Augsburg - Intrigue surrounds FC Augsburg, the provincial Bavarian club, after their superb season in 2013/14. From the brink of relegation in April 2013, coach Markus Weinzierl's turnaround in guiding them to within a point of European qualification was nothing short of remarkable.

In an attempt to discover whether they can repeat their impressive feat, digs a little deeper into the heart of the Függerstädter.

Augsburg's captain fantastic and one of the best full-backs in the Bundesliga, Paul Verhaegh is key to the balance of Markus Weinzierl's side. His fitness makes him vital for the club's high-octane style of play, and it will be interesting to see how he fares without the industrious Andre Hahn in front of him. His physical attributes are important for the team, but his unflustered, calm leadership is equally indispensable.

A standout player in Bundesliga 2 for the best part of the last five seasons, Caiuby appears primed to succeed on his return to the top flight. His last three campaigns were spent at FC Ingolstadt 04, where he bagged 22 goals in 104 league appearances to add to the single goal in nine Bundesliga matches he managed for VfL Wolfsburg back in 2008/09. Now aged 26, Augsburg will expect the silky yet robust attacker to score and assist the goals that could fire them up the table.

Popular German football magazine 11 Freunde had good reason for naming Markus Weinzierl their 2013/14 Bundesliga coach of the year. Combining a shrewdness in the transfer market with natural leadership from the dugout, the 40-year-old helped Augsburg not only beat the drop but finish in eighth place in the table, recording the club's first-ever win over FC Bayern München in the process. Players have come and gone this summer, but fans can expect the Fuggerstädter to be as competitive as ever in their fourth year in the top flight.

Even the most ardent supporter would agree that Augsburg punched well above their weight in finishing just a point off the European places in 2013/14. Throughout the campaign, not a word was spoken of the UEFA Europa League. Instead, the focus was on securing their Bundesliga status, and that will no doubt be the case this season too, especially following the exit of star player Andre Hahn (12 goals, nine assists last season).

There was no doubting Augsburg's status as the surprise package of 2013/14. The club won 15 games - just one fewer than in their two previous campaigns combined - taking a point from Borussia Dortmund and defeating Bayern for the first time in their history to end the 23-time Bundesliga champions record-breaking run of 53 matches unbeaten. Yet perhaps the best illustration of their improvement was in their final points tally: from 33 in 2013 to a whopping 52 a year later.

Weinzeirl struck tactical gold when he switched to a 4-1-4-1 formation midway through the 2012/13 season, and he will likely stick to a similar system this term. With Daniel Baier (pictured) pulling the strings in front of the defence, new arrivals Caiuby, Shawn Parker and Nikola Djurdjic will provide additional striking options to cult hero Sascha Mölders, while experienced midfielders Tobias Werner and Halil Altintop will be charged with repeating their goalscoring exploits from last season.

Back in training on 1 July, Augsburg's results in pre-season have been encouraging. There were wins against Stade Rennais FC (2-1) and Altintop's old club Trabzonspor (3-1), before a goalless draw against Crystal Palace FC, although the latter came at a cost, with Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker, Jan Moravek and Raul Bobadilla all suffering knocks. Bobadilla and Moravek's absences showed as Augsburg went out of the DFB Cup at the first hurdle, losing 1-0 to fourth-tier outfit 1. FC Magedeburg.