WWK Arena sold out for match against Köln
FC Augsburg are on the hunt for three points at home on Easter weekend, as they welcome 1. FC Köln to the WWK Arena (Saturday 8th April, 15:30 CEST). Head coach Enrico Maaßen’s side are looking forward to playing in front of a sold-out crowd for the third time this season.
“We need to play to our best and want to get the fans on our side,” Maaßen said. FCA currently sit in 12th place with 29 points, just one ahead of Köln in 13th. “There’s nothing better than taking points off your immediate competitors in the table,” he added. FCA suffered a narrow defeat in Cologne earlier this season, losing 3-2. Maaßen is therefore expecting this weekend’s meeting to be just as intense.
“Köln are a team that play with a lot of intensity. They deliver the most crosses of any side in the league and were the better team against Gladbach last weekend,” the FCA coach said. However, Steffen Baumgart’s side are on a six-game wait for a win and have now failed to score in seven games in 2023 after their 0-0 draw with Gladbach. FCA, meanwhile, nearly recorded their first away win of the year in Woflsburg, but were held to just a point after conceding a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
Training this week was focused on making sure that the players remain fully focused until the final whistle. The team “also need to remain in control after taking the lead and pose problems for their opponents,” said Maaßen. At the same time, the 39-year-old took the time to highlight some of the positives from the recent matches. “The way in which we’re presenting ourselves in every game has been exceptional,” he said. “The fact that we take the lead so often is something that we’ve gotten good at.”
Ahead of Saturday’s games, doubts remain as to whether Mergim Berisha (rolled his ankle against Wolfsburg) and Rafał Gikiewicz (shoulder) will be fit enough to feature. Both were only able to train individually on Thursday. “They both have a 50/50 chance of featuring this weekend,” said Maaßen. Goalkeeper Tomáš Koubek would be called upon to deputise this weekend if FCA’s first choice isn’t fully fit in time, while Nathanaël Mbuku, Fredrik Jensen and Irvin Cardona could all be options to replace Berisha up front. “We have always been able to find solutions when key players have been absent,” Maaßen said. “I have full confidence in my squad!”
Tobias Strobl and André Hahn (both long-term injuries), as well as Ermedin Demirović (still serving a ban for his red card against Schalke) and Mads Pedersen (yellow-card suspension) will all miss this weekend’s match against Köln.