Bundesliga: Augsburg beat Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 to qualify for the Europa League
Last Updated: 23/05/15 5:08pm
Augsburg booked their place in the Europa League next season by beating Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 to hold off the challenge of Borussia Dortmund.
Raffael gave the hosts the lead against the run of play in the 37th minute, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg earned the Bavarians their first ever qualification for Europe with just under 20 minutes remaining at the Borussia Park Stadion.
Tim Matavz ensured they even made it into the group stage with a second while Sascha Molders put the cherry on top with a third for a win that took them above Schalke into fifth place in the final 2014-15 Bundesliga standings.
Thorgan Hazard was restored to the Gladbach starting XI, making his first start in two months, while Havard Nordtveit returned to the defence for the first time in six weeks with coach Lucien Favre making a few changes.
Augsburg looked that bit hungrier in the opening exchanges, keen to get more than just the one point they needed to secure a place in the Europa League next season.
They had chances to take the lead with Markus Feulner and Tobias Werner going the closest before they were hit by the sucker punch.
Gladbach took the lead in the 37th minute with some good work from Patrick Herrmann setting up Raffael to tuck the ball in from close range against the run of play.
With Dortmund winning, it meant Augsburg had temporarily slipped to seventh, which would nevertheless be good enough for a place in Europe next season, but with an extra qualifying round needed first.
After Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl started to gamble with a string of attacking substitutions, a red card for Nordtveit for a foul as the last man gave them a greater chance of getting back on terms and snatching sixth from Dortmund.
They got the goal they were looking for when Hojbjerg unleashed an unstoppable shot which was worth a place in Europe all by itself.
Minutes later, Matavz headed in Shawn Parker's cross to make Augsburg's afternoon even better.
Molders crowned the day and Augsburg's season with a third in stoppage time with a fine shot past Yann Sommer from the edge of the area securing a win which sees Augsburg end their best ever season in fifth place, above Schalke and in the group stage of the Europa League.