First Pep, then Klopp: Augsburg relish ‘dream’ games

Markus Weinzierl

Bundesliga strugglers Augsburg insist they are relishing their forthcoming dream home ties against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Guardiola will bring Bundesliga leaders Bayern to Augsburg’s WWK Arena for a league clash on Sunday before Klopp’s Liverpool are the visitors next Thursday in the Round of 32, first-leg clash in the Europa League.

“These are absolutely dream games for the club,” said Augsburg manager Stefan Reuter.

Both matches have long since been a sell-out.

The club received 5,000 applications for just 2,000 away tickets for the Liverpool game with Klopp set to make his first appearance in Germany since leaving Borussia Dortmund to coach Liverpool.

But first, Markus Weinzierl is chasing his third win over Bayern as Augsburg coach as they hunt for precious points to keep them away from a relegation fight with just one win in their last five matches.

Curiously, Augsburg have beaten Bayern in each of the last two seasons, but the shock results always came after Bayern had already won the league title at a canter.

“In each of the last two seasons, we have beaten Bayern, but we know that on both occasions we caught them at a good time,” said Weinzierl.

“On Sunday, Bayern will want to win the game will certainly be highly motivated. We need a really good day and the support from our fans.”

Augsburg have won just five league games all season, but Bayern coach Pep Guardiola expects a battle.

“I don’t look at what we have done, this is a derby against a good opponent,” said Guardiola and as Bayern forward Thomas Mueller succinctly put it: “there are definitely more pleasant tasks than Augsburg away in February.

“I don’t expect them to wave the white flag at home.”

Guardiola suffered a fresh injury blow on Saturday when Bayern announced Germany defender Holger Badstuber fractured his ankle in training and is out for three months.

Bayern’s other centre-backs Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng are also sidelined for the coming months.

Guardiola has just Medhi Benatia and Serdar Tasci fit to play at centre-back.

New signing Tasci is expected to make his debut after suffering concussion in his first training session since joining on loan for the season from Spartak Moscow.

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Bayern boss Guardiola is expected to be also without injured World Cup-winner Mario Goetze, but Franck Ribery is set to make only this third appearance of the season after injury.

The club tweeted a video of the 32-year-old winger boarding the team bus on Saturday.

Midfielder Xabi Alonso is suspended after being sent off in last weekend’s goalless draw with Bayer Leverkusen.

Augsburg will be without midfield playmaker Daniel Baier, who has fractured his ankle.

South Korean striker Ji Dong-Won is doubtful with a knee strain, but goal-scoring midfielder Tobias Werner should be back after injury.

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