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Arminia Bielefeld vs Augsburg preview

By Ben Sully   @SullyBen

This weekend’s Bundesliga action begins with an intriguing tussle between two sides fighting to avoid relegation.

On Friday evening, Augsburg will travel to the SchücoArena for a crucial contest against fellow relegation strugglers Arminia Bielefeld.
Frank Kramer.
Frank Kramer.Photo: Fuguito/Creative Commons/CC-by-SA 3.0

Arminia Bielefeld


The hosts will be looking for a response after suffering a heavy defeat against Bayer Leverkusen last weekend. A 3-0 defeat away to Die Werkself ensured Bielefeld would finish the weekend in 14th place – just two points above the relegation playoff place.


Despite losing last weekend, Die Arminen will be aiming to extend their unbeaten home run to six matches on Friday. Although, the hosts have struggled to convert several home draws into victories. In fact, those who regularly frequent SchücoArena have grown tired of contests finishing all square. No side in the Bundesliga have drawn more home matches this season than Bielefeld, who have seen seven of their home encounters finish honours even.

Frank Kramer has tended to prioritise a solid defence rather than attacking flair this season. So it is not surprising to see Bielefeld currently boast the fifth-best defence in the league, but resolute defensive displays have compromised their success in the final third. Die Arminen have scored 22 Bundesliga goals this season – only Greuther have scored the same number and no other team have netted fewer. With just 10 games to go, Kramer’s methods are not expected to change and in a tightly contested relegation battle, a strong defence may come in handy.

Kramer does not have many injury concerns ahead of the contest, although Sebastian Vasiliadis is a doubt. Die Arminen will be hoping Masaya Okugawa is on form, with their top scorer hoping to add to the eight league goals he has scored this term.

Augsburg


Augsburg may be winless in their last three matches, but they will be buoyed by the point they collected against Borussia Dortmund last weekend. Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee struck late to cancel out Thorgan Hazard’s opener. Despite holding Dortmund to a draw, the point did little to alleviate Augsburg’s relegation fears. Only a superior goal difference over Hertha Berlin keeps Markus Weinzierl’s men outside of the relegation playoff spot.

Recent away trips have proven to be futile, with Augsburg winless in their last four away matches, while they have lost their last three away contests by a combined 11-4 scoreline. With the season heading into the business end, Weinzierl will be concerned that of the 22 away goals conceded this term, 11 of those have been shipped in the last three away matches.


Augsburg’s away record as a whole will not offer much comfort to their fanbase, who have seen their side win just one away league match this season.

If they are to collect a second away victory against Bielefeld then the visitors will be looking to Michael Gregoritsch for inspiration, with the Austrian top scoring for his side in the Bundesliga this term. In terms of injuries, Augsburg are missing Alfreð Finnbogason and Robert Gumny. Niklas Dorsch is also suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards.



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