SGL Arena, Augsburg - FC Augsburg 07 went down 2-0 against a very well organised Hoffenheim outfit. Ryan Babel opened the scoring after just 5 minutes with a clinical strike on the edge of the penalty area after a mazy run. He coolly slotted the ball in low across goalkeeper Simon Jentzsch.
Augsburg were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute that Sascha Mölders took far too casually and was saved easily by Tom Starke who correctly guessed the direction to save it. At the other end Hoffenheim were also gifted a second-half penalty which Sejad Salihovic neatly tucked away for the visitors' second goal.
In the first half the gulf in class between the two sides was evident for all to see. It seemed that Augsburg were giving far too much respect to their visitors and allowed them to move the ball around with ease. Hoffenheim showed their experience and enjoyed long spells of possession. They attacked from deep and unlike Augsburg, they worked the ball forward from the keeper whereas Augsburg opted to simply blasted all goal kicks long and hopeful.
Credit where it's due though, Augsburg put up a fight and did cause Hoffenheim some problems when they started to pull themselves into the match. Axel Bellinghausen caused all sorts of trouble down the left flank. He had German international Andreas Beck in his pocket for most of the game. He was faster and stronger than his opposite number and that led to Beck playing up to the referee on more than one occasion. The fans voiced their disapproval of this tactic by whistling Beck each time he had the ball. Not pretty to watch and not what you would expect from such a highly rated young player.
Hoffenheim's creativity came from Salihovic who covered defensive duties as well as carry the ball further up the field. His composure and ball control was superb. His vision enabled his side to unlock Augsburg time and again.
For Augsburg, Daniel Baier was putting in a star performance and made a real nuisance of himself. He had what was possibly the home sides' best effort of the first half, parried by the goalkeeper in the 36th minute. A sweetly hit a venomous shot, on target from around 30 yards out. Sadly the result of that was a corner which ultimately came to nothing.
The end of the first half finished up a lot more physical affair and referee Markus Wingenbach had his work cut out. His decisions seemed to favour the visitors much to the disgust of the home support who let this be known. Despite more than a dozen fouls called not a single yellow card was brandished to either side.
41-year-old Holger Stanislawski, who joined Hoffenheim as their new manager from St Pauli in the summer, looks to be doing a good job with his young squad. He was clearly pleased with his side's first half performance and the few hundred travelling fans were too.
Hoffenheim got the second half started and quickly got back into their rhythm. Babel stood out as a class act with his deft touches and ability to find a yard of space where it counts but it was Baier again that had the crowd cheering when he picked up a loose ball from half way and ran on to blast a 40 yard effort low and goal bound, Starke had to be at full stretch to push it around his right post for a corner.
The referee continued his questionable performance. Ghanian defender Isaac Vorsah was caught in possession deep in his own half and then appeared to simply fall to the ground. The referee fell for the whole thing and awarded him a free kick. The crowd was incensed and rightly so.
Then, just after the hour mark came the chance for Augsburg to pull level when they earned a penalty for a foul on Bellinghausen by Beck. It was harsh on Beck who was attempting to hook a high ball clear from just inside the penalty area. He appeared to catch the onrushing Bellinghausen with his boot, Bellinghausen fell inside the area and the ref pointed straight to spot.
With three goals this season already new boy Mölders was given the responsibility to tuck this one away for his fourth but his casual left footed shot lacked any ferocity and by guessing the right way Starke saved comfortably.
By this time Augsburg were playing with a bit more fire in their bellies and were taking the game firmly to their visitors but still lacked any movement up front. Down the left wing with Bellinghausen was where all the action was but without support in the area it was futile and chance after chance went begging because no one was there to finish it.
Lady luck certainly favoured Hoffenheim. Substitute Tobias Werner, on for Marcel De Jong had not spent a minute on the pitch when he found himself clear through on goal, played in by Japan international Hosogai, he came one on one with the keeper. His low shot beat the keeper, hit the far post and rebounded all the way across the goal line and to safety. Just fractionally narrower on the angle and it would have been all-square.
With a quarter of an hour to play Jonas De Roeck gave away a penalty for a trip on Fabien Johnson. Johnson had been double teamed at the corner flag but skillfully evaded the pressure and danced into the box only to fall over De Roecks outstretched leg. He made the most of it but it was nailed on. The referee had no choice and Sejad Salihovic converted the spot kick to put his side 2 goals to the good.
Things went from bad to worse when inside the last ten minutes Captain Paul Verhaegh suffered what could be a serious knee injury. He'll have scans tonight but manager Jos Luhukay was pessimistic about his chances in the post match press conference.
That capped off a miserable afternoon for Augsburg. However, they were far from outplayed and all credit to them, every player put in a good performance. It was Hoffenheim that showed the experience, fitness and attitude to win the game though.
