The form of Mirko Slomka's team is steadily improving, whereas the atmosphere at 1860 München is surely not the best after the 2-1 defeat versus Arminia Bielefeld followed by a 2-0 Pokal-defeat at third division side Sportfreunde Lotte.
Karlsruhe are once again traveling away after their last weeks draw at VfL Bochum. The next mission awaits as Die Badener take on 1860 München at the Allianz-Arena for the second time this season. The Lions beat KSC in the first round of the DFB-Pokal 2-1, followed by a 0-0 draw just a weekend later at the Wildparkstadion.
This encounter is a very promising one. Vitor Pereira's team is currently 14th with 19 points, followed by Karlsruher SC who are 15th with 18 points. Both are battling against relegation, but who will have the last laugh here?
The pressure remains
"The Pokal defeat was a disappointment for me and everyone else. We have to improve in our next game versus Karlsruher SC" began Pereira at the press conference. He described KSC as a "good and compact" playing team. His men have to "give everything in order to win this match", explained the Portuguese coach.
1860 München boss Hasan Ismaik has also announced his visit this Saturday as he wants to keep an eye on his teams progress specifically against Die Badener. "Ismakis visit was already planned before as he wants to watch our game versus KSC", mentioned Vitor Pereira.
Nevertheless, the head-coach announced that there will be minimal changes in the starting eleven. He will definitely have to pass on Jan Mauersberger. The defender and former Karlsruhe player has torn a muscle fibre and is forced to be a spectator on Saturday. However, Pereira is convinced that his system will be sucessful: "We wont change our system, we rather want to strengthen it. (...) We have to find the balance in the team. That is a part of the development", Pereira added.
Four games unbeaten
One can say that Mirko Slomka has stabelised Karlsruhe since he began his new Job at the Wildpark. Only one defeat in the four pre-season friendlies and four out of six points were gathered in the first two games this season, which display a steady increase in Karlsruhe's form.
Slomka and his coaching staff closely analysed their coming opponent as they prepare to collect some more points. However, he "scratched off their Pokal-game as after 25 mintutes, it did not have anything to do with football" whilst trying to make a team analysis. Slomka understands that "the atmosphere is surely not the best at 1860."
The 49-year-old made clear that they "analysed their match versus Bielefeld instead" and warned; "They have great individual players and thats why I think that their performance, procedure and communication will get stronger each game they play." His recipe for a success on Saturday therefore is "annoying the lions."
Mugosa forced to watch
New KSC arrival Stefan Mugosa had a brilliant debut last week at their 1:1 draw against VfL Bochum. The Montenegrin has given Karlsruhe the lead after having been subbed on just a few moments earlier. Though, he wont be helping out this time due to an unusual agreement in his contract. The striker came on a loan from 1860 München to the Wildpark on dead-line day for the rest of the season. Sporting director Oliver Kreuzer revealed, that Die Sechziger would give KSC a 100.000€ fine if they field Mugosa against The Lions on Saturday. That not being enough, minutes before the deadline, Kreuzer received another fax from his former employer with an amendment to the possible fine, which was then increased to 1.000.000€. Kreuzer commented this as a "situation that needs getting used to" and laughed it off.
However, this does not mean that Mugosa would not play a vital role in Karlsruhe's match preperation. "I have talked to Stefan and gathered some more information about 1860 München", revealed Slomka during the press conference.
Gimber or Valentini for Kempe
Alongside Stefan Mugosa, KSC coach Mirko Slomka has to pass on Boubacar Barry who has knee problems. Youngster Fabian Reese did a great job during last weeks match, who could eventually be an option for Barry.
Slomka also has to find a cover for KSC left-back Dennis Kempe. The defender became a member of the referees booking list last week which ended up being his fifth yellow card this season. Slomka exlpained that he has "various opportunities to fill this gap, but we will make a decision on Friday after our last training session." This means that new-comer Benedikt Gimber or vice-captain Enrico Valentini could start in the Allianz-Arena for Dennis Kempe.
1860 München: Ortega; Boenisch, Ba, Uduokhai; Stojkovic, Wittek; Lacazette, Liendl; Amilton - Aycicek; Gytkjaer
Karlsruher SC: Vollath; Mavrias, Kinsombi, Figueras, Valentini; Prömel, Yamada; Stoppelkamp, Reese; Hoffer, Diamantakos.
Quotes from 1860 München, Karlsruher SC, Transfermarkt and Kicker.