33 games played this season, and FCA have not only enjoyed safety with games to spare, but also secured Bundesliga status for the eighth consecutive season. In his first campaign with FCA, Rani Khedira has impressed on the pitch and managed to score his first Bundesliga goal.
The 24-year-old has made 29 appearances for Augsburg this season. “When I came here, I said I wanted to play in the Bundesliga, and I’ve done that on 29 occasions now – and hopefully it will be 30 by Saturday. For me, personally, but also for the team and the club it’s been a successful season. We can be proud of our performances,” said Khedira. On Matchday 27, the Tunisian-German bagged his first Bundesliga goal against Werder Bremen.
The Bundesliga restart after the winter break marked the start of a difficult time for Manuel Baum’s men with lots of highs and lows. “For one or two months after the winter break we had no consistency, but we did have a lot of players who had never been regular starters in the Bundesliga before, so the problems we experienced were normal and we knew that. We were aware that we would face some tough phases, but we came out of the other end well and we’ve kept getting better in recent games,” Khedira analysed.
There is still one more matchday to be played, and half the league will be watching Augsburg’s game against Freiburg. “We’re going into this game with a lot of teams wanting a favour from us. Wolfsburg for instance are still down in the relegation scrap and will be hoping we beat Freiburg. We will approach the game like we do every game, with the aim of winning. At the end of the day we’re focusing on ourselves and our own game, not the opposition,” said Khedira.
In his time at Augsburg, Rani Khedira has discovered a place for himself at centre back. “In the second half of the season I’ve scored one goal and set one up, and I played a little more defensively in the first half of the season, but I see my flexibility as a bonus – for me, it’s a positive that I can play to. I’ve only just discovered this about myself,” reported Khedira. “I have to give credit to the manager for that, for seeing that potential in me and developing me in that way. I’m pleased with my progress – when I’m needed in these positions I can play there,” continued Khedira.
Nevertheless, Khedira’s attention is on next season and on his individual development: “I think my off-the-ball play is decent. Next season I’ll obviously have to take the next step and improve my game on the ball, and if the whole team does that, we can play some lovely football. If we maintain the levels of passion and desire that we’ve shown recently for a whole season, then we can have another successful one.”