With another international break in the books, the Bundesliga returns to action again this weekend. On the cards for FCA is a tough away trip to TSG Hoffenheim. While Manuel Baum described them as “one of the strongest teams in the Bundesliga”, striker Alfred Finnbogason is looking to carry forward his country’s good form in World Cup qualification into his Augsburg performances in the Bundesliga.
“World Cup qualification is a really special achievement for Iceland, seeing as we’ve never done it before,” explained Alfred Finnbogason. “It’s a great feeling to be part of the team that has finally been able to do it. When we’re older we’ll see just how big of a moment it was. Everyone back home is on cloud nine at the moment.” FCA’s striker sees parallels between both Iceland and FC Augsburg. “Successes like this are like fairy tales for small clubs and countries. It really proves what you can achieve when a whole team puts its all on the line for one another.”
The 28-year-old is hoping to take the confidence that World Cup qualification has given him into Saturday’s clash with Hoffenheim. FCA’s head coach Manuel Baum expects nothing less than a “very tough task” against the Europa League participants. “They are a very good team,” he praised. “They’re very flexible in what they do, and can attack you in a variety of different ways.” He also described FCA’s opponents as “one of the strongest teams in the Bundesliga.” Baum knows very well that Augsburg “have to invest a lot into this game to be able to expect anything out of it.”
Hinteregger is fit, questions still loom over Khedira’s status
FCA fans have some good memories of away trips to Hoffenheim. The 0-0 draw in Sinsheim on the last matchday of last season earned the point that secured FCA’s status in the top flight. Now, however, this is a battle between two teams doing very well in this current campaign. With a win, Augsburg (6th place, 11 points) can go level with Hoffenheim (3rd, 14 points). Manuel Baum wants his team to head into the game with courage. “If you only defend, you’re too passive. It’s a crucial factor in deciding whether you win or lose.”
There is also news on the personnel front: Martin Hinteregger has recovered from his ankle inflammation, while Rani Khedira has trained with the squad and is a possibility for Saturday. Konstantinos Stafylidis, Dong-Won Ji and Sergio Córdova are all nursing slight injuries after the international break and so are questionable to play. Even so, Manuel Baum has a plethora of options to choose from at a variety of different positions.