Augsburg vs. Schalke 04 preview:
Fuggerstädter aiming for another home win
By Ben Sully @SullyBen
Augsburg will attempt to claim a fifth consecutive home victory when they play host to Schalke 04 on Saturday.
|Mergim Berisha.||Photo: FC Augsburg|
Augsburg were on the wrong side of an eight-goal thriller last weekend, as they fell to a 5-3 defeat in their away meeting with Bayern Munich. The Fuggerstädter got off to the perfect start when Mergim Berisha gave his side an early lead inside two minutes. However, Bayern quickly showed their class, racking up four goals before half time.
Berisha halved the deficit from the penalty spot on the hour mark before Alphonso Davies added a fifth for the champions, and although Irvin Cardona scored in stoppage time it was too little too late for Enrico Maaßen's side.
Despite losing out to Bayern, 13th-placed Augsburg hold a useful seven-point cushion over the bottom three as they look to secure their Bundesliga status for another season.
After suffering a fifth consecutive defeat last weekend, Augsburg will return to the WWK Arena where they have been in impressive form. Prior to the World Cup break, the Fuggerstädter won just one of their seven home league games. However, they have experienced an upturn in fortunes since the turn of the year, winning all four of their Bundesliga home matches in 2023.
Fredrik Jensen, Felix Uduokhai, Andre Hahn and Tobias Strobl are all ruled out for the hosts due to injury issues. Reece Oxford is still building up his fitness and is not ready to return from a spell on the sidelines, while illness will prevent Niklas Dorsch from featuring.
Schalke will head into the weekend in a positive mood after they came from behind on two occasions to take a point off their rivals Borussia Dortmund last weekend. Nico Schlotterbeck opened the scoring in the 28th minute, but Schalke hit back after half time through Marius Bülter. Dortmund restored their advantage thanks to a Raphaël Guerreiro strike, before Kenan Karaman salvaged a point with a 79th-minute equaliser.
The 1-1 draw extends Schalke's unbeaten run to seven matches, which has boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop.
Despite improving in the last couple of months, Schalke remain in the automatic relegation places on goal difference.
Although Die Königsblauen are still the lowest scorers in the league with 20 goals to their name after 24 matches, they will draw inspiration from the fact that they have scored two goals in each of their last three games.
Having avoided defeat in their last five away meetings with Augsburg, Schalke will be confident that they can continue their fine run of form on Saturday.
Schalke still have a lengthy injury list, which includes Soichiro Kozuki, Dominick Drexler, Danny Latza, Marcin Kaminski and Tim Skarke.
Thomas Ouwejan and Sepp van de Berg are also sidelined, while Sebastian Polter and Justin Heekeren have already been ruled out for the season. Jere Uronen has missed the last three games, and he remains a doubt for Saturday's contest.