Frankfurt - Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Augsburg ended 2013 with a point apiece after playing out a 1-1 draw at the Commerzbank Arena on Friday night.
Raul Bobadilla gave Augsburg the lead, but Jan Rosenthal responded in Frankfurt's best spell of the game. The home team were then fortunate as Arkadiusz Milik squandered a late chance to snatch victory for Markus Weinzierl's men.
Before the action commenced, Frankfurt's fans bid an emotional farewell to veteran goalkeeper Oka Nikolov, who made 415 appearances for the club and returned after a six-month stint in the USA to be given an official retirement gift, with the entire stadium taking to its feet in his honour. The fans then relaxed again, and so too, it seemed, did Frankfurt, who were sluggish in the opening exchanges.
Augsburg did not appear much livelier, in truth, contributing to a midfield battle which lacked any clear direction, but the home faithful's groans became grumbles when Augsburg took a surprise lead. Pirmin Schwegler was the man at fault for the home side, his wayward header only finding the unmarked Bobadilla, who accepted the gift to score.
Raul rouses Frankfurt
The goal spurred the men in black and red into life. In the best move of the match, Rosenthal's back-heel touch was flicked on by an equally intelligent pass from Johannes Flum, but Marwin Hitz dealt with his first major job of the evening to turn Spanish striker Joselu's shot onto his far post and wide. Hitz then made another good save shortly afterwards, but the pressure was mounting from the Eagles and it culminated in a deserved equaliser.
Schwegler made amends for his earlier error in the 42nd minute with a cross that was met by Joselu at the near post, the ball looping into the air and falling kindly for Rosenthal, who hammered in on the volley from close range, stamping his foot and standing statuesque in celebration.
On the hour-mark min, Augsburg-born Frankfurt coach Armin Veh took a gamble by introducing Alexander Meier for the first time since Matchday 12's 1-0 defeat to 1. FSV Mainz 05, when a knee injury ruled the attacker out for four weeks. Having the man who has been the club's top goalscorer in the past two seasons back on the field was a psychological boost, yet feeding him proved difficult, as Augsburg reinforced their back line.
The Bavarians were now happy to sit back and wait for Frankfurt to commit too many men forwards, like they did with just a few minutes left when Milik could hardly believe his luck just moments after coming on. The Polish forward may have had too long to pick an option as he bore down on Kevin Trapp, who made an agile - and crucial - double-save, before defender Carlos Zambrano swept in behind to clear his lines, and save a deserved point for his side.
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