Stuttgart 2-1 Augsburg, Mercedes-Benz-Arena
(Förster 11′, Kalajdzic 74′ – Niederlechner 59′)
Football can be a cruel business. Sasa Kalajdzic’s controlled late header was a real hammer blow to Augsburg, who worked hard to restore parity in Stuttgart and looked refreshed under new management — but despite the signs of life they still can’t get the points to secure their top-flight status.
With a six-pointer against Werder Bremen next weekend and a trip across Bavaria to Bayern Munich to follow on the final day, Augsburg needed something here. Unlike Hertha Berlin and Mainz, who have found form in the final stages of the season, Markus Weinzierl’s side arrived in Stuttgart with just a point from their previous four games.
“I am very annoyed because it would have been deserved to take something home, even to win,” Weinzierl said after the game. “I saw a good team performance. We played very good football, but we didn’t reward ourselves. We missed a hundred per cent chances and twice we didn’t defend well. If we play like that, we will get the three points next week against Bremen. It won’t be easier, but the performance makes me positive.”
Missed opportunity for Augsburg
An away game at Stuttgart isn’t an easy assignment. Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side have exceeded expectations this season, with an exciting brand of football that has given them a very real chance of securing a top half finish – even if the dizzy heights of a Europa League place has ebbed away in recent weeks.
Indeed, their run of four straight defeats coming into this game – albeit all against top eight opposition – has blunted Stuttgart’s run-in. That poor form should have opened the door to Augsburg, but Weinzierl’s team are equally shot of confidence.
Augsburg were more inventive in attack than in recent games, but on the occasions that they broke through Stuttgart’s defensive line they were faced with a Stuttgart goalkeeper in fine form, in Fabian Bredlow. And when Augsburg’s substitute Daniel Caligiuri was given a golden opportunity to level in stoppage time, he fluffed his lines.
Other results this weekend will determine how bad this result will be for Augsburg. Three points against Bremen should be enough to secure Augsburg’s safety — the problem is that Bremen are in the same boat.