A treble from Raul Bobadilla has moved FC Augsburg back into contention of qualifying for the UEFA Europa League knockout stages, after they humbled AZ Alkmaar 4-1.
Woodwork to the rescue for Augsburg
Despite the comfortable score-line, it could have been very different had Markus Henriksen's effort not came back off the post in the opening minutes. That seemed to be what woke up the hosts, who went close soon after through Bobadilla.
AZ didn't heed the warning, and were made to pay the price. A powerful run from Paul Verhaegh forced a foul from the visiting defence, just on the edge of the area. Bobadilla stepped up and rifled the ball up and over the ball, into the top corner, as the Paraguayan striker wheeled away in celebration.
The spectacular strikes kept coming, and Bobadilla added another from outside the box. This time Ji-Dong Won came inside before playing the ball to his team-mate. The striker danced towards goal and another powerful finish meant that Gino Coutinho's dive was in vain once more.
Bobadilla's hat-trick was key
There would be a sting in the tail for the home side, however, as Alkmaar got a goal back in the final few seconds of the half. A long ball forward from Derrick Luckassen was misjudged by Christoph Janker, which let Vincent Janssen through on goal. The forward capitalised, and suddenly everything was nervous around the WWK Arena.
The visitors looked much better at the start of the second half and were desperately unlucky to not be back on level terms. Jeffrey Gouweleeuw and Alireza Jahanbakhsh rattled the bar twice in seven minutes, while Janssen was denied well by Marwin Hitz.
That was pounced upon by Ji, who had no such problems when finding the back of the net. Celso Ortiz's mistake allowed him to race onto the ball and sweep home a strong finish to put the game beyond any doubt. That was not the end of the scoring, though, with Bobadilla adding his third and his team's fourth.