1860 Munich 0-2 FC Augsburg
Allianz Arena, February 18 - As derby matches go, Friday night's contest at the Allianz Arena between TSV 1860 München and FC Augsburg doesn't capture the imagination in the same way as say Liverpool-Everton or AC-Inter Milan. Nevertheless, just under thirty thousand football fans turned up on a cold February evening for this exciting clash between Munich's second team and their neighbours from 65km up the road.
1860 were still licking their wounds after last Monday's bitter 1-0 defeat away to Erzgebirge Aue. A stoppage time goal was all that separated the two sides on that Valentine's Day evening.
In contrast Augsburg have lost just one in their last 14 and have a formidable reputation on the road. Occupying 2nd place in the second division of the German Bundesliga meant the task for "Sechzig" was never going to be easy but it was a chance to bounce back positively in front of their home supporters.
From the whistle Munich got stuck in and had the early chances. Stefan Aigner winning a free kick inside the first 5 minutes but it came to nothing. Sadly for the Lions it was the same story each time they earned a free-kick or corner - the deliveries were poor and failed to find any target. "Die Löwen" desperately need to focus on set pieces during training next week because they wasted nearly all of them this night.
The first goal of the game was struck in the 13th minute and was a lesson for Sechzig in counter-attacking football. Aigner missed a gilt-edged opportunity at the visitors end only for Augsburg to break quickly. Rafael given the space to pick out Michael Thurk who jinked inside the full back on the edge of the area and slotted in past an advancing Gabor Kiraly. Perhaps against the run of play but a clinical finish all the same.
It was clear from now on that Augsburg were going to keep it simple, let Munich come onto them and hit them on the counter. That was their game plan and they stuck to it. A lack of midfield creativity for the home side meant Augsburg only had to sweep up the many misplaced passes their hosts gifted them and the game was won.
To be fair to Sechzig both teams did pretty much cancel each other out for large periods of the first half. 1860 tried to take the game to the visitors but were unable to find that yard of space they needed to release their forwards. Augsburg tested Kiraly at the other end with close efforts just outside the penalty area from Tobias Werner and target man Nando Rafael.
Augsburg kept their shape and continued to press the ball very well in their own half and forced a long range effort from Ignjovski that flew just over the crossbar. Benjamin Lauth also has a good opportunity in the 38th minute, 1 on 1 inside the 6 yard box with the goalkeeper only for his shot to be more of a pass into the keepers arms. Should have a done alot better.
The last 5 minutes of the first half Sechzig seemed to control well. Lauth found himself in space on the edge of the area only to be brought down by the slightest of touches. Penalty claims quickly dismissed by the referee, instead preferring to make Lauth the first entry in the naughty book for diving. No injury time played. The whistle blows for the end of the half at bang on 45 minutes and not a second longer.
Unsurprisingly neither side made any changes in personnel for the start of the second half. Sechzig were by no means out of the match yet although there were seldom scoring chances for either side. It was left until the 53rd minute before the first substitution was made. Sechzig deciding that the ineffective Dominik Stahl should make his way inside for an early bath and the more attack minded Djordje Rakic should take to the stage.
Augsburg began to enjoy long spells of possession. They played their passes short and to feet and applyied some dominance to the proceedings. Precisely on the hour mark Marcel de Jong is played in, unmarked on the edge of the 16 yard box. He strikes a low, powerful left-footed shot, hit first time across the goal and into the back of the net. The 1860 defence caught napping and paying the price. Quite why De Jong was allowed so much space was anyone's guess. A fabulous goal to double the visitors lead.
A few minutes after the goal and the game descends into a somewhat scrappy affair. Both sides guilty of some wild tackles and giving the referee no choice but to book Kevin Volland in the 62nd minutes and Michael Thurk a minute later. In fact, Thurk was to last just another 4 minutes before being replaced as Nando Rafael had been just a few minutes earlier. Aigner was removed for the home side to make way for 19 year old Tarik Camdal as Sechzig hoped some fresh legs would give them added impetuous.
It didn't work. Augsburg were equal to everything Sechzig could throw at them and the game finished 0-2 despite the late addition of Christian Schindler for Alexander Ludwig.
All credit to Augsburg, they deserved to win and got their tactics spot on. They did nothing pretty nor exciting but they were efficient and completely able to neutralize any threat they faced.
1860 need to improve. Their promotion hopes have now faded and they have some work to do just to avoid dropping down the table and finishing the season in a relegation battle. I would imagine that the supporters that did show up had wished they'd stayed at home and rented a movie. Even Titanic had a less sad ending than this game!