Augsburg have enjoyed a great season in the league so far, sitting at the top of Division 5 after 21 matchdays, while predicted to finish 15th. Out of both Cup and Shield, although those were never the main objective in the first place as there’s a lack of depth in the team. The Youth team is in the knockout stages of the Youth Cup, while also finishing in the 3rd-4th position in the SAX Regional Youth Cup. So far so good…
Joao Felix has been the main driving force for the team so far, but what enabled him to be the main man is the many seasons/years that Ivan Anić spent preparing and building the team – which is still happening – so that one day that same team can revolve around Felix – that would today be the playmaker even from the centre forward position.
When Anić first took over the team, they were sitting in the bottom 3 in Division 5. That was back in Jan 2017. That team back then had a couple of good players, but no sync, no chemistry. Higher rated players such as Phillip Max and Kamil Glik, that would slot right into this team today were sold in pursuit of new and younger options.
Anić’s first signings, or one of the first ones were Joan Jordan and Declan Rice. 22 at that time and only 80 rated, Jordan endured a good 2 years of build up before becoming one of the better outside-the-top-clubs Spanish midfielder. Rice on the other hand was bought simply on a hunch that he’ll rise quickly in rating and potential, which proved to be correct.
The only 2 players that “survived the purge” are Dominik Kohr, who’s currently a sub, not being able to find much game time, and Jose Campana, who is an irreplaceable piece of a stellar midfield trio alongside Joan Jordan and Benjamin Bourigeaud, a trio that’s working their way through D5 as we speak.
Augsburg so far enjoyed 2 out of 5 seasons of a good finish, or rather an objective/goal set by their manager, a top 10 finish. 8th place a couple seasons ago and a 10th position just last season after having a massive resurgence in the second half of the season to bring it back from relegation spots, much to the effort of Joao Felix who was only a star in the making then, rated 85, now rated 90.
Joao Felix is currently sitting at 9 goals and 10 assists in 20 games so far with 7 MotM rewards and an overall rating of 7.55 occupying the position of 4th best rated player this season in Division 5.
Declan Rice, to get back to him, is another star in the making. The current captain of the German club has suffered a serious injury about a month and a half back which could’ve set the team back a lot, but instead the team fought back stronger for him. In a few days he’ll be able to slowly make his return to the first team and make the defensive line again in pair with Fernando Calero.
30 year old Kevin Theopile-Catherine was a panic signing to cover Rice’s position since Augsburg didn’t have a spare centre back. No doubt Kevin will stay at the club as a sub with his performance being a great and pleasant surprise, such help that couldn’t be described with just words.
Augsburg recently broke a record that was set a couple of seasons ago – 4 wins in a row. They’re now on 8 wins in a row, with another record broken in shape of record crowd that watched them triumph against Cruzeiro with a 3-0 win. Mendez, just 22 with a great career in front of him, enjoyed 2 assists from Felix to clinch the win after an early goal from Davie Selke put them in the lead.
An exciting young squad has been built at WWK ARENA, and more is to come. Players such as Marco Richter, 21; Adrien Fein, 20; Cody Gakpo, 20; Domagoj Bradarić, 19; Max Aarons, 19; Ridle Baku, 21, players who will all soon be on the brink of the first team in just a couple of seasons. If promotion is achieved, it will definitely be easier to breath for the Croatian expert and the rest of his squad who have been waiting on this for a while now. D5 has forever been a place of residency for Augsburg, and now it is finally appearing as if the Germans will escape it.
As it shows, Felix and Rice are excellent leaders on the pitch even without much experience. This shows and carves a path to other exciting prospects in the youth team mentioned above to show themselves in the near future as worthy contestants for the first team. No doubt that the team will continue to build around Felix, but all players above and many others in the youth team were identified as the suitable companions to the Portuguese wonderkid.
Future is now, as they say and it’s exciting to think what Augsburg has in store for us from here on out.
Augsburg On The Rise