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Augsburg vs. Stuttgart preview: Visitors flying under Hoeneß

By Ben Sully   @SullyBen

After beginning his Stuttgart tenure with two wins and a draw, Sebastian Hoeneß will be looking to guide his side to another positive result when they face Augsburg on Friday.
Sebastian Hoeness.
Sebastian Hoeness.

Augsburg


Augsburg are currently enduring a poor spell of form after failing to win any of their last five matches. A defeat to Bayern Munich was followed by consecutive draws before they were beaten by FC Köln and RB Leipzig in their last two fixtures.


Arne Maier gave Augsburg the early advantage at the Red Bull Arena last weekend, but a Kevin Kampl strike and a Timo Werner brace ensured Leipzig took a comfortable lead into half time. Although Ruben Vargas pulled a goal back late on, Augsburg were ultimately unable to find an equaliser.

With six games left to play, Enrico Maaßen’s side are five points clear of Friday’s opponents, who currently occupy the relegation playoff spot.

Having conceded 14 goals in their last five matches, Augsburg will need to improve defensively if they are to avoid being dragged towards the bottom three.

The hosts may be able to draw confidence from the fact that they have won their last six Bundesliga games which have been played on a Friday.
Team News

Ankle injuries will prevent Fredrik Jensen, Mërgim Berisha and Kelvin Yeboah from featuring. The hosts are also unable to call upon Rafal Gikiewicz, Reece Oxford, Andre Hahn and Tobias Strobl.

Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, meanwhile, will serve a one-match suspension after he picked up his fifth booking of the season last weekend.

Stuttgart


Since taking over as Stuttgart boss earlier this month, Sebastian Hoeneß has claimed a quarter-final victory over Nurnberg in the DFB-Pokal and picked up four points from his two league games in charge.


After beating Bochum 3-2, Stuttgart managed to salvage a point from last Saturday’s home meeting with Borussia Dortmund in sensational circumstances. It looked set to be a disappointing afternoon for die Schwaben when Sebastien Haller and Donyell Malen grabbed a goal apiece before Konstantinos Mavropanos was sent off in a disastrous first half.

Despite being a man-light, Stuttgart clawed their way back onto level terms thanks to efforts from Tanguy Coulibaly and Josha Vagnoman. Stuttgart must have thought all their hard work was in vain when Giovanni Reyna put Dortmund in front in stoppage time. However, there was one last twist as Silas to found a 97th-minute equaliser to prevent Hoeneß from falling to his first defeat as Stuttgart boss.

Although they are sitting just outside the automatic relegation places on goal difference, die Schwaben can move out of the bottom three for the time being if they can claim all three points against Augsburg.

Having won four of their last five meetings with Augsburg, Stuttgart will be confident of recording an away victory on Friday.
Team News

After being sent off last weekend, Mavropanos is suspended for Friday's encounter. Hiroki Ito will return to the matchday squad, but there is doubt as to whether he will be fit to start against Augsburg.


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