Augsburg, Gladbach Earn Draw
SGL Arena, Augsburg – The stats reflect Borussia Monchengladbach had no right to be in the match against FC Augsburg. Despite the odds, the Foals still had their chance to steal the match, but Augsburg had other plans at the end.
Both Max Kruse and André Hahn scored a goal and recorded an assist for their teams and Arkadiusz Milik scored a goal in the 88th minute to secure a 2-2 draw for the home side.
Borussia are still without a win on the road after four matches this season. The draw secured points for Augsburg in four of the past five matches and a positive start to what will be a stretch of matches against teams that are above them in the Bundesliga table.
The match started as if it would end in a draw but goalless as teams moved up and down the pitch but no results. It wasn’t until the 22nd minute when Juan Arango was able to get the best shot on goal but it hit the crossbar.
A few minutes later, Hahn broke free on a pass from Tobias Werner that got him past the defense and one-on-one with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who expected Hahn to go near post to the left. Hahn deftly went to right and the ball was in the net. 1-0 lead after 27 minutes.
The score seem to get Gladbach going, Augsburg were now hoping to sit on the lead. Kruse then received a ball in the area, with only defender Ragnar Klavan to beat. A move to Klavan’s left created space for Kruse, and shot it past Alexander Manninger’s right, into the corner to tie the game in the 33rd minute.
That score kept till halftime, and the first 25 minutes after the break, Augsburg were in complete control. The possession and shots increased, but in typical FCA fashion, there was no finish solid enough to net a goal.
Gladbach’s head coach Lucien Favre decided to shake things up in the 68th minute and replaced an ineffective Patrick Herrman with young Swede Branimir Hrgota who had scored in his last sub duty on the road. Minutes later, Kruse set up Hrgota who shot the ball past Manninger for the 2-1 lead after 71st minute.
Since coming into the Bundesliga, Augsburg have not been able to come back, unlucky at the end of tight matches. But this season, they have shown not only the usual resolve but the winning instinct. Along with his players, head coach Markus Weinzierl learned from last year’s struggles and it showed with his move tonight. To counter Favre’s moves, Weinzierl also took out two ineffective players, Halil Altintop (who did have a lot of shots but nothing dangerous) and Jan Moravek. In came in Milik and Raphael Holzhauser.
The clock ticked away and looked like Gladbach would steal one on the road. Hahn was active throughout the night and this time, he crossed a pass into the area, ter Stegen got a hand on it, but he could not control it. Milik was sprinting in and was right in front to stick in the equalizer with two minutes left in regulation.
“We saw a good performance from my team, we fought the entire 90 minutes,” said Weinzierl. “After the first goal, we saw them react. We were deep in our side and not careful with the possession. The tying goal hurt us. But we promised ourselves to continue to play, with the same courage, high level and with the defense to beat them.”
“I am not satisfied with the tie, as we had it 2-1 for us right before the end,” lamented Favre. “Augsburg put on a lot of pressure, played well, and with good, precise long balls into in our area, that made it hard for us to play and to defend. We made a mistake right before the end. Shame, but we’ll take the point.”
Augsburg outshot the Foals 20-8 and controlled possession 52%-48%. “They had a lot of pressure on us and we couldn’t hold on,” said goal-scorer Hrgota.
“It was very important for us that we have a point,” added Kruse regarding the first point away before their Borussia Derby next week. “Finally we had a chance to win this game and so I’m a little sad about that. We have another chance next week.”
Gladbach were talking about the points lost, but Augsburg were lifted by the goal and escaping the loss.
“If you see the whole 90 minutes, we deserved the point, maybe even more,” captain Paul Verhaegh mentioned to Sport Eagle.
Monchengladbach will host top-of-the-table Dortmund next weekend at Borussia Park, where they are undefeated so far this season, but Favre already pointed to a facet that they have to correct.
“We didn’t play well in the lead today, Augsburg put on more pressure. We didn’t protect the ball, we lost the ball, played the ball incorrectly. With the lead, one should hold the ball, and play more efficiently.”
The players are also intent on protecting their house. “Every team that comes on our pitch we need to look forward to beat them because we have our fans there, and they want to see a really good match from us and of course three points,” said Hrgota, hoping for a call to the starting eleven after two goals the past three matches.
Augsburg will continue to play teams above them in the league standings – next week at Schalke, back home against Wolfsburg, at Leverkusen, host Mainz and finish it up in Munich versus Bayern Munich.
“I think in the Bundesliga, it’s only tough matches,” answered Weinzierl on the coming string of games. “Today, Gladbach has quality players. Week to week, the other teams have the same quality of players. Today for our moral, our the next matches, very important to stay with our concept, defend well and with courage, to earn the point was important.”
“Of course we have a tough program,” agreed Verhaegh. “We just prepare week for week for every opponent and get the maximum out of it. Next week is a very difficult game away versus Schalke but we prepare for the game and try to get some points over there. We just dont’ have to look so far in the future. To get a point over there will be a sensation for us. 7 games, 10 points – we are in the right way.
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