The season gets underway against TuS Blau-Weiß Lohne
The start of the season is finally upon us. FC Augsburg will get their season underway on Sunday 31st July (15:30 CEST), when they take on TuS Blau-Weiß Lohne in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. After six good weeks of pre-season, head coach Enrico Maaßen is confident as he looks ahead to the new campaign.
“It was an intense few weeks and we worked well. Our goal was to grow together as a team,” said Maaßen in Friday’s presser. “Now it’s down to the details, which are make or break at the top level.” The boss is also sure that his players will not take their fourth division opponents lightly on Sunday: “The team is raring to go and we will approach the game in a serious manner. We will have to be switched on and focussed.”
For Maaßen, the DFB-Pokal is of considerable significance: “You want to go as far as you possibly can in the Pokal,” explained the 38-year-old, who will have to do without Tobias Strobl, Noah Sarenren Bazee, Lukas Petkov, Lasse Günther, Niklas Dorsch, Reece Oxford and Ruben Vargas in Lohne.
The situation, however, is a lot different for Elvis Rexhbecaj. The flexible, versatile midfielder, who signed on Wednesday from fellow Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg, could be an option for the starting XI. Maaßen is delighted that the transfer worked out: “Elvis is a box-to-box player who brings a great mentality. We’ll have to wait and see how fresh he is over the next few days.”
Maaßen has experience in dealing with Sunday’s opponents, who were promoted to the Regionalliga Nord last season in dominant fashion. “There is a certain euphoria in Lohne at the moment and they have a clear idea of how they want to play,” explained the gaffer. Maaßen, who was previously the head coach of SV Drochtersen/Assel and SV Rödinghausen, knows exactly how tough the first round of the DFB-Pokal can be for Bundesliga sides: “It will be difficult and it won’t just passively click into gear.”
After last week’s defeat to Stade Rennais in the final friendly of the pre-season, the boss will be looking to start his best eleven against Lohne in order to kick-start the campaign: “It’s purely about winning and progressing to the next round,” said Maaßen, who also explained that the stalwart between the sticks, Rafał Gikiewicz, will play on Sunday.