- Augsburg involved in both Bundesliga and UEFA Europa League in 2015/16.
- Winter recruit Finnbogason impresses as Bavarians beat drop.
- Dropped to become third force in Bavaria behind Bayern and Ingolstadt.
Juggling the Bundesliga with UEFA Europa League commitments for the first time in their history was a tough challenge which FC Augsburg managed to overcome in an historic season for the Bavarians.
Season in a nutshell
Augsburg knew that the extraordinary achievement of finishing fifth last season and consequently securing a first ever European qualification could not be taken as the benchmark for the 2015/16 campaign, not least since they were entering new territory with the UEFA Europa League. The Bavarians were said to have exceeded everybody's expectations last season too, and the words of sporting direct Stefan Reuter that they "know where we have come from" were a warning against inflated ambitions.
Indeed, like SC Freiburg before them, Augsburg initially struggled to juggle their European adventure with domestic duties, and that struggle was to persist as they had eventual Europa League finalists Liverpool on the ropes in a tie which will be remembered as arguably the biggest moment in the club's history. In terms of club progress and growth, however, the greatest moment came on the penultimate weekend of the season, when they secured their berth in the Bundesliga for yet another season.
Top three games
MD13: VfB Stuttgart 0-4 FC Augsburg
As the weakest team away from home, Augsburg travelled to Stuttgart with few expecting them to deliver such a convincing lesson to their hosts. Everything worked like clockwork for Markus Weinzierl's men, who picked up a morale-boosting victory.
MD16: FC Augsburg 2-1 FC Schalke 04
A hugely significant last-minute win for the Bavarians: Caiuby netted the stoppage-time winner as Augsburg left the relegation zone for the first time since Matchday 7.
MD11: FC Augsburg 3-3 1. FSV Mainz 05
It was a game which showed all of Augsburg's morale and character, turning the game around from a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead, before Yoshinori Muto denied them the win in dramatic circumstances.
A winter arrival from Real Sociedad, Alfred Finnbogason was Augsburg's saviour in the second half of the season. "He's got a certain coolness about him," said Weinzierl of the Icelandic international, who more than earned a full-time stay at the club with his seven goals. The 27-year-old also earned his place on the Iceland squad for EURO 2016 with displays which caught the eye beyond the Bundesliga.
What is next?
Having tied Finnogason down to a permanent stay in Augsburg, the Bavarians are planning to make further progress next season, when they will not have Europe to think about. Markus Feulner has extended his contract by a year and the solid foundations laid in recent years are there to be built upon, and who knows whether another season like 2014/15 might not be within them.
bundesliga.com reporter Maximilian Lotz was not the only one overjoyed when the mighty Liverpool and their charismatic coach Jürgen Klopp were drawn as Augsburg's opponents in the last 32 of the Europa League. What happened at Anfield after Augsburg's narrow elimination was enough to bring goosebumps to anybody. The visiting fans enjoyed the occasion so much that their chants went on into the night and prompted the players to re-emerge from the dressing room to take their applause once again at the end of an historic, emotional maiden campaign in Europe.