FCA take on Freiburg
FC Augsburg face SC Freiburg on matchday nine of the Bundesliga (Saturday, 28th November, 15.30 CET). Freiburg are winless in seven matches, but Heiko Herrlich is warning not to judge a book by its cover. Florian Niederlechner is hoping to net his first goal against his former club.
“Freiburg’s squad and the quality of their performances have been better than their position in the table suggests,” said FCA head coach Heiko Herrlich. Freiburg have now been waiting for a win for seven matchdays, and have lost all of their last three games. Yet Herrlich is convinced that his side will be facing a top team this weekend: “Freiburg have done a lot of things really well and they will come at us with plenty of anger. They will want to show that they don’t belong down there.”
One player who knows Freiburg inside-out is Augsburg striker Florian Niederlechner, who played under Christian Streich for over three years at Freiburg. “The last week will have been really intense. Christian Streich knows how he has to push his team, and he was so loud,” said Niederlechner. “They will have done a lot of work, especially on tackling. We have to be awfully careful to make sure we keep the three points – we can’t take them lightly.
Niederlechner: "Winning is the most important thing"
Niederlechner himself is still waiting for his first goal of the season. “I have been able to participate in every training session these last two weeks, which I really needed. There were always little things [holding me back], but now I’m feeling good. I’m hoping that the time has come for the dam will break,” said the striker. “Goals are obviously important and it does you a lot of good when you score – it adds something to your game. But I am also a team player and I enjoy being a part of the collective. The most important thing is that we win the game.”
Heiko Herrlich is fully supportive of his player. “I have full faith in Flo. You can’t judge his performance based only on goals,” said Herrlich. “He has his chances and in training his finishing is as clinical as ever. I strongly believe that he will net his first goal soon.” As a former striker himself, Herrlich knows exactly how it feels when things aren’t going your way: “I want to give him my backing and not pile even more pressure on. He has my complete trust.”
Herrlich: "Cali can be a role model"
FCA picked up a point in their last match, drawing 1-1 with Borussia Mönchengladbach. According to Herrlich, it was a performance that came out of pure will: “That’s exactly what I expect again from my team. What’s important is that we stick by one another and all work together.” With the exception of long-term absentees and the suspended Raphael Framberger, all Augsburg players are available for the Freiburg clash. Carlos Gruezo has been back in full team training since Tuesday.
One man whose contribution was key to picking up a point in Mönchengladbach is summer signing Daniel Caligiuri. He ensured a draw for FC Augsburg with his equaliser in the 88th minute. “We are really pleased with his performance and happy that he is here,” said Herrlich. “The statistics speak for themselves as well.”
Caligiuri has also taken on an important role off the pitch. “Football has a lot to do with culture,” explained Herrlich. “It is important that the older players set an example in terms of attitude, passion and humility. Cali does exactly that. He can be a role model for the younger players.” Teammate Florian Niederlechner confirms: “He’s an unbelievably good guy who wants to win every match in training – those are the kind of qualities that everyone needs. He leads by example and you see that in every match.”