On the last matchday of the 2017/18 season, FC Augsburg are off to the Black Forest to play SC Freiburg. While FCA have already secured their safety this season, Freiburg still have it all to play for on Saturday.
In the last game of the season Manuel Baum will not only have to do without Raphael Framberger, Kilian Jakob and Ja-Cheol Koo, but also the suspended Marcel Heller. “There are also question marks regarding the availability of Michael Gregoritsch. He has muscular problems and we have to wait and see how his body reacts to the final training session before the game,” said Manuel Baum. Philipp Max will also miss out. “Max picked up his fifth yellow card in the game against Schalke and so is suspended. It’s not yet decided who will take his place. We won’t make any drastic changes, though. Our goal is to defend our position in the table and if possible, move up.”
Looking back on the 2017/18 season, FCA have persevered through some tough times and done without some key players for long periods. “Every team deserves to be where they are. So as a result, I’m happy with our season. It doesn’t do any good for anyone to talk about missed opportunities either. We’ve done superbly for the most part,” said FCA’s captain, Daniel Baier. “We’ve experienced a lot this year, which might not have been so obvious from the outside, as the only thing that people care about are results really. Internally we have learned a lot,” confirmed Baum.
While FCA secured their top-flight status for next season on matchday 31, Freiburg are still in the thick of a relegation battle. Just a year ago, Augsburg found themselves in the exact same position as Christian Streich’s team does now. The pressure they are under is relatable. “We can empathise with them, because we’ve been where they are a few times recently. There’s no room for sympathy in this line of work though,” explained Baier. Despite that, the 33-year-old does often think about his former side Wolfsburg. “I used to play in Wolfsburg and I often see how they’re doing in the table, but ultimately it’s every team for themselves,” Baier said. “I understand what Freiburg are going through, but we have to stay focused on ourselves and we still want to get something from the game. Just like every game,” emphasised Baum.