Preview: Augsburg vs. Stuttgart

Preview: Augsburg vs. Stuttgart

Augsburg will be aiming to bounce back from two successive defeats when they host Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Friday evening.

The visitors, meanwhile, can move two points behind their forthcoming opponents with a victory as they attempt to avoid relegation to the second tier.

Indeed, having only collected two points from their last five league games, Augsburg are not completely safe just yet as they attempt to increase their impressive 12-year stay in the Bundesliga.

Former Borussia Dortmund II head coach Enrico Maassen has undoubtedly made Fuggerstadter more entertaining on the eye during his first campaign in charge of the club, but results have remained inconsistent. In fact, as far as their away form goes, they have been consistently bad.

Despite battling hard against Champions League qualification-chasing RB Leipzig on Saturday, Augsburg fell to their eighth defeat in their last 10 away trips in the Bundesliga, having failed to win any of those matches.

As such, with their final two home games coming against third-placed Union Berlin and second-placed Borussia Dortmund, it is absolutely crucial that Maassen’s side do not succumb to defeat against Stuttgart at the WWK Arena on Friday, otherwise they will almost certainly be dragged deep in to the relegation mire across the closing weeks of the campaign.

Stuttgart, of course, already find themselves staring down the barrel in that regard, but their hopes of surviving have hugely increased since the appointment of Sebastian Hoeness earlier this month.

The 40-year-old, who enjoyed two decent years with Hoffenheim in his first and only previous top-flight managerial role, guided Stuttgart into the last four of the DFB-Pokal by dispatching second tier Nuremberg in his first match in charge, before gaining a crucial win away to relegation rivals VfL Bochum in his first league game.

Perhaps even more impressively, Die Schwaben managed to prevent title contenders Borussia Dortmund from departing the Mercedes-Benz Arena with all three points on Saturday, as Hoeness’s side sensationally came from two goals down with 10 men before scoring a dramatic last-gasp equaliser in a pulsating 3-3 draw.

Dortmund had looked set to move level on points with Bayern Munich – who were simultaneously held by Hoffenheim – at the top of the table when Sebastian Haller and Donyell Malen provided the visitors with a two-goal cushion at half time, with Konstantinos Mavropanos’s dismissal for two bookable offences appearing to end the match as a contest.

However, Tanguy Coulibaly and Josha Vagnoman both struck late to level the proceedings, before Giovanni Reyna bagged his third injury-time strike already this calendar year to send the away fans into delirium.

Yet there was still room for more drama, as Silas snatched a point in the seventh minute of injury-time, with all the momentum suggesting that Stuttgart can return from Bavaria this weekend with a crucial victory.

Augsburg Bundesliga form:

Stuttgart Bundesliga form:

Stuttgart form (all competitions):

We say: Augsburg 1-2 Stuttgart
Given Augsburg’s growing injury crisis and poor form of late, Stuttgart may smell blood at the WWK Arena this weekend, especially as securing a victory would bring another relegation rival into the mix.

Die Schwaben have hugely improved since replacing Bruno Labbadia with Hoeness a few weeks ago, and their confidence should be sky-high after their dramatic draw against title candidates Dortmund last time out.

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