RB Leipzig vs FC Augsburg Preview: Hosts look to continue unbeaten start

RB Leipzig vs FC Augsburg Preview: Hosts look to continue unbeaten start

The controversial side from Saxony could make Bundesliga history for a promoted side if they avoid defeat to die Fuggerstädter.

James Rees

FC Augsburg have a tough task on Friday night, as they attempt to become the first team to take all three points away from newly-promoted RB Leipzig.

Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side have started the season in impressive fashion, and go into the game as favourites and on the brink of having the longest unbeaten run at the start of a Bundesliga season for a promoted side.

Augsburg will be hoping to do something about that though, and would make themselves very popular in the rest of Germany if they were to win.

Leipzig on the brink of Bundesliga history

Leipzig have ruffled a few feathers so far, no least with their victories against Borussia Dortmund and Hamburger SV. They have drawn their other three games, including against 1. FC Köln last Sunday, when Oliver Burke scored his first goal for the club.

They currently sit seventh in the table, as one of four unbeaten teams. If they avoid defeat against Augsburg, they will become the first ever promoted side to stay unbeaten in their first six games. Rot-Weiß Oberhausen came close in 1969-70, before losing their sixth match to MSV Duisburg.

Augsburg have had a mixed start to life under Dirk Schuster, with two wins, a draw and two defeat so far. Their last game was against Schuster's old side SV Darmstadt 98, with Alfred Finnbogason scoring his first goal since making his move from Real Sociedad permanent in the summer.

Unlike most teams in the Bundesliga, Augsburg do in fact have a little history with Leipzig. They’ve met twice in the last five years in the DFB-Pokal, both in Leipzig, with Augsburg winning both.

Daniel Brinkmann scored the only goal in a second round meeting in 2011, whilst three years ago they met in the first round, with a 2-0 win for Augsburg thanks to Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker and Halil Altintop.

Schuster thinks Leipzig can be broken down

Hasenhüttl, like Schuster in his first season with his side, is expected his Leipzig side to dominate the game, but admits that "no one should be so presumptuous to think that an easy game awaits.”

"Augsburg are a team that's very good defensively,” he added. “Therefore we will need to find solutions. We need patience and the right decisions to create and make the most of our chances.”

Schuster in likewise under no illations that Leipzig are, in his words, "absolute favourites" for the game. "They have a lot of speed and a lot of individual quality in attack," he said. "They always try to get the ball forward quickly without many touches and to create chances against opponents who are disorganised."

However Schuster also thinks that Augsburg do have a chance to cause a surprise. "I think we have found a few areas in our analysis of them, where we can break them down," he revealed.

Augsburg fan groups to boycott match

The controversy surrounding Leipzig’s rise to the Bundesliga is well-documented. Fans of other clubs in the league have made their feelings known, such as Köln’s, who staged a sitting protest on Sunday, holding up the Leipzig coach and forcing the game to be delayed by 15 minutes.

Although around 600 Augsburg fans are expected to make the trip to Saxony, more than their two previous away games combined, many of the club’s organised supporters are following Dortmund’s ultras in staging a boycott of the game. They will instead watch their second team play against SpVgg Greuther Fürth II in the Regionalliga Bayern on Saturday.

The boycott is a source of frustration for those in charge at the club. "We could really use the support of the fans, but we respect and accept the decision," said Schuster, whilst manager Stefan Reuter defended Leipzig's right to be in the Bundesliga, but admitted they couldn't force fans to make the journey.

Leipzig captain Dominik Kaiser though has sent out a warning to fans who want to make their feelings known about his club, saying that "they will make us even stronger."

Trio back for Leipzig but more injury concerns for Augsburg

Hasenhüttl hasn’t been afraid to rotate his squad so far this season, and he will have almost a full hand to play on Friday night, with Diego Demme, Emil Forsberg and Kyriakos Papadopoulos all available again after injuries.

The Köln match saw a change of formation to accommodate Burke, and after his goal in that game he will be hoping to keep his place. Yussuf Poulsen and Timo Werner will be itching to regain their places though, and with David Selke failing to make the most of his first start of the season, one or both should return.

Augsburg will be without Raúl Bobadilla after he injured his shoulder against Darmstadt, although his injury is not as bad as first feared. Jan Morávek, who could have replaced him, has also been ruled out of the game. Dominik Kohr and Caiuby are both still out as well.

Finnbogason had been a doubt with a muscular complaint, but he is expected to be fit to play, especially as Augsburg have few other available options up front. Julian Günther-Schmidt, who has already scored eight goals for their second team this season, has been called up as cover. Jonathan Schmid and Altintop are the candidates to replace Bobadilla.

Predicted line-ups

RB Leipzig: (4-2-3-1) Gulácsi; Bernardo, Orban, Compper, Halstenberg; Demme, Ilsanker; Burke, Kaiser, Sabitzer; Werner.

FC Augsburg: (4-2-3-1) Hitz; Verhaegh, Gouweleeuw, Hinteregger, Stafylidis; Baler, Kacar; Schmid, Koo, Ji; Finnbogason.

Quotes via Kicker, Bild, RB Leipzig and FC Augsburg.