FCA coach hopes to pull off an upset
FCA have their last game of the year two days before Christmas Eve – they host RasenBallsport Leipzig in the second round of the DFB-Pokal (18:30 CET). Augsburg head coach Heiko Herrlich heaps praise on Leipzig, whilst equally expressing his intention to trip them up.
“Progress to the next round or go out,” that’s all it’s about on Tuesday according to Heiko Herrlich. “So you need courage if you want to progress,” says the head coach, who won the DFB-Pokal as a player with Leverkusen (1993) and Gladbach (1995).
Despite the loss, Herrlich saw a courageous performance last time out against Eintracht Frankfurt (2-0) – they’ll need another on Tuesday if they are to beat a top side. “We want to get as far as we can, so you’ll come up against the big sides at some point,” says Herrlich. “We’ve come up against one now in the second round.”
When analysing RBL, Herrlich is full of praise. “Leipzig play sensationally,” says the 49-year-old. “What they’ve achieved in the Champions League is brilliant, for German football too.” Leipzig got out of a tricky group in the UCL, made up of Paris St. Germain, Manchester United and Basaksehir. Herrlich puts much of the credit down to the head coach: “Julian Nagelsmann is doing an unbelievable job.”
Nonetheless, the Augsburg coach is sure that their opponents weren’t jumping for joy when they were drawn against FCA. “We’re definitely not Leipzig’s dream tie – we want to show that tomorrow,” says Herrlich. “We don’t want to leave ourselves vulnerable at the back, but we still want to attack. We’ll try to frustrate them and take our chances.”
As it’s the fourth game in nine days, the Augsburg coach will once again opt for rotation. “We’ve rotated a lot in the last few games so that we can introduce fresh legs,” explains Herrlich. “That’s also the plan for tomorrow.” A few players will need a rest, and André Hahn is still not able to return, although the attacker has now tested negative for Covid-19 once.
The last game of 2020 will require Herrlich’s men not just to be physically up for it, but to be mentally on the ball. “It’s important that the players mentally want it.” He says that Leipzig are more used to playing every three or four days due to their participation in the Champions League. But Leipzig will be up against a highly motivated side. “We’ll do everything to make it really difficult for them,” promises Herrlich.