The development in the latter half of 2012/13 under head coach Markus Weinzierl gave Augsburg justified grounds for confidence. Nobody was under any illusions, however, that it would take another almighty team effort to maintain that progress. After a patchy start, they have been increasingly reaping the rewards.
Two defeats for starters were followed by three straight wins, starting against VfB Stuttgart, but that proved a false dawn as Weinzierl's troops then picked up one solitary point from their next five outings. Matchdays 11-17 were altogether more fruitful, however, with four wins and two draws racked up alongside a single loss – away to FC Bayern. All of which leaves Augsburg sitting pretty in eighth place at the midway stage, on an exceedingly healthy 24 points.
The summer signing of from Trabzonspor has proved to have been an inspired move. The 31-year-old Gelsenkirchen-born Turkey international has started every league game this season and chipped in with five goals and plenty of imaginative forward play, as well as providing a steadying influence born of his vast Bundesliga experience.
Augsburg's current 24-point haul is precisely the same as their tally in their first two top flight half-seasons combined. In their 2011/12 debut Bundesliga campaign under Jos Luhukay, FCA were second from bottom of the table on 15 points going into the winter break. The opening months of Weinzierl's stewardship the following season yielded a paltry nine points, leaving them stranded alongside Fürth at the foot of the standings, ten shy of a direct non-relegation place.
“We didn't come here expecting to win with a few goals to spare,” head coach Markus Weinzierl noted laconically after his side's 3-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena on Matchday 12 – a result which incidentally stretched hosts FC Bayern's unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to 37 games, beating Hamburger SV's all-time record from way back in the early 1980s.
wasted no time establishing himself as a first-team regular following his move from third-flight Kickers Offenbach last January. This season, the 23-year-old right-sided attacking midfielder has added an eye for goal to his other attributes. His first in the Bundesliga came against Mönchengladbach at the end of September and five more have followed since, making him Augsburg's current top scorer.