I’m in Bavaria once again like I used to be in during my times traveling through the cities of Nuremberg, Ingolstadt, and even Munich, the capital of the province and at one time capital of its own kingdom of Bavaria. All of those 3 cities have a major Bundesliga team just like Augsburg does… well, actually, FC Ingolstadt was in the first league before they were relegated, but none of the Bavarian teams have any chance against the perennial German league challengers in FC Bayern Munich. I think FC Augsburg tries to compete but can only play spoiler to their much richer, to the east Bavarian counterparts. Their stadium is called WWK Arena (named after an insurance company and its other name is Augsburg Arena) which is much smaller than Bayerin Munich’s Allianz Arena but it can still hold its own as it sometimes hosts the German national football team as well for certain matches even though it can only hold about 30,000, far less than Allianz Arena’s 70,000.
The game between FC Augsburg and VfL Wolfsburg was third game out of 3 games in 3 straight days so I was getting a little tired there due to all the traveling, not because of me sitting down for all these games in the cold. No, the driving around and trying out to figure out the logistics can be down-right tiring as even the best laid plans go to crap. For example, I was planning to park my car at one parking garage but I quickly find out upon arrival, that it was closed. So, I guess it’s time to go find an alternate solution. I did think about driving down to the arena but decided against that as most Bundesliga games generally allow free transportation on local public trans services and for FC Augsburg games, there is a special tram that goes from the main train station to the stadium via tram.
I predicted that this was going to be a slugfest with the end score being a 2-2 tie due to both teams having almost equal talent/ability, a lot of physicality (there was even a lot of fighting/arguing later in the game), and the fact that it was raining pretty good. The atmosphere was very Christmas-y as FC Augsburg colors are red, green, and white – the same as Christmas!
One funny scene was during a pause in the game, one of the FC Augsburg players cornered a fearless pigeon into the advertising wall and eventually grabbed the bird and gradually dropped him on the other side to prevent the bird from getting stomped on. This dead-defying bird was probably looking for food and did not freak out at all when the players and the ball were mere inches or even centimeters away. Once the player put the bird out of harm’s way, the entire stadium cheered and even laughed; his teammates and Wolfsburg paused and watched for the sideshow to go by before they resumed play.
FC Wolfsburg struck the first goals during the first half before FC Augsburg countered in the second half scoring two goals to equalize. The home crowd was really into the comeback and were hoping for an amazing comeback victory. It almost happened as the home team was really putting a lot of pressure in the last 10 minutes but then, Wolfsburg strikes. After stopping a free kick into the penalty box, the goalie snatches it out of the air, hesitates as he looks for an open man, and then delivers a long hail mary pass only to be crossed into the middle where another Wolfsburg player one-times it perfectly to score the third goal and back on top. So many Augsburg fans were just absolutely angry and shocked after being joyous just several minutes prior. Even with the extra time, FC Augsburg could not score another goal to equalize and Wolfsburg ended up with their early Christmas victory present before the winter break.
FC Augsburg’s tactics were more in line with a 5-2-3 lineup (or even a 4-1-2-3 lineup) where the 5th defensive (and central) player will go forward into the attack. The team does more line of sight passing before trying to go for a long ball. They also press up high with their front 3 on defense so if the central defensive player and the fullbacks need to come up, then they will. I can see that the team’s best attack is to pursue the frontal assault before trying to go in on the sides which is how they scored.
FC Wolfsburg plays a more standard 4-4-2 but the fullbacks will come up to help out in the attack. They prefer to swing the ball on passes in order to make the opponent move around more. So there were long passes in order to make this happen which surprisingly worked well. I think this is due to their 2 forward players moving around in order to free up space for the midfielders that can also move so they are so crowded. Their style of attack is also in line with FC Augsburg’s – frontal and then flank on the sides.
Now I’ve been to the Augsburg before (or more like passing through) but I didn’t think too much of the city as there aren’t really any major attractions in the city nor in the area. However, with me going to the FC Augsburg game, I finally had a good reason why I should go in the first place. As I’ve written before, a lot of these German cities have little to offer in terms of fun and entertainment or having attractions to go visit, so it’s best to go visit a city and see the local sports team that way you have an excuse to go!
After this third football game in three days, I’m pooped. But it was definitely a dream to go see three straight games – not many people can say the same!