All eyes are on Stuttgart this Saturday as FCA face VfB in the Schwaben-Derby (15:30 CEST). Head coach Enrico Maaßen is fully aware of the tough test that awaits his side, but the gaffer is keen to build on the positive performances in recent weeks.
“We put in an excellent performance against Leipzig, at least when we had the same number of players on the pitch. You could really see what this team are capable of even though we were missing some key names,” said Enrico Maaßen, who was reflecting on last weekend’s 3-3 draw with RB Leipzig. “If we bring the energy and conviction of recent weeks onto the pitch on Saturday then we have a real chance of winning the game,” continued the boss.
Former Augsburg assistant Michael Wimmer is currently at the helm at VfB Stuttgart, but his side are currently languishing in 16th. Maaßen, however, is not getting ahead of himself ahead of the contest: “We will be going into the game with all the necessary respect. Stuttgart have a young, talented squad and they are full of enormous quality, despite some shaky results in recent weeks.” The 38-year-old still fully believes in his side: “We are a really tough side to face and we pose a real threat at the top of the pitch. We are currently averaging more than a goal a game. We’re travelling to Stuttgart full of confidence.”
Ermedin Demirović has bagged five goals so far this season and has been a really important part of FCA’s attack, something which the coach is all too aware of: “Demi is a really important player for us both on and off the pitch. He is a great servant and he always gives it 100%, whether it’s in training or in a match.” Demirović has also formed a dangerous partnership with fellow striker Mergim Berisha. “Both of them are playing well and it helps that they have such an understanding of each other. But our entire attack has made positive strides in recent weeks,” explained Maaßen.
Winther and Jensen back in the squad
The boss also gave an update on the state of the squad in Thursday’s presser. “We’ve had to be creative and flexible so far this season. We’ve so far come up with the solutions we need and we already have some ideas about Saturday, which we will finalise after the final training session.” Rafał Gikiewicz is unlikely to feature and Tomáš Koubek is expected to start in goal. Mads Pedersen, who is training individually, Raphael Framberger (back) and Iago (suspended) will all miss out on Saturday.
There is, however, good news regarding Frederik Winther and Fredrik Jensen, who are back to fitness and back in the squad. Felix Uduokhai and Reece Oxford are back in team training but are not yet match-fit.
- VfB Stuttgart
- Enrico Maaßen