Relegation threatened FC Köln might not be so relegation threatened anymore, after a smash and grab 3-2 victory over FC Augsburg on Friday April 23, 2021. It was FC Köln’s first ever away win against Augsburg in the Bundesliga, and crucially pulls them out of the bottom three. The win comes after Die Geißböcke had one of their most impressive performances of the season against RB Leipzig in mid-week, securing a stunning 2-1 victory. To follow it up with something so spectacular will now leave Friedhelm Funkel‘s team in good spirits going into the final three matches of the season.
FC Köln set up to defend against FC Augsburg’s possession, and break quickly in the wide areas immediately after winning the ball. In their 4-1-4-1 formation, Köln utilized the wide areas whenever possible and scored all three of their goals from crosses. The first goal of the game, when it became clear Köln were up for a real fight, occurred just eight minutes in when Ondrej Duda smashed Ellyes Skhiri’s cross into the top corner. It was a formidable finish of the highest quality and one of the very best goals of the Bundesliga season so far. But it also set Funkel’s team on the right track to continue their confidence and quick attacking transitions. The next two goals were scored on the break through devastating counter attacking football, playing the ball into wide areas immediately after the team won the ball. Right-back Benno Schmitz delivered the second goal on a cut-back to Florian Kainz, and soon after Marius Wolf delivered the third on a cut-back to Duda. The Czech forward was arguably the star of the game and timed his movement into the box to perfection throughout.
After conceding three goals in thirty-three minutes, Heiko Herrlich decided he’d seen enough, and withdrew both Tobias Strobl and Raphael Framberger from the match in the 42nd minute. The additions of Robert Gumny, Jan Moravek and later Fredrik Jensen had an immediate impact, and Augsburg came out into the second half flying. Augsburg started to play around FC Köln’s compact defensive block via the wide areas, delivering crosses and attempting to stretch the defense. In doing so, they quickly won a corner kick in the 52nd minute and Gumny buried the ball off a misplaced shot from Jensen. Funkel’s team continued to push the envelope and put the game to bed, but ultimately couldn’t capitalize on their key chances. Marius Wolf missing by inches in the 59th minute meant the relegation threatened team had to continue to battle their way against an Augsbrug side growing into the match.
From then on, Augsburg started to play more direct, with nothing to lose, and clawed the game back to within a single goal, at 2-3. Jannes Horn overstretched his leg muscles at the worst possible moment, and Augsburg carried on down the right wing to eventually deliver the ball into Ruben Vargas to finish, again from Fredrik Jensen cross. Horn’s substituion couldn’t help his team’s woes down the left and Augsburg continued to put pressure on a Köln defense that started to sit deeper and deeper. Ellyes Skhiri’s clearance off the line from Gumny’s header stopped the match from going bad to worse in the second half and kept his team alive for another day – securing their first ever away win over Augsburg in the Bundesliga. It was a formidable performance from The Billy Goats and sets up a fight to the finish in the relegation battle. Funkel’s team now sit just one point away from Arminia Bielifield and sliding Werder Bremen in 15th and 14th respectively, albeit with matches still to play this weekend. It will be an exciting fight to the finish in Germany’s top flight, and Bundesliga Daily will be right there with you along the way.