Hannover 96 0-1 FC Augsburg: Fuggerstädter get crucial smash and grab win

FC Augsburg put distance between themselves and the bottom three with a much needed 1-0 win at bottom club Hannover.

Hannover 96 0-1 FC Augsburg: Fuggerstädter get crucial smash and grab win
Koo celebrates the opener and winner. | Image: @FCAugsburg
Hannover 96
0 1
FC Augsburg
Hannover 96: (4-1-4-1) Zieler - Sakai, Gülselam Milosevic, Albornoz - Hoffmann (Kiyotake 46') - Sane, Prib (Almeida 46'), Karaman, Bech (Saint-Maxim 82') - Sobiech.
FC Augsburg: (4-2-3-1) Hitz - Verhaegh, Gouweleeuw, Klavan, Max - Feulner (Ji 46'), Kohr - Esswein (Werner 71'), Koo, Caiuby - Finnbogason (Janker 84').
SCORE: 0-1, min. 15, Koo.
REFEREE: D. Siebert (GER). Bookings: Gulselam 48', Sane 50', Kohr 85', Werner 89'.

Two teams fighting the drop met on Sunday afternoon as bottom club Hannover hosted FC Augsburg at the HDI Arena.

The home side had recorded just 14 points all season, winning four games and possessing a -17 goal difference. Meanwhile, their visitors from Bavaria had just seven points more after an uncharacteristically poor start to the season.

Breaking the deadlock

After a somewhat subdued start to the game, it was Augsburg who took the lead on the quarter-hour mark courtesy of a wonderful finish from Ja-Cheol Koo.

The South Korean received a wonderful pass from Caiuby that set him through, but he still had a lot to do as he cut inside and fired past 'keeper Ron-Robert Zieler.

The start was one that the visitors had been craving; a chance to defend a lead, an opportunity that hadn't been so common this season. Meanwhile, the home crowd grew restless, and this seemed to play right into the hands of Markus Wienzierl's side.

In the 29th minute, Alexander Esswein surrendered a big chance to make it 2-0 to FCA as they broke leaving a five-on-two situation. Esswein managed to get a shot away, but Zieler was well positioned to save and thwart the danger.

Hannover threatened most seven minutes before half time when the ball bobbled around inside the box with nobody able to stab the ball home. The home side failed to register a single shot on target in the first half, while the visitors had just one.

Hannover condemned as Augsburg celebrate. | Image: @FCAugsburg
Hannover condemned as Augsburg celebrate. | Image: @FCAugsburg

Home response?

After a couple of early bookings and a scrappy start to the second half, it was Augsburg who began probing once again. Attempts from Leroy Sane and Ji failed to really trouble the goal.

On the hour mark Augsburg had a chance to double their lead as Esswein crossed onto the head of Ji, but it was sent over the bar in what was a piece of respite for a struggling Hannover side.

Tobias Werner was introduced by Wienzierl with 20 minutes left on the clock, and in the 77th minute he had a chance to kill the game, though Zieler saved again to keep the deficit at one.

Hannover thought they had a late equaliser when Hugo Almeida bundled home, though he was correctly adjudged to be in an offside position.

Koo struck an 84th minute effort goalwards, but it just drifted wide ensuring the last few minutes would be nervy.

There was to be late drama as Hannover got a 93rd minute corner, which was swung in by Hiroshi Kiyotaki, and Alexander Milosevic met it with his head, yet Marwin Hitz somehow kept it out.

The game ended at 0-1, and a vital three points for Augsburg propelled them to 13th with 24 points, just three points behind Hamburger SV in the spot above. It also leaves them four points from 16th and that all important relegation play-off spot.

The worries continue for Hannover, who missed a chance to close the four point gap on 17th place Hoffenheim. Instead, they remain rooted to the bottom.