At home vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Just three games remain before the mid-season break for the World Cup. FC Augsburg kick off their double game week at home against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday (15:30 CET). Head coach Enrico Maaßen will need to make changes to his centre-mid pairing, with two players set to miss the match.
Elvis Rexhbecaj and Carlos Gruezo will need to sit out Saturday’s match after having both collected five yellow cards already this season. Both had featured in all 12 game so far this season, with Maaßen not revealing who will slot in to replace them. “We have several options we are considering,” he said during the pre-match press conference. In addition to Arne Maier and Julian Baumgartlinger, Mads Pedersen and Fredrik Jensen provide two further options in centre midfield. The coach could also make the switch to a back-three or a midfield pivot.
In addition to those players carrying long-term injuries, Maaßen will also be without Raphael Framberger this weekend, after he picked up a cut above his knee cap in training that required stitches. FCA will, however, be able to welcome Reece Oxford back to the team. “He will be in the squad,” Maaßen confirmed, with the centre-back fully fit again after a knee operation. Rafał Gikiewicz was able to return to team training this week, but remains a doubt for this weekend.
Eintracht will be going in to the match on a high, having qualified for the round of 16 in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Maaßen is hoping to see a “top performance” from his side. When looking ahead at the three games left before the winter break, he said: “It’s about giving it everything we have left to give and picking up maximum points.” Following last weekend’s last-minute defeat in Stuttgart (2-1), Augsburg are currently in 13th place with 14 points. Frankfurt, who fell 2-1 to Dortmund last time out, are currently in fifth.
“We know what we’re up against. But, we need to stay focused and want to try to play our game,” said Maaßen. He is hoping for his side to deliver a passionate and smart defensive performance against the reigning Europa League champions, adding “At home in particular, we have proven that we are able to play extremely well against the top teams.”