Rafal Gikiewicz stood his ground as Augsburg extended their unbeaten start to the 2020/21 Bundesliga season to three matches after holding winless Wolfsburg to a goalless draw.
Wolfsburg showed no signs of a hangover following the disappointment of their midweek UEFA Europa League play-off defeat to AEK Athens. The contest was just six minutes old when Paulo Otavio scampered clear up the left-hand side and crossed for Wout Weghorst, whose first-time effort was beaten away by Augsburg goalkeeper Gikiewicz. The visitors responded in kind as Iago found Michael Gregoritsch in a promising position in the opposition box, but the Austria international was unable to direct his effort on target. Augsburg's chief source of goals last season, Florian Niederlechner shot wide after rounding Koen Casteels, before Xaver Schlager fired tamely at Gikiewicz following a smart run and cut-back from Maximilian Arnold. The latter was involved again 60 seconds later as Josip Brekalo cut inside and nestled a low drive to the right of Gikiewicz, only for the goal to be ruled out on VAR review for an earlier offside against Weghorst. Arnold slammed a trademark free-kick narrowly wide as Wolfsburg ended an entertaining first half in the ascendancy.
Wolfsburg continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession into the second period. Arnold and Schlager were heavily involved in an attacking sense, though the final ball was often lacking. Jerome Roussillon - operating as a makeshift right-back - did find his man following a purposeful run and cross for Admir Mehmedi, whose first-time strike drew a quite brilliant reaction save from Gikiewicz. Augsburg co-coach Iraklis Metaxas - deputising on the touchline for the indisposed Heiko Herrlich - rolled the dice by rotating his front three. Ruben Vargas, Fredrik Jensen and Alfred Finnbogason entered the fray, but the impetus that propelled Die Fuggerstädter to a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund last time out remained largely elusive. Instead, it was the Wolves who looked the likelier winners, but there was just no beating Gikiewicz in the Augsburg goal, the Pole denying Brekalo with 22 minutes to go. Yannick Gerhardt dragged wide with the goal at his mercy, and almost paid the price late on, but Augsburg substitute Finnbogasson could not beat Casteels.
- Augsburg and Wolfsburg are unbeaten in the league this season after Matchday 3. However, while Augsburg have claimed seven points from nine, the Wolves have taken three in as many games.
- Wolfsburg are without a win in seven Bundesliga home games, which is their longest such run since going eight in 2017/18.
- Three in a row on home soil without scoring is an unwanted club record for the Wolves.
- Augsburg are winless in six against Wolfsburg, but their eight clean sheets is their best record against a Bundesliga opponent.
- Augsburg lost five away games in a row prior to Herrlich's appointment as head coach. Since then, they've won three, drawn three and lost one on the road.
- Felix Uduokhai made his Bundesliga debut for Wolfsburg, before moving to Augsburg - initially on loan - in summer 2019.
Watch: Rafal Gikiewicz - "It's my job to keep the ball out"
Wolfsburg: Casteels – Roussillon (Baku 72'), Lacroix, Brooks, Otavio – Schlager (Gerhardt 62'), Guilavogui (c), Arnold – Mehmedi (Ginczek 72'), Brekalo – Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Malli, Bialek, Marmoush, Siersleben
Out: Mbabu (knee), Pongracic (glandular fever), Steffen (not selected), Victor (groin), William (knee)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
Augsburg: Gikiewicz – Framberger, Gouweleeuw (c), Uduokhai, Iago – Caligiuri, Khedira (Strobl 72'), Gruezo (Oxford 90'), Hahn (Vargas 57') – Gregoritsch (Jensen 57'), Niederlechner (Finnbogason 57')
Unused subs: Koubek, Gumny, Pedersen, Suchy
Out: Löwen (muscular), Moravek (muscular)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich