Everything for Augsburg in the Europa League this season is a first. The first time they’ve played in European competition. The first time they’ve advanced to the knockout rounds. The first time they’ve faced an English side in a competitive match.
The joy of that was clear in the way the club and their fans reacted to Liverpool visiting last week, and with a nil-nil draw enough to offer them at least the hope of advancement into the Round of 16, everybody connected with Augsburg is excited about their Anfield trip.
"Tomorrow is like Christmas come early," said manager Markus Weinzierl at his pre-match press conference. "Everyone is buzzing; nobody needs motivating. It’s an all or nothing game, and I expect Liverpool to be more proactive and try to score an early goal."
Having drawn the first leg gives Liverpool the advantage of home support in the second leg, but it also means that a score draw would see Augsburg advance due to the away goal rule, which uses goals scored away from home as a tie-break should the sides end up level.
It means that while Liverpool will set out to harness the crowd—and will hope that an Anfield that has often been too quiet this season can find their voice—the visitors will set up to play on the counter, the approach Augsburg used to get into Europe in the first place.
"We know our strength on the counter, though, and know if we score one goal then they will have to score two," added Weinzierl. "For most of us, coming to a place like this is a brand new experience. We want to pull off the upset."