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FC Augsburg vs 1. FC Union Berlin

Bundesliga, 31. Matchday

Augsburg vs 1. FC Union

Bundesliga, 31. Matchday

Sat., 06. May 2023, 15:30 Uhr
1 : 0
SR: Florian Badstübner

Union Lose in Augsburg.

Match report

Despite a strong first half, and greater possession in the final 20 minutes, 1. FC Union Berlin lost 1-0 to FC Augsburg on saturday afternoon at a stadium they've still never won in, against an opponent fighting manfully for their Bundesliga lives. 

FC Augsburg: Koubek – Pedersen, Bauer, Gouweleeuw, Uduokhai – Maier (79. Yeboah), Engels (85. Dorsch), Rexhbecaj, Vargas (79. Gumny) – Beljo (85. Berisha), Demirović (90.+2 Veiga) 

1. FC Union Berlin: Rönnow – Juranović, Jaeckel (78. Michel), Knoche, Doekhi, Roussillon (78. Trimmel) – Laïdouni (69. Schäfer), Khedira, Haberer (69. Leweling) – Becker, Behrens (69. Siebatcheu) 

Attendance: 30.660 
Goal: 1:0 Beljo (53.) 

An unwanted opponent

On a cold Wednesday last November Union played their last home game of the year against FC Augsburg. The first half back then was wild, lit up by a superb Kevin Behrens strikers’ header from a corner inside the box, and Sheraldo Becker’s opener that stemmed from a lightning break. He had rounded the keeper and finished from the tightest of angles, from way out near the right-hand touchline, when it looked impossible to do so.

And if they had become a byword for defensive solidity and disciplined solidarity (at that point Union had only conceded 16 goals, since then - including today - they have still only conceded 16 more), in many ways the two goals defined everything about this Union side going forwards that had led them to an improbable second in the table. Sadly, today, things just didn't click however. 

But back then, after the final whistle the Waldseite had become a sea of banners, listing the team’s achievements that year - from qualifying for, as well as staying in Europe, to the seven long weeks they’d spent atop of the Bundesliga - and one of them simply bore the legend, “Danke.” It was a powerful proclamation of the fans’ love and pride.

They would watch an absurd winter World Cup with Union in second place, but few would really have thought that Union would be able to keep pace. Well, they did, and this return fixture found Union still in third, with only four games to play. As Urs Fischer repeated over and again, all they had to do was win the next game.

But there was still something niggling at the back of everyone's minds. 

Because... Well, if only it wasn’t Augsburg. That draw was a bright patch on Union’s record against their nemeses from the Bavarian / Schwabian hinterlands. They had only ever beaten FCA once, and never away. If ever there was a time... this was it. Instead their negative record here stretches out like the lines on a desert highway. 

Fischer had kept his side from last weeks impressive draw with an in-form Leverkusen, accepting only the necessary change of Paul Jaeckel, in for a suspended Diogo Leite, and restoring the man who scored the second in November, Behrens, to the top alongside the man who scored the first, Sheraldo Becker.

Rani Khedira, on his 200th Bundesliga appearance, returned to his former club to his inimitable role as the guradian of the middle of the pitch, behind Janik Haberer and Aissa Laidouni, with Robin Knoche and Danilho Doekhi at the back, flanked by Josip Juranovic and Jerome Rousillon  - who it’s hard to believe weren’t even here back in November, such has been the speed they’ve integrated themselves into the side - as the flying full-backs.

FCA start strong, but Union seize control

Augsburg were out of the traps early, Dion Beljo almost latching onto a quick ball over the top almost straight from the kick off, and Frederik Rönnow had to be sharp to come out of his box to clear the danger. Danilho Doekhi then had to head Ruben Vargas’s dangerous ball over his own bar. Knoche, too, then headed Maier’s cross from the right away. Soon afterwards, Knoche got a touch on Emerdin Demirovic’s goalbound shot, deflecting the ball into the ground, taking the sting out of it, and the ball was caught at waist height by Rönnow.

