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FC Ausburg

Fußball-Club Augsburg 1907 e. V., more commonly known as FC Augsburg, is a German football club based in the city of Augsburg, Bavaria.

It was founded in 1907 as Fußball-Klub Alemania Augsburg and played as BC Augsburg from 1921-1969. It is the largest football club in the Swabia region of Bavaria with more than 18,000 members.

The colours of Augsburg are red, green and white while its badge closely resembles the emblem of the city. The Augsburg Arena, presently known as the WWK Arena for sponsorship reasons, has been the home-ground for the club since 2009. It is located just south of the city and has a capacity for 30,066 viewers.

Augsburg has a severe rivalry with fellow Bavarian clubs FC Ingolstadt 04 and TSV 1860 München. A game against 1860 München in 1973 set the all-time record for the highest spectator attendance at the Olympiastadion. At present, Augsburg also regularly fill out the arena against FC Bayern München in another Bavarian derby.

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History

A merger between TSV Schwaben and BC Augsburg, the two most successful teams from the city, was first discussed as early as the late 1940’s. But the first proper meeting between the two clubs only took place in 1964 and both clubs were dropped out from the top-division by then.

TSV Schwaben was a multi-sports club and the football department was not in favour while it was also located in the more affluent southern part of the city. BC Augsburg perceived itself as a working-class club based in the northern part of the city and the river Wertach formed a symbolic boundary between the two sides.

In April 1969 another effort was made following a high-level meeting between the parties which eventually resulted in the merger of the two clubs. It was to be named FC Augsburg and there would be no other sports department other than football. The city mayor Hans Breuer is regarded to be among the driving forces behind the unification.

At the time TSV Schwaben was recently relegated from Regionalliga Süd, the 2nd tier of German football while BC Augsburg had narrowly missed out on promotion to that league in the same campaign. The club played its first game as FC Augsburg in a home-game against 1.FC Nürnberg on 30th July 1969, losing 0-3 in extra-time.

The Early Years

After its formation in 1969, FC Augsburg started life in the Bayernliga which was the 3rd tier of the German league during the time. Despite focusing solely on football, a 4th place finish and reduced spectator numbers showed that the merger had not been entirely popular with the people of Augsburg.

The following season it managed to finish in 3rd position but by this time average attendance had dropped to about 300 per game, which meant it would not be possible to hold onto its best players. When the subsequent 1971/72 campaign ended, FC Augsburg could only manage 8th spot in the table.

However, the team improved considerably the following season and Augsburg lifted the 1972/73 Bayernliga title to move up to the 2nd division. The club also managed to endear itself with the local populace and 15,000 people came to watch the team play its final home-game and to celebrate the championship.

For the 1973/74 season, the club saw the return of one its finest football exports, when former German international Helmut Hallersigned for the club in a DM 44,000 transfer-fee. Haller came back to his hometown club after a glittering 11 year period in Italy where he won league-titles with both Bologna and Juventus.

The move was a big success with Augsburg drawing in excess of 22,000 people to its home-games. When it travelled for the away-game at 1860 München 80,000 spectators gathered at the newly-built Olympiastadion for the match. Eventually, Augsburg won the Regionalliga Süd to earn a shot at promotion to the top-tier.

In the promotion round, Augsburg was to battle with 4 other teams in a two-legged round-robin format for one spot in the top-division. Despite only losing a game, it ended 1 point behind Tennis Borussia Berlin. But due to its Regionalliga title, Augsburg earned a spot in the new nationwide league 2nd division league called 2.Bundesliga.

Stagnation

Despite clinching a 2nd division title the previous season, Augsburg found life quite difficult in 2.Bundesliga. The club finished in the bottom-half for the next 5 seasons with frequent replacements in the managerial position. But in 1978/79 it finished in 18th spot in 2.Bundesliga Süd and was relegated into the 3rd tier.

Augsburg managed to win the Bayernliga the following season to return to 2.Bundesliga after a one-year absence. But the 2nd tier would be operating in a single division after the 1980/81 season with half the number of teams and Augsburg ended in 18th spot which was not enough to keep itself in the division.

Returning to the Bayernliga, Augsburg once again managed to win the title at the first attempt to enter the promotion round to determine two teams that would progress to the 2nd division from the 4 Southern German champions. FC Augsburg took 2nd place behind FSV Frankfurt to earn its return-pass to 2.Bundesliga.

But Ausgburg again had a troubled time in 2.Bundesliga since the team was not strong enough to compete at that level. In the end it was relegated to the 3rd tier after finishing in 17th position due to an inferior goal-ration in comparison with 16th placed Union Solingen, requiring 3 more goals to overcome the deficit.

For the next 11 years, Augsburg remained in the Bayernliga, which was still the 3rd tier of league football in Germany. As the number of divisions in the 2nd tier had diminished to just one while a host of Bavarian clubs dropped down to the 3rd division making the Bayernliga much more competitive than before.

FC Augsburg remained among the top-sides in the Bayernliga during this period but it was not able to lift the title and it seemed the team had settled into the 3rd division for good. Its best performance came in the 1984/85 campaign when it took 2nd position, finishing only a single point behind champions SpVgg Bayreuth.

The club had another chance of promotion in the final year of promotion-payoffs for 2.Bundesliga. But unlike previous seasons, it was placed with much stronger clubs from the north. Despite receiving tremendous support, it could not get into 2.Bundesliga but managed to earn a spot in the Regionalliga, the new 3rd tier of German football.

