FC Augsburg are expecting a tough opening to the Bundesliga season when they face Borussia Dortmund on Saturday 17th August (15:30 CEST). Nevertheless, coach Martin Schmidt believes they could cause an upset and is sure that his team will show a reaction to the DFB-Pokal exit against Verl.
After a three month summer break, the Bundesliga returns at the weekend. “We are very excited that it is finally back,” said FCA coach Martin Schmidt. “It’s going to be a cracking game in front of 80,000 spectators, which is a huge highlight.” There are still a few question marks over some Augsburg players and appearances from André Hahn (calf injury) and Philipp Max (ankle injury) are doubtful.
Alfred Finnbogason, who today extended his contract until 2022, could at least make the match squad. “He’s moving well, has been training for three weeks and is making progress,” declared Schmidt. “He is an incredibly important player with a scoring record that would be good for any team. The fact he has chosen to stay here is a good sign for the team and for the whole club.”
Schmidt: “At Dortmund you can only win”
The Pokal exit at Verl (2-1) came too early for the Iceland international. The defeat against the fourth-tier side has shown Schmidt the area his team still needs to work on: “Using our possession against an opposition that is sitting deep.” The side were a lot more effective on the counter attack though. “Therefore, Dortmund suits us a lot better than Verl,” believes the FCA coach and adds: “As a Bundesliga side in the Pokal you can only lose – but at Dortmund you can only win.”
The Augsburg defence in particular will have a lot of work to do on Saturday. “BVB have a lot of quality going forward and we have to defend against that,” highlights Schmidt and names Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho and Paco Alcacer as potential threats. “But we have a plan of how we want to get something from the game against Dortmund.” The Swiss is not expecting Borussia to underestimate FCA though: “That would be wishful thinking, but too easy. We have to concentrate on our game and on what we can control – we have to create our own chances.”
Schmidt: “We’re going to show a side of ourselves we didn’t show against Verl”
It’s clear before the season opener at the Signal-Iduna-Park who the favourites are. “We are going there as underdogs but I don’t want talk down our chances,” emphasises Schmidt, and continues: “We have absolutely nothing to lose. Our fans will celebrate every tackle we make.” And with regard to the defeat in the DFB-Pokal the FCA coach stresses: “We are going to show a side of ourselves that we did not show against Verl.”
Augsburg can also take courage from their recent performances against Dortmund: FCA have taken six points from their last six matches against Borussia (one win, three draws, two defeats). In the first half of last season, Augsburg were unlucky to lose against BVB in a spectacular goal fest (4-3). In the reverse fixture, they defeated the then league leaders with a strong fighting performance (2-1). “I am sure everyone remembers the games from last season.” Schmidt is hoping for a similarly strong performance on Saturday. “The belief that we can get something from this game is there – you could see that in training this week.”