After a busy week, which saw FCA collect 7 points from 3 games, attention now turns to a different kind of challenge on Saturday in the shape of league leaders Borussia Dortmund. Manager Manuel Baum is full of praise for the weekend’s visitors: “They’re an absolute joy to watch in the Bundesliga at the moment,” said the boss. With all due respect, however, the points would ideally be staying in Augsburg on Saturday.
Dortmund’s record in the Bundesliga this season makes for impressive reading: The Yellow and Blacks have won five out of six games, scoring 19 goals in the process and only conceding one. In the Champions League, on the other hand, Borussia Dortmund have lost both of their first games 3-1, away to Spurs and at home to Real Madrid. “They’re playing really well at the moment,” said Baum: “Dortmund have a clear plan, create lots of chances. They’re near perfect going forward.” The FCA boss also mentioned Dortmund’s flexibility and their enthusiasm. The Augsburg defence should, according to the head coach be especially cautious of BVB’s goal-getter Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Nevertheless, Baum wants the points to stay in Augsburg: “We want to prepare properly and put in a good performance.” Training sessions ahead of the Champions League side’s visit are, however, no different from any other week. “When you play a top team, everyone might give an extra percent or two, but at the end of the day, we need to ignore the team’s position in the table,” declared Baum. Midfielder Jan Moravek also likes his team’s chances: “The last game against Dortmund showed that we are more than capable of keeping up with them – we want to make this count.” In the second half of last season, Augsburg came away with a 1-1 draw at home to the favourites from Westphalia.
Koo fit again, Baier returns
The atmosphere in the dressing room after two days off is positive. “You can sense the excitement ahead of Saturday,” said Baum, describing the feeling among the players. Personnel-wise, with the exception of Tim Rieder, who is still in recovery training, the boss has a full squad choose from. Ja-Cheol Koo is no longer feeling any effects from his light concussion against Stuttgart at the weekend, and captain Daniel Baier’s suspension is over. So Baum has some tough decisions to make in his squad and starting XI selection on Saturday.
Movarek could also be given a chance to start against BVB. The Czech midfielder celebrated his starting debut in Augsburg’s 1-0 win over Leipzig, and came on from the bench against Köln and Stuttgart. “Jan is always there to serve the team, whether he plays 90 minutes or is brought on,” said Baum, emphasising the value of having the 27-year-old in the ranks. Moravek prioritises the team’s success over everything: “Everyone wants to play, everyone is doing a good job and training well. But there are only 11 places in the starting line-up.” The competition, according to Moravek, has not created a negative atmosphere within the team.