Enrico Maaßen was forced into one change from the Augsburg team that started the game against VfL Wolfsburg last weekend. Mergim Berisha was not fit in time and was replaced by Fredrik Jensen.
Steffen Baumgart opted for an unchanged starting line-up following the Derby Day draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday.
Two quick goals, Vargas reduces deficit
FC started the game with real purpose, keen to finally turn performances into results that didn’t come in the last few weeks. Kingsley Schindler had a shot blocked before Rafal Gikiewicz had to make the first save of the game, getting down low to deny Linton Maina.
The breakthrough came in the eighth minute. Florian Kainz’s cross to the back post was met by Jeff Chabot, who volleyed across for Ellyes Skhiri to slide home. After a three-minute-long VAR check, the goal was given and Skhiri chalked up his sixth Bundesliga goal of the season.
Eight minutes later, FC doubled their advantage and there was no need for VAR to intervene. After the ball went out of play for a throw-in, Kingsley Schindler spotted Eric Martel darting behind the Augsburg defence. The plan worked perfrectly and Martel was able to fire the ball under Gikiewicz to score his first Bundesliga goal.
Just before the half-hour mark, Augsburg were able to get a goal back. After a corner, the ball was only half-cleared and Elvis Rexhbecaj’s drive from the edge of the box fell for Ruben Vargas to fire home from close range. The game continued to go back and forward without either side being able to make some promising counter opportunities count.
Maina makes sure of three points
The second-half began with a change. Dejan Ljubicic replaced Benno Schmitz, with Kingsley Schindler moving back to right-back. The game continued on a similar pattern to that which the first period ended. Augsburg got a major let off when Gikiewicz’s clearance caught Kainz off guard. At the other end, Jeff Chabot made an incredible tackle to deny Fredrik Jensen.
On the hour, FC restored their two-goal lead. A quite superb counter saw Florian Kainz flick Dejan Ljubicic free down the right. The Austrian, who put in an excellent 45-minute cameo, managed to claw out an equally impressive cross to Linton Maina. He found a way past Gikiewicz and wheeled away to celebrate in front of the packed away end.
Augsburg pushed for a way back into the game but after Irvin Cordona missed the target from close range and Dion Drena Beljo’s swerving 25-yard drive waved wayward of the goal, FC grabbed control again. Mathias Olesen had a great chance to grab his first Bundesliga goal, only for Gikiewicz to deny him in the final minute of added time.
Steffen Baumgart and FC were able to celebrate the end of a six-game winless streak and move up to 12th, overtaking Augsburg. FC’s next game is on Saturday 15th April at 15:30 CEST against 1. FSV Mainz 05.
FC Augsburg (4-4-2): Gikiewicz – Gumny (Caligiuri 65‘), Bauer, Gouweleeuw, Iago (Colina 65‘) – Maier (Cordona 65‘), Engels, Rexhbecaj, Vargas (Mbuku 71‘) – Beljo, Jensen (Sarenren Bazee 81‘).
1. FC Köln (4-2-3-1): Schwäbe – Schmitz (Ljubicic 46‘), Hübers, Chabot, Hector – Martel, Skhiri – Schindler (Kilian 88‘), Kainz (Olesen 79‘), Maina (Thielmann 79‘) – Selke (Tigges 66‘).
Goals: 0:1, Skhiri 8’. 0:2, Martel 16’. 1:2, Vargas 29’. 1:3, Maina 60‘.
Referee: Robert Schröder (Hannover).
Booked: Vargas (6’), Martel (26’), Schindler (28’), Iago (45+2’), Engels (56’), Hübers (72’), Skhiri (84’).