Away game against Dortmund on matchday 16
FC Augsburg take on Borussia Dortmund on Sunday (22nd January, 15.30 CET) in their first game of the second part of the season. For Enrico Maaßen, it is a return to his former club, but his focus is firmly on the here and now.
“In the extended winter break we were able to work on important tactical aspects and to increase the depth of our squad. This gives me optimism for the 19 games that still lie ahead of us,” said FCA head coach Enrico Maaßen, looking ahead positively to the Bundesliga restart in the New Year. For their first game, FCA will travel to face Borussia Dortmund. The Black-Yellows currently lie in sixth place: “BVB have an excellent team and always have the potential to be high up the table come the end of the season. We have to work together, show willpower and also be prepared to suffer at times. If we do this, then we will get chances.”
The meeting also means a reunion with his former employer for Maaßen himself. “It is a special game for me against my former club. However, my focus is fully on the 90 minutes. We want to play well to get out of the starting blocks as well as possible.” After the Dortmund game, FCA have two further difficult opponents ahead of them in a double game week where they will face Borussia Mönchengladbach (Wednesday, 25th January, 20:30 CET) and SC Freiburg (Saturday, 28th January, 15:30 CET). “We are taking it step by step and are preparing as best as possible for the every single game. We still have 19 games now which we would like to contest as best we can,” said Maaßen.
Maaßen has used the unusually long break from Bundesliga action to further develop his team. “We were able to work on playing in possession and also on a more compact, deeper defence.” FCA have already proved this in the last friendly against Wolfsburg (a 1-0 win): “We didn’t let much past us. We now need to carry this performance into competitive games.”
In order to set up as best as they can for the second half of the season, FCA have been active in the winter transfermarket. While Florian Niederlechner has joined Hertha BSC, and Raphael Framberger moved on loan to SV Sandhausen until the end of the season, FCA have signed five new players up until now in the form of Arne Engels, Dion Beljo, David Čolina, Kelvin Yeboah and Irvin Cardona. “We have taken a step forward in terms of both quality and squad depth. All the boys that we have signed are very flexible and bring qualities that are key for our style of play. All our new signings are fired up to play for FCA.”
Apart from Reece Oxford and Iago, as well as both long-term absences André Hahn and Tobias Strobl, the whole squad are available to Maaßen for the game on Sunday. With Niklas Dorsch, the final training session will decide whether this game comes slightly too soon for him. Maaßen can also already call upon the new signings. He seemed pleased: “Everyone feels good, are fit and ready to play. We are now become a touch more unpredictable and can create alternative options within our very intensive way of playing. I have a good feeling.”