The city of Augsburg is an important industrial location in southern Germany. However, should it eventually have ambitions to become a health resort and put a bath in front of its own name: the Augsburgers should be sure of the approval of Hertha BSC. For the Berlin footballers, this location has a therapeutic effect like no other in the Bundesliga.
Hertha had already celebrated an important 1-0 win at FC Augsburg in the fight against relegation last season. On Sunday, the team coached by Sandro Schwarz managed to win their first competitive game of the season in Augsburg. “The threesome was of course very important,” said captain Marvin Plattenhardt. The guests from Berlin won the game 2-0 (0-0). Hertha are now unbeaten in six games against FCA and have won five of them.
Schwarz had changed his team in two positions compared to the defeat against Borussia Dortmund. Filip Uremovic returned to the back four (for Marton Dardai), Ivan Sunjic replaced Jean-Paul Boetius in defensive midfield because Hertha’s coach had expected a very competitive game against FCA.
Agustin Rogel would have been predestined for this. However, the centre-back, who was signed from Argentina just midweek, has not yet been included in the squad. According to Schwarz, the long flight was “still a bit in the clothes” for Rogel, which is why it was decided “that it doesn’t make sense for this weekend”. Kevin-Prince Boateng and Stevan Jovetic, both injured, were also absent.
Both teams had revealed large to very large problems in attacking play on the first four matchdays of the season. An offensive spectacle was therefore not expected, and both teams fully lived up to this expectation. The encounter was not an aesthetic delight.
It was no coincidence that Hertha’s first two chances came from standard situations. After the first corner for the Berliners, center forward Wilfried Kanga headed in the center quite unmolested. However, the ball was stopped just before the line by an Augsburg defender. After a free kick from Marvin Plattenhardt, it was central defender Marc Kempf who headed the ball over the goal.
On the other hand, the guests were lucky that referee Harm Osmers did not rate Uremovic’s foul on Ermedin Demirovic as an emergency brake and only showed the Croatian a yellow card. Shortly after, Uremovic, who had just served a second yellow-red suspension, again looked ill when he had to let Mergim Berisha run. The new signing from Augsburg then hit the post from a very acute angle.
Hertha’s best opportunity from the game came ten minutes before the break from Chidera Ejuke, who kept causing problems for Augsburg with his dribbles. The Nigerian tried a flick from the left and just missed the Augsburg goal.
Even after the break, the game was initially at a manageable level, with many mistakes on both sides and little precision. That was different, at least in the 57th minute: Marvin Plattenhardt hit a perfect cross into the center from the left, and Dodi Lukebakio completed the header to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. “We train the flanks,” said Plattenhardt. “I don’t even have to look there. I know the strikers are there.” Sandro Schwarz stood on the sidelines and applauded.
Measured by the game shares, the result was by no means undeserved at this point in time. And as a result, the Berliners were closer to the second goal than FCA were to equalize. Jonjoe Kenny had a shot just wide of the target, Kanga was denied by goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz from close range and Lucas Tousart headed in a promising position ten minutes from time to miss the potential decider.
The guests still had to survive a few minutes, but on the one hand the Augsburgers remained shockingly harmless, on the other hand the Berliners managed not to fall into a dangerous passive attitude. The first win of the season for Hertha BSC was no longer in real danger.