The Bundesliga returns this weekend after a brief international break, and FC Augsburg will be welcoming 1. FC Köln to the WWK Arena on Saturday at 15:30 CEST. Head coach Manuel Baum gives his thoughts ahead of the game.
On the upcoming game against Cologne: “We’re in the middle of our pre-match analysis at the moment, and I feel like we’re preparing well. Cologne are a strong team, who’ve come on well recently. They’ve always been tactically good over the past few seasons, and their poor start this year can be put down to bad luck primarily. Even though they haven’t really got out of the blocks yet, we’d be naïve to not realise that they pose a massive challenge for us. We’ll try to play the way we want to again on Saturday, and to keep all three points in Augsburg.”
On the state of his squad: “There are a few questions surrounding Raphael Framberger’s availability as he’s having knee problems, but I’m holding out hope that he can rejoin training soon. In Tim Rieder’s case, we have to keep looking at his knee and unfortunately Georg Teigl is having back problems. Kostas Stafylidis missed training today as he was recovering from his international duties, but he’ll rejoin the rest of the squad on Wednesday.”
On FCA’s squad depth: “Having a small squad can be problematic at times. If multiple players pick up knocks at the same time, it’s difficult. On the other hand, when you have a big squad it’s really important to not leave players in the dark. We put things everything into perspective for our players and offer them suggestions on how they can specifically improve. In the last few years we made the decision that we need a large squad in this league. I’m happy that the squad is so tight knit.”
On the left back position: “I’m pleased that we are blessed to have three quality players at that position in the form of Philipp Max, Kostas Stafylidis and Kilian Jakob. Philipp Max can also play in more advanced positions, as we saw at the end of last season. Kostas Stafylidis is back from national duty and we’re confident that he is now fully focused on FCA. Kilian Jakob brings youth and technically sound abilities to the group, with a very good understanding of the game. It’s important that he adapts to the speed of the Bundesliga though, so we’ll bring him along gradually.”