TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 0-0 FC Augsburg: Fuggerstädter stay up and as Kraichgauer denied third

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 0-0 FC Augsburg: Fuggerstädter stay up and as Kraichgauer denied third

The hosts missed out on guaranteed Champions League football but Manuel Baum's side made sure of survival.

James Rees
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim(3-1-4-2) Baumann; Süle, Vogt, Bicakcic; Rudy; Uth (Schwegler 65’), Demirbay (Amiri 66’), Kramaric, Zuber; Wagner; Szalai.
FC Augsburg(4-2-3-1) Luthe; Verhaegh, Gouweleeuw, Hinteregger, Stafylidis (Caiuby 52’); Kohr, Baier; Schmid, Altintop (Teigl 90+3’), Max; Finnbogason (Ji 90’).
REFEREEMarco Fritz (Korb). Booked: Baier (45’), Rudy (45’), Zuber (55’).
INCIDENTSAttendance: 30,150.

FC Augsburg secured their Bundesliga status as they held TSG 1899 Hoffenheim to a goalless draw and denied them straight passage to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

All the drama was elsewhere, as Augsburg defended resolutely to limit Hoffenheim’s chances in the first half, although both Andrej Kramaric and Nadiem Amiri hit the post for the hosts in the second.

Even a win wouldn’t have been enough in the end, as Borussia Dortmund beat Werder Bremen. Despite Hamburger SV beating VfL Wolfsburg, Augsburg’s point was enough to ensure their survival.

Plenty at stake as trio make their farewells

Hoffenheim came into the game in fourth, behind Dortmund on goal difference, and were looking for a big win to give them the best chance of sealing third spot ahead of what will be their first-ever season in European competition.

And Julian Nagelsmann made his intentions clear with his starting line-up, with four recognised strikers in his starting eleven. That was just the one change from their 5-3 win over Werder Bremen, with Sandro Wagner returning at the expense of Pavel Kaderábek. Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Süle started their final games before moving to Bayern Munich in the summer.

Augsburg meanwhile were still in danger of finishing in the relegation play-off spot, but they knew anything other than a big defeat here and a win for Hamburg would secure a seventh-consecutive Bundesliga campaign.

After a 1-1 draw against Dortmund last weekend, Manuel Baum named an unchanged side. After more than three years with Augsburg, Dominik Kohr was also starting for the last time before he returns to original club Bayer Leverkusen.

Cagey first half leaves it goalless at the break

With so much at stake, it was a cagey start to the game, despite Andreas Luthe having to parry an early Wagner shot wide. Augsburg had early chances too, with Hamit Altintop seeing an uncertain shot deflected out and Konstantinos Stafylidis going well over from distance after a good spell of possession.

Despite their position in the table, Augsburg were just about having the better chances. After the ball was carelessly given away by Ermin Bicakcic, Alfred Finnbogason attempted to lob Oliver Baumann from the halfway line but was off target. Philipp Max was also denied on a couple of occasions as they tried to find a vital goal.

With goals being scored by all sides in both Dortmund and Hamburg, there was contrasting emotions for both sets of supporters. However it would remain goalless here at the break. Hoffenheim did have a few more chances to change, but Luthe made saves off both Mark Uth and Steven Zuber.

Third place passes Hoffenheim by but Augsburg stay up

As Bremen scored an equaliser to reawaken Hoffenheim’s chance for third early in the second half, they themselves almost fell behind from nothing. From Daniel Baier’s free kick, Jonathan Schmid was able to force a shot from a tight angle, with Baumann saving.

Hoffenheim did then have a chance to take the lead, with Uth being left with an unmarked header from Rudy’s corner. It was saved by Luthe though. At the other end they then had Kevin Vogt to thank as his last-ditch challenge denied Altintop a clear shot on goal.

Hoffenheim then came the closest they had to scoring through Kramaric, who hit the post after being set by Adam Szalai. However almost at the same time Bremen took the lead for a second time in Dortmund, moving Hoffenheim up to third, much to the delight of the home fans as the news came through.

Wagner had an excellent chance to finally get them ahead, but his free header from Rudy’s free kick was wide. The buoyant atmosphere then sunk to a deathly hush with news of a Dortmund equaliser. Hoffenheim then struck the post again as they cranked up the pressure, with substitute Amiri this time the guilty party.

Hoffenheim came close one more time before the end, as Bicakcic had a header cleared off the line by Martin Hinteregger. It would have been academic in the end, with Dortmund winning, however Hoffenheim will still go into the play-off round of the Champions Leauge, whilst Augsburg had done enough to stay up despite a late winner for Hamburg.