Thanks to a poking goal by captain Wataru Endo, VfB Stuttgart remain unbeaten under coach Sebastian Hoeneß and have won the next valuable point in the Bundesliga relegation battle. The five-time German champions woke up late in the Swabian derby in Augsburg, but Endo’s goal (78th) secured the lucky 1-1 (0-1) and also made FCA tremble.
“We took morale with us from the last few games,” said Stuttgart international Josha Vagnoman on “DAZN”: “Even if the first half didn’t go according to plan, we did well in the second. We have to live with the point.”
Augsburg’s Arne Maier quarreled: “Once again we’re in the lead – and again we don’t take the three points with us. We let ourselves be pushed in at the back and then had no more relief.”
Winter signing Dion Beljo (8th) put the superior Augsburg ahead with his second goal of the season. But the home side’s sixth win in a row on a Friday evening didn’t materialize because VfB found the greed from the first three meetings with Hoeneß. At the weekend, however, there is a risk of falling to 17th place.
FCA, who still have a five-point cushion over their neighbors, will probably be without full-back Iago in the final sprint, who had to be substituted with an injury to his right thigh (33′). Striker Beljo also stayed in the dressing room after the break.
Augsburg has the best chance conversion in the league – and this time the first ball was on goal. Beljo headed in unchallenged after a cross from Arne Maier on the five.
In addition to captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (suspended) and Rafal Gikiewicz, coach Enrico Maassen had to replace a key player in attack with Mergim Berisha (both injured). But Ermedin Demirovic came back in after a three-game ban and lived by what Hoeneß had warned: Augsburg would attack with “sharpness and physicality”.
VfB-Joker initiates the equalization
That, said the VfB coach, “we have to balance it out first” – and then “stab”. But the guests found it very difficult in the game forward. After an FCA mistake in the build-up, Chris Führich (12′) forced goalkeeper Tomas Koubek to make a first save – the only one in the first half.
Stuttgart were without the suspended Konstantinos Mavropanos, their best tackler, and were vulnerable. Substitute Hiroki Ito kept Maier’s cross too far before the 0: 1 and saw his fifth yellow card early (20th). He is missing against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Teammate Borna Sosa missed a free kick from a promising position (31st).
Hoeneß reacted to his team’s offensive weakness and brought on attackers Silas and Tanguy Coulibaly with the restart. It changed little, only the next joker Tiago Tomas helped: his cross pushed Endo over the line in the second attempt.