Dion Beljo and Arne Maier helped Augsburg extend their perfect record at home in 2023 with a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen, their fourth on the spin at the WWK Arena.
Augsburg’s form of late has been erratic, with four straight defeats on the road and three consecutive wins at home, and they immediately showed how comfortable they feel at the WWK Arena with Ruben Vargas’ teasing cross forcing a backtracking Jiri Pavlenka to tip away within a minute. Bremen’s response was swift with Niclas Füllkrug denied by a fine one-handed save by Rafal Gikiewicz, and just as the fifth minute of the game commenced, Augsburg struck. Beljo latched on to a long Robert Gumny punt forward and managed at full stretch to guide a left-footed shot past Pavlenka into the far corner for his first Bundesliga goal. Renato Veiga laid an equaliser on a golden platter for Niklas Schmidt, but Gikiewicz managed to deny the Bremen midfielder. The Augsburg custodian may have been dazzled by the sun when he came off his line 10 minutes later and missed Leonardo Bittencourt’s cross, which Stage needed no invitation to nod in from close range. Ermedin Demirovic was denied by Pavlenka on a rare Augsburg attack, while Füllkrug could not overcome Gikiewicz in the closing stages of a first half which had chances aplenty, but ended in a tie.
Augsburg may have missed a chance in the first minute of the game, but they took one within the opening 60 seconds of the second half with Maier afforded far too much time and space to collect Demirovic’s pass and coolly slot past Pavlenka. Bremen did not respond as well as they did in the first half and it was not until the game entered its final 15 minutes that Marvin Ducksch dragged a good effort wide of Gikiewicz’s far post. Ducksch doubled up with a volley sailing wide as Bremen tried to find a way through the massed defensive ranks of Augsburg players. Schmidt then tried his luck from long range with Gikiewicz needing two attempts to clutch the ball to his chest. Eren Dinkci was next to try and fail to beat the last line of the Augsburg defence, as the Bavarians held firm for three priceless points which put plenty of daylight between them and the bottom three and extends their perfect start to the new year on home soil.
- Only Union Berlin have scored more headed goals this season than Bremen (nine).
- Augsburg have posted more wins (12) and scored more goals (38) against Bremen than any other Bundesliga team they have faced.
- Augsburg have won four straight home games in 2023. Conversely, their record away from home reads four defeats.
- Bremen went unbeaten through their first five away games of the season, but have lost five of their last six on the road.
Augsburg: Gikiewicz - Gumny, Gouweleeuw (c), Veiga (Bauer 34'), Pedersen (Iago 68') - Maier, Engels, Dorsch (Baumgartlinger 46'), Vargas (Berisha 68') - Demirovic, Beljo (Yeboah 74')
Unused subs: Koubek, Caligiuri, Mbuku, Cardona
Out: Hahn (knee), Rexhbecaj (calf), Strobl (cruciate ligament), Uduokhai (thigh)
Coach: Enrico Maaßen
Bremen: Pavlenka - Pieper, Groß, Friedl (c) - Bittencourt (Weiser 68'), Schmidt, Gruev, Stage (Schmid 68'), Jung (Dinkci 79') - Füllkrug, Ducksch (Philipp 79')
Unused subs: Zetterer, Chiarodia, Dietrich, Berger
Out: Agu (patella tendon), Buchanan (knock), Mbom (calf), Stark (ill)
Coach: Ole Werner
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