HSV leave Augsburg empty-handed
Hamburger SV’s opening Bundesliga game of 2018 ended in a 1-0 defeat to FC Augsburg.
The first match of the Rückrunde saw HSV lose 1-0 to Augsburg on Saturday afternoon. Ja-Cheol Koo scored the only goal of the game in front of 30,000 spectators at the WWK-ARENA right on the stroke of half time, handing the hosts an advantage at the break despite a fairly even opening 45. In the second half though, Augsburg took confidence from their lead and looked the more dangerous team, while the Rothosen failed to force a significant chance to equalise through, and the clock ran out on a potential comeback.
HSV coach Markus Gisdol had to improvise with his first team of 2018, as potential starters Ekdal, Hunt and Arp all missed out through injury or illness. The boss also made a tactical change, with the Rothosen lining up in a less familiar 4-4-2 formation featuring Julian Pollersbeck between the sticks, having been backed as the new first-choice goalkeeper in the new year. Hamburg started on the front foot in Bavaria, but it was the hosts who looked the bigger threat forward, particularly Michael Gregoritsch, who had the best opportunity to open the scoring in the opening exchanges. Fortunately for Gisdol’s side, a last-ditch Diekmeier challenge denied the FCA striker from testing Pollersbeck. Clear-cut chances were few and far between, but when the ball did hit the back of the net, it couldn’t have come at a worse time for HSV. A cross from Caiuby in the 45th minute was met by the head of Ja-Cheol Koo, whose powerful finish couldn’t be kept out.
The timing of the goal knocked the wind out of the Rothosen and they failed to find their feet after the restart. FCA controlled the game, leaving HSV chasing the ball and the game. It wasn’t until the final ten minutes of the match that Gisdol’s men started to offer a little more in the final third, although Augsburg had almost put the result to bed by that point, with Gregoritsch clipping a driven effort from Philipp Max onto the post. However, with just a one-goal lead for the hosts, there was always the hope that Hamburg could snatch an equaliser. Kostic did have the ball in the back of the net in the 86th minute, but the flag went up for offside against Hahn, who had laid the ball off to be fired home. A couple of long-range efforts from Janjicic and then Hahn in the closing stages only stung the palms of goalkeeper Hitz, as Augsburg saw out the final minutes to claim all three points.
FC Augsburg: Hitz - Opare, Gouweleeuw, Hinteregger, Max - Khedira, D. Baier (93’ Kacar) - Koo, Gregoritsch, Caiuby - Cordova (68’ Schmid)
Hamburger SV: Pollersbeck- Diekmeier, Mavraj, Papadopoulos, Douglas - Salihovic (68’ Waldschmidt), Jung, Janjicic (84’ Schipplock), Kostic - Wood (74’ Ito), Hahn
Goals: 1-0 Koo (45’)
Referee: Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)
Yellow cards: Khedira / Douglas