Philipp Max scored a direct free-kick for the second successive week as Augsburg’s revival continued on Sunday with a 4-0 win at home to Hertha Berlin to pull further away from the relegation zone.
Augsburg 4-0 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Max (18'), 2-0 Cordova (27'), 3-0 Hahn (52'), 4-0 Niederlechner (79')
The teams were evenly matched for the opening quarter of an hour or so before things started to unravel for Hertha. Max’s in-swinging free-kick from the right bounced awkwardly for goalkeeper Rune Jarstein inside the six-yard box and evaded everyone before nestling inside the far post. Matters went from bad to worse for the visitors on the half-hour mark when a mistake from Jarstein allowed Florian Niederlechner to nick the ball off his toe; it bounced kindly for Sergio Cordova, who was left with a simple tap-in from close range. To compound Hertha’s misery, Jarstein was then sent off for a desperate lunge on the Venezuelan forward while attempting to block his shot. Substitute Andre Hahn had a goal disallowed for offside just before the interval as Augsburg looked to kill the game off.
They effectively did so early in the second period when Hahn was given time and space to cut inside from the right and drill a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area. Momentum was well and truly with the home side and further chances for Hahn, Ruben Vargas and Daniel Baier went begging before Niederlechner put the seal on the win with a superb finish into the near post from a tight angle after collecting Max’s beautifully disguised free-kick. The result – a second straight win for Augsburg – lifts Martin Schmidt’s side up to 12th in the standings, two points and two places above Hertha.
- Max's goal was his second of the season and second direct free-kick - a league-high this season.
- Max's strike was also the 200th home goal for Augsburg in the Bundesliga.
- Hertha goalkeeper Dennis Smarsch made his Bundesliga debut here at the age of 20. He joined the club when he was 11 and has risen up through the academy.
- Cordova scored his first Bundesliga goal of 2019/20 on his first start of the campaign.
- Hahn now has five goals as a substitute for Augsburg. His previous Bundesliga goal was also against Hertha (on 11 May 2019).
- Arne Meier made his comeback from injury for Hertha, having last played in March this year.
Augsburg: Koubek - Framberger, Jedvaj, Gouweleeuw, Max - Richter (Hahn 26'), Khedira, Baier (c), Vargas - Niederlechner (Moravek 85'), Cordova (Schieber 72')
Unused subs: Luthe, Lichtsteiner, Pedersen, Udoukhai, Iago, Jensen
Out: Götze (hip), Gregoritsch (not included), Gruezo (ankle), Finnbogason (shoulder), Suchy (hip)
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Hertha: Jarstein - Klünter, Stark, Boyata, Mittelstädt - Skjelbred (Smarsch 30'), Grujic (Maier 70') - Wolf, Darida, Dilrosun (Lukebakio 46') - Selke
Unused subs: Pekarik, Kalou, Duda, Ibisevic, Plattenhardt, Torunarigha
Out: Rekik (ill)
Coach: Ante Covic