Following the international break, FCA are up against a tough opponent right from the get-go as they face FC Bayern München on Saturday, 19th October (15:30 CEST). Head coach Martin Schmidt has made some adjustments ahead of the duel against FCA’s Bavarian neighbours as the team have their sights set on pulling off an upset.
While several FCA players were off on international duty this past week, Martin Schmidt and his coaching staff took the time to sit down and talk with those players who remained behind. “We changed a few things in order to give the team an increased sense of security and self-belief,” said the Swiss head coach. “Of course, we want to show a different side to ourselves compared to the one we’ve displayed recently. We cannot allow ourselves to have another game like the one against Gladbach,” he added, as he reflected back to the 5-1 loss to the Foals last time out.
There are still some uncertainties left around who will be fit to feature this weekend. Eight players were off on international duty until the start of the week, and have thus made a late start into the preparations ahead of the match against the record champions from Munich. Captain Daniel Baier is back in team training, but remains a doubt for Saturday. Jeffery Gouweleeuw made his comeback in Lustenau (4-0 win), but the Dutchman needs more time before he’s back to his old self, Schmidt said.
Schmidt: “Running those extra five or six kilometres”
According to Schmidt, his players will have to be mentally strong against Bayern. “We can’t allow ourselves to seem small, or to have too much respect for our opponents,” said the 52-year-old, who is looking for a courageous performance from his side. “We need to enter into a lot of challenges and play with passion. If you want to take points off Bayern, then you need to run five or six kilometres more than they will.” Last season, FCA delivered two strong performances against Bayern, taking a point away in Munich (1-1) before narrowly losing to Bayern at home in the second half of the season (3-2).
However, Bayern have shown that they are beatable this season already. Bayern drew against Hertha BSC (2-2) and RB Leipzig (1-1), before picking up their first loss of the season against Hoffenheim (2-1). “They will definitely be looking to come back from that,” said Schmidt, who added that he is expecting FCA’s opponents to be highly motivated. Schmidt also has a healthy level of respect for the quality within the Bayern squad, saying “If an international doesn’t play for them, they have someone of equal quality ready to replace him.”
As a result, goalkeeper Tomáš Koubek and the FCA defence can expect to have plenty to do on Saturday afternoon. “Our level of trust in him is high,” said Schmidt, who referenced Koubek’s performance against Gladbach. “He is very experienced and knows that every goalkeeper makes a mistake now and then. We are convinced that he, along with the rest of the team, will deliver a good performance on Saturday.”