FC Augsburg are riding high after two wins in succession. On Sunday, they look to make it three against Hertha BSC at home. In the clash against the team from the German capital, Manuel Baum has to make a couple of changes to his winning formula.
“Never change a winning team” goes the old football phrase. Unfortunately for Manuel Baum, he will have to go against that rule after his side’s wins against Wolfsburg (2-1) and Mainz (3-1). Daniel Opare picked up his fifth yellow card of the season and will be suspended for the Hertha game, while Erik Thommy will miss some time with an ankle injury.
Replacing Opare will be Raphael Framberger. The home-grown product will start for the second time this season, after recently making his return from an extended period on the sidelines with a knee injury. “I’m really excited to finally be able to start in Bundesliga game again,” said the 22-year-old. “I’ll try to get back into the swing of things out there.”
It is yet to be decided who will replace Erik Thommy on the right wing, however. Marcel Heller, Jonathan Schmid or Georg Teigl are the available options. “It doesn’t matter who’s playing in front of me – so I can’t really offer much help to the coach,” said Framberger with a wink. Baum has another option in defensive midfield too, as Rani Khedira is fit again and ready for selection after being out with injury.
Baum on Hertha: “A technically gifted side”
Sunday’s opponents currently lie in twelfth place in the Bundesliga standings and trail FCA by five points. After a strong sixth placed finish last season, Hertha have taken to the European stage this year to play in the Europa League, although they didn’t make it out of their group. Manuel Baum is well aware of their quality though: “Hertha are a technically gifted side,” said the 38-year-old.
Baum is especially wary of the threat that the men from Berlin pose in attack: “Above all, they have a lot of quality going forward thanks to Vedad Ibisevic and Davie Selke.” FCA’s coach wants to stop that threat by not letting them getting into their flow. Despite being in seventh place in the table, Manuel Baum does not see his side as favourites going into the game. “Our expectations are not that we’re going into the game as favourites,” he made clear. “We still feel like underdogs.”