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Anticipating a “fierce contest”

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Stuttgart, lying in the relegation play-off place with 24 points, travel to 14th-placed Augsburg, who have 29 points on the board. “I’m expecting a good atmosphere at a sold-out stadium,” said VfB head coach Sebastian Hoeneß on Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to a fierce contest. It’s going to be physical, it’s going to be intense. We’ll be ready,” he continued.

Closeness the key

VfB are unbeaten in three competitive games under Hoeneß, who’s hoping that run continues on Friday night. “In the games against both Bochum and Dortmund, we had to weather difficult periods. It will be a different game on Friday, but if we remain clear and work hard together, then things can happen. We have to keep proving that, though, and that requires constant work,“ added the VfB boss. Last time out, two goals from substitutes against BVB highlighted how close-knit the squad is. “We’ll need impetus from the bench in every game,” said Hoeneß.

On the personnel front, the 40-year-old is likely to welcome back a number of players. Borna Sosa returned to full training on Wednesday after his infection, while Hiroki Ito (also infection) and Nikolas Nartey are likewise back in full training. However, Konstantinos Mavropanos is suspended following his sending off against Dortmund.

The Swabians are up against opponents with “a clear playing philosophy”, as Hoeneß described, adding: “They try to generate pressure through man-to-man marking and early pressing. In possession they look for the direct route to goal.”

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Anticipating a “fierce contest”

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