Berisha out through suspension, Hahn faces long term absence
On Saturday, 8th October (15:30 CEST), FC Augsburg will welcome VfL Wolfsburg. Head coach Enrico Maaßen wants to build on the winning streak formed in the last three matchdays, and has a positive outlook on the game, despite some FCA absences.
“If the opponent’s goalkeeper finds himself in our penalty area in the 90th minute, that means we’ve been doing something right until that point,” commented Enrico Maaßen on the last two victories against FC Bayern München (1-0) and most recently FC Schalke 04 (3-2). “The attitude we went into the game with from the very start, as well as the cohesion we showed – even coming back despite being a man down at Schalke – is that we take from those last games.”
Along with the win at Werder Bremen (1-0), Augsburg have now won their last three games in a row. Maaßen is very pleased with the team’s development: “Nothing is better than a win. Every win brings conviction and self confidence, the boys are growing as a unit and everyone wants it to continue this way.” However, he underlines, that “you’ve seen us play well plenty of times, but then falter in the final third. We’ve got to continue to work in all areas, keep our opponents busy, create dangerous situations, battle against challenges and get the fans on our side. That’s why we’re training hard.”
Against Wolfsburg, Maaßen will not be able to call upon the previously unchanged team that played in his side’s last three wins. The 38-year-old is without the services of Mergim Berisha, who received a second yellow against Schalke, as well as Andre Hahn, who suffered a serious knee injury against the Royal Blues, suffering from ligament damage – and he will be out for multiple months: “André’s diagnosis is sad for him and sad for us, but he will come back even stronger,” Maaßen commented. Rafał Gikiewicz is training individually but was not on the training pitch this week. “He has a bruise in his thigh, but I hope he will be fine for the weekend.”
Despite the absences, Maaßen is still feeling buoyed: “Of course we can’t just replace these players exactly, but we have good quality in our squad – now it’s all about finding solutions. The boys have watched from the outside and see how we work. There are players who would very much like the chance to start the game,” said the coach. One candidate is Ruben Vargas: “He has got a lot of playing time recently with his national team. With the speed he brings, he’s got a definite case to start,” Maaßen added. The game comes a little too early for Niklas Dorsch, who trained with the team for the first time this week, and is getting match practice with the U23s.
Maaßen assesses Wolfsburg as having a squad with a lot of individual quality. “They’ve won two of their last three, have a lot of pace up top and plenty of experience. But that is the case with many teams. We need to play our own game and show our energy, then we can perform well against Wolfsburg.” 23,000 tickets have been sold for the clash, with a few remaining. “The support we have received in the last few games was really, really good – it would be amazing to have the stadium full once again this weekend,” Maaßen stated.