clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How sucessful can Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's loan to Augsburg be?

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could be the signing that vaults Augsburg into the Europa League places -- or higher -- this season.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Let's face it; FC Augsburg doesn't have the perception of being the most glamorous loan destination for as highly touted a player as Pierre Hojbjerg is. Just a matter of two season ago, they were fighting for their Bundesliga lives on the last day of the season while Bayern Munich were busy winning a treble. Following that 3-1 win over Greuther Furth, FC Augsburg has been nothing but exultant over the last 18 months under the coaching of Markus Weinzeirl.

Last season, in dominating fashion, Augsburg clawed their way into mid-table, finishing the season just one point behind Thomas Tuchel's Mainz for the final Europa League qualification spot. While Tuchel's brilliant display at Mainz hid the rise of Augsburg, his departure over the summer has left room for Weinzeirl to slip in as the darling coach of the Bundesliga this term -- and it's not hard to see why.

Ausgburg have come out of the gate swinging, finishing the hinrunde in 6th place, with tactically astute play that can alternate between possessive and defensive faces. Their possession away from home is 6 percentage points higher then their possession stats at home, belying a side unafraid of opposition tactics and willing to take the game to their opponents.

However, the question then arises, if Augsburg are such a good team, how is there space for a developmental style loan like Pierre Hojbjerg? The answer to that lies in the composition of the Augsburg holding midfield. To date, Ausgburg has ridden the strength of Daniel Baier to their new heights. The 30-year-old Bundesliga stalwart has been a metronome-style force in the middle of  the field for Augsburg -- averaging 62 passes per game as their possession hub -- while also supplying a stout defensive side and being the team's glue in midfield. Despite the fact that Hojbjerg's skill in possession is one of his greatest skills, it is not Daniel Baier that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg can supplant -- it is the opposite side of that partnership that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg replaces.

Baier's partners to date have alternated between young 20-year-old Dominik Kohr and grizzled 32-year-old Bundesliga veteran Markus Feulner. The two have split duties as alternate central midfield options with Feulner in a box-to-box role opposed to Dominik Kohr's showings as a purely defensive option in Ausgburg's central midfield partnership. Between those two lies the strength of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

With a solid defensive acumen and an ever-evolving attack oriented possession game, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has the wherewithal to slot into this Augsburg team in place of either option for Markus Weinzeirl. However, moving beyond that condition, it is that Hojbjerg allows Augsburg to remove their reliance on Daniel Baier. With Baier being a solid defensive player in his own right, bringing in another dynamic midfielder like Hojbjerg takes the onus for creative play off the shoulders of the 30-year-old or it allows him a spell of rest if needed. Even further then that though is that with two deep lying midfielders capable of possession-based play and solid defense, the Augsburg attack becomes a much more dynamic construct. Add in both Kohr and Feulner, and suddenly Markus Weinzeirl has a massive tactical toolbox with which to work, especially considering Ausgburg are only competing on a single front this season.

However, the end question is what can Hojbjerg get out of the loan. At the worst, we could see a Julian Green situation where Hojbjerg can't break his way into Markus Weinzeirl's system. At the best, the lights of the Europa League - or even the Champions League - could be shining on the pitch of the SGL Arena next season. That could be the end result if this loan works to it's maximal advantage, especially considering Weinzeirl already has Ausgburg more than halfway to that goal.

That's the upper limit of what Hojbjerg can do with his loan spell at Augsburg and considering just how incredible the young Danish international has shown he can play (see his performance against Manchester City for example), there's every reason to expect that both sides can get the most out of this loan move.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bavarian Football Works Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Bayern Munich news from Bavarian Football Works