FC Augsburg recorded a first win of 2016 courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 success against relegation rivals Hannover 96 at the HDI Arena on Matchday 22.
Goals: 1-0 Koo (14')
With powerful Icelandic striker Alfred Finnbogason handed a first start for the club, the visitors began on the front foot. Hannover saw little of the ball in the opening stages and Markus Weinzierl’s men deservedly took the lead after 14 minutes when Ja-cheol Koo slalomed through the defence and bent a shot beyond Ron-Robert Zieler. Although Augsburg remained in the ascendancy after taking the lead, the game turned into a scrappy midfield battle, with Zieler denying Alexander Esswein in the only real chance before the interval.
The entrances of Hugo Almeida and Hiroshi Kiyotake after the break gave Hannover some attacking thrust, although the visitors were still in the driving seat. Die Fuggerstädter twice should have doubled the lead, but substitute Dong-won Ji nodded over from close-range before Zieler saved from Caiuby. Hannover’s outstanding chance came when their replacements combined, but Almeida could only nod Kiyotake’s cross high and wide. Conscious of the warning shot, Augsburg shut up shop and defended calmly to secure three vital points.
Man of the match
Koo continued in influential fashion after his opening goal. The South Korean was hard-working, strong in the tackle and impressive in his retention of the ball throughout.
After back-to-back Bundesliga defeats to local rivals FC Ingolstadt 04 and FC Bayern München, this win against basement boys Hannover could not have come at a better time for Augsburg. Confidence will now be flowing ahead of the UEFA Europa League round-of-32 second leg at Liverpool FC on Thursday.
- Augsburg opened the scoring with their first shot on goal.
- Kiyotake featured for Hannover for the first time since 6 November 2015.
- Almeida made his 48th substitute appearance in the top-flight.
- This was Hannover’s eighth consecutive defeat.
Hannover: Zieler (c) - Sakai, Milosevic, Gülselam, Albornoz – Hoffmann (Kiyotake 46’), Karaman, Sane, Prib (Alemida 46’), Bech (Saint-Maximin 82’) – Sobiech
Augsburg: Hitz – Verhaegh (c), Gouweleeuw, Klavan, Max - Kohr – Feulner (Ji 46’) – Esswein (Werner 71’), Koo, Caiuby – Finnbogason (Janker 82’)