Sunday afternoon saw Augsburg travel to the Westerstadion to take on Werder Bremen with both teams looking to claim their first three points of the season. Viktor Skripnik was looking to right the wrongs of the previous matchday with their last match after being tore apart by champions Bayern Munich 6-0. Augsburg had hosted Wolfsburg and had been picked off 2-0 by the away side even though they created a handful of chances during that match.
Today’s match had a slow start with a few half chances being spurned by both sides, but as the first half grew on Augsburg took control and were very composed and started to cause Bremen some problems, most notably from Caiuby and Alfred Finnbogason who both had opportunities to open the scoring. Against the run of play, Bremen won a penalty when debuting Martin Hinteregger rashly tripped Zlatko Junuzovic in the box to give the home side a penalty on the stroke of half time. Aron Jóhannsson stepped up to roll past Marwin Hitz and Bremen took the lead undeservedly.
This was a feisty counter and three players had been booked before half time, credit goes to the referee for calming down situations between players and letting the game continue to flow. Augsburg came out after the interval with an intensity and forced a couple early set pieces, their equaliser coming from a corner in the 52nd minute. Jeffrey Gouweleeuw was free at the back post with a side foot from six yards, Bremen had switched off and let the centre half go free. Gnabry had grown into the game and looked the only threat to Augsburg all afternoon with a few crossing/shooting opportunities falling away from him. Augsburg had took the lead in the 72nd minute through a controversial call from the referee. A foul on Finnbogason from Sané with minimal contact originally starting in the box but falling outside the box forcing Daniel Siebert to make a decision. A free kick was given infuriating some of the Augsburg players but it was a hard decision to make, nevertheless Kostas Stafylidis stepped up from 18 yards to plant the ball past the keeper on the goalkeeper’s side with unbelievable power.
The game filtered out and the crowd grew quieter with only a few chances coming for the home side with Augsburg looking dangerous on the counter, a pattern which had been the same all afternoon. The game was marred with a serious leg injury late on to Werder centre half Luca Caldirola who was stretchered off with a standing ovation from both sets of fans.
Even though Werder Bremen came away with nothing from the game, they could look towards new signing Serge Gnabry who brought another dimension to their style. He was winning fouls throughout the game, giving Junuzovic the chance to deliver forward from set pieces. He added a much needed pace to the game and if they can keep him fit he will be a massive asset to Die Grün-Weißen.
Augsburg grew into the game slowly and picked their moments to push forward and create a fair few chances throughout the game. Dirk Schuster had a good solid base to build on through Kohr and Baier and they always had options forward to pass, they will be happy they took two chances from set pieces today and the way they closed out Serge Gnabry later in the second half to nullify any threat from Werder. On the other hand there was a distinct lack of a game plan in the second half by Viktor Skripink as he took off Aron Jóhannsson for Izet Hajrovic leaving no recognised striker on the pitch and then Augsburg took the lead soon after. He brought on Lennart Thy but by then it was too late to change the game as Augsburg had the game by the scruff of the neck and were in clear control.
There seemed to be a correlation between Werder Bremen’s play and when the fans were in full voice. There did seem to be a big momentum change in the game before half time as Gnabry was picking up the ball in good positions on the left hand side and the fans were urging the team on to get the opener. Every time the home side were being urged on by the boisterous home support they were causing Augsburg problems, and even though they came away with nothing, they should pick up points at home if they can maintain the same levels of intensity throughout the season ahead.