Under new coach Sebastian Hoeneß, VfB Stuttgart once again scored a point in the relegation battle with great morale. The outstanding captain Wataru Endo ensured the 1:1 (0:1) deserved thanks to a strong second half on Friday evening in the Bundesliga at the Augsburg floodlight specialists with his poking goal in the 78th minute.
After a dream start with a wonderful diving header from Dion Beljo (8th), FCA were again unable to take a lead in the key game in the relegation battle. However, the Bavarian Swabians are five points ahead of VfB, who are on the relegation place, with 30 points. A week after the spectacular 3-3 win against Borussia Dortmund, Hoeneß and his team averted their first defeat in their fourth competitive game.
“We can make a big step,” Augsburg coach Enrico Maaßen said in advance – and it looked like that for a long time. Evening games are FCA time, Maassen’s team had previously celebrated three 1-0 wins against Gladbach, Leverkusen and Hoffenheim under floodlights in 2023. But the resistance in Stuttgart was rewarded.
Maassen’s team started more greedily in front of 30,660 spectators in the sold-out arena, biting in the duels and determined in the game forward. In central midfield, the hosts dominated with the strong Arne Engels and Elvis Rexhbecaj. They also made up for the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz, captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw in the center of defense and international Mergim Berisha up front.
Offensive play was too sluggish
And VfB? After the spectacular game with a man down against Dortmund, the punch was missing in the first half. The offensive game was too sluggish. There was a lack of presence in the penalty area. And when we conceded, the defense was not compact. However, FCA did well too. Engels freed Arne Maier, whose class cross was headed in by the free-standing Beljo. FCA goalkeeper Tomas Koubek quickly deflected a shot from Chris Führich over the crossbar with his hand when Stuttgart had the best chance.
Hoeneß reacted at half-time. He came on for Silas and Tanguy Coulibaly, which gave Stuttgart’s offensive game more pace and assertiveness. However, the Augsburg defense around captain Felix Uduokhai initially did not allow anything in the penalty area. Maximilian Bauer in particular was attached like a burr to Stuttgart’s agile center forward Serhou Guirassy, who struggled at the top but didn’t get the crowning finish.
Both fan camps saw an intense fighting game, which also had its playful moments. FCA lurked for an attacking move to make it 2-0. But then Stuttgart was successful. Endo poked the ball over the line after a long pass.
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