Augsburg played out a 3-3 draw with Bayer Leverkusen at the WWK Arena on Saturday in yet another enthralling Bundesliga battle.
It was a vital match for both German sides. Augsburg are aiming to avoid the drop while Leverkusen are seeking a Champions League spot. Home midfielder Ja-Cheol Koo fired his side to a three goal advantage just before the hour mark.
It was looking like Augsburg were going to cruise to an easy victory, but Karim Bellarabi had other ideas when he smashed the ball under goalkeeper Marwin Hitz to pull one back for the visitors. 20 minutes later a Leverkusen set piece ricocheted of the head of Paul Verhaegh, veering in for an own goal.
With the scoreline sitting at 3-2, the stage was set for a nail biting finale. In the 92nd minute the visitors were hammering the Augsburg goal until defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw committed a handball, resulting in a red card and a penalty. Hakan Calhanoglu stepped up to the spot and made no mistake to earn his side a point.
It will feel like a defeat to Augsburg
After just one victory in their previous seven domestic outings, the hosts took advantage of a weakened BayArena outfit to take a three goal lead. It was Koo who stole the show with his impressive hat-trick, but it was far from a one man show, Augsburg expressed passion and positive intent. They were fantastic throughout stages in the match and appeared to be establishing themselves as a side worthy of staying up.
But despite leading 3-0 after one hour of play, all the hard work was undone by a lapse in concentration, which cost the home side dearly. Markus Weinzierl and his team sit 14th on the table, just two points clear of 16th placed Eintracht Frankfurt and five points ahead of 17th placed Hoffenheim. A massive opportunity was missed by the WWK outfit.
Leverkusen certainly are not cruising
Since the 1-0 defeat to BVB, Roger Schmidt and his men have collapsed. During the Dortmund showdown, Schmidt was sent off and suspended for three matches due to unsporting behavior. For the third consecutive showing, assistant coach Markus Kroesche has led Leverkusen onto the pitch. In those three matches they have netted five times and shipped ten goals – a significantly poor patch of form. One cannot help but wonder if the suspension of Schmidt has played a role in this.
Despite completing a comeback from three goals down, it is still a terrible result for the visitors. They have now secured just one point from a possible six against the likes of Werder Bremen and Augsburg. On paper it should have been two comfortable wins for Leverkusen.
Schmidt could be busy in next transfer window
It is obvious that the injury list at the BayArena is a huge factor in Leverkusen’s slope in form. The likes of Kevin Kampl, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Lars Bender, Omer Toprak, Jonathan Tah and Stefan Kiessling are all out of action.
Alarm bells should still be raised, as even when injuries are apparent the team must continue to fight for results. It is dreadful to be conceding ten goals in three matches under any circumstances. Leverkusen need to be able to have the depth to cater for mishaps.
Javier Hernandez missed the clash through suspension after collecting five yellow cards. His absence was clearly felt and another forward is needed at Leverkusen, Hernandez has been fantastic but all the responsibility is on his shoulders. He was present in the defeats against Dortmund, Mainz 05 and Bremen, struggling to still muster anything dangerous.
The squad needs a revamp.