Augsburg spent the next five years in Regionalliga Süd, finishing in mid-table and never getting close to a promotion. It finished the 1998/99 season just 2 points above the relegation-zone in 14th position. In the meantime the purse strings were getting tighter with the club now in serious financial trouble.

The following year was another qualifying season as the Regionaliga would be reduced from 4 to just 2 divisions. It picked up an 8th place finish but the club was on the brink of bankruptcy. And when a potential investor backed out, FC Augsburg could not gather the finance for the Regionalliga license and was relegated to the 4th tier.

The Present

FC Augsburg was rescued financially when Walter Seinsch, a local entrepreneur, took over as chairman and overhauled the fiscal management of the club. It was able to field a more competitive team in the Bayernliga and achieved promotion to the 3rd division in the 2nd time of asking during the 2001/02 campaign.

Recovery

Augsburg returned to the Regionalliga and gathered momentum in the following years, finishing inside the top-4 in its first 4 seasons. The club came agonisingly close to promotion in the 2004/05 campaign when it conceded 2 goals in the last 4 minutes to SSV Jahn Regensburg in its final fixture of the season.

Nevertheless, despite the disappointment, Augsburg made a strong return in the following season and was able to dominate the league right from the start. It went on to claim the Regionalliga Süd title by a margin of 10 points thereby securing a direct promotion back to the 2nd division.

After an absence of 23 years, FC Augsburg began the 2006/07 season in 2.Bundesliga. It finished the campaign on 52 points, ending just 8 points behind a promotion-spot. The 2007/08 season was much more complicated when it finished level on points with Offenbacher Kickers but escaped the drop due to a better goal-average.

For 2008/09, Dutchman Jos Luhukay was brought in as the new manager and Augsburg finished the campaign in 11th position. The following season it jumped up to a 3rd place finish while reaching the semi-final of the DFB-Pokal but failed to get promoted after losing 0-3 on aggregate to 1.FC Nürnberg in the playoff-tie.

In the 2010/11 campaign, FC Augsburg finished as runners-up in 2.Bundesliga behind Hertha BSC to earn a direct promotion to the top-flight of the German football league system. Finally after decades of heartbreak and failure, Augsburg was going to feature in 1.Bundesliga for the first time in its history.

In the Top-Tier

FC Augsburg failed to take a victory from the opening 8 fixtures but on October 15th 2011, the club went on to register its first win in the top-division with a 1-0 score-line against 1.FSV Mainz 05. And despite languishing in the drop-zone halfway through the season, the club preserved its 1.Bundesliga status with a game to spare.

However, Jos Luhuay resigned from his post and Markus Weinzierl was appointed as the new manager of Augsburg. The club struggled even more in its 2nd season, earning a meagre 9 points in the first-half of the campaign. At the end, a 3-1 win against SpVgg Greuther on the final day allowed it to finish just outside the drop-zone.

In the 2013/14 campaign, Augsburg ended in 8th spot in the table to produce its best 1.Bundesliga finish. In 2014/15, despite an embarrassing DFB-Pokal 1st round defeat against amateur-side 1.FC Magdeburg, the club surpassed that achievement by finishing in 5th position which also earned a UEFA Europa League berth for next season.

In 2015/16, Augsburg managed to take 2nd spot in its group to qualify for the knockout-stage of the UEFA Europa League. It then narrowly lost 0-1 on aggregate to English powerhouse Liverpool in the Round of 32. Meanwhile, its exertions in Europe also meant the club would finish outside the top-half in 11th position.

Markus Wienzierl left the club at the end of the campaign and Dirk Schuster was named as his successor. He lasted only a few months at the job, however, as Manuel Baum replaced him as the new manager in December 2016. Despite flirting with relegation, Augsburg was able finish a point above the drop-zone in 13th spot.

The following season, FC Augsburg began with its best start to a Bundesliga campaign to lie on 5th position at the end of Matchday 6. But in spite of the superb beginning and despite being in the top-half of the table for much of the campaign, its form tapered off in the last month and it eventually ended the 2017/18 season in 12th position.

The 2018/19 season turned out to be a fairly sombre campaign as FC Augsburg faced a long and arduous battle for 1.Bundesliga survival. Manuel Baum was relieved from his duties in April 2019 with Martin Schmidt coming in as the replacement and he managed to keep the club from relegation, finishing 4 points above the drop-zone in 15th place.

The 2019/20 campaign turned out to be another bleak one for Augsburg and the club never breached the top-half of the league-table in the entire campaign. This time, Martin Schmidt lost his job with Heiko Herrlich replacing him as the manager, who carried the club to a 15th place finish in the end.

FC Augsburg got off to a rapid start in 2020/21 to find itself in 6th spot after Matchday 6. But its form gradually dropped off and it was hovering right above the drop-zone when Heiko Herrlich was sacked with just 3 games left in the season. Markus Weinzierl returned to his former club and steered it to a 13th place finish.

Augsburg did not get off to a particularly auspicious start in the 2021/22 season and picked up only 1 league-win from its opening 10 fixtures. The club was languishing in the relegation-spots for the majority of the campaign. However, picking up 5 victories from its last 10 matches helped it to finish 5 points above the bottom-3 in 14th spot.

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