AUGSBURG GERMANY - JANUARY 16: Torsten Oehrl (2R) of Augsburg celebrates with his teammates after scoring his teams first goal during the Second Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg v FC Ingolstadt at Impuls Arena on January 16 2011 in Augsburg Germany. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Augsburg survived their first ever season in the Bundesliga. Can they survive their second?
Team: FC Augsburg
Manager: Markus Weinzierl
Key Additions: Aristide Bance, Ragnar Klavan, Andreas Ottl, Knowledge Musona (loan)
Key Losses: Axel Bellinghausen
2011-2012 Finish: Bundesliga 14th
2012-2013 Preview: Jos Luhukay took over Augsburg toward the end of the 2008-09 season. His first season in charge saw the club make an appearance in the semifinals of the DFB Pokal and a third place finish in the 2.Bundesliga. They failed to gain promotion after falling to Kaiserslautern in the playoff. Augsburg left no room for error in their second season, finishing second earning an automatic promotion to the Bundesliga. With nearly all preseason projections having Augsburg around the bottom of the table at the end of the season, the club seemed doomed to relegation. Against all of the odds, Augsburg survived. Their first Bundesliga season was an absolute success.
Luhukay unexpectedly resigned at the end of the season, and the club moved quickly to appoint SSV Jahn Regensburg manager Markus Weinzierl to the post. While Weinzierl did manage to move Jahn Regensburg from the 3.Liga to the 2.Bundesliga after four years in charge, Augsburg hiring a manager that has never managed in the top flight (or second division for that matter) seems suspect at best.
While their biggest loss is midfielder Axel Bellinghausen to Düsseldorf, they have done a good job at bringing in talent to fit positions all over the field. Forward Knowledge Musona has joined the club on loan from Hoffenheim. Augsburg will be hoping that he finds his scoring boots at the SGL Arena, because he was never able to find them in Hoffenheim. They dipped into the transfer market to bring Estonian centerback Ragnar Klavan over from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar and Czech midfielder Jan Moravek over from Schalke. Andreas Ottl is joining on a free transfer after being released from Hertha Berlin following relegation.
The player to watch this season is South Korean midfielder Koo Ja-Cheol. He spent the last six months on loan from Wolfsburg and has already agreed to a loan for the upcoming season. Koo scored 5 goals in 15 appearances for Augsburg in helping them stave off relegation. While he may not be highly rated by Wolfsburg's Felix Magath, the 23 year old became almost indispensable for the Bavarian side. Koo could be in for an excellent year at Augsburg if he is able to find the form he put together during the first half of 2012.
Weinzierl will have his work cut out for him this season keeping Augsburg in the Bundesliga again. They'll be battling Freiburg and Mainz along with newly promoted sides Fortuna Düsseldorf, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Greuther Fürth to stay up this year. They have run into a bit of luck with the schedule at the beginning of the year. In their first ten matches, they will only play one side that finished in the top four last season. The objective for Augsburg for the upcoming is as clear as it was last season: survive for another season.