Munich - FC Augsburg could be forgiven for wishing they could face VfL Wolfsburg every week, but having beaten them on both occasions during their inaugural Bundesliga season, the Wolves are now desperate to exact revenge when the two get Matchday 3 underway on Friday (kick-off 20:30 CET).
Both sides returned from the international break short of form and struggling to cope with the changes that have taken place over the summer. However, while Felix Magath and Wolfsburg are already in a position to establish themselves further up the table, the hosts are simply hoping to get themselves off the mark. "We want to win this match and collect our first points of the new season," was the clear directive from head coach Markus Weinzierl.
Having ridden their luck to survive last season, FC Augsburg are eager to avoid a similar predicament come the end of the current campaign. Worryingly, however, they remain one of four teams yet to register a point after two Matchdays as the influx of new players and a relatively unproven head coach appears to have had an adverse effect on their fortunes.
Nonetheless, coach Weinzierl was keen to focus on the positives ahead of Wolfsburg's visit: "We stepped it up after our season opener and had ourselves several chances against FC Schalke 04," said the 37-year-old. "Therefore we're also capable of putting VfL Wolfsburg under pressure. The basis of our play will be giving absolutely everything for the full 90 minutes and fighting to ensure it's a good contest." The former Regensburg boss will be without Simon Jentzsch (finger), Knowledge Musona (adductor) and Ja-Cheol Koo (ankle) who join long-term absentees Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker, Sascha Mölders, Ronny Philip and Dawda Bah on the sidelines.
Point to prove
Similarly Felix Magath's charges have struggled to find their feet in the opening two Matchday and a 4-0 loss to northern rivals Hannover 96 will have undoubtedly left a bitter taste in their mouth. "The result was a surprise for us all. There was no indication that we had any problems," said Magath. "We've now got the chance to show that our level of performance in Stuttgart is something were capable of over the course of the season. I'm optimistic that, despite the international break, we can collect points with a strong performance."
Magath, who has won the Bundesliga three times as a head coach, confirmed Bas Dost would feature despite carrying a "minor ankle knock", but also hinted that changes may be necessary after "one or two" players failed to make the trip. "The players coming in want to hit the ground running and show that can play just as well as the ones they replaced. In this respect I expect a tight game." Wolfsburg suffered a 2-0 loss on the road and 2-1 defeat at home to FCA last season, but Magath is adamant that this year he doesn't "want to be the coach of the team who helps Augsburg with their season".
Augsburg: Amsif - Verhaegh, Sankoh, S. Langkamp, Ostrzolek - Baier, Ottl - Petrzela, Moravek, Sio - Bance
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Fagner, Naldo, Pogatetz, Rodriguez - Träsch, Josué, M. Schäfer - Diego - Dost, Olic