A strong joker – and a clear wrong decision: FC Augsburg celebrated the next important victory in the fight against relegation in a heated game. Coach Markus Weinzierl’s team won the catch-up game against Mainz 05 2-1 (1-0) and now has a six-point lead over the relegation place before the away game at FC Bayern Munich on Saturday. For the first time since September 2020, the Swabians have had two wins in a row.
“We have to pay the team a huge compliment, they held their own,” said Augsburg’s sporting director Stefan Reuter sky: “It was the intense game we expected.”
Augsburg took the lead early on, after a mistake by FSV goalkeeper Robin Zentner, Jeff Gouweleeuw converted a highly dubious penalty kick (11th) – which referee Matthias Jöllenbeck (Freiburg) later described as a “clear mistake”: “I saw it live, then I saw it at halftime, it was two worlds. Maybe I didn’t describe the perception on the pitch clearly enough. It’s on me, but I would have liked to be corrected,” he said View of video assistant Tobias Stieler.
Mainz coach Bo Svensson saw it similarly: “I don’t understand why he isn’t sent out. It’s not his fault. What are they doing in Cologne? Do they get their wages? What if we played against relegation? Or What do the other teams from Bielefeld, Stuttgart and Hertha think in such a scene?” Svensson asked rhetorical questions and said: “You wanted to clarify everything with this video referee, but there are simply too many crucial mistakes made.”
With the win against VfL Wolfsburg (3-0) on Sunday, FCA started energetically in front of 18,122 spectators and had the chance to take the lead after just 40 seconds: Niederlechner’s header from close range flew just wide of the goal. FSV goalkeeper Zentner grabbed two more times safely.
But then Zentner made a nasty mishap. He let a back pass from Stefan Bell rebound far too far, Niederlechner first intervened and then fell to the ground – Jöllenbeck’s controversial penalty decision stood, Captain Gouweleeuw converted safely. “I wouldn’t give it,” admitted Reuter. “Zentner clearly pulls back. We were definitely lucky that the penalty was awarded.”
Zentner then spoke of a “very unsportsmanlike action” by Niederlechner. He in turn defended himself: “It has nothing to do with a swallow,” said the FCA striker: “I definitely felt contact, but if you look at it that way, it wasn’t a penalty.”
Mainz sports director Schmidt criticizes Kölner Keller
Mainz sports director Martin Schmidt was later surprised by a “funny performance” by the referee team: “He couldn’t explain the penalty, I don’t understand why Kölner Keller didn’t help and let the referee make such a huge mistake. Now he’s the bogeyman .”
The leadership played into the hands of the Augsburgers. They let the guests come and waited for counterattacks – and almost conceded the quick equalizer: Jonathan Burkardt’s shot only landed on the side netting (26′). Shortly afterwards, Andre Hahn scored in the Mainz goal, but the goal was disallowed after video evidence because of a handball by the shooter (32nd).
The game was already swaying back and forth at this point, but Mainz had great difficulty asserting themselves. Augsburg consistently had more and also the better chances, but were unsorted in defense when Widmer conceded. The setback was almost made up for by the unmarked Vargas, and the game became increasingly heated in the closing stages. New national player Anton Stach had a great chance to equalize with a header (79′), but Rafal Gikiewicz wasn’t just on the ball at that moment.