On a freezing Sunday night, FC Augsburg won in front of their home crowd to bring them within 3 points of a 6th-place European Conference League qualifying spot.
After an early first-half free-kick goal was called off for a questionable offside call, Augsburg converted a bad Eintracht Frankfurt back pass into the first goal of the game and Fredrik Jensen's first goal of the season.
Things began to pick up in the second half, as Ermedin Demirovic got his second assist of the night after a calm Iago finish at the top of the box to make the game 2-0.
Augsburg nearly brought the lead to three after a penalty call later in the half, but Kevin Trapp denied the attempt with a fantastic save to cover the bottom right corner.
Frankfurt would get on the scoresheet eventually after an odd bounce off of Finn Dahmen's foot went back into his own goal, but they could not capitalize further for the rest of the game.
This was Augsburg's first win against Eintracht Frankfurt in seven matches against each other, their last win being in September of 2019.
Augsburg: Jess Thorup’s Impact Continues
Just when it seemed Augsburg would take their usual spot towards the bottom of the table this season, they switched managers and hired Jess Thorup to try to change their fortunes.
In the six games that Thorup has been in charge, Augsburg has not lost a match. While those points were mostly against bottom-half teams, they did manage a win against Wolfsburg and a draw against Hoffenheim.
The Fuggerstädter look more confident and responsive to the flow of the game under Thorup. They can grind down opponents and get points out of games that they certainly would have lost under former manager, Enrico Maaßen.
They are swiftly moving up the table every week, and it will be interesting to see how this team plays through a difficult part of their schedule. After Werder Bremen next week, they play Borussia Dortmund, VfB Stuttgart, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Bayern Munich all in a four-game stretch.
However, they are sure to go into those games much more confidently under Thorup's lead.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Needing an Offensive Bump
Just when it seemed like Frankfurt had their attacking game plan figured out, they showed in their third competitive loss in a row that they needed more of a target-man striker.
Omar Marmoush is doing his best in the position, but the current team setup could heavily benefit from a striker being up top to put away headers and help Marmoush attack.
While on the scoresheet, Frankfurt looked nearly equal to Augsburg with shots and shots on target, a bulk of their shots were forced directly at the keeper.
Getting another player to help pressure the opponent's defense and bring in offensive momentum when it gets stale would have certainly helped in this game, and it would be surprising if they did not try to bring someone in to do that in the winter transfer window.
Augsburg: Ermedin Demirovic’s Special Start
In the year Demirovic was brought to Augsburg from SC Freiburg in the 2022–2023 season, the Bosnian striker ended the year with 8 goals and 5 assists.
The Augsburg captain has already caught up to that total 13 weeks into the season, with 7 goals and 5 assists, among the highest in his time in the Bundesliga.
He also has only 4 games where he has not scored or assisted, so he’s constantly a threat you have to keep an eye on on the pitch.
Opposing managers have an even harder job planning around him, as he has an average of 89 minutes played this season. This means he’s able to work with the substitutes that come in and work with the changes in the game plan without issue.
Demirovic’s career year has plenty of time to grow even further as the season continues, and Augsburg’s rise will heavily benefit from what he brings every week.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Preparing for a Tough End of the Year
The Bundesliga break is coming up shortly, so Eintracht Frankfurt will jam in 5 competitive games in the course of 2 weeks.
They’ll play 1. FC Saarbrücken on December 6th and then immediately play a well-rested Bayern Munich on December 9th.
Although they can theoretically rest during their last European Conference League game, having already qualified for the next stages, they still play unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen and an improving Mönchengladbach side three days apart from each other.
Eintracht Frankfurt is already dealing with injuries from key players like Sebastian Rode and Ellyes Skhiri, and a packed schedule is going to require rotations that create a dependency on their depth players.
In order to make sure they keep pace with the teams around them on the table, Dino Toppmöller is going to have to figure out how to manage this stretch and get the best out of players he would not normally rely on as heavily on.
This game showed two teams on the same part of the table needing two different things. Augsburg needs to keep their positive momentum, and Frankfurt needs to reverse their negative momentum before it gets out of hand.
We will see if Augsburg can continue staying hot, and if Frankfurt will change things up for the start of 2024.