in their fight to avoid the drop.

FCA trainer Markus Weinzierl made one change to the XI that bested Wolfsburg 3-0 on Sunday, with André Hahn taking striker Ricardo Pepi's place in the winning 4-4-2. Bo Svensson was able to welcome back three of his regular starters in Jonathan Burkardt, Jae-Sung Lee, and Dominik Kohr. Marcus Ingvartsen, Leandro Barreiro, and Anton Stach took a seat in favor of the regulars.

The home side began briskly, forcing FSV keeper Robin Zentner into a pair of early interventions via Florian Niederlechner efforts. There was scarcely anything to see from Mainz in the opening ten minutes. Zentner ended up colliding with Niederlechner during a scramble in the 10th. Match official Matthias Jöllenbeck saw a penalty in the play and quickly pointed to the spot.

Augsburg captain Jeffery Gouuweleeuw stepped forward to convert. Irrespective of whether some felt the call incorrect, the hosts had an early lead. Mainz continued to struggle to establish themselves offensively. The Pfälzer didn't generate a legitimate chance until Burkardt narrowly missed the equalizer in the 26th.

The effort at least gave the guests some confidence and Svensson's men were able to work the ball wide a hit some promising crosses into the box. It was nevertheless Augsburg who struck next with a Hahn finish off a corner in the 32nd. The goal was ultimately disallowed after it was revealed the FCA attacker handled the ball before finishing.

The hosts continued to keep Mainz at bay for most of the half's duration. Both sides traded chances in the final five minutes of the opening 45 when the game opened up a bit. Free-flowing, end-to-end action continued after the restart. Burkardt and Karim Onisiwo missed half chances as the guests pushed for the equalizer.

An excellent ball win from Jean-Paul Boetius in the 54th finally gave the Rheinhessen the chance they needed. Boetius played FSV Mainz wingback Silvan Widmer through and the Swiss international didn't have to work hard to push the exquisite pass into an open net. Two minutes after that, however, the newly subbed on Ruben Vargas restored the lead. Augsburg's Swiss international finished a Hahn flick-on off a corner for the 2-1.

Weinzierl's men rode the momentum and continued to put their opponents under pressure in the aftermath. There was still a rather dicey moment in the 69th when FCA keeper Rafal Gikiewicz ran out of his net and turned the ball over directly to Burkardt. Unfortunately, the German U21 captain couldn't quite find the back of the net with a first-time finish off the volley.

The affair continued with plenty of tempo down the stretch. Action remained intense and exciting. Mainz's Anton Stach missed a glorious opportunity to draw his side level in the 79th when he headed a ball too centrally from close-range and Gikiewicz parried. At the other end, Vargas tried his luck from distance in the 85th when he spotted Zentner off his line.

A WWK-Arena crowd of over 18,000 remained on their toes as Mainz continued to put together dangerous attacks. The match honestly could have swung towards a larger Augsburg victory as well. The hosts were able to run counters and stay active in the opponent's penalty area. Sighs of relief were delayed until the very last second when Mainz sub Ingvartsen missed the post by a hair's breadth at 90+5.

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