FCA take on Borussia Dortmund on Saturday
FC Augsburg take on last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund in the first away game of the Rückrunde on Saturday (15:30 CET). For Heiko Herrlich, the game is a return to the club at which he played for many years, but he will be hoping his team can build on the 2-0 victory from earlier this season and get something from the game.
Following the 2-1 victory over Union Berlin that marked the start of the second half of the season, FCA’s head coach has watched a successful week of training from his team. “We reduced the intensity a bit to reflect the busy schedule we’ve had lately. We want to be fresh for the Dortmund game and boys have done well,” commented Herrlich. However, it’s a tough challenge that awaits his side in North Rhine-Westphalia. “Dortmund are a top team and have incredible quality in their squad. However, we’ve already proven earlier this season that it’s possible to keep their talent at bay and control the game,” said the coach. “We intend to do that again as far as possible, and then we have the chance to take something from the match.”
Things have not always been going to plan for BVB in recent weeks, with Edin Terzić's team often finding themselves in trouble from set-pieces. Nevertheless, Herrlich warned: “They have proved their ability time and time again. We have to focus on our own game and give it our best shot.” FCA’s coach played for Dortmund for a long time during his career as a pro, and he still feels a sense of connection with the city. “I was in the first team squad for nine years and coached the U19s for two years on top of that. I loved my time there and felt very much at home. Dortmund will always feel like a second home to me.”
Vargas fit again but Finnbogason missing
Ruben Vargas, who missed the win over Union with an ankle injury, has returned to training and is available for Saturday’s game again. However, Herrlich will be without Alfred Finnbogason for the trip north. The striker is struggling with a muscle problem and is expected to be out for around ten days. “Alfred is a very important player for us and I hope he’ll recover as quickly as possible. He’ll be able to get some rest and then hopefully he’ll be fit for a long period of time,” said the coach. There is some hope for Raphael Framberger, who has been sidelined for several weeks. “He’s making a lot of progress in rehab and should be integrated back into team training next week," reported Herrlich.
In ex-Schalke Daniel Caligiuri, FCA have a player who can look back on numerous derbies with Dortmund and is an expert on Edin Terzić's team. “Daniel managed to score an important goal in the first leg and naturally we want him to do the same again tomorrow,” said Herrlich. The goal in September was set up by Florian Niederlechner to make it 2-0 to Augsburg. Niederlechner struck twice against Union to score his first brace of the season: “We’re all happy for him and you can see that it’s a big relief. What’s important now is that he keeps working hard,” finished FCA’s coach.