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Maaßen confirms that Gikiewicz's comeback is near

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

FC Augsburg trainer Enrico Maaßen had some good news to convey concerning one of his team's pivotal actors at the Thursday FCA presser.

Maaßen also addressed the pressures of facing a side as strong as Eintracht Frankfurt without his regular midfielders. 
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After sitting out the last four Bundesliga rounds with a thigh contusion, it looks to be the case that FC Augsburg #1 Rafal Gikiewicz will be back on the pitch in time for Augsburg's final "English week" league push. While not specifically committing to starting the talismanic Polish netminder this weekend against Frankfurt, FCA trainer Enrico Maaßen did state that the 35-year-old will "definitely play" if he reports himself fit at training tomorrow.

Gikiewicz's spectacular form was one of the primary reasons Augsburg were able to rattle off a four-game unbeaten streak in late September and early October of this year. The Fuggerstädter won the last three league fixtures in which the veteran stood in goal. Gikiewicz was able to keep a clean sheet in two of those matches, blanking both Bremen and Bayern. Under substitute keeper Tomas Koubek, the Bavarian Swabians have drawn two and lost three.

Maaßen made no secret of the fact that high-flying Eintracht constituted an intimidating opponent when speaking at today's press conference. Augsburg will be missing both midfield sixes Elvis Rexhbecaj and Carlos Gruezo due to suspension. Additionally, Ruben Vargas and Mads Pedersen are questionable with injuries. Not wanting to tip his hand, Maaßen did hint at starts for Arne Maier and Julian Baumgartlinger.

English center-halve Reece Oxford will, according to Maaßen, "back in the matchday squad" after a long injury layoff. Naturally, the 23-year-old will not be an option for the starting XI in his first suit-up of the season. After Frankfurt, Augsburg face Union Berlin and VfL Bochum before Bundesliga play concludes for the calendar year.

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