This wasn’t to be a victory parade for Union, Augsburg needed points, too, even if their need was of a diametrically opposed nature, and the game became a battle for control of the centre ground, with hard challenges being launched into from both sides, and little space presenting itself through the middle

At fierst Rousillon seemed to carry on from where he left off last week. He chased Vargas over fifty yards to herd the winger back on himself towards the centre-spot, as he was the impetus behind Union’s earliest attacking endeavours, such as when Union broke after five minutes. He charged onto Haberer’s neat back-flick, but his ball, intended for Becker, looped safely into the hands of Tomas Koubek in Augsburg’s goal. After ten minutes he then darted past a snoozing Engels who pulled him back as he went, earning a yellow card for his troubles.

Union started to assert themselves. They won a corner on the left, Haberer’s somewhat wild shot taking a deflection. It came to Rousillon who laid it off for Laïdouni, whose incisive ball in behind the FCA defence was just ahead of Becker, as he tried to sneak in around the back. After 15 minutes Behrens got his first chance, but flicked his header wide of the left-hand upright.

Things were getting hectic. Doekhi caught Vargas with an elbow after 20 minutes, as both Khedira and Laïdouni were both on the floor, but the referee decided it was purely accidental. The free kick was launched into the box by Juranovic where Behrens made a much better contact this time, his superb header forcing Koubek to save to his right, just nudging the ball onto the inside of the post and out again. Becker saw one shot with his left palmed wide by Koubek, then another with his right hit straight at the keeper when put through by Behrens’ gorgeous knock down, all from a route-one Rönnow heave up front. Haberer drew another save from the Czech stopper just before the stroke of half an hour.

Union were in complete control of the game as the half wound on, but were close to self-imposed catastrophe as Rönnow dallied too long on the ball and Arne Engels pressured him. He tried to clear,  all too rushed, but the ball only fell to Beljo, who fortunately shot wide when he had time to pick his spot. The keeper was counting his blessings as the sides went into half time bruised, and goalless.

Augsburg take an early lead, Union struggle to spark back into life

The second half meandered, as opposed to exploding into life as the sun shone down upon the WWK Arena. The Unioner were loud as ever in their corner, but the teams continued to cancel each other out. Laidouni’s clever ball into the box just evaded all Union’s heads, while at the other end Demirovic dawdled on the ball for just long enough to allow Union to cover their backs.

But it would be Augsburg who took the lead, as if out of nowhere, when Beljo managed to get in behind Jaeckel, volleying Vargas’s ball in from the inside right past Rönnow.

Augsburg were roused – Doekhi did well to get back and rob Engels as they broke again, and Union struggled to get their momentum back, their passes failing to find the target all too often, their runs regularly spotted and marked by dogged and resolute opponents. Demirovic then took the ball past Doekhi, but shot wide of Rönnow’s left-hand post. Beljan clipped a ball past the top right corner when Demirovic had just ran past him on the overlap, offering up an option. Arne Meier shot over the bar.

Fischer brought on Jordan Siebatcheu, Jamie Leweling and Andras Schäfer for Behrens, Haberer and Laidouni with 25 minutes to go in a bid to turn the tide, hoping to inject some dynamism to his side, but, try as Union might, still Augsburg posed a threat at the other end. Demirovic headed wide from Pedersen’s cross. Vargas shot at Rönnow from outside the box.

And when Union had the ball Augsburg moved back into impeccable, parallel lines, stopping any attempted breaks in their tracks, forcing Union to cut back on themselves all too often, to retain possession but also rendering themselves toothless.

Fischer made his final changes with ten minutes to go, throwing on Sven Michel and the captain, Christopher Trimmel, but Union were banging their heads against a brick wall.

Leweling tried to break through, he cut in from the right and shot, but it flew just over the bar with fifteen minutes to go. Becker’s cross sailed into the arms of Koubek; Jordan bundled Max Bauer over when trying to get on the end of Knoche’s cross. He then headed Trimmel’s cross over with under five minutes to play. The captain hit one from the wing into Koubek’s arms with time almost up, and bent another towards the back post which was also greedily claimed by the keeper.

It wasn't through a lack of effort, more a simple lack of sparkle. It can happen, as Laidouni said, "Sometimes you give everything and still lose." A disappointed Fischer echoed his sentiments, but rued the missed chances in the first half. 

And after the referee put the whistle to his lips and called an end to Union’s labours, the players trooped over to their magnificent fans in the sunshine in the corner of this functional stadium, their heads sunken, their faces long. But despite the loss their place in the table remained remarkable, and all those things the fans had thanked them for last November remained as relevant, as impressive as ever.

