The German Bundesliga starts on August 5, and heinnews is providing extensive coverage in the buildup to the 2011-12 season with a club preview each day. Today is promoted side and relegation candidate number one Augsburg.

The relegation fight for Augsburg starts on day one as the promoted side make their Bundesliga debut. Head coach Jos Luhukay, goalkeeper Simon Jentzsch and forward Edmond Kapllani are three of the very few on Augsburg with first league experience. And that will be needed.

Luhukay took over as head coach at Borussia Mönchengladbach in mid-season 2007 and could not keep the team from being relegated. But he guided Gladbach to promotion the very next season before being sacked in October 2008. Now the Dutchman will try to keep Augsburg in the league.

Jentzsch will be key to Augsburg’s chances.  The 35-year-old veteran has played 241 games in the Bundesliga for Karlsruhe, 1860 Munich and Wolfsburg. And he knows the promoted team will be heavy underdogs.

“We will not have a squad that can 100 percent stay in the league. We will learn the hard way, harder than we may want to,” Jentzsch said in an interview with kicker. “We will have to adjust fast and learn quickly – also in dealing with losses.”

Augsburg lost a number of key players from their promotion season.

Defensive specialists Kees Kwakman and Lukas Sinkiewicz both left while midfielders Moritz Leitner and Sören Bertram both returned to their loaned teams. In addition, Guinea international Ibrahima Traore left for a three-year deal with Stuttgart after scoring eight goals and setting up 15 more in 45 second division matches with Augsburg.

The main replacement on defense was Sebastian Langkamp from Karlsruhe, who was trained in the Bayern Munich system and also played in the Hamburg ranks before latching on with Karlsruhe.

Helping out in Luhukay‘s midfield will be new signings Lorenzo Davids and Dominic Peitz. The Dutchman Davids arrives from NEC Nijmegen after 132 matches in the top Dutch league. Peitz comes to Augsburg via Union Berlin after scoring eight goals in 78 second division matches.

Luhukay has a group of strikers who have proven they can score in the lower ranks in Germany but now must produce in the big time.

Michael Thurk had nine goals and nine assists last season after scoring 23 goals a season earlier and 14 goals in 2008-09 – all three with Augsburg in the second division.

Sascha Mölders arrives from FSV Frankfurt after scoring 15 goals last season in the second division while Patrick Mayer was the leading scorer of the third division with 19 goals for Heidenheim.

That trio of strikers may look to 29-year-old Albanian international Edmond Kapllani in how to deal with the pressure of the first league as the Albanian international played in 48 Bundesliga matches from 2007 to 2009 for Karlsruhe.



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