Augsburg have shown glimpses of what they’re capable of in 2022/23, but will need to add consistency to their game in the second half of the season if they are to avoid an unwanted relegation scrap.
The story so far
Enrico Maaßen took over from Markus Weinzierl at the start of this season, but aside from the DFB Cup first-round win over fourth-tier side BW Lohne in July it was anything but smooth sailing for the new man in the hotseat.
Four defeats from their first five Bundesliga games left the side in the relegation zone, but a four game unbeaten run between mid-September and mid-October, comprising three wins and a draw, showed what Augsburg are capable of. Indeed, that streak is what’s keeping them above the breadline at present, with only four teams currently below them in the standings.
Goals – or rather the lack thereof – is the main issue for Maaßen’s side, who have rattled opposition nets just 18 times so far. Only the bottom two of Schalke and Bochum have scored fewer than Augsburg’s 18. With a tricky run of fixtures once the season resumes, including matches against Dortmund, Gladbach, Freiburg and Leverkusen, they will need positive results if they are to avoid being caught up in the relegation battle once more.
Key player: Mergim Berisha
The departures of forwards Michael Gregoritsch and Alfred Finnbogason over the summer left a void to be filled at the WWK Arena. Berisha has gone about doing just that since arriving from Fenerbahce, hitting three goals and four assists in just 10 Bundesliga outings, including the winner against Bayern (more on that below). If he can continue posting those kinds of numbers with such regularity, Augsburg should be safe by May.
League leaders Bayern Munich have only lost once in the Bundesliga so far this season – and guess who inflicted it on them? That’s right, Augsburg. Julian Nagelsmann’s side were widely expected to convincingly beat their Bavarian neighbours on Matchday 7, but were frustrated by an inspired Rafal Gikiewicz in goal. Berisha struck in the second half to snatch a much-needed win that offered a glimpse – rarely seen before or since – of what Augsburg are capable of.
Watch: Augsburg's shock win over Bayern
One to watch: Ermedin Demirovic
After finding himself increasingly on the fringes at Freiburg, Demirovic jumped at the chance to move to Augsburg over the summer and has hit the ground running. Five goals and two assists are testament to his threat up front and if the Bavarians are to stay up this season, much may depend on him continuing that form.
View from the camp
“I don’t know what’s going on with us right now because we really do have a lot of quality in the squad. We just need to build on our good games again.” - Augsburg centre-back Reece Oxford
Key fixtures in 2023
- Hertha Berlin (a), 25 February
- Schalke (h), 18 March
- VfB Stuttgart (h), weekend of 22 April
- Bochum (a), weekend of 13 May
Watch: The Bundesliga is back!
All 2022/23 season reviews:
Bayer Leverkusen | Bayern Munich | Bochum | Borussia Dortmund | Borussia Mönchengladbach | Cologne | Eintracht Frankfurt | Freiburg | Hertha Berlin | Hoffenheim | Mainz | RB Leipzig | Schalke | Union Berlin | VfB Stuttgart | Werder Bremen | Wolfsburg
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