Ricardo Pepi is still looking for his first Bundesliga goal as Augsburg take on Mainz and Anton Stach in their revamped Matchday 26 game on Wednesday (kick-off: 6.30pm CEST).
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Despite yet to find the net in seven Bundesliga appearances so far, Pepi finally tasted victory with Augsburg on Sunday as they beat Wolfsburg 3-0 at home. The United States international started and played 89 minutes as Die Fuggerstadter moved up to 14th in the table and three points clear of the relegation and play-off places. Victory in this game in hand will take them even above Wolfsburg in 13th. Coach Markus Weinzierl may not see the need to deviate from a winning formula, with Pepi starting alongside striker Florian Niederlechner. Full-back Iago and converted winger Mads Pedersen are also on the scoresheet and look set to continue down the left after both earning places on the Fantasy Team of the Week. Andre Hahn offers another alternative in attack, while Ruben Vargas could also return after missing the weekend through illness. Reece Oxford will continue alongside captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw in central defense in the prolonged absence of Felix Uduokhai.
After earning his first senior cap for Germany during the international break, Stach hopes to join Pepi and many other Bundesliga players at the FIFA World Cup this winter in Qatar. The starting midfielder had the most touches (90), won the most challenges (15) and made the most passes (50) for Mainz as they came from behind to earn a draw 1-1 at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday. Jae-Sung Lee came off the bench to provide the assist for Karim Onisiwo and will be hoping to earn a starting spot in this revamped game. That point leaves Bo Svensson’s side in 10th place – nine points clear of Augsburg – and a rare away win will put them in seventh place with just six rounds to play. Germany Under-21 captain Jonathan Burkardt is also set to return to the squad after Marcus Ingvartsen was given the green light to start this weekend.
Look: Augsburg took big step towards survival with Wolfsburg win
- Pepi had 135 touches and eight shots, five of them on target, in 355 minutes of Bundesliga football.
- Hahn has scored more goals (five) against Mainz than any team he has faced, and played a direct role in Augsburg’s last four strikes against the 05ers (three goals, one assist).
- Augsburg have scored at least once in their last 10 encounters with Mainz, winning the last four home games. Five consecutive home wins against a Bundesliga side would be a first for the Bavarian outfit
- Burkardt scored his first Bundesliga brace in the second leg, but the Germany Under-21 captain has scored just two goals in his last 13 club appearances.
- Robin Zentner has kept a league-high nine clean sheets in 2021/22 but only one on the road, where he conceded 23 goals to eight at home.
- Indeed, Mainz have taken just two points from their last eight away matches in the Bundesliga – their longest winning streak under Svensson.
The probable compositions
Augsburg: Gikiewicz – Gumny, Gouweleeuw (c), Oxford, Iago – Caligiuri, Maier, Dorsch, Pedersen – Niederlechner, Pepi
Outside: Gregoritsch (not included), Sarenren Bazee (knee), Strobl (knee), Uduokhai (thigh)
Doubtful: Vargas (sick)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Mainz: Zentner – Bell, Hack, Niakhate (c) – Widmer, Kohr, Stach, Martin – Lee – Onisiwo, Burkardt
Outside: Burgzorg (heart), St. Just (shoulder)
Coach: Bo Svensson