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Augsburg suffering from second-season syndrome

  • Fighting against relegation, there haven't been many highlights in FC Augsburg's season so far
  • Markus Weinzierl is experiencing a true baptism of fire during his first stint as a Bundesliga head coach
  • Keeping Ja-Cheol Koo fit will be crucial to Augsburg's chances of steering clear of relegation

Augsburg - Having fought tooth and nail in to survive their debut Bundesliga season, FC Augsburg are in need of a Christmas miracle if they're to turn their form around in the second half of the current campaign. A summer of upheaval seems to have cost the Bavarian side some of their confidence as they now sit seven points worse off than they were at this stage last term. Their work ethic staved off relegation in 2011/12, but at present their energetic performances are coming up short and drastic changes are needed if Markus Weinzierl's side want to pull off another unlikely escape.

Turning point

Ja-Cheol Koo tearing two ankle ligaments on Matchday 2 certainly didn't do Augsburg any favours, but it was a 3-1 win at home to Werder Bremen that proved pivotal. Goals from Tobias Werner, Stephan Hein and Daniel Baier restored belief after a poor start to the season. Though the points haven't exactly flown freely since, Augsburg's improved performances, especially at home, have given their fans hope.

Key player

Whether he's scoring or creating, Tobias Werner has been instrumental in Augsburg's successful results this season. The midfielder epitomises the Bavarians' never-say-die approach to matches having covered an average of 11 kilometres in his 14 appearances. Furthermore, with three goals to his name already, he has netted almost a third of FCA's tally in the first half of the season. As if that weren't enough, the wily winger has created 45 goalscoring chances for his team-mates and completed an impressive 67.1 per cent of his passes.

One to watch

Brought in from VfL Bochum during the summer, many onlookers wondered how 21-year-old Kevin Vogt would cope in Germany's top flight. Yet coach Markus Weinzierl's faith in the youngster has been unwavering. The midfielder has made twelve appearances in the starting line-up this season and 79.8 per cent of his passes have found their intended target. On top of that, he has won 52.8 per cent of his challenges, demonstrating how important new boy Vogt is to the Augsburg midfield.

Statistically speaking

19 - Bayern and Schalke are the only sides whose backlines have allowed fewer clear-cut chances than Augsburg.
0 - The amount of times die Fuggerstädter have lost after taking the lead.
195.6 - Only four Bundesliga playes have covered more kilometres than Daniel Baier.
83 - The percentage of Augsburg's goals that have been scored by German players.

Quote, unquote

"We let too many chances go unpunished. That was very frustrating. It's a bitter pill to swallow when you go toe-to-toe with a world class team, but leave without any points," stated Tobias Werner after losing 2-0 to local rivals FC Bayern Munich. Top scorer Sascha Mölders then summed up Augsburg's first-half of the season: "Unfortunately we're leaving empty handed once again despite the fact there was more in the match for us."

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