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M. Gregoritsch (57), D. Caligiuri (86)
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By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Despite errors, Weinzierl endorses Winther-Gumny central defense partnership

A slew of injuries in the defensive corps has FC Augsburg trainer Marcus Weinzierl relying on a pair of young defenders ahead of highly significant match this weekend. 

Both Augsburg and VfL Bochum seek a crucial three points that could see either side pull free of the relegation race. From Weinzierl's perspective, however, there's no need to entertain thoughts of a change at the back. 
Missing captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (COVID), central defender Reece Oxford (muscle tear), and German national team center back Felix Uduokhai (tendon tear), Fuggerstädter trainer Marcus Weinzierl finds himself short of options at the back. The loss of potential defensive plug-in Tobias Strobl (out for the season with an ACL tear) certainly doesn't help either.

In order to make it work last Saturday in Berlin, Weinzierl moved Polish fullback Robert Gumny into central defense alongside young Danish prospect Frederik Winther. The ad-hoc center halve pairing didn't exactly deliver a stellar performance. Both players made multiple mistakes and a Gumny error led to Hertha scoring the opening goal.

Despite this, Weinzierl expressed his support for the partnership and suggested that he might deploy them both again this weekend at home against Bochum.

"The two did well in Berlin, except for Gumny's mistake," Weinzierl said at his Thursday presser, "It's hard to defend against Ishak Belfodil [of Hertha BSC]. He's a big striker and Robert and Freddy handled him well. We have to defend as a team just like we did in Berlin."

"We have one percent confidence in the two of them," the FCA head-coach continued, "I don't see any problem there."

VfL Bochum roll into town on a hot-streak of sorts. After defeating Augsburg in a dramatic second-round DFB Pokal tie, Thomas Reis' 1848ers have cobbled together a pair of league victories against favored opponents Hoffenheim and Freiburg. In a pair of narrow losses to Gladbach and Leverkusen, the newly promoted side also looked strong.

Bochum sit in 13th place in the table on 16 points. Augsburg occupy the relegation playoff place on 13 points. A win for Bochum would see them clear themselves out of the relegation race for the time being with the FCA still lagging behind with the other threatened teams.

Weinzierl, asked about the cup match, said that he wanted to "set matters straight" with a league victory.

"I prefer a win in the Bundesliga to one in the cup," the gaffer noted, "We remember that cup match. We played well in the second half and the added extra time period. We now want to set matters straight by turning this defeat into a win on Saturday."

Bochum will be without the lucky talisman who scored the winning penalty in the cup fixture. First-choice goalkeeper Manuel Riemann has been ruled out for the match.

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