So far, FC Augsburg have been one of the surprises of the season. Manuel Baum has his team up into 5th place in the Bundesliga. Last year they spent much of the season battling relegation, but it doesn’t look like that will be the case this year.
The Bavarian club welcome Dortmund to town this Saturday, as BVB try to recover from their midweek defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.
It has been a struggle for Peter Bosz’s side in the Champions League thus far, but certainly not in the Bundesliga. Domestically, Dortmund are in great shape. They have a two-point cushion in first over Hoffenheim, and there is instability and uncertainty abound at Bayern Munich after the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti this week.
For the first time in a couple years, there is a visible chink in the armor of Bayern’s title defense. If Dortmund are serious about competing for the league, they know they have to beat the teams they are expected to beat. Augsburg, despite their strong start, are still one of those teams.
News came this week that Marco Reus will further delay his return from injury, but BVB are surprisingly deep in attack this season. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored against Madrid and will be looking to build on his league leading 8 goals in the Bundesliga.
The safe bet is on Auba tallying again, but Augsburg will also have to be wary of the black-and-yellows array of talented attackers. Max Philipp (not to be confused with Augsburg’s Philipp Max) and Andriy Yarmolenko started against Madrid, so expect to see Christian Pulisic return to the 11. The same can be said for Julian Weigl, who looked impressive last weekend against Monchengladbach in his full return from injury.
The main man to watch for the home team is Alfred Finnbogason. The Icelandic international is Augsburg’s leading scorer with four goals on the season. But Finnbogason and Augsburg were held in check when they played to a scoreless draw with Stuttgart last weekend.
Both contests between these teams last season ended 1-1, but it seems unlikely that Augsburg will be able to hold Dortmund’s offense in check. BVB have scored 14 goals in their last three Bundesliga matches.
Another draw wouldn’t be a disaster, but it would probably prove costly for Dortmund in the long run. But another big win would allow the squad to keep their lead atop the Bundesliga, while also boosting their momentum towards some bigger games in the fixture list.