Mergim Berisha strikes again as Augsburg beat Bayer Leverkusen
In-form Mergim Berisha scored for a third consecutive game as Augsburg earned a much-needed win in their battle against relegation with a 1-0 success at home to Bayer Leverkusen in the Matchday 19 opener.
Augsburg 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 1-0 Berisha 55' (assist: Engels)
The first half gave no indication that victory was on the cards for the home team, though. Leverkusen began the brighter of the two, with Moussa Diaby a constant danger with his pace and direct running. The Frenchman had already smashed a swerving shot narrowly over the bar by the time he hit the post with a thumping right-footed drive, while Robert Andrich skewed an effort over after fine work from Amine Adli. The best Augsburg could muster in response was a shot from newcomer Dion Beljo that was straight at Lukas Hradecky – their only attempt at goal in the entire first 45 minutes.
Leverkusen carried on where they had left off in the second period, with Mitchel Bakker and Diaby drawing fine stops from Rafal Gikiewicz early on. Beljo had another long-range effort stopped by Hradecky before Augsburg took the lead out of the blue. Arne Engels' corner from the right found the unmarked Berisha, who headed in from the edge of the six-yard box. Xabi Alonso brought on Florian Wirtz in response in a bid to unlock the home defence but even his mercurial talents could not find a way through a stubborn home side, who held on to a valuable win that moves them to within three points of Leverkusen in mid-table.
- Berisha scored his sixth Bundesliga goal of the season, five of which have come on home turf.
- It was also the striker's first headed goal in the Bundesliga.
- Engels, who only joined during the winter transfer window, already has two assists to his name.
- Augsburg have lost just one of five home games in which Berisha has scored.
- Leverkusen have won just three of nine away matches in 2022/23 (D1, L5).
- The visitors were unbeaten in 22 Bundesliga meetings with Augsburg (W15, D7) until their 2-1 home loss on Matchday 2.
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Watch: Gouweleeuw: “Nobody expected us to beat Leverkusen”
Augsburg: Gikiewicz – Gumny, Gouweleeuw (c), Uduokhai, Pedersen (Zehnter 90') – Maier (Caligiuri 90'), Engels, Rexhbecaj (Dorsch 72'), Jensen (Yeboah 72') - Beljo (Sarenren Bazee 82'), Berisha
Unused subs: Koubek, Baumgartlinger, Bauer, Mbuku
Out: Cardona (foot), Demirovic (suspended), Hahn (knee), Iago (Achilles tendon), Strobl (cruciate ligament), Oxford (back), Vargas (ankle)
Coach: Enrico Maaßen
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) – Frimpong, Tapsoba, Kossounou (Demirbay 62'), Hincapie (Bellarabi 89') – Palacios, Andrich (Hudson-Odoi 77') – Diaby, Adli, Bakker (Tah 77') – Hlozek (Wirtz 62')
Unused subs: Pentz, Mbamba, Fosu-Mensah, Sinkgraven
Out: Amiri (muscular), Aranguiz (calf), Azmoun (ill), Schick (groin), Lunev (back)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
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