Pre match report


A question of rhythm

HSV face VfL Bochum 1848 this weekend in their tenth game of the season. After 16 days without a game due to the international break, Christian Titz’s side will be looking to build on their 2-1 win in Darmstadt last time out.

Things got quite intense before the international break, with a period of six games in 21 days, but HSV go into this weekend’s game against Bochum having not played in over two weeks. With such a stop-start schedule, it can be hard to find a rhythm in the 2. Bundesliga.

The international break sensibly used

The transitional period, as defined by the Duden dictionary under the term “rhythm” doesn’t just refer to the fixture list but also to Christian Titz’s side’s playing style and consequent results. After four wins in a row, HSV only secured two points from three matches across just seven days. The Rothosen also suffered a heavy 5-0 home defeat to Jahn Regensburg in this time period. The team then managed to find the right balance between attack and defence once more, securing a 2-1 away win in Darmstadt just before the international break. Titz and his coaching team have been working on their playing style, especially the transition from defence to attack, during the two week break from 2. Bundesliga action. “Due to the amount of fixtures we had in such a short period of time, we didn’t have much time to work on our style of play,” said backup goalkeeper Tom Mickel. Now. we have had a couple of days back together as a full squad and can work on our attacking play. It is clear that we need to create more chances in front of goal.”

While the HSV players at home have been finding their rhythm again, this hasn’t been the case for the nine Rothosen players who represented their respective countries on international duty. Hee-chan Hwang, Orel Managala, Rick van Drongelen, David Bates, Manuel Wintzheimer, Jonas David, Josha Vagnoman, Tobias Knost and Fiete Arp have all been away and have returned at different times. For example, Hwang only returned to HSV training on Friday after travelling back from South Korea to play for his country. Arp suffered a partial rupture of the outer ligament in his ankle whilst training with the Germany U19s in Cyprus but was able to participate in an endurance test on Friday. For the other players returning from international duty, including Mangala, van Drongelen and Bates, it remains to be seen whether they will start on Sunday against Bochum. They may not be physically and mentally ready to return for the full 90 minutes. Christian Titz does not want to set in stone which players will start and will consider any final impressions the players can give in the final training for the evening fixture.

Bochum: “Team of the year”  

Sunday’s opponents from the Ruhr are led by the guidance of head coach Robin Dutt, who extended his contract with the club for an additional year meaning he is under contract at the club until the summer of 2020. His side have also managed to find their rhythm again since Dutt took over at the club in February. Bochum rose up the 2. Bundesliga table from 14th place to sixth place last season after Dutt arrived and the club have already secured 14 points so far this season. They currently lie in seventh place in the table and only SpVgg Greuther Fürth have taken more points than Bochum so far this year (Fürth have 38 points, Bochum have 37).

Consequently, HSV are aware that Bochum will be a tough side to break down in the Volksparkstadion on Sunday evening. “In my opinion, Bochum are not the standard 2. Bundesliga club,” explains Mickel. “Bochum look for ways to play the ball out of danger and they are not too reliant on their defence which some other teams are. Therefore it is important that we defend well and we are able to create chances going forward. Finding the right balance is not only important on the pitch but also off the pitch as home advantage is providing to be very important for HSV. There is a clear difference between the amount of points won at home (seven points, thirteenth best in the league) and away from home (ten points, second best in the league). The Rothosen can always rely on their vocal crowd to get behind the team and HSC have the highest average attendance of any side across all of Europe’s second tier leagues (over 52,000). “Of course it is important to win home matches. We need to keep the points in the Volkspark. We must thank our fans with a home win,” says Mickel who hopes HSV can please the crowd on Sunday evening.

The squad for the match on Sunday:

Goalkeepers: Pollersbeck, Mickel; Outfield: Arp, Bates, Chan, Douglas, Holtby, Hunt, Ito, Janjicic, Jatta, Lacroix, Lasogga, Mangala, Moritz, Narey, Sakai, van Drongelen.

Potential VfL Bochum starting XI: Riemann - Celozzi, Hoogland, Gyamerah, Danilo - Losilla, Tesche - Weilandt, Maier, C.-Y. Lee - Hinterseer

Referee: Christof Günsch (Berlin)