It was just... It was just another game against Augsburg.

Union Travel to Augsburg

Match preview

In their penultimate away match of the 2022/23 season, 1. FC Union Berlin will face FC Augsburg on 06.05.2023. It should be a tough duel, with the hosts needing points to stay in the league and Union wanting points for Europe. The match will kick off at 15:30 in the WWK Arena. 

The lie of the land

At first glance, Augsburg’s 13th place looks like a safe haven. This season, however, things are much tighter down near the basement than they were a year ago. At the same time last year, 13th-placed VfL Wolfsburg already had an eight-point lead over 17th-placed Bielefeld. FCA, on the other hand, currently have just a four-point buffer on second-last-placed Schalke 04, so every point is still vital for Augsburg over their remaining four games. 

This is, of course, also the case for Union, but their prize on offer is somewhat more attractive. With a point, they will take another step towards Europe. Yet, should they win against a notoriously difficult Augsburg, they will have achieved their goal for the season, namely qualification for European football for the third season in a row. The last three games would then only decide in which competition Union will compete in in 2022/23.

The opponents

FCA's game is clearly about intensity. Despite being only 8th in the table for fouls committed, Augsburg are an impressive first when it come to yellow cards. So when they go, they really go.

In terms of playing style, FCA clearly differ from Union, preferring to play through the middle, and with only eight crosses per game. By comparison, Union have hit the third most crosses in the league so far this season with 346.

FCA head coach Enrico Maaßen, who switched from Dortmund's U23 side at the start of the season, has mostly relied on a 4-4-2, anchored by two holding midfielders. At the beginning of the season, however, they also liked to play with a three-man defence. So there is flexibility for the Swabians at the back. 

The head to head

Union have traditionally had a hard time against Augsburg, especially so away in the WWK Arena where they have never won. Indeed, in eleven encounters in the first and second divisions, Union have only beaten them once and shared the points four times. That lone victory was almost three and a half years ago, when they won 2-1 at the Alte Försterei with goals from Marcus Ingvartsen and Neven Subotic. 

The personnel 

With the exception of Diogo Leite, who is suspended after his fifth yellow card, Union head coach Urs Fischer has the entire squad at his disposal.

The Reunion

For one Unioner saturday will mark a special occasion in more than one way. Should he play, the game will mark Rani Khedira's 200th Bundesliga appearance, and it's fitting that it should be against a team he made 127 appearances for, and for whom he established himself as a leading midfield light in the league for.

The coaches views ahead of the game

"We have always had a hard time against FCA so far,” said Urs Fischer on Thursday afternoon about his tricky opponents. “Augsburg have a compact and well-organised team, they play very physically and aggressively. They also like to push up and try to put their opponents under pressure. It will be a tough task, once again."

Meanwhile Enrico Maaßen threw Fischer’s sentiments back at him, saying, “Union are also a difficult team to play against. They rely on their compactness, are good on second balls and at set-pieces. That is their strength! I don't think they will change much. But it's very difficult to play against them."

Service info: Augsburg Calling - Programme by fans for fans

A good 2,700 Unioners will be making their way to Bavaria on Saturday. The Ticket office will be open from 13:30 for any fans who want to get tickets for Block X on the gate.

Regio Augsburg Tourismus GmbH, in cooperation with FC Augsburg and the City of Augsburg, have planned a varied programme for FCA fans as well as Unioners from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning under the motto "Augsburg Calling". From stadium and city tours for young and old to a pub evening with a concert and a Weißwurst breakfast, there is plenty on offer. Information on this and other important travel details can be found here (German).   

The match will be broadcast live on Sky. As usual, Union will also provide information on the match in the club's own live ticker, as well as in English on twitter. In addition, there will be an audio stream on rbb24 Inforadio and on

AFTV Videos

Robin Knoche

Robin Knoche

was Player of the Day for the last time against Augsburg

Robin Knoche

was Player of the Day against Augsburg


FC Augsburg vs 1. FC Union Berlin

38 % Possession 62 %
73 % Pass Completion Rate 83 %
52 % Successful Tackle Rate 48 %
13 Shots on Goal 12
17 Crosses 27
1 Caught Offside 2
2 Yellow Cards 2
0 Yellow-Red Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0

Last match

Date Home Result Away