On January 8th when Bayern Munich loaned Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to FC Augsburg, it was with the hope that the young Danish international would be able to find his way into the Ausgburg first team. However, the looming question in all Bayern Munich fan's mind was if the loan would be worth it? As Thomas Müller so egotistically stated last week, the Bayern Munich squad is incredibly deep, the practices are very hard, and in many cases it's better for a player than playing in the Bundesliga.
Taking a young player out of that development friendly zone could come with severe ramifications, especially if Hojbjerg ended up in a situation similar to the one Julian Green has found himself in at Hamburger SV -- relegated to the bench or even complete absent from the team sheet. That concern starts to make you squirm when you focus on the fact that Augsburg are currently the Bundesliga's high flyers -- why mess with chemistry that's working to dramatically good effect?
However, Markus Weinzeirl has shown a more dramatic bent, pushing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and working him immediately into the starting squad as yet another tool in Augsburg's tactical toolbox. He's been impressive enough that Markus Wienzeirl isn't sure how he'll line up his squad for the new season. Speaking after Ausgburg 2-1 friendly victory over Greuther Fürth earlier this week, Weinzeirl said "I do not know yet how we play next Sunday". It was a friendly that saw Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg assist on the equalizer just minutes into the second half. It was also a performance that drew plaudits from Augsburg general manager Stefan Reuter, who praised Hojbjerg's ability to drive the Augsburg attack forward.
It was also a second half performance from Augsburg that saw Weinzeirl push Hojbjerg's main midfield competition, Dominik Kohr, into centerback duty.While Weinzeirl clearly intimated that it was an "emergency" option, it wouldn't be that surprising if this became a regular tactic from the Augsburg head coach. Augsburg two starting centerbacks in Jan Callsen-Bracker and Ragnar Klavan have been rocks so far this season logging a combined 32 appearances across the 17 games of the hinrunde. However, the depth behind them is next to zero -- and that's a scary proposition for a club with a target painted on it's back. Adding Dominik Kohr to the backline on occasion is a way to keep what are perhaps Weinzeirl's two most important players healthy.
However, that's all predicated on Hojbjerg turning in the types of performances that make it so Markus Weinzeirl can't leave him out of the starting eleven. If the friendly against Greuther Fürth was anything to go by, he seems to be doing just that.