Augsburg joy as Jeffrey Gouweleeuw and Ruben Vargas goals put paid to Mainz
Augsburg's Jeffrey Gouweleeuw netted a first-half penalty while Ruben Vargas restored the Bavarians' lead after the break as Markus Weinzierl's men earned a big three points from their game against Mainz.
Augsburg 2-1 Mainz
Goals: 1-0 Gouweleeuw (pen.) 11', 1-1 Widmer 54' (assist: Boetius), 2-1 Vargas 56' (assist: Hahn)
Augsburg enjoyed a significant boost to their Bundesliga survival fight with a commanding 3-0 win against Wolfsburg last weekend, and Weinzierl's team were quickly menacing again in this rearranged Matchday 26 fixture. Florian Niederlechner headed off target when wonderfully positioned shortly after the opening whistle, while Andre Hahn missed the target soon afterwards as Mainz were penned back. Although still in with a shout of a top-six finish ahead of this encounter, the visitors were right to be wary of opponents against whom they conceded at least a goal in the teams' previous 10 meetings. When goalkeeper Robin Zentner dallied in possession and subsequently fouled Niederlechner, Augsburg were presented with a golden opportunity of extending that record. Gouweleeuw had never before taken a penalty for Die Fuggerstädter, not that that was apparent, with the Augsburg captain sending Zentner the wrong way with the coolest of finishes from the spot. Mainz rallied, with Jonathan Burkardt firing wide before both teams had goals ruled out in an enthralling first half.
With just two points to their name from eight prior away games, the 05ers knew they would have to up their efforts after the restart to force their way back at the WWK Arena. An inspiring half-time team talk from coach Bo Svensson appeared to do the trick. Burkardt's early probing created uncertainty in the home defence, while Jean-Paul Boetius would eventually take advantage with a pinpoint assist in for Silvan Widmer who took one touch to control before picking his spot. The away-team celebrations were palpable, as was their shock when substitute Vargas volleyed home Hahn's knock-down from Daniel Caligiuri's corner just two minutes later. The passionate home support urging Augsburg forward, the hosts came again, Vargas drawing a solid, two-handed stop from Zentner with a curling shot from inside the area. Yet Mainz were not done and there were hearts in mouths among the home contingent when Karim Onisiwo's cross found Anton Stach in front of goal. A huge save from Rafal Gikiewicz followed, allowing the hosts to rise to 13th in the standings, and six points above the relegation play-off spot.
- Vargas scored his first Bundesliga goal since April 2021.
- Gouweleeuw has now scored five goals in 157 Bundesliga games. Today's opener was his second goal of the current campaign.
- Along with netting the opener in the first half, the Augsburg captain also won 75 percent of his tackles in the first 45 minutes.
- Augsburg have now scored four times in the opening 15 minutes of games this term and all in the second half of the season.
- Zentner only ever conceded one other penalty in his previous 105 Bundesliga games, which was also against Augsburg.
- As many as 12 of Augsburg's 34 goals this season have come from set pieces.
- Die Fuggerstädter have registered nine goals via substitutes, only Dortmund (10) have managed more in this aspect.
Augsburg: Gikiewicz - Gumny, Gouweleeuw (c), Oxford, Iago - Caligiuri (Framberger 88'), Maier (Gruezo 55'), Dorsch, Pedersen (Vargas 54') - Niederlechner (Pepi 71'), Hahn (Moravek 88')
Unused subs: Koubek, Zeqiri, Winther, Finnbogason
Out: Gregoritsch (not included), Sarenren Bazee (knee), Strobl (knee), Uduokhai (thigh)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Mainz: Zentner - Bell, Hack (Barreiro 78'), Niakhate (c) - Widmer, Kohr (Stöger 62'), Boetius, Martin - Lee (Stach 52') - Onisiwo, Burkardt (Ingvartsen 77')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Brosinski, Nemeth, Lucoqui, Nebel
Out: Burgzorg (heart), St. Juste (shoulder)
Coach: Bo Svensson
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