FC Augsburg are heading into the final three games of the calendar year in a rich vein of form, after picking up ten points from their last four matches. Head coach Martin Schmidt is demanding the same level of desire from his team as they begin a busy week with a trip to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Friday 13th December (20:30 CET).
Wins against Paderborn (1-0), Hertha (4-0) and Mainz (2-1), as well as a draw away to Cologne (1-1) have taken FCA out of the relegation zone and up into 12th place in the space of just three weeks. Martin Schmidt was particularly pleased with how his side started the recent game against the Zerofivers. “We played with a really high intensity and desire, and that’s something we want to continue,” explained the head coach.
The squad is determined to continue their good form and finish the first half of the season as successfully as possible. “There’s still enough gas in the tank for another five more matches,” Schmidt commented on his team’s current form. “My team play with an incredible mentality.”
Vargas misses out due to suspension – Schmidt heaps praise onto recent debutant Jensen
Augsburg’s upcoming opponents Hoffenheim are a team that seem to have lost a bit of form as of late. After an incredible run of five wins in a row (including a 2-1 win over FC Bayern), Alfred Schreuder’s team have only managed to pick up just one point from their last three matches. “Hoffenheim play really good combination football and keep a strong structure,” Schmidt said about his next opponents. “We will need to defend well against quick attackers with lots of quality such as Ihlas Bebou, Sargis Adamyan and Andrej Kramarić. We are up against a team that have recently beaten Bayern.”
FCA will certainly have to do without Ruben Vargas for the game after the young striker picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last time out against Mainz. On the other hand, Schmidt will have André Hahn back to his disposal after already serving his one-match ban. Fredrik Jensen is also in with a chance of making the starting XI after a successful debut against the Zerofivers. “He was determined, worked his socks off and made really good runs in behind the defence,” Schmidt praised the Finland international. There is also optimism regarding Rani Khedira (neck) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (muscular problems), who were both subbed off in the win against Mainz due to injury.
Schmidt: “We have the chance to round off a successful autumn period”
No matter who plays, the team want to build on the cushion they’ve created for themselves as attentions now turn to 16th placed Fortuna Düsseldorf. “It’s up to us to extend the cushion,” said Schmidt. The coach warned, however: “If we slow down now we could get ourselves in to a rut, and we don’t want that.” It’s been slim pickings for Augsburg at Hoffenheim in recent years. Augsburg have taken just two points from the previous eight meetings between the two sides, with the team still yet to win at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.
But coach Schmidt isn’t paying any attention to this record. “We’re unbeaten in our last three away games and we want to continue this trend,” explained the Swiss man. “We have the chance to round off a successful autumn period in these last three games.”