Iago, Pedersen and Maier all doubts for Leverkusen trip
Saturday sees FC Augsburg travel to their second away game of the year, a 15:30 CET kick-off against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Whilst FCA’s unhappy record against Bayer (21 games without a win) has no bearing on the clash for Felix Uduokhai, Markus Weinzierl emphasised the need to focus on minimising the amount of mistakes.
There are still a few doubts in the Augsburg squad. It is not yet known if Iago, Mads Pedersen and Arne Maier will make appearances due to minor issues. Nevertheless, Weinzierl appeared optimistic in the press conference and will make his decision after the team’s final training session.
FCA’s head coach was over the moon for Felix Uduokhai’s return. “We’re in a situation where we’ve got three good central defenders and can pick the best combination based on our opponent,” explained Weinzierl. He also singled out Michael Gregoritsch for praise after his current performances: “He’s really earned his keep and proved that he can be effective. He’s got a great goal record with four in seven games.”
That kind of effectiveness and efficiency will be called for in Saturday’s game: “We’re probably not going to get so many chances, so we need to be effective and ice-cold in front of goal,” said Weinzierl. Equally, reducing the amount of mistakes is a highly important point: “We saw how mistakes in build-up play can hurt us, so we need to put that right,” said the head coach, continuing: “With Maier and Dorsch we’ve got two technically gifted players and want to bring more of their creativity into the game.”
The key to success on Saturday may well be set pieces. FCA have scored nearly half of their goals from dead-ball situations, and Bayer 04 appear vulnerable in this area. “Set pieces are so important for teams like us. We always work on them and have a lot of quality, both in the players delivering the ball and those finishing the chances,” said Weinzierl.
Bayer Leverkusen are not third in the Bundesliga table for no reason. “We’re expecting to face a good team with a lot of quality and pace,” analysed Weinzierl, hoping to work against them: “It’s all about not letting the opponent into the game – we showed that we could keep pace with them in phases earlier on this season. We need to put our best foot forward.”
Bayer 04’s star striker Patrik Schick will be a key player, scoring 18 goals in 16 games so far and occupying second place on the top scorer’s charts. “He’s the perfect example of a modern striker; quick, athletic and quality in the air,” analysed Felix Uduokhai. “Of course it will be the central defenders’ main job to try and contain him, but we will all need to come out as a unit and prevent him from getting into dangerous situations,” said the defender.
Head coach Weinzierl put his thoughts into words to finish off: “We’re all focused, all working together to achieve our aim. Saturday’s game will always start 0-0, so we need to take our chance and bring some points home.”