FC Augsburg host Schalke
FC Augsburg welcome FC Schalke 04 on matchday 11 of the Bundesliga season (Sunday 13th December, 15:30 CET). The Royal Blues sit bottom the table and are winless in 26 league games. Heiko Herrlich demands fight and determination from his side.
“We started well, but we’re obviously not happy with just six points from the last eight games, even when you look at how we did over large parts of the last game,” says Heiko Herrlich ahead of the home game against Schalke. In the 3-1 loss against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, FCA conceded two goals in the first five minutes of the second half. “We weren’t quite as at it as our opponents at times, and we can’t afford that. We need to get back to how we were at the start of the season,” says Herrlich.
There aren’t any big changes in personnel compared to the last game in Hoffenheim. Alfred Finnbogason was back training with the team on Friday. “We’ll see how he goes,” says the head coach. There’s a question mark on Iago’s availability. “I won’t 100% rule it out that he won’t be involved on Saturday.” André Hahn will definitely be missing because of a coronavirus infection. “André is doing well, but it’ll be a few more days before he returns two negative tests.”
Schalke 04 are currently bottom of the table with three points, but Herrlich thinks they’re stronger than the table suggests. “They’ve tried everything to win the last few games, so they’ll be coming here wanting to pick up points too.” Almost exactly a year ago, Schalke were fourth in the league with almost the same squad. “That proves how much quality there actually is there in the squad,” says Herrlich. He thinks Schalke’s quick counter attacks could be particularly dangerous. “We need to be awake to the threat and concentrate to nip their fast counter attacks in the bud.”
Daniel Caligiuri swapped his Schalke shirt for a place at Augsburg. The midfielder played for the Royal Blues for three and a half years between 2017 and 2020. He’ll be going up against his old teammates on Sunday. “Daniel Caligiuri put in performances for Schalke for years, so he’ll definitely be looking forward to the game,” explains Herrlich. He is currently Augsburg’s top scorer with four goals. “He really feels like he’s part of FCA, and you get that feeling all the time. We obviously hope that he can continue his good performances of late.”
Midfielder Carlos Gruezo says that “the team is ready to do everything to keep the three points in Augsburg.” Heiko Herrlich is expecting fight and determination above all. “We need to be at our absolute best. We need to stay true to ourselves and bring it on the pitch.” Gruezo echoes his boss: “We need to stick together and try to win every game and get as many points as we can.” The midfielder finishes by saying: “We need to keep working and try to spring a surprise this season.”