FC Augsburg take on Rasenballsport Leipzig on Tuesday, 19th September (20:30 CEST) following their win in Frankfurt at the weekend. FCA head coach Manuel Baum views the Champions League side as “one of the top three teams in Germany.” FCA’s second match in the space of four days will not be Rani Khedira’s typical fixture, having played in Leipzig for three years. He earned promotion with them and has fond memories of his time there. “I had three great years in Leipzig.”
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side play with a “strong passing game” and Manuel Baum is wary of the pace and playing style of Leipzig. “RBL have learnt not just how to press but then how to quickly turn winning the ball back into an attack, whilst also being able to play very well in every department. They also have enormous individual quality, so they are definitely in the top three teams in Germany,” Baum emphasised.
FCA want to make sure they continue what has been their best start to a Bundesliga season in the club’s history. “Of course we are going for the win. We will approach this game with a different strategy than the one we used against Frankfurt but we will not park the bus,” stressed Baum. Rani Khedira will be up against his former teammates, many of whom he is still in close contact with. VfB Stuttgart is also an old friend of Khedira, who FC Augsburg come up against on Saturday, 23rd September. “That is the club where I came through the ranks as a youth player and one that will always have a special place in my heart.”
In terms of the financial differences between a club like Leipzig and FC Augsburg, Khedira believes that “FCA has everything a club needs to be a successful Bundesliga team.” Khedira also views the large size of the squad as a positive, just as Manuel Baum does. “The quality of training is very high here. You can see the advantages our team has with this broad and high-quality squad. Sergio Córdova came on against Gladbach and scored the goal, exactly what Caiuby did against Frankfurt. That says a lot about us.” Furthermore Manuel Baum praised the attitude of his players. “The boys make it really easy for me because they are a really committed group that always gives 100 percent. But that also makes it tough for me because it pains me to have to name a squad of just 18 players for each matchday.”
Best start in the history of the club
With seven points, the club has made its best ever start to a Bundesliga season. This is “not surprising” for Khedira. “We know our strengths but we are still realistic enough to say that getting through the season without any major concerns is our number one priority,” said the midfielder.
The team’s success so far this season is for Manuel Baum a sign of the good work the club has been doing. “The club is continuing to develop. There is a lot of thought and patience going into what we are creating here. It is important that we take it one step at a time. I am proud to be a part of it.”
Busy week against RB Leipzig and VfB Stuttgart
The coaching staff began their preparations for the match against Leipzig immediately after their win at the weekend. “We had already watched some videos of Leipzig before the match in Frankfurt. We then continued with our video analysis on the bus journey back.
Manuel Baum has almost all of his 33 players at his disposal. Only Tim Rieder is still training individually. “Whether or not we rotate depends on our tactical approach. We will not rotate the squad for the sake of it,” said Baum.
The team’s first match under the floodlights at the WWK Arena this season will be the first chance to see their new red, green and white jersey.