After sacking Heiko Herrlich at the end of April, FC Augsburg’s season appeared to be in doubt. The team had gone four matches without a win, and the backroom staff decided it was time for a change, bringing Markus Weinzierl back to the club. Weinzierl previously coached Fuggerstädter for four years between 2012 and 2016, achieving the best win percentage of any manager in their history (a mere 37%). He led them to the the Europa League after finishing fifth in 2014-15 season, and eventually earned himself a move to Schalke 04 in 2016. Despite performing decently well and winning 42% of his matches for the Royal Blues, Weinzierl was let go after just one season, leaving many wondering what might have been had he stayed at Augsburg.
But after all of Herrlich’s failures this season, the German coach was given credence to return to his old side and lead them out of their relegation scrap. His first match in charge, a narrow 2-1 defeat to the in-form VFB Stuttgart, didn’t go as planned. His second match however went according to plan on nearly all ends up (Ruben Vargas red-card aside), beating Werder Bremen by a score of 2-0. With a mix of resoluteness and compactness in defense combined with their ability to create chances out of nothing, Augsburg scrapped their way toward the finish line of the match and eventually put the game to bed in the 88th minute from the spot. It was the veteran midfielder Rani Khedira who put Fuggerstädter ahead, and the midfielder probably ended as man of the match with his class and composure in the centre of the park. Daniel Caligiuri then came up clutch as expected late on in the game, taking his personal tally to 6 goals for the season.
The win leaps Augsburg into 12th, ahead of the in-form FSV Mainz on goal-differential. For Werder Bremen on the other hand, they remain just one-point above the drop, after FC Köln’s sterile draw against Hertha Berlin. The relegation battle will now go down to the final day between Köln, Bremen and Arminia Bielefeld, with all three teams in a desperate fight to stay alive. Meanwhile, Markus Weinzierl and Augsburg can celebrate, knowing that their job is done.