Augsburg (dpa) – The most important comeback in the top Bundesliga game is on the sidelines. Coach Heiko Herrlich is back after a lung disease and wants to create something unique with FC Augsburg in the unexpected top duel on Saturday (3.30 p.m. / Sky) against RB Leipzig.
In a win against the upstart, who is critically eyed by the FCA club, the Swabians would be at the top of the table for the first time in Germany’s top class for the tenth year. “Sure, it’s a top game. But at the marathon I haven’t seen anyone jubilantly running around after three or four kilometers,” said Herrlich. His team, which got off to such a furious start, would particularly delight manager Stefan Reuter (54) the day after his birthday with a home win and thus taking over the top.
“We wouldn’t defend ourselves. The overriding goal is to keep the class,” said Reuter of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. The players also like to join in. “The table can be thrown away. We only have three game days,” said center-back Felix Uduokhai. “This is a snapshot.”
But it is a snapshot that gives courage. After the most recent tremorous season, seven points from three games indicate a quieter season. “Augsburg has improved compared to last season”, stated RB coach Julian Nagelsmann appreciatively.
A week ago, however, Augsburg had to deal with the fact that the coach was missing for the second time in Herrlich’s term of office, which began in March. In May, the 48-year-old missed a game because of a violation of the Corona guidelines. He was hospitalized a week ago with a pneumothorax, a build-up of air between his lungs and chest wall.
“It has been discussed with the doctors that I can be fully there again,” said the coach. “But I should make sure that I don’t scream too often.” Since the game takes place without a spectator due to the corona pandemic, it should be quite easy to hear.
But that’s not positive, because the backdrop of 6000 spectators is missing. “We were really looking forward to the next home game with our fans behind us. Unfortunately, the numbers are rising again and the authorities have to act like this,” said André Hahn, one of five Augsburg goalscorers this season. The Swabians have to do without the injured Alfred Finnbogason.
The biggest trump card so far is the defensive. “We conceded one goal first, and Rafal had saves in every game that did us good,” said Reuter, praising goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz, who was signed by Union Berlin. The 32-year-old is new, like top performers Daniel Caligiuri (32) and starting line-up candidate Tobias Strobl (30). The redesign seems to have been a success.
Before this top game, no biting comments were heard from Augsburg’s President Klaus Hofmann. The club head had liked to poke at the Saxons in the past. Otherwise, the duels had repeatedly been hot.
There were no bold announcements from the Champions League participants before the current reunion. On the contrary. “It will be slow, it is often like that after international matches. We have to be prepared for that,” said Nagelsmann. He has to do without the injured captain Marcel Sabitzer. Rome loan Justin Kluivert, son of former world-class striker Patrick Kluivert, is not yet a candidate for the starting XI.