Afterwards Luhukay bemoaned the missed chances and was quick to compared his young and inexpensive players to a side that are wealthy enough to pay around six million Euros for Ryan Babel. He's right too. For what is essentially a second league side with just 2 or 3 new faces they did tremendously well today and made Hoffenheim work for the result.
Nuremberg host Augsburg while Bayern Munich travel to take on Kaiserslautern
Munich - Over the past season, the Bundesliga top flight has only had two Bavarian Derby matches per season. With the promotion of FC Augsburg, that number will triple this season. And the first one is this weekend, as the Augsburg side will travel to northern Bavaria (known as Franconia) to take on 1.FC Nürnberg.
Both teams started off the season well, Nuremberg with a 1-0 win at Hertha Berlin in week 1 and Augsburg two draws in their first matches in the top flight. Since then, three confidence...
Bundesliga 2nd Division Wrap
False start for 1860 There were great expectations for TSV 1860 München but the team fell short in the first match of the season against Eintracht Braunschweig with the result of 3-1.
The game started with a shock for the Munich Lions as Braunschweig scored in the 6th minute thanks to a header from the captain Dennis Kruppke, which allowed the loud home crowd to celebrate immediately. The long-praised defensive strength that 1860 displayed during the entire preseason vanished so quickly at the beginning of their first match.
After the goal Munich started to...
FC Augsburg earn promotion to Bundesliga with last gasp 2-1 win
impuls arena, Augsburg - "Jos we can win on mothers day!" were the words being held aloft on cards all around the sold out stadium. Word play on the name of Augsburg manager Jos Luhukay (pronounced 'yos') who´s team hosted FSV Frankfurt on a sunny afternoon in rural Bavaria.
Today was a historic day for FC Augsburg who for the first time in their history have reached the dizzy heights of the top flight of German league football. A win today was all that was needed to secure their promotion and despite conceding a penalty after...
Munich - It's Labor Day in Europe and the local football teams all put in an honest effort. FC Bayern rolled over FC Schalke 4-1 at the Allianz Arena Saturday afternoon, but they were not the only hardworking Munich or Bavarian football team this weekend. Here's your football wrap.
TSV 1860 München 2, Hertha BSC Berlin 1 - It's been a season of trials and tribulations - on and off the pitch - for the Lions. But this recent stretch and the match on Friday makes one wonder what could have been this season.
Defenders Necat Aygün and Stefan Buck scored in the second half as 1860 came from...
Der Club move up table while Bayern gaining momentum in Bundesliga
easyCredit Stadium, Nuremberg - Alexander Esswein came into the match in the 60th minute and minutes later scored the only goal in the first Bavarian Derby of the Bundesliga season, as 1.FC Nürnberg beat FC Augsburg 1-0.
In a match void of any offensive flow, Esswein made a run on the left side, with some fancy dribbling turning around the defender Gibril Sankoh, created some space, and beat Augsburg goalkeeper Simon Jentzsch to the far post in the 76th minute.
"I am elated to have made that goal," said Esswein about his...
Munich - Two games into their debut season in Germany's premier league and FC Augsburg remain unbeaten. The two points earned so far is the reward for the stalemate at home to Sport-Club Freiburg on the opening weekend, and away to Kaiserslautern last weekend. Further encouragement will be garnered by the fact they have scored 3 goals already and are putting up a real fight against more fancied sides.
This weekend sees head coach Jos Luhukay's side take on 1899 Hoffenheim who upset the bookmakers last weekend by beating the defending Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund at home by a...
Weekend wrap of local football action
Munich - If you listen carefully, that sound from the west is the city of Augsburg partying throughout the night and into the morning after their 2-1 pressure packed victory that earned them promotion into the Bundesliga for next season.
But they are not the only club celebrating a move up. Bayern Munich have their eyes set on improving their finish after clinching a spot in the Champions League. SpVgg Greuther Fürth have one more weekend to play for promotion. Here's your quick weekend wrap.
Bayern blowout St. Pauli, clinch Champions League berth -...
Local teams to fight for season and regional supremacy
Munich - Saving a season. The final derby. Earning a promotion. It's come down to the final two matches. It's crunch time.
Here's a quick preview of the biggest matches in Bavaria this weekend and the implications:
FC Bayern München at St. Pauli, Saturday, 15:30 - After losing every chance at hardware this season, FC Bayern Munich are scrambling for the last Champions League spot for the Bundesliga. After last week's win and Hanover's loss, the Reds hold a two point lead and have a +30 goal differential advantage. All Bayern...
Munich - This is the part of the season when teams feel the end is near. Either its been mediocre and both players and fans just want to end it now, take a summer break and hope next year is better. Or teams can feel the pressure of a whole season's worth of work going down in flames in just a few matches.
The Munich and regional football teams are involved in some pivotal matches this weekend, making me wish Labor Day was on a Monday to give us time to watch all the action. Here's your preview.
TSV 1860 München at Hertha BSC Berlin, Friday 18:00 - Hertha will earn...