Centre-back is Augsburg’s new captain
FCA will face MTV Eintracht Celle in the first round of the DFB-Pokal on Saturday (12. September, 15.30 CEST) . The match comes too soon for some Augsburg players, but head coach Heiko Herrlich did not shy away from confirming who will be the captain and the goalkeeper.
The wait is over. The first competitive match of 2020/21 will take place on Saturday after around six weeks of preseason training. “We are all happy that preseason is over, and that we have now arrived at the first competitive match,” says Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, who will lead the team out on Saturday.
The Dutchman has been named as the new club captain by head coach Heiko Herrlich. “He has been here for four years, and his performances and personality have always been top-drawer,” said Herrlich, explaining the reasons behind his decision. “He gets on really well with the team and is the perfect captain, I think.” Gouweleeuw joined the club from Alkmaar in January 2016, and the man himself is looking forward to the new responsibility. “It doesn’t change who I am as a person. The only difference is that I will now have a more prominent role.”
Rafał Gikiewicz will start behind Gouweleeuw after Herrlich announced him as the club’s no.1 goalkeeper. “Tomàš Koubek has improved a lot since I joined the club,” said the head coach. “It’s important to have a quality back-up in case he is needed.” Gikiewicz is set to make his Augsburg debut on Saturday, as are Robert Gumny, Tobias Strobl and Daniel Caligiuri.
Herrlich must also do without a few players on Saturday. Marco Richter (ankle issue), Eduard Löwen and Noah Sarenren Bazee (both muscle issues) should return to training next week, while Jan Morávek is out with a long-term muscle injury.
FCA obviously enter the match against Eintracht Celle as favourites, despite the missing players. Herrlich, however, is warning his players not to take their opponents lightly. “In the DFB-Pokal, there are always surprises and extraordinary matches,” says the 48-year-old. “I’m expecting the opposition to give everything to try and beat us.”
FCA crashed out in the first round of the Pokal last season after a 2-1 defeat to SC Verl, then of the Regionalliga. The players are desperate to avoid such an upset this time around, as Gouweleuuw makes clear. “We all know what happened last year. We don’t want to experience that again,” says the new captain. “We have to have the right focus and mentality out on the pitch. We have to show that we want to win the match, right from the start.”