Philipp Max inspires in-form Augsburg to victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf
Philipp Max scored two and made another as Augsburg extended their unbeaten run to six matches with a 3-0 win over relegation-threatened Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Augsburg 3-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Goals: 1-0 Max (32'), 2-0 Jedvaj (61'), 3-0 Max (72')
Augsburg shaded a keenly contested first half, although they had to wait until the 21st minute for the game's first real opening. Florian Niederlechner, the Bavarian club's leading goalscorer and assist provider in 2019/20, barrelled through the Fortuna defence only to fire straight at USA international Zack Steffen. Fortuna responded in kind, but Kaan Ayhan couldn't apply the necessary touch to Erik Thommy's inviting free-kick. Niederlechner and Max had been Hoffenheim's undoing last weekend, and the Augsburg duo combined once again to give Augsburg the half-time lead. Niederlechner drove past Kasim Adams and forced a save from Steffen, but the American could only parry into the path of Max, who confidently fired home the loose ball.
Fortuna had offered little as an attacking threat from open play, but almost got themselves back on an even keel after the restart. Dawid Kownacki attempted to turn Thommy's cross goalwards, only for Stephan Lichtsteiner to intervene with a crucial block. Augsburg doubled their advantage with their next attack as Tin Jedvaj rose to meet Max's in-swinging corner and power a near-post header into the net. Nana Ampomah failed to seriously test Tomas Koubek with a promising opening, and Fortuna were made to pay in the 72nd minute when Steffen allowed Max's speculative long-range strike through his grasp for 3-0. Niederlechner could, and perhaps should, have added a fourth - not that Augsburg will be complaining. A third win on the bounce puts 11 points between Martin Schmidt's side and 16th-placed Fortuna.
- Augsburg have claimed 16 points from their last six matches.
- Augsburg have won their last three in a row.
- All six of Max's Bundesliga goals this season have come in his last six games.
- Fortuna are winless in their last six since beating promoted Cologne on Matchday 10.
- Niederlechner has had a hand in 14 of Augsburg's 27 goals in 2019/20 (seven goals, six assists).
- Jedvaj scored his first Augsburg goal, and first in the Bundesliga since October 2016.
Augsburg: Koubek – Lichtsteiner, Jedvaj, Gouweleeuw, Iago – Khedira (Uduokhai 79'), Baier (c) – Richter (Vargas 74'), Jensen, Max – Niederlechner (Cordova 87')
Unused subs: Luthe, Pedersen, Gregoritsch, Schieber, Hahn, Oxford
Out: Finnbogason (shoulder), Framberger (thigh), Götze (hip), Gruezo (ankle), Suchy (calf)
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Fortuna: Steffen – Zimmermann, Ayhan, Adams, Gießelmann – Thommy (Tekpetey 71'), Morales, Sobottka, Barkok (Ampomah 46') – Hennings (c) (Fink 84'), Kownacki
Unused subs: Kastenmeier, Hoffmann, Pledl, Contento, Bormuth, Baker
Out: Bodzek (suspended), Karaman (pneumonia), Rensing (illness), Stöger (match fitness), Suttner (thigh), Zimmer (knock)
Coach: Friedhelm Funkel
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