Augsburg gave their survival hopes a timely shot in the arm with a gutsy win over faltering top-six hopefuls Cologne.
Augsburg 2-1 Cologne
Red cards: Koo (89') Finnbogason (90+2')
Sailing perilously close to the relegation wind, Augsburg could not have asked for a much better start. Alfred Finnbogason's fine solo effort forced a corner - whipped in with venom by Jonathan Schmid and dispatched with aplomb by the unmarked Martin Hinteregger. Yuya Osako went within a whisker of an immediate equaliser, before Augsburg double their advantage with the half only 23 minutes old. Frederik Sörensen was penalised for a clumsy challenge on Kevin Danso, and up stepped Augsburg captain Paul Verhaegh to sink the ensuing spot-kick.
Cologne had offered precious little as an attacking unit, but gave themselves a lifeline in the 65th minute. Leading scorer Anthony Modeste miscued a Jonas Hector corner, with Sörensen reacting quickest to lash the loose ball beyond Marwin Hitz with the aid of a telling deflection off Augsburg defender Philipp Max. Augsburg had substitute Ja-Cheol Koo and Finnbogason sent off in the dying stages, but held on for three invaluable points in their battle to beat the drop.
Purposeful and spirited, Augsburg were unrecognisable from the side that had picked up two points from their last six matches. With five fixtures remaining, Manuel Baum now has his blueprint to sidestep the relegation trap door.
- Augsburg defenders have scored more goals (eight) than the club's strikers (six) this season - a league-high.Verhaegh has converted 17 of his 19 penalty attempts in the Bundesliga.Augsburg netted two goals in one half for the first time since 2 April 2016.
Augsburg: Hitz - Verhaegh (c), Danso, Hinteregger, Max - Baier (Kohr 60') - Schmid (Teigl 81'), Koo - Altintop, Usami (Ji 72') - Finnbogason
Coach: Manuel Baum
Cologne: Horn - Klünter, Sörensen, Heintz, Hector - Lehmann (c) - Clemens (Rudnevs 46’'), Jojic (Zoller 46'), Bittencourt (Höger 61') - Modeste, Osako
Coach: Peter Stöger