FC Augsburg around winning goal scorer Mergim Berisha has missed Bayer Leverkusen the next setback in the Bundesliga. After losing 2-0 to Borussia Dortmund, the Rhinelanders suffered another setback on Friday with a 0-1 (0-0) win in Augsburg in what had in the meantime seemed so promising to catch up under coach Xabi Alonso.
Berisha coldly used the surprising amount of space that the Leverkusen defenders gave him after a corner kick and headed in for the fifth time in a home game this season to make it 1-0 (55th minute).
After the liberating goal for Augsburg in front of 27,318 spectators, the U21 European champions cheered more cautiously than after his goal in the 3-1 draw in Freiburg, when he had drawn the ire of the Freiburg fans. For coach Enrico Maassen's team, trying to make their own stadium "a fortress" again was the second win in their second home game this year. After five wins in a row, Leverkusen suffered their second defeat in a row. FCA reduced the gap to Leverkusen to three points.
"We'll try to work our way up," said former world champion Alonso. The highly talented Bayer team was also shown in Augsburg that this is a difficult path. There were many duels in an intense game, but chances to score were a rarity.
Moussa Diaby had the best chance in the first 45 minutes, hitting the post (29'). But the lightning-fast winger is not a goalscorer like Patrik Schick, who is sorely missed by the Rhinelanders. The second-best Bundesliga goalscorer of the previous season (24 goals) has been missing since the beginning of November due to groin problems and this time the Czech didn't make it into the squad either.
The fact that Bayer struggled in the creative field was also due to the fact that Alonso gave the long-injured young national player Florian Wirtz a short creative break and initially left him on the bench. "He needs time to get back to his best level. We have to help him," said Alonso about the 19-year-old, who recently made his comeback from the start in the 2-0 win against Bochum after tearing a cruciate ligament and a break of 318 days. In the 62nd minute, however, he came into the game.
The Augsburgers were defensively compact and controlled the game over long stretches. But not much went forward either, especially since the most accurate FCA goalscorer to date, Ermedin Demirovic, was missing due to a yellow card suspension. A shot by Croatian Dion Drena Beljo wasn't really a test for Lukas Hradecky (31'). In addition to Beljo, another winter newcomer, Arne Engels, was able to start right from the start.
Augsburg were the more active team in the second half as well. Hradecky was able to parry a long-range shot from Beljo, but it happened in the following corner. Engels, who is also responsible for standards at FCA, finds Berisha, who nods to the lead. However, the striker was left completely alone by the Leverkusen defense team, which Alonso should not have liked. In a much more entertaining second half, Leverkusen risked more at the end, but without success.