Preview: Augsburg vs. SC Paderborn - prediction, team news, lineups
Time is running out for SC Paderborn in their bid to escape relegation from the Bundesliga as they prepare to take on Augsburg at WWK Arena on Wednesday evening.
The visitors are bottom of the division, six points adrift of the relegation playoff spot, while opponents Augsburg pushed clear of danger with their win at the weekend.
Augsburg's 3-0 victory over Schalke 04 on Sunday ended their four-game winless streak, either side of the two-month coronavirus-enforced shutdown, and was their first clean sheet of 2020.
That comfortable win came at the perfect time for Heiko Herrlich's men, who had slipped to within two points of Fortuna Dusseldorf in 16th on the back of their 2-1 loss to Wolfsburg last week.
As it is, the margin on the bottom three now stands at six points and they can perhaps look up at the sides directly above them in the hope of finishing in the top half.
However, back-to-back wins are not a given as Augsburg are without three points in their last ten Bundesliga home matches against promoted sides, a category that Paderborn fall into.
Steffen Baumgart's side were promoted from 2.Bundesliga after finishing second last year, though an immediate return is looking increasingly likely given their current predicament.
In Bundesliga history, no side with a maximum of 18 points to their name after 27 matches - which Paderborn currently have - has ever managed to avoid relegation.
Paderborn have drawn back-to-back games since returning to action, taking points off both Dusseldorf and Hoffenheim, but they need to turn draws into wins if they are to climb off the foot of the division.
The visitors are now winless in eight matches since January, collecting three points from the last 24 on offer, with the other draw in that run coming away to Schalke 04.
Paderborn's biggest struggle this season has been keeping games tight, having conceded in the opening 15 minutes on 14 occasions - including against Hoffenheim last time out - which is a league high.
They have perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly also conceded the third-most goals in the German top flight this term, though Augsburg have only conceded one fewer, perhaps indicating that goals can be expected on Wednesday.
Augsburg's Bundesliga form: DLLLLW
SC Paderborn's Bundesliga form: LLLLDD
Andreas Luthe kept a clean sheet against Schalke and is expected to continue in goal for Augsburg after usurping Tomas Koubek between the sticks.
Captain Daniel Baier was rested for that game but should return here to partner Rani Khedira in holding midfield.
Joel Sarenren Bazee opened his Bundesliga scoring account from the bench last time out, meanwhile, and will be hoping to have done enough to start this one.
As for strugglers Paderborn, they remain without thigh injury victim Luca Kilian, so Uwe Hunemeier should get the nod in defence.
Streli Mamba is back in contention for Baumgart and may well get the nod alongside Dennis Srbeny up top.
Elsewhere, recently-signed Antony Evans will be made to wait for his debut as he looks to build up his fitness.
Augsburg possible starting lineup:
Luthe; Framberger, Jedvaj, Uduokhai, Max; Khedira, Baier; Sarenren Bazee, Lowen, Richter; Niederlechner
Paderborn possible starting lineup:
Zingerle; Drager, Hunemeier, Schonlau, Collins; Vasiliadis, Gjasula, Sabiri; Proger, Srbeny, Antwi-Adjei
We say: Augsburg 3-1 SC Paderborn
Augsburg ended their poor run of form at the weekend and look good value to make it back-to-back wins against the division's basement boys. Paderborn have avoided defeat in successive games for just the second time this term, but they quite simply need to start picking up wins.