The party is canceled – sports
“We haven’t made it yet,” said Markus Weinzierl after one for his FC Augsburg sobering afternoon, “but we’ll make it in the next two games.” Of course, the plan looked completely different, for the second time in a row his team missed a landmark victory in front of their own audience in the direction of staying in the class.
Two weeks ago, the Augsburgers had brought the Berliners back into the relegation battle with a 0-1 draw against Hertha BSC, now they missed their own rescue with a crashing 1: 4 against 1. FC Köln. Although, and that was the bizarre thing about this Saturday afternoon, despite the lack of a chance, it was as good as enough. A Stuttgart loss to Wolfsburg would have been enough for Augsburg’s fortunes and as it looked long after and broadcast live from the arena, the home supporters rose with ten minutes to go and celebrated their own side, albeit quite helplessly looked.
The somewhat strange party atmosphere was then completely cut off shortly before the end by the Stuttgart equalizer: With a six-point lead over the relegation place, everything is theoretically clear, but not yet practically. The Augsburgers were visibly motivated to achieve the big goal on their own: they started energetically against Cologne and for ten furious minutes didn’t look like a team that was still fighting against relegation.
That changed with the double strike to give Cologne a 2-0 lead (12th/15th). The Weinzierl-Elf looked confused defensively, so that bad memories of dark phases of this season came up. There was no doubt about it, on 17 of the first 23 matchdays the Augsburgers were in one of the bottom three places in the table. But then the trend went relatively steeply upwards, starting with a 1-1 draw against Dortmund. The FCA stabilized and worked out a quite reassuring cushion on the relegation zone.
When chaos was just beginning in Berlin and Bielefeld, the people of Augsburg seemed to have already fled. But in view of the two spoiled home games, the away wins in Bielefeld (1-0) and most recently in Bochum (2-0) seem all the more important in retrospect. Somehow this way of bumping to the goal fits FC Augsburg. There is just no sprawling party – how? The stadium wasn’t even sold out on Saturday, despite a large number of visiting fans.
The 1: 4 against Cologne raised fundamental questions, but they only seem to be addressed in the coming season. “Our overall performance was a disappointment,” said Augsburg striker Florian Niederlechner. “I’m disappointed because we had big plans and wanted to do it on our own,” admitted Weinzierl. The early double strike “broke the neck” of his team. Is relegation still conceivable for him? “Theoretically yes,” said the FCA coach.
Practically not. They will do it again, fittingly perhaps even during the warm-up before the away game in Leipzig next Sunday (7.30 p.m.). VfB Stuttgart will play two hours earlier, if they don’t win Augsburg will have their twelfth Bundesliga year in a row. The Stuttgart opponent: a recently slightly annoyed FC Bayern Munich.