After a scoreless first leg at the WWK Arena a week ago, an away goal for Augsburg at Anfield would put Markus Weinzierl’s men in a fantastic position to reach the last 32.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, Verhaegh says his team have already demonstrated that they can not only go toe-to-toe with the Reds, but also “have a chance of knocking them out”.
bundesliga.com: Paul Verhaegh, Augsburg have already exceeded many people’s expectations just by qualifying for the Europa League. Are you treating this tie as two bonus matches or will you be disappointed should you be knocked out?
Paul Verhaegh: I’ll be able to tell you that after the second leg and once I know how the game has gone. It’s true that we’ve exceeded many people’s expectations in getting to the knockout rounds in our first Europa League season, but if you’re playing against Liverpool, you want a chance to get through as well. We showed in the home game that we can not only match them but that we also have a chance of knocking them out.
bundesliga.com: The goalless draw in the first leg has left you in a good position to qualify. How do you assess your chances on Thursday?
Verhaegh: We certainly have a chance, even if Liverpool are big favourites playing at home. But if we can score a goal there, then they need to score two. We can play absolutely without any pressure and we’ll get our chances.
bundesliga.com: FC Augsburg have played especially well away from home of late. Can you actually win the game?
Verhaegh: Yes, why not. We’re always good for a goal and we’ve shown we can be solid at the back as well. It’ll be tough, but we certainly won’t give up without a fight.
bundesliga.com: You’re about to play in one of the most atmospheric stadia in the world. Is it a dream come true for you to play at Anfield?
Verhaegh: Yes, definitely. We wanted to draw an English club in the group stages, so to play Liverpool in the knockout rounds is brilliant. It’s a dream for every footballer, so we’re going to enjoy it and give the best possible account of ourselves. We’ll be working hard to cause a sensation.
bundesliga.com: What needs to happen on Thursday for your European journey to continue to the next round?
Verhaegh: We need a top performance in every department. We need to be solid defensively, make sure we don’t give Liverpool much room to play in and take our chances when we get them. If we can do that, everything is possible.