FC Augsburg hit the road for the first time in 2018 as they head to Mönchengladbach to face the Fohlenelf on Saturday 20th January (15:30 CET). While FCA’s head coach Manuel Baum praised the offensive firepower of Borussia, Augsburg could be getting an attacking boost of their own in the form of Alfred Finnbogason.
The Icelander made his return to full first team training on Thursday, after he was dealing with an Achilles problem. “He’s looking good, but we won’t be taking any unnecessary risks,” said Baum when asked about a possible return for his top goalscorer. There’s still the chance that Sergio Córdova will keep his spot in the starting XI after doing so for the first time against Hamburg last week.
Only one point separates the two sides in the current Bundesliga standings, with Augsburg on 27 points and Borussia on 28. With a win, Augsburg can leapfrog their rivals in the table. Manuel Baum expects a “hotly contested game” on Saturday. “We’ll going to do all we can to limit Gladbach’s strengths. If they manage to get into their groove, it will be hard for us.”
The coach is particularly complimentary of the firepower that the Foals possess in attack. “Their offensive quality with Stindl and Raffael is exceptional – they’re both wizards with the ball,” praised Baum before labeling their in-game nous as “outstanding.” However, the 38-year-old also made clear how happy he was with his side’s strong Rückrunde opener against HSV: “We are in good spirits and we obviously want to come back with points.”
Gouweleeuw: “We have to defend aggressively”
Jeffrey Gouweleeuw knows that his side can’t let Borussia get too comfortable: “We have to defend aggressively, like we know we can.” Despite the fact that Gladbach got back into Bundesliga action with a bitter derby loss to rivaling Cologne 2-1, Gouweleeuw knows that “we have to focus on what we can control.” FCA’s number six also emphasised: “We have to respect their quality, but we trust in our ability.”
The Dutchman has built up a strong partnership with fellow centre back Martin Hinteregger this season. “We haven’t played many bad games so far in this campaign,” said Gouweleeuw, who still maintains that FCA’s primary goal is to stay in the top flight. With a win on Saturday, Baum’s side will make another big step towards the 40 point mark.