Since the beginning of the Rückrunde, FC Augsburg have won only five games and lost eight, plunging them into deep trouble and relegation concern. To do that, and gain points which could be vital before the last game of the season next weekend, they need to overcome a big challenge as they face Borussia Dortmund.
A side that defeated them at home four times in the last four years, the pressure will be high for the hosts who are playing their last game in front of their fans, thus they will certainly want to give their best.
If the second part of Augsburg’s season has not been brilliant so far, the last few weeks have been slightly better as they lost only one of their last four games. Though, it did not help them to create a gap with the bottom of the table as they only have two more points than Hamburger SV who are occupying 16th position.
The lower-half of the table is tight, too, and Augsburg have some fierce competition in Bayer Leverkusen, 1. FSV Mainz 05 and VfL Wolfsburg. Augsburg must gain points, as many as they can, if they want to be in Bundesliga next season.
On the other side, a confident Borussia Dortmund are traveling in Bavaria. The Ruhr side haven’t lost a single Bundesliga game since Bayern Munich crushed them 4-1 in early April. And last week, their triumph against TSG1899 Hoffenheim, their direct opponents for Europe, was precious in the fight for third. Though everything is fine on the pitch, outside it is quite different.
There is a conflict between the board and Thomas Tuchel following several disagreements on transfer policy and the game against AS Monaco played 24 hours after the bus attack. Thankfully, the club have been able to separate their off-the-pitch issues with their performance on it, meaning that Augsburg may have difficulties to secure a result.
Confident Tuchel expressed his feeling on the current situation at the club
After an interview given by Hans-Joachim Watzke last week before their game against Hoffenheim, the relationship between him and the head coach has taken a turn as nobody knows if Tuchel will be here next season. Despite this, he spoke well in front of the press on Friday afternoon: "The past week obviously didn't go past me without a trace. Two weeks ago, I was asked how I am dealing with all the praise."
He continued, "That feels like it was 12 years ago. A lot of untruths and personal aspersions have been circulating this week, most based on anonymous quotes. It goes beyond what's decent. It's very tough to deal with that.”
Tuchel then was asked about his contract at Dortmund: “Not sure I'm the correct person to ask about contract situation or extension. It'd be naive if in this week, I asked what would speak against a contract extension. I'm an employee. We need patience and distance."
He discussed how he was feeling toward that situation. "It's not that easy," he said. "It's not about sport. A lot has been turned on its head -- in a way that's going way too far on a personal level, also in regard to a serious incident [the attack on the team bus] which I was a part of."
Baum and Callsen-Bracker give their thoughts
Augsburg head coach, Manuel Baum is determined to win against Borussia Dortmund, "The aim is three points." In other words, his team will have to show their best face to succeed against a strong opponent. Though he thinks that the players will need more than determination to earn a crucial victory: “We will also need to get that bit of luck on Saturday to take something away from this game."
To focus totally on their game, the results of the other games will not appear on the screen in the WWK Arena and Baum is happy with that: "We just want to concentrate on our game. Scores from other matches will only be a source of distraction. We want to focus on achieving our collective goal."
Then Baum spoke about his team and their state of mind, "The way they've been working so well together and the rhythm they have found is something we have been missing this season."
Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker also expressed his feelings on towards their opponents and the frame of mind of his team-mates ahead of the tussle: “These kinds of games can bring out the best in you. If we have our fans behind us and push ourselves to the limit, then we can beat Dortmund."
The home side already knew that they would have to do without Jan Moravek and Ja-Cheol Koo, who are both injured. They could also lose Gojko Kacar who has muscular problems and is still doubtful. Otherwise, FCA are at full fitness.
Borussia Dortmund, on the other hand, can count on Marc Bartra again. He is back after being injured during the bomb attack of the team.They still have to do without Nuri Sahin, André Schürrle and Mario Götze, who are all suffering long term injuries. Gonzalo Castro will miss the game due to a suspension after receiving five yellow cards.