FC Augsburg’s form was on the rise ahead of the November international break. Now, FCA are looking to build on this success as they get set to face Hertha BSC on Sunday, 24th November (15:30 CET). Despite being without an injured Alfred Finnbogason, FCA are hoping to end their winless run against the Old Lady.
Augsburg are without a win in their last nine matches against Hertha (five draws, four losses), and last celebrated a win against the capital city club in 2014. Back then, Paul Verhaegh converted a penalty to secure a 1-0 win.
But, FCA’s past record against Hertha will play no role during Sunday’s match. Instead, Augsburg are looking to build on their momentum from before the international break. Strong showings against Bayern (2-2), Wolfsburg (0-0) and Schalke (3-2 loss) were followed by a 1-0 win in the bottom-of-the-table clash with Paderborn. “We’ve been able to pick up some positive results recently, and could have taken all three points in several of those,” said head coach Martin Schmidt. “I’m convinced that our last few games weren’t a coincidence – instead, it’s part of a growing trend.”
Schmidt on Hertha: “An unpredictable opponent”
The opposite is true for Hertha. Ante Covic took over from Pal Dardai during the summer, but the club has lacked consistency under him recently. Hertha have lost each of their last three matches. “They are started down a new path, with a new head coach. Not everything will go as planned right away,” said Schmidt. “(Hertha are) an unpredictable opponent. But, you can see that they are strong in a tackle and on the counter-attack,” Schmidt said, and highlighted the speed Hertha have down the wing with Dodi Lukebakio, Marius Wolf and Javairo Dilrosun.
There remain a few doubts for Schmidt in regards to his own squad. Alfred Finnbogason (shoulder injury) will be out until the end of the year, while Michael Gregoritsch has been suspended by the club for the match against Hertha after damaging statements made by the forward about the club. Schmidt said he is “running through his options,” as he considers how to best fill the now-available position in attack, and named Sergio Córdova and Julian Schieber as potential replacements. Felix Uduokhai (wound) is also a doubt.
Regardless, the squad’s marching orders for Sunday are clear. “We want to show that we’re the home team,” said Schmidt, who is looking for his team to take charge of the match. Currently, Hertha (11) and Augsburg (10) are separated by just one point in the table, meaning FCA could surpass the Old Lady with a win. “We want to turn things around and move past them in the table,” said Schmidt.