Harnessing the energy from Lens in Augsburg

First Team

SC take on FC Augsburg on Matchday 23 of the Bundesliga. The match at the WWK Arena kicks off on Sunday evening at 19:30 CET.

When a journalist asked Michael Gregoritsch after the Europa League victory over RC Lens how preparations for the game at FC Augsburg were going, he replied: “Sleep, eat, sleep, eat.” The players don’t have much time for other things ahead of the next game in Augsburg on Sunday. Train lightly, study the opponent, recover.

That is a plan that the SC players are familiar with by now. There were enough weeks with two games in both this season and last. “That’s our job. We have to be fit on Sunday and show what we showed against Lens,” said Roland Sallai, who netted twice against the French side. He will be particularly referring to the second half and extra-time period, when a determined SC came back from 2-0 down to win and secure a spot in the Round of 16 of the Europa League.

FCA as our ‘favourite opponents’

The win came at the right time, as the team had previously gone five successive games without a victory in all competitions. “Getting through to the next round gives us energy. In three days, we have to give everything again,” said Matthias Ginter, who returned to the pitch for the first time against Lens after recovering from injury, with regards to our encounter with the league’s 14th-placed side.

And maybe SCF are also facing FC Augsburg at exactly the right time. Freiburg have gone ten league games unbeaten against the Fuggerstädter, and have won the last six – an impressive run against one of our ‘favourite opponents’. In addition, the side led by head coach Jess Thorup, who took over at the club in October 2023, are winless in their last four home games.

Dead balls could also be a good asset for SCF. SC have an impressive record from corners, free kicks and penalties – over a third of our goals this season have come from set-piece situations. On the other hand, Augsburg have trouble defending these, and have already conceded 15 times from the opposition’s set pieces. Both goals in our 2-0 win in the reverse fixture came from dead balls.

It should not be forgotten that SCF have conceded three goals in each of their last three Bundesliga games. But as well as Ginter, who could return more stability to the Freiburg defence, Merlin Röhl is available in the Bundesliga again. The 21-year-old missed the games against Frankfurt and in Dortmund due to suspension after receiving a red card. Röhl’s qualities both in attack and defensive midfield were there for all to see against Lens.

Photo: Achim Keller

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