Bayer 04 coach Roger Schmidt was forced to make one change to his starting eleven. The suspended Ömer Toprak was replaced in central defence by Aleksandar Dragovic. The Bayer 04 coach also had to compensate for the absence of Jonathan Tah (thigh injury) and Hakan Calhanoglu (CAS ban).
The Werkself needed a few minutes to get into the game against an aggressive Augsburg team playing on the front foot. In the pouring rain, Schmidt's team gradually gain control of proceedings: The first warning shot on the goal of Augsburg keeper Marwin Hitz came on seven minutes. Karim Bellarabi put Kai Havertz through with a delightful diagonal ball and Hitz was called into action to keep out the shot from the Bayer 04 youngster. That was the starting gun for an exciting first half.
Bellarabi Scores 50,000th goal in the Bundesliga
The Werkself stuck to their task and created further chances through Kevin Kampl (20'), Chicharito (22') and Havertz (23'). The pressure paid off a few seconds later when a brilliant move by Julian Brandt and Chicharito ended with the ball at the feet of Havertz. The 17-year-old displayed calm, vision and class as he sent in a pinpoint cross into the middle of the box. Bellarabi met the ball and slotted it into the back of the net like a seasoned striker. The goal not only gave Schmidt's team the lead but was also the 50,000th in the history of the Bundesliga.
The Black and Reds continued to press forward towards the Augsburg net. Three minutes later, Chicharito missed the chance to double the lead when his shot on the turn went just wide of the target (28'). Bellarabi then had a chance to increase the lead on 32 minutes. His volley from a tight angle was kept out with an impressive reflex save by Hitz.
Leno keeps the Werkself ahead
The Werkself were rewarded for their constant endeavour on 40 minutes. An excellent combination of Havertz, Chicharito and Bellarabi finished with Bender setting up Chicharito. The Mexican was suddenly unmarked in front of Hitz and he kept his cool as he slotted into the ball into the net from close range to make the score 2-0. That was the 900th away goal for the Werkself in the Bundesliga. The fact the Werkself had a clean sheet at half-time was due in large part to Bernd Leno. On 33 minutes, the Germany keeper again displayed his impressive form when he saved from Augsburg's Ja-Cheol Koo in a one-on-one by staying on his feet and blocking the ball with his chest.
The Augsburg team, coached by Manuel Baum, came out fighting in the second half. And they created a number of chances. The best opportunity fell to FCA striker Raul Bobadilla when he was through on Leno on 51 minutes. Once again the Werkself number one did his job to maintain the clean sheet. His luck ran out ten minutes later when Koo set up former Bayer 04 player Dominic Kohr to make it 2-1 on the hour mark.
Chicharito seals the victory
The scales we finally tipped in favour of victory for the Werkself thanks to Chicharito once again. After wonderful work by Havertz the Mexican rounded off a counter-attack with the second goal to make it 3-1 for the Werkself on 65 minutes. The brace brought his total for the season to ten goals.
The attempts by the hosts to get back on terms failed to hit home. That was also due to the reshaped defence around Dragovic. The Werkself had further chances to win by a greater margin but the efforts of Bellarabi (84') and Kampl in added time failed to find the back of the net. The match ended in a deserved 3-1 victory for Bayer 04.
Following the two Bundesliga wins in succession the Werkself now go into the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 against Atlético Madrid (21 February, 20.45 CET). The next league match comes five days later on Sunday (50.30 CET) with a home game against FSV Mainz 05.
FC Augsburg: Hitz – Verhaegh, Gouweleeuw, Janker, Max – Baier – Teigl (Ji 71’), Kohr (Leitner 88’), Koo, Usami – Bobadilla
Bayer 04: Leno – Henrichs, Jedvaj, Dragovic, Wendell – Bender (Aránguiz 44’), Kampl – Bellarabi, Brandt (Volland 59’) – Havertz, Chicharito (Baumgartlinger 67’)
Goals: 0-1 Bellarabi (23’), 0-2 Chicharito (32’), 1-2 Kohr (60’), 1-3 Chicharito (65’)
Booked: Max, Verhaegh, Kohr – Wendell (5th yellow card)
Referee: Harm Osmers (Hannover)
Attendance: 25,010 (capacity)
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