FCA take on TSG Hoffenheim to start their Bundesliga season
On Saturday (15:30 CEST) FCA start off their eleventh Bundesliga season against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Both head coach Markus Weinzierl and attacker André Hahn can barely wait to get going and are hoping for the support of fans in the stadium.
Head coach Markus Weinzierl summed up the mood ahead of the club’s eleventh season in the top flight saying, “We are very glad that the Bundesliga is back. At the start of the season it’s hard to know where you stand, but we had a good pre-season and did what we needed to in the Pokal [in the 4-2 win at Greifswalder FC].”
Even though the Oberliga team made life difficult for FCA, TSG Hoffenheim presents a new calibre of challenge on Saturday. “Hoffenheim look very strong,” Weinzierl remarked. “They have quality individuals and a great striker in Andrej Kramaric.” The Croatian forward scored 20 goals last season, setting a new personal record. “We can’t let him get into the game” explained Weinzierl, whilst also admitting, “Hoffenheim have quality players and will demand everything of us.”
There are still a few question marks regarding the Augsburg squad. Whilst Ruben Vargas is available having served a red card suspension, an inclusion for captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw remains touch and go. Nor does Weinzierl want to take any risks with Daniel Caligiuri, who is just back in training after contracting Covid-19. “It’s problematic. The doctors have to make the call on whether he is 100 percent ready.
Alfred Finnbogason will definitely remain unavailable (knee ligament injury). “It hurts us that he’s missing out because he was feeling good,” lamented Weinzierl. “But it shouldn’t be too long before he is back with us.” New signing Arne Maier could make his debut for FCA just a few days after joining the club. “Arne Maier has made a good start. We will have to decide whether he plays, but he is definitely ready,” the coach said, praising the midfielder.
André Hahn will definitely be playing against TSG, according to Weinzerl. The forward scored the last goal in the 4-2 win over Greifswald. “He has a positive impact on our game, he is very physical and he can score and create goals,” the head coach said of the veteran, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Friday. “He fits in well at Augsburg and can excite the fans.”
Up to 10,700 fans will be allowed into the WWK ARENA on Saturday. This will be the first time since last September’s 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund that FCA will play a competitive match in front of a crowd. “We want to start well and put points on the board early on so that we are not involved in a relegation dogfight,” said Hahn. “We have to work, we have to fight and we want to take the fans on this journey with us and give them some excitement. Obviously it is always good to win the first game of the season.”