Goals from Iago, Florian Niederlechner and Mads Pedersen gave Augsburg a resounding 3-0 win over fellow relegation strugglers Wolfsburg on Sunday.
Starting the day just one and six points clear of the drop respectively, Augsburg and Wolfsburg met in a game that could have a dramatic impact on the relegation battle. And the hosts immediately seemed up for the fight as Iago put them in front inside the first minute. The 25-year-old Brazilian collected Pedersen's clever backheel on the left, just inside the visitors' box, before skipping a challenge and curling a sublime effort beyond a helpless Pavao Pervan and into the corner of the net. The Wolves should have been level midway through the half when Lukas Nmecha expertly went beyond both Jeffrey Gouweleeuw and Reece Oxford but could only fire straight at Rafal Gikiewicz. Ricardo Pepi was later denied a first Bundesliga goal by the legs of Pervan and Augsburg were good value for the lead at the break.
The visitors started the second half with some much needed added intent and were nearly level just three minutes after the interval. Jonas Wind found space in the penalty box, drawing another save from Gikiewicz, but the ball wouldn't quite land for either Nmecha or Max Kruse on the follow up. At the other end, Daniel Caligiuri should have doubled his side's lead but he fired handsomely over the bar from 12-yards out in the middle of the goal. Augsburg didn't have to wait long for a second, though, as Oxford's header was diverted home by Niederlechner from close range. Pedersen made it 3-0 with a thumping finish as Markus Weinzierl's team celebrated a crucial three points that moves them 14th - a point and a place behind Wolfsburg, who have played an extra game.
- Iago's opener was his second goal of the season and he has now been involved in five goals (two goals, three assists) in his last six league games.
- Niederlechner's strike was his first since Matchday 10, ending an 11-game wait for his fourth of the campaign. All his four goals this term have come at home.
- Meanwhile, Pedersen scored just the second goal of his Bundesliga career.
- In the absence of Florian Kohfeldt, 25-year-old Vincent Heilmann became the second youngest coach in Bundesliga history. Bernd Stöber was one year younger when he sat on the Saarbrücken bench in 1976.
- Augsburg's victory ended the club's eight match winless run against Wolfsburg.
- Wolfsburg have not won any of their past 51 games (D10, L41) when they've been behind at the break, a run that dates back to February 2017.
Watch: Pepi: "We knew we had to risk it all for the win"
Augsburg: Gikiewicz - Gumny, Gouweleeuw (c), Oxford, Iago - Caligiuri, Maier (Moravek 89'), Dorsch (Gruezo 46'), Pedersen (Zeqiri 72') - Niederlechner (Hahn 81'), Pepi (Finnbogason 89')
Unused subs: Koubek, Winther, Framberger, Günther
Out: Gregoritsch (not included), Sarenren Bazee (knee), Strobl (knee), Uduokhai (thigh), Vargas (ill)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Wolfsburg: Pervan - Lacroix, Bornauw (Lukebakio 65'), Brooks - Mbabu (Baku 75'), Schlager (Gerhardt 75'), Arnold (c) (Vranckx 75'), Steffen - Wind, Kruse - L. Nmecha
Unused subs: Klinger, F. Nmecha, Paredes, Philipp, Bialek
Out: Casteels (hip), Otavio (knee), Roussillon (cold), Van de Ven (thigh), William (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Watch: Nmecha: "The relegation battle is becoming more and more real"
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