FCA will have a full squad available against Bielefeld
FC Augsburg could take a huge step towards securing safety with a win against Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday (15:30 CEST). Head coach Heiko Herrlich has a full squad to draw from ahead of the match, and is looking to build on recent results at home.
“Everyone knows how important this game is and the chance on offer to us,” Herrlich said during a pre-match press conference. FCA (32) are currently six points ahead of the promoted side (26), and are looking to maintain or even extend this gap. “Bielefeld have made up some ground, but we are in a much better position,” said Herrlich. “We want to keep it this way.”
Herrlich’s side have “reacted well” following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Schalke, said Herrlich. “They were focused and did well in training.” Against Schalke, his side were lacking the clinical touch that they’d showcased so well during the wins at home against Gladbach (3-1) or Hoffenheim (2-1) recently. “It will be important for us to be much more efficient in the final third,” said Herrlich.
Tobias Strobl could be an option against Bielefeld, after coming on at half-time at Schalke. “He did a good job, and played with pace,” Herrlich said in praise of the midfielder. With the coach expecting Bielefeld to play a similar defensive style to Schalke, Strobl is “definitely an option” for Saturday. Herrlich will have plenty of options to choose from on Saturday, with a full squad available for selection for the first time in a long time. Players with long-term injuries such as Iago, Fredrik Jensen and Alfred Finnbogason are all candidates for this weekend’s squad.
Ruben Vargas could also be an option for the starting XI. The 22-year-old scored in both victories at home against Gladbach and Hoffenheim, and has five goals to his name this season. “I’m happy to be getting a lot of playing time and am trying to pay that back with strong performances,” Vargas said. When asked about the Swiss international, Herrlich said “He still has a lot of potential to develop. He started the season strong, then went through a bit of a slump, but has since found his way back. It will be important for him to stabilize himself.”
Herrlich likely wouldn’t have anything against Vargas finding the back of the net for the third straight game at the WWK Arena. However, FCA are up against an opponent who has managed to turn things around some. Head coach Frank Kramer’s side have picked up eight points from their last six game, winning 1-0 against SC Freiburg in their most recent game. “You could see how the team is hungry and how they fight for every blade of grass,” said Herrlich. “They also have a lot of structure in their play.”
A win would help end Arminia’s upward turn, while also giving FCA a huge boost in the battle to stay up. “We want to play our game and pick up three points,” said Vargas. A win would also continue an interesting pattern for Augsburg. Over the last six games, the team has alternated between wins and losses, meaning that after last weekend’s defeat against Schalke, it would now be time for another win.