Augsburg host VfB Stuttgart in the WWK ARENA for the Swabian derby this Sunday (18th February, KO 15:30 CET. The head-to-head record is in favour of Augsburg; however, FCA coach Manuel Baum does not want to talk about the stats.
FCA have celebrated seven wins in the past eight Bundesliga clashes against VfB Stuttgart, with the only loss came in a goalless draw in the first half of the current season. And while Augsburg are unbeaten in the last six home games (three wins, three draws), VfB have picked up only two points away from home this season, which puts them last in the away-from-home Bundesliga table.
However, Manuel Baum does not place any value on such statistics. “It doesn’t interest me,” the coach makes clear, and he has great respect for the upcoming opponents. “Their players have an unbelievable amount of experience between them,” stresses the 38-year-old and names Andreas Beck (259 Bundesliga appearances) as an example. “They have so much quality,” continues Baum. “That’s why I don’t think we’re the favourites, despite the table.”
Seven points currently separate FCA (31 points) and Stuttgart (24) in the table. White FCA have built up a comfortable cushion over the lower places, Stuttgart are in the thick of a relegation battle. After VfB almost consistently picked up points in the first half of the season, their crisis peaked around the beginning of the second half and the club reacted by parting ways with head coach Hannes Wolf.
Baum: “In the end, the team who wants it more will win”
Tayfun Korkut took over the reins two weeks ago and going by stats alone, has enjoyed a solid start to the job – the team are so far unbeaten under the new coach (one win, one draw). Baum sees the Stuttgart front two of Daniel Ginczek and Mario Gomez as a particular threat. “They’re two really great and important strikers,” says the coach. “We have to defend against them aggressively and cover them well.”
This places a lot of work on centre-back Kevin Danso. The 19-year-old Austrian has a huge amount of respect for former Golden Boot winner Gomez. “It’s really impressive how many goals he’s scored in the Bundesliga,” says Danso. “I’m looking forward to playing against him and I’ll give my all.” It’s an attitude which the coach is keen on. Manuel Baum is expecting a “hard-fought match” and predicts that “in the end, the team who wants it more will win.”