Hinterseer sets former flame Bochum and Rothosen winless run in his sights
HSV travel to Bochum on Monday evening (kick-off 8:30pm CET), with the aim of continuing where they left off on Thursday against Nuremberg and getting three points on the road for the first time since August.
Lukas Hinterseer spent two pleasant years in the heart of the Ruhr valley, establishing himself in German football and developing into one of the deadliest marksmen in the 2. Bundesliga during his time at Monday night’s opponents, VfL Bochum. After 18 goals in 31 games during the 2018/19 season for VfL, the Austrian international upped sticks and moved north to Hamburg on a free transfer, leading the line for a new-look Rothosen side under Dieter Hecking for the 2019/20 campaign. The 28-year-old scored his first league goal for his new employers against his ex when the two sides locked horns at the Volksparkstadion in August, scoring the only goal of the game for HSV’s first home win of the season. Injury whilst on international duty coincided with a dip in form and the targetman was finding things difficult heading towards Christmas. However, goals against Sandhausen and Darmstadt before the festive break and a first-half penalty on Thursday against Nuremberg mean that Hinterseer heads to his old stomping ground in good form, looking to make it four from four at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. The Austrian will be hoping to show Bochum what they’ve been missing out on, as he starts to hit his stride with the business end of the season slowly coming into view.
Focus on the hosts
After a strong finish to the 2018/19 season, things never seemed right behind the scenes this time around under experienced manager Robin Dutt, who offered his resignation after the 3-3 draw with Wiesbaden in August, before taking his offer back but then being promptly fired by the club’s sporting hierarchy. Former player Thomas Reis, who played for the Blue and Whites for eight years and coached in their academy for four, took over from Dutt but failed to steady the ship straight away, with an eight game winless run to start the season seeing Bochum mired in the relegation battle. A four game unbeaten streak in November saw Reis’ side briefly climb out of the bottom three, but the sporadic, unpredictable form kicked in again before Christmas, with two defeats and a win in the last three before the Winterpause. The post-winter break period started with a derby against table toppers Arminia Bielefeld last Tuesday, with Bochum falling to a limp 2-0 defeat. As results around them have not gone their way over the weekend, Reis’ troops head into the game on 20 points and in 16th position, the relegation play-off spot.
Opposition scouting report
Reis likes to set his team out in variations of the classic 4-4-2 formation, usually with club captain Anthony Losilla and Robert Tesche sitting in midfield, with a variety of different options ahead of them. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the side from the Vonovia Ruhrstadion, with Silvère Ganvoula the third deadliest striker in the league, and Bochum’s tally of 32 goals only being bested by Regensburg and the top three. The variety of options up front, with former Köln winger Simon Zoller and nine-assist-man Danny Blum providing danger from the flanks, has served Reis well, with HSV loanee Manuel Wintzheimer also providing firepower from the bench or beside Ganvoula in a front two. Winter signing Robert Zulj impressed on loan with promoted Union Berlin last season and could also provide some creativity behind the front pair once he’s found his way back to fitness, and could feature for the first time on Monday evening.
Stopping the opposition from scoring has been another thing altogether, with only fellow strugglers Nuremberg and Karslruhe having conceded more than the Ruhr valley side. Lack of consistency can’t have helped the relegation strugglers, with Reis chopping and changing the centre-back pairing almost every game, having tried out every possible combination of the centre halves at his disposal. And whilst full-back pairing Danilo Soares and Cristian Gamboa provide bags of experience, their best days may well be behind them, with the flanks a possible area that the HSV coaching staff will look to target using the pace and trickery of Bakery Jatta and Sonny Kittel.
Rothosen look to banish away day blues
Hamburger SV got the second half of the campaign off to the perfect start on Thursday evening, with a convincing 4-1 victory over 1. FC Nürnberg at the Volksparkstadion. After an assertive first-half performance with goals from Bakery Jatta and Lukas Hinterseer, Nuremberg came back into the game with Tim Handwerker’s 51st minute strike. Dieter Hecking’s troops took the game by the scruff of the neck once again soon after and distanced themselves from the Franconians with Sonny Kittel’s penalty and Gideon Jung’s first goal of the season to climb to 34 points. A first away win since the 4-2 success over Karlsruhe back in August would be much-needed and well-greeted, putting the pressure back on fellow promotion candidates Arminia Bielefeld and VfB Stuttgart. The HSV coaching staff have some selection headaches to contend with yet again, with no new injuries and only the four long-term injury casualties (Gyamerah, Vagnoman, Pollersbeck and Samperio) missing from the matchday squad. Impressive debut performances from Louis Schaub, Jordan Beyer and Joel Pohjanpalo certainly won’t make the selection choices any easier.
Dieter Hecking on the challenge that awaits in Bochum: “Bochum are strong at home, they’ve only lost one game at the Ruhrstadion so far this season. I know their manager Thomas Reis and how he likes his teams to play so I know how difficult it’s going to be for us. VfL have shown that they can push themselves for big games, like when they almost knocked Bayern out of the cup at home. It’s going to be a very interesting game.”
Hamburg have only lost one of their last nine competitive games against Bochum, with five wins and three draws. The last game that Bochum won was a 1-0 away win in November 2009 at the Volksparkstadion in the Bundesliga.
Bochum’s 2-0 loss away at Arminia Bielefeld last time out was the first time that they hadn’t scored in a game this season, an impressive tally after 18 games.
With 40 goals scored and 20 conceded, Hamburg has both the best attacking and defensive units in the league, however hasn’t kept a clean sheet for ten games.
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