Manuel Veth –
Augsburg vs Dortmund – Saturday, January 18, 14:30GMT/15:30CET – WWK Arena, Augsburg, Germany
Augsburg lost their opening game of the season 5-1 to Dortmund. But despite a poor start, Augsburg stabilized during the second half of the Hinrunde, heading into the Rückrunde in tenth-place. “We want to confirm our development from the fall,” head coach Martin Schmidt said this week.
Schmidt knows that the game on Saturday will be difficult. “Dortmund are a real power, a team that wants to win the title,” Schmidt said. “But we want to continue our series of three wins at home. We have to be an uncomfortable opponent, hunt the ball and the opponent, force the opponent to make mistakes—and then find the shortest way to the goal.”
Another aspect will be Erling Haaland. Schmidt expressed his excitement that a player of his reputation opted to move to the Bundesliga. But also underlines that it will be Augsburg’s job to make Haaland’s life difficult. “On the way home, he can then think about the Bundesliga and that there are no easy games here,” Schmidt said.
Whether Erling Haaland will start is an entirely different matter. The striker arrived in Dortmund with knee problems and did not take part in the complete training program at the training camp. “Haaland, Reus, and Hazard all trained this week,” head coach Lucien Favre said in the pre-game press conference. “Schmelzer and Raschl did not, while Delaney is certainly not ready.”
Nonetheless, there is a chance that Favre will opt to start Haaland from the bench. The Norwegian, after all, was not the only one who struggled with fitness at the training camp. Thorgan Hazard, Marco Reus, and Haaland could, therefore, find themselves with limited playing time. Expect two of them to start but then make way in the second half.
One player who could come off the bench as well is young USMNT star, Giovanni Reyna. “Gio Reyna will definitely be in the squad on Saturday,” Favre said. The 17-year-old impressed at the training camp and it is only a matter of time until he will see minutes in the Bundesliga. Another player, who might no longer feature in the Bundesliga is Paco Alcacer. The striker did not travel with the team to Augsburg. Reported fit, the Spanish forward is linked with a move to Valencia.
Despite the 5-1 win in the summer, Favre was quick to point out his respect for Saturday’s opponent. “Augsburg has changed more than half their team since the first part of the season,” Favre said. “They had a good run and played in great games – even away. We have to do very well on Saturday!”
Augsburg vs Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Florian Niederlechner #7 – Augsburg
Florian Niederlechner has been a machine for the Fuggerstädter. Signed from SC Freiburg in a deal worth $2.85 million, Niederlechner is the club’s top scorer with eight goals and eight assists this season. The striker has been involved in 57% of Niederlechner’s goals this season.
Erling Haaland #19 – Borussia Dortmund
Half of Europe wanted Erling Haaland. But it was Borussia Dortmund that got the striker from Red Bull Salzburg in a deal that, in its entirety, could cost the club in the region of $110 million. Haaland has been a beast for RB Salzburg during the first half of the season, scoring 28 goals in 22 games, becoming the first player in Transfermarkt history to get a single player update. The 19-year-old will add some much-needed depth in the central number 9 position for Dortmund.
Augsburg vs Dortmund – Match Stats
- Augsburg managed to score in the last 12 games against Dortmund.
- Dortmund will be without Paco Alcacer; the striker has been the most productive BVB player in the last three games against Augsburg (six goals, one assist).
- Augsburg’s record at home against Dortmund: W1 D2 L5.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Augsburg vs Dortmund – 0-3
Augsburg vs Dortmund – Lineups
Koubek – Lichtsteiner, Gouweleeuw, Jedvaj, Max – Khedira, Baier – Richter, Jensen, Vargas – Niederlechner
Head Coach: Martin Schmidt
Bürki – Akanji, Hummels, Balerdi – Hakimi, Witsel, Brandt, Guerreiro – Sancho, Reus, Hazard
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He is the Area Manager USA for Transfermarkt and contributes to Forbes.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.