Football Features

Niederlechner fluffs his line: The winners and losers from Augsburg 1-1 FC Köln

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 19:17, 7 June 2020

Augsburg and FC Köln played out a 1-1 draw in the Bundesliga on Sunday afternoon.

The relegation six-pointer was heading towards a goalless stalemate before FC Köln’s super-sub Anthony Modeste put them in front with five minutes remaining.

However, the visitors couldn’t maintain their hard-fought lead and were pegged back moments later when Philipp Max managed to beat the impressive Timo Horn.

This result, which neither wanted, leaves both still looking over their shoulders. Naturally, there were individual winners and losers:

Winner: Timo Horn

This could have gone the other way. Horn saw the red mist when he brought on-fire Augsburg winger Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee down in the 26th minute. He did, though, make amends by pulling off an impressive save to deny Florian Niederlechner from 12 yards. Incredibly this was his second penalty save from three faced this season.

His other success was also at Augsburg’s expense: thwarting André Hahn on matchday 13. He wasn’t done there and as the hosts grew into the game, the Olympic silver-medalist produced another save, a David de Gea-esque one (aka with his leg), again the frustrated man was Niederlechner.

Loser: Benno Schmitz

FC Köln could have easily been reduced to 10 men before the half-hour mark. Benno Schmitz, starting at left-back though nominally used to playing on the opposite flank, had been on a yellow since the 15th minute before committing another foul moments later. It wasn’t deemed a bookable offence by referee Benjamin Cortus despite the protestations by several Augsburg players.

Schmitz’s own teammate Mark Uth wasn’t happy with their behaviour though, his own appeal seemingly went too far thus earning himself a caution for dissent. Markus Gisdol, in the FC Köln dugout, wasn’t going to risk matters and hauled Schmitz off in the 28th minute for his own safety knowing another mistimed challenge could see his side at a disadvantage.

Winner: Anthony Modeste

Anthony Modeste at 32 has enjoyed an interesting career. The former Blackburn Rovers marksman has been reinventing himself in Germany with Hoffenheim and, now, FC Köln where he’s taken on a bit-part role this season. He’s only started in nine of their opening 30 outings, missing one game through injury, but in his last appearance — coming off the bench against RB Leipzig — he’d register his third goal of the campaign.

You can now make that four, with three of those coming in FC Köln’s last four games, this was another spectacular strike and a reminder of the role he can play from the bench. Modeste’s goal to put FC Köln in front came three minutes after he took to the pitch. Despite their lead not lasting for long, it’s encouraging to have a weapon to call upon when safety could be on the line.

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Loser: Florian Niederlechner

It was one of those days at the office for Augsburg marksman Florian Niederlechner, who came into today’s game desperate to end a nine-match goalless streak. His last strike came in early February when the Fuggerstädter ran out 2-1 winners against relegation-threatened Werder Bremen.

This afternoon wasn’t for a lack of trying, he managed to have three shots on goal, which included an opportunity from the spot, but such is Niederlechner’s current situation — now going 856 minutes since last scoring — you can somewhat understand. It must be weighing heavily on his mind.

Winner: Surrounding rivals

The completion of matchday 30 has left Eintracht Frankfurt in 11th to Werder Bremen in 17th separated by 10 points. With four games remaining, there are certain to be a few more twists and turns. Both Augsburg and FC Köln aren’t out of the woods yet, sharing the spoils today helps no one, if anything it should encourage the likes of Mainz 05, who currently sit a point and place below Augsburg, whom they play next in another six-pointer.

Bottom side Paderborn, despite a great result against Champions League chasers RB Leipizg, are certainly down. Not only are they 11 points adrift of safety, but eight away from entering the relegation play-offs. The same cannot be said for Augsburg and FC Köln who could easily be dragged into a fight for their very Bundesliga existence with another poor game or two. Fortuna Düsseldorf, who occupy the final demotion spot, are four points behind Augsburg with FC Köln a further three away.

Loser: Augsburg’s attack

To say Augsburg were huffing and puffing would be an understatement. In the opening 45 minutes, they laid siege to Horn’s goal, pulling off no fewer than 13 shots, which is only bettered by Bayern Munich’s efforts (17) against the same opposition — FC Köln — on matchday 22.

Heiko Herrlich’s men were a tad unfortunate, but you make your own luck, meaning they were simply guilty of freezing. They did manage to breach Horn’s goal, with two minutes remaining on the clock, but that all-important strike did come from a prolific source, though left-back Philipp Max — even after registering his eighth of the season — shouldn’t have this burden. That being said, he showed the composure his forwards were lacking.