Seoane: FCA can 'compete with any team on a good day'

A look at the Bundesliga table puts the third-placed Werkself in the role of favourites. Bayer 04 head coach Gerardo Seoane is happy to accept that and expects his team to produce another focused and dominant performance against the team fourth from bottom in Germany's top flight. Ahead of the home match against FC Augsburg on Saturday, 22 January (kick-off: 1530 CET), the 43 year-old coach prefers to look at the past performances of the team from Augsburg instead of a snapshot of the table.

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"Augsburg have shown their positive side in recent games," declared Gerardo Seoane at the pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon. They have only lost once in the last five league matches and picked up a point in both of the games against Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig. The Swiss boss made it clear: "They can compete with any team on a good day."

The management of the Bavarian Swabians found a missing piece for the FCA attack in the USA: Ricardo Pepi arrived from FC Dallas a few days ago. Seoane and his fellow coaches have already genned up on the talented 18-year-old. "Whenever a new player comes into the league, we take a look at them," said the coach. "He’s very talented."

vacant position alongside Andrich

Ahead of key defender Jonathan Tah and his teammates in the back row of the Black and Reds, the holding midfielders will definitely come into contact with Pepi. Robert Andrich, a goalscorer in the 2-1 win at Mönchengladbach, is an automatic first choice. In the same position, Julian Baumgartlinger (knee) and Exequiel Palacios (back) are ruled out through injury and Kerem Demirbay is missing due to a one-match ban. Also absent are Odilon Kossounou and Edmond Tapsoba, currently at the Africa Cup of Nations, plus Daley Sinkgraven and goalkeeper Andrey Lunev. Paulinho is now out of self-isolation after his coronavirus infection but it currently seems unlikely that the Brazilian will be in the squad due to remaining health checks following the illness.

Conversely, Charles Aránguiz is set to return to the match day squad. The Chile international has missed the last two Bundesliga games due to a calf injury. Seoane said in reference to the 32-year-old: "Charly isn't yet back to 100% and he hasn't trained with the team for four weeks. Nevertheless, he has so much experience that he can fit back in quickly."

The head coach named another alternative alongside Andrich in Nadiem Amiri who was "fully involved in training" this week. The Swiss coach could also consider a change of formation.

Training instead of double fixtures

The first midweek match of the year for the Werkself is in March. Accordingly, Tah and Co. have been able to fully focus on training. All parts of the team have been involved in Leverkusen and they are well-prepared for the visitors from Augsburg.


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