FCA head coach looking to build on performance vs. Stuttgart
After a big 4-1 win against VfB Stuttgart last time out, head coach Markus Weinzierl is looking for his side to be the “surprise underdogs” against VfL Wolfsburg this Saturday (15:30 CET). The team will be looking to maintain this positive feeling as they go in search of their next three points.
The club was able to share some good news this week, as Reece Oxford extended his contract at FCA until 2025. “He’s shown great progress, is looking consistent and feels good. It’s fun to watch him and the path he’s on, and the fact that he’s chosen to stay with us for the next years speaks to who he is and us as a club. We are very happy,” Weinzierl said about the contract extension.
Weinzierl was optimistic when looking back to the match against VfB Stuttgart. “It wasn’t an easy game for us to find a foothold in, but I need to praise the team for how they fought back to become the better side by the end,” he said. However, the head coach was also able to pinpoint the keys to their success. “We completed nearly 60 more sprints than our opponents in the end. If we want to win matches, then we need to continue to bring this intensity and fight,” he said. Even days on from 4-1 win at home, Weinzierl’s joy is still visible: “I’m happy that we were finally able to see our efforts rewarded. We managed to fight back with the support of our fans, which was very reassuring for me.”
The head coach will have the same squad to choose from as he did last weekend. He added that Florian Niederlechner and Alfred Finnbogason as “on the right path, but there is a huge difference between being fit and being healthy.” Felix Uduokhai is still sidelined with injury and will be eased back into training during the international break. However, the plan is to treat him “conservatively,” said Weinzierl.
"We will need to deliver a similar performance to that against Stuttgart."
“In the end, it doesn’t matter who scores. We want to pick up points, continue to be hungry and give ourselves a solid foundation to build on during the remainder of the season after Christmas,” Weinzierl said. In order to do so, it will be important for the entire team – regardless of who starts or who comes off the bench – to work together. Midfielder Niklas Dorsch also agreed, saying “The mood after the game in Bochum was already right, and that’s exactly how we wanted to play against Stuttgart, which we managed to do.” Dorsch has recently returned to team training after being out with the flu. “I don’t know if I’ll be ready to play the full 90 minutes, but I feel close to being fully fit,” he said.
However, the team are aware that they will face a tough challenge on Saturday. “We’re up against a strong opponent with very talented players, who have been given a boost by their new coach,” Dorsch said about Wolfsburg. “We need to focus on our strengths,” said Weinzierl. “We need to bring the same energy, passion and desire from the Stuttgart game. If we play as a team, then we will be able to be successful.” According to Weinzierl, FCA will need to be strong in defence, look to counter and find their own solutions on the pitch. Wolfsburg have been able to find their groove again, having won both their last two games across all competitions, and Weinzierl is not expecting that they will make many changes. “Head coach Florian Kohfeldt has a Champions League calibre squad at his fingertips. We are definitely the underdogs, but we’re heading to Wolfsburg looking to cause an upset,” said Weinzierl.