Heiko Herrlich hasn’t had much time to celebrate his first win in charge of FC Augsburg. His side are straight back to work as they prepare to take on SC Paderborn in this double game week on Wednesday 27th May. Herrlich has warned his side against complacency ahead of the game against the team at bottom of the table.
The 3-0 win over FC Schalke 04 at the weekend has given FCA some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone, however Heiko Herrlich has made it clear that, “we aren’t safe just yet.” “It was a small step forward. Now it’s important to push on from here and to continue picking up points.”
The victory in Gelsenkirchen has lifted FCA into a six-point gap between themselves and Fortuna Düsseldorf, who currently occupy the relegation play-off position. Herrlich believes their first ever Bundesliga win against Schalke was down to their ability to defend as a compact unit. “We still have a few areas we need to improve on in order to succeed against better opponents. We were still too sloppy in possession.”
Herrlich lauds Paderborn’s confidence
The team already have the chance to impress their boss as soon as Wednesday, as they play host to SC Paderborn. The newly promoted side are currently rock bottom of the table on 18 points and have now gone eight consecutive Bundesliga matches without a win (three draws, five losses). Nevertheless, their confident nature is something that impresses Augsburg’s head coach. “They always try to play football and have a confident mentality,” Herrlich said about Steffen Baumgart’s side. “As a neutral, it pleases me to see when a newly promoted side tries to play like this. They’re a real surprise package and won’t come to Augsburg without intending to take away all three points.”
FCA fans will have fond memories of the previous meeting between the two sides earlier on the season. The Függerstader secured a 1-0 victory thanks to a Philipp Max free kick; a win that kicked off a run of five wins from six matches (one draw).
Herrlich: “That exactly what makes it difficult for us”
In order to keep up the fitness levels throughout this double game week, Herrlich may be forced into giving one or two players a rest. “We have to see how we’re going to share out the workload,” explained the coach. “We have a big squad and lots of players who haven’t been playing recently that we can bring in.” André Hahn (match fitness) and Alfred Finnbogason are both still unavailable for the game.
A win would take FCA one step closer to securing their survival. “We can take a big step, but the season is still far from over,” Herrlich emphasises. One of the challenges his side will have to face is dealing with the high expectations ahead of the game against the team at the bottom of the table. “On paper it’s the easiest game, but that’s exactly what makes it difficult for us.”