Editor Ali loves the city, editor Axel brings you the story. Here is our preview of Dirk Schuster's new club: FC Augsburg.
I am a horribly lazy person so I thought I'd use the same title for this piece as for the one on Darmstadt during last season. However, this just can't be said often enough; Dirk Schuster is amazing. Why? If you were to dig deep enough you'd find his record with Darmstadt and would see that what he achieved with that team and with that material was nothing short of spectacular. This does leave a big question though: why did he leave Darmstadt after all he had done? Is there no loyalty left? Personally I think Dirk Schuster almost epitomizes loyalty. He could have left during last season as there were many vacant positions during it; he could have left before last season as I'm fairly sure he had lots of offers from lots of financially stable clubs (the opposite of Darmstadt) but he didn't. Dirk Schuster stayed and lead his Darmstadt side to a sensational mid-table finish in their first season in the top flight since '81.
Him leaving for Augsburg is different. This is a new challenge for him, mind you, and he's not a Hasenhüttl who'll only go where there's money to spend. Dirk Schuster thrives when he's under no pressure and against all the odds, which he has shown time after time and here he's being given the opportunity to replace one of the best German managers during the 2010s, Markus Weinzierl, who has recently left for editor Ali's Schalke 04. To replace Weinzerl will most probably prove to be the opposite of an easy task. Schuster will have to work hard and use his team-building skills to utilize every sleeping part of FC Augsburg, as that is what they are: a sleeping beauty.
Augsburg is an old city, much like Ingolstadt, and its skyline is full of beautiful medieval churches and buildings. Bavaria was a kingdom on its own for a long time and Augsburg and Ingolstadt were two of the biggest cities in this kingdom, whose history ended on a high with Neuschwanstein in Hohenschwangau being built during the 1880s. This beautiful city would make most others full of envy, but they did miss one rather important cultural thing; a football team good enough to represent it. Along came FC Augsburg and shone and showed the Germans that the city of Augsburg wasn't finished yet. Along came FC Augsburg with Markus Weinzierl spearheading their charge into the Teutonic top flight where they somehow managed to pull one of the biggest wonders of modern German football when they reached Europa League in their first season in Bundesliga. Since then, they have been a bit too unstable and have mixed great seasons with bad ones as they've struggled to find consistency in their squad. This season will be no different. They've more or less managed to keep hold of all of their players, and even though Alexander Esswein was rumoured to leave and defender Ragnar Klavan is gone, their squad seems to be complete with Finnbogason being bought from Real Sociedad. However, this season they will have to deal with another, perhaps even more challenging task than losing players: Weinzierl is gone.
Will they struggle? It's hard to tell. As mentioned before, Dirk Schuster is a master with tiny clubs and can do wonders with even the smallest of squads and that is exactly what Augsburg need if they can't have the wondrous Weinzerl. It is truly a tough task to determine what will happen with the team from the marvellous city of Augsburg, but I am quite sure that they won't find themselves relegated come the end of May and they might just do something special if Frau Fortuna allows them to, because that is what is needed if they are going to achieve something extraordinary: luck.
Key player: Marwin Hitz.
The Swiss goalkeeper has been a pivotal part of Augsburg since the dawn of their Bundesliga existence and he will most certainly play as pivotal a part this season.
Surprise player: Philipp Max.
The young German left-back made the position his after Baba Rahman left and has cemented himself in the starting line-up. However, he has a long way to go and this could be his actual breakthrough with FCA lacking defensive stability.
Falk's prediction: 15th. Will finish on a low, but a marvellous Hinrunde will keep them above the play-off spot.
Ali's prediction: 9th. Schuster will work his magic once again.
Editor, Swede and huge fan of Bavarian beer.
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