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By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Hoeneß considers keeping back-four in place against Augsburg

With Konstantinos Mavropanos unavailable due to suspension and Hiroki Ito still hampered by the aftereffects of an infection, VfB Suttgart trainer Sebastian Hoeneß discussed the possibility of lining his team up in a back-four at his Wednesday presser. 
Sebastian Hoeneß' new back-three has unquestionably yielded desirable results for the newly installed VfB Stuttgart trainer. The Swabians remain undefeated in three matches on-the-trot since Hoeneß took the reins at the club. Stuttgart won their DFB Pokal quarterfinal fixture against 1. FC Nürnberg, took all three points from Bochum on the Bundesliga's 27th matchday, and fought back shorthanded to take a point off Dortmund this past Saturday.

The Dortmund result may nevertheless call for a rethink. Hoeneß had to make tactical adjustments after center back Konstantinos Mavropanos was sent off on double yellows in the 39th. The VfB gaffer moved wingbacks Josha Vagnoman and Borna Sosa back to fullback roles alongside center halves Dan Axel Zagadou and Waldemar Anton in a 4-4-1. The tactic enabled Stuttgart to score three shorthanded goals against Dortmund in the second half.

Stuttgart face Augsburg on Friday night in the 2022/23 German Bundesliga's round 29 curtain-raiser. The match qualifies as yet another crucial relegation six-pointer in the league's exceptional tight relegation race. A win for Stuttgart could see the BaWü club pull themselves out of the relegation zone on 27 points. Augsburg would then stand within striking distance for an overtake on 29 points.

Mavropanos - courtesy of his sending off - must now serve a suspension. As Hoeneß revealed at his Wednesday presser, Ito is being reintegrated into training gradually and may not be fully fit in time for the face-off against the Fuggerstädter. The VfB trainer mused about the possibility of keeping his back-four in place when speaking to the members of the assembled press corps.

"We have to see if Hiroki can play from the start," Hoeneß said on Wednesday, "This forces us to think about a back-four. In terms of personnel, we're not so well positioned across the board. We did well [with the back-four] against Dortmund. We're still in the process of figuring it out. I'll leave that open."

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