Five remarkable stories from our 2021/22 campaign
Rafał Gikiewicz plays through the entire campaign, Michael Gregoritsch shines brightly and Arne Maier finally scores – this past season has seen plenty of highlights and great moments for FCA. Here are five of the most noteworthy stories of the season, including an outstanding statistic, a third win over local rivals and our effective substitutes bench.
It’s certainly difficult for our fans to imagine an FCA competitive match in which Rafał Gikiewicz doesn’t feature, given that the goalkeeper played the full 90 minutes in all of our 34 league matches this season. The only other Bundesliga player to match the feat of playing all 3,060 minutes in 2021/22 is Freiburg’s Christian Günter. Gikiewicz, who kept nine clean sheets this season, has therefore repeated his achievement from the previous campaign. “I’m just doing my job and trying to save shots,” Gikiewicz, who is yet to miss a league match since signing for FCA two years ago, described his role in the side rather succinctly.
FCA have previously recorded two Bundesliga victories against FC Bayern München, in 2014 and 2015 (both 1-0), however, these both came at times when the German record champions had already won the league title. The Fuggerstädter secured their third victory over Bayern last November thanks to Mads Pedersen’s first Bundesliga goal giving us the lead before André Hahn made it 2-0 to FCA. Bayern did get one back before the break, but a passionate performance from Augsburg ensured they held onto their narrow lead and took all three points from the game. “It’s an unbelievable feeling,” commented Pedersen after the full-time whistle, whilst Hahn took the time to pay a compliment to the support in the WWK ARENA on that special night: “We’ve put in an exceptional performance and, thanks to the support of the fans, were able to give it absolutely everything.”
For a long time, it looked like it simply wasn’t going to be Michael Gregoritsch’s season. Come the end of November, the Austrian had been substituted on five times and was yet to find the net for the Fuggerstädter. That all changed following our away match against Hertha BSC, when Gregoritsch headed in our equaliser in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time. “He’s always there for the team, is always in good spirits and brings a good energy to the team,” Hahn was pleased for his teammate. In the following weeks, Gregoritsch then went on to show that he’s not just an extremely important figure in the dressing room, but also on the pitch. The 28-year-old then scored in the next match, a 3-2 defeat to VfL Bochum, before performing very strongly in the second half of the season, netting seven goals in 15 matches in 2022 and making a considerable contribution to our Bundesliga survival. In total, he scored nine goals this season, making him Augsburg’s top goalscorer in 2021/22.
Gregoritsch’s equaliser against the capital-city side was one of a total of eleven goals scored by Augsburg substitutes this season, a league-highest excluding Borussia Dortmund (14). Other emotional goals scored by substitutes include when Daniel Caligiuri made it 1-1 against Leipzig, when Noah Sarenren Bazee drew us level in our 1-1 draw with Dortmund shortly before full-time, or Florian Niederlechner’s late winner against Borussia Mönchengladbach (1-0). Gregoritsch’s equaliser is of course part of this list – what makes it even more special is that his 90+7th-minute goal was the latest-ever FCA goal in our Bundesliga history. “They’re the moments you play football for – to score an equaliser in the last minute,” said Gregoritsch before adding, along with a cheeky wink: “Of course, you also dream of scoring the winner, too.” At least the one point won felt like three!
Arne Maier certainly appeared somewhat annoyed when, at the start of 2022, he was asked the question of when he would score his first Bundesliga goal. “It’ll definitely come at the right time – and then people will stop talking about it,” promised the midfielder. Two weeks later, on his 91st Bundesliga appearance, that moment finally came. During our match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Maier was stood in the right place at the right time to poke home the rebound following Gregoritsch’s free-kick and got us a goal back against Leverkusen, his first-ever goal in the top-flight. However, Maier was unable to be overly pleased with breaking his scoring duck, because despite the 23-year-old opening his account in the Bundesliga, FCA ultimately lost the match 5-1. “I would’ve happily gone without scoring if it had meant that we’d won the game,” commented Maier. He’s now no longer asked questions about his first Bundesliga goal.