Wataru Endo scored a precious late equaliser to earn VfB Stuttgart a draw against Augsburg in their relegation six-pointer in the Matchday 29 opener.
Last week's defeat against RB Leipzig made relegation a stark reality for Augsburg, who slipped to 14th position ahead of this weekend, five points above visitors Stuttgart in the drop zone. Against that backdrop, the hosts began with purpose, eager not to get drawn even deeper into a survival scrap in the tail-end of the season. They enjoyed the perfect start too, with Arne Maier curling an inviting cross for Beljo to head in with just eight minutes on the clock. Stuttgart refused to panic though and soon started to threaten, albeit without creating any clear-cut chances. They arguably should have equalised from Chris Führich's cross into the box, only for Serhou Guirassy, Wataru Endo and Josha Vagnoman to get in each other's way, allowing Augsburg to clear the danger.
Stuttgart coach Sebastian Hoeneß made two changes at the break, bringing on the pace of Tanguy Coulibaly and Silas in attack, and the latter immediately forced Augsburg onto the back foot with his direct running. The home side remained compact, however, and comfortably dealt with everything Stuttgart could throw at them – until the 78th minute. With the clock ticking down, Endo collected long ball into the box and although his first shot was saved by Tomas Koubek, the 30-year-old reacted quickest to the rebound to poke over the line from close range. Both teams pushed for a late winner in a bid to boost their respective survival chances, but a ricochet off Guirassy that bobbled wide of the post was the closest either side came in what was ultimately a deserved draw.
- Beljo's goal was his second in 2022/23.
- Maier provided his first assist of the season, having recorded a team-high six last term.
- Hiroki Ito will miss Stuttgart's Matchday 30 fixture against Borussia Mönchengladbach through suspension after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season here.
- Augsburg have scored 11 goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches in the Bundesliga this season - only Bayern Munich have more in that period (13).
- Endo's goal was his fourth of the campaign, a single-season personal best for the Japanese midfielder.
Augsburg: Koubek - Pedersen (Gumny 77'), Bauer, Uduokhai, Iago (Veiga 34') - Maier, Engels, Rexhbecaj (c), Vargas (Baumgartlinger 71') - Beljo (Cardona 46'), Demirovic (Colina 71')
Unused subs: Klein, Sarenren Bazee, Caligiuri, Mbuku
Out: Berisha (ankle), Dorsch (nose), Gikiewicz (shoulder), Gouweleeuw (suspended), Hahn (knee), Jensen (ankle), Oxford (fitness), Strobl (cruciate ligament), Yeboah (ankle)
Coach: Enrico Maaßen
Stuttgart: Bredlow - Anton, Zagadou, Ito - Vagnoman, Endo (c), Karazor, Sosa (Tomas 71') - Millot (Silas 46'), Führich (Coulibaly 46') - Guirassy
Unused subs: Müller, Stenzel, Haraguchi, Egloff, Nartey, Perea
Out: Mavropanos (suspended), Nartey (stomach muscle)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
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