Eighth faces ninth on Bundesliga matchday 9 as FCA welcome Hannover 96 to the WWK ARENA on Saturday 21 October at 15:30 CEST. With a win, Augsburg can put three points between the side who are currently one spot below them in the standings, with both teams on 12 points at the moment. While Manuel Baum warns of the threat that the men from lower Saxony pose, Kevin Danso looks forward to the chance to meet one of his teammates from the Austria national squad.
Hannover made a fantastic start to the new season, after winning three of their first four games. However, things haven’t gone so smoothly in recently, as they’ve only managed to earn two points from their last four games. Their position in the table is still strong though, and this comes as no surprise to Manuel Baum. “Hannover are no run of the mill opponent,” said the 38-year-old. “They have a lot of quality.” The coach described FCA’s next opponents as “very flexible. They have a good level of fitness, and they have a clear way in which they want to play. They’re also very solid at the back, and they’re very dangerous on the ball.” It’ll be no cakewalk for FCA. “We experience firsthand every week just how hard it is to play at the Bundesliga level,” said Baum. “We have to give our all to win.”
Whether Dong-Won Ji and Konstantinos Stafylidis (both with muscular problems) will feature is yet to be decided. Both of them have yet to train with the team this week. Daniel Opare was also a doubt at one point due to a groin problem, although he is now available again. Elsewhere, Kevin Danso could start once again. The 19-year-old made his first league appearance this season in the 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim, and is in line to be the man who replaces Martin Hinteregger on Saturday, who will miss the game as he recovers from a foot operation.
Danso looks ahead to reunion with fellow countryman Harnik
Danso doesn’t let himself get too carried away with how well things are going for him. “I try to keep a clear head and make sure that comes across in the way I play. I always give my all and I’m always looking to improve.” His coach meanwhile predicts a big future for the young defender, despite his age. “He played extremely well in the last game. He’s looking confident out on the pitch at the moment, and he’s clearly getting better and better.” Baum sees his strengths to lie “predominantly at the defensive end of the pitch, but he’s also playing more and more of a role in our build-up play. He’s on the right track.”
Saturday could also see a reunion between Danso and fellow countryman Martin Harnik. “I know him from the national side, so I’m aware of what he does well and also what he does not so well.” The forward has been crucial to Hannover’s success so far this season. He’s scored five of their eight goals, and that number is good enough to make him one of the most dangerous attackers in the Bundesliga. Danso thinks that Harnik’s main strength lies in his finishing, but he also praises his pace. “He’s in great form right now,” he said, and predicts that “he will be difficult to